Music and Vision homepage Classical Music Programme Notes for concerts and recordings, by Malcolm Miller


Ask Alice, with Alice McVeigh

Jaundiced but nearly in Crete ...
is classical music agony aunt ALICE McVEIGH

Some weeks I just think, I've had it with this.
The questions don't come, or (when they do) they are unfunny.

Questions like, 'Where has all the work gone?'
(Answer: 'How should I know? Next!!!!!!')

Questions like, 'Why has petrol gone up ten zillion times more than inflation/Musician Union rates?
(Answer: 'Try beta-blockers / blame Michael Fish / See previous answer')

Questions like, 'Do you know a good strip joint?'
(Answer: 'What kind of column do you think this bloody is?????!!!!!!!')

And what, meanwhile, is occupying (what I'm pleased to call) my brain?

Well, to be honest, what remains of my brain has been fussing over questions like this: 'The reception of music in the early part of the century owed much to Turgid's comments in the late nineteenth century, to wit, that the phantasmogorical beliefs of such as Pinari and Defunct were based upon the harmonic progressions previously insinuated by De Tourcey and the German school in the previous era, and were therefore substantially, if not wholly, unreliable. The harmonies from B to N were therefore bereft of known musicological imput, except of course for horseradish sauce, until roughly 1840, when they again became not unadjacent to useful, using the term in its most empirical sense. In short, if e equals MC squared, how many Xs and Ys would be required to make up a decent review for any given nineteenth century symphonic poem? (You may not confer!!!!!')

OK, so I'm making it up. So would you if you'd been obliged to edit a brilliant but poorly expressed musicological book all day and half the night.

But then, the spirits are low. Basically, it's been one of those weeks. Hanging around children's surgical wards for twelve hours at a stretch (don't ask). Dragging self and cello around the National Gallery playing sprightly Mozart for corporate big-wigs avec head-cold. Driving in-laws to Oxfordshire and back. And, over it all, the constant nagging question: 'did the reception of German music in the sixteenth century owe more to Pinari or to Defunct,' and is that second 'to' really necessary, subtitled, 'Who'd be a blinking editor,' except of course for my mother who's spent the last four decades editing everything that moves including me.

Jaundiced, is perhaps the word. In the kind of mood where a sentence Dickens would have patted self on the back for is dismissed with a mere tick of the pencil. In the kind of mood where just one more peep out of you kid, and that tenor horn might find itself wrapped around your neck. The kind of mood when you think, 'Is that a dagger I see before me?' and feel disappointed to find it's only a red pen.

Not another blinking red pen!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Show me the holiday in Crete. Roll on next Tuesday. And if anybody wants to know where I am, you haven't a clue. Right? Got it? Clear to the intelligence of the titchiest, smallest, least advanced, editorially insignificant body of person or persons unknown?

[Message from Keith to Alice: Gulp? Ummm ... yes, I think so.]

Alice McVeigh in Crete. Photo © Simon McVeigh

Personally I'm off to drown my dictionary/thesaurus in the Mediterranean.
Yours, pissed-off,

Copyright © 23 July 2004 Alice McVeigh, Kent, UK




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