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Ask Alice, with Alice McVeigh

Classical music agony aunt ALICE McVEIGH
contemplates 'le commencement de la end' supreme

Dear self,

I am a professional cello player and deeply suicidal.

Alice McVeigh

Well, not REALLY suicidal, but everyone obviously thinks so. Observe the facts: I couldn't get away with buying more than one packet of aspirin in Sainsbury's this AM (as the check-out lady remarked, 'Ya might top yerself, see?')

Well, I COULD have pointed out that any genuinely suicidal person would scarcely have found it necessary to purchase over 150 pounds of groceries just prior to the deed (even the suicide de luxe -- or, in French, Le commencement de la end supreme -- could scarcely require more than the odd egg-roll). It would also appear to be rather egregiously manic to find it necessaire to also buy (a) le chips for le birthday of la sept-année-old kid (b) le Scooby-Doo cake (likewise), (c) le sausage rolls or hot-dogs (or les dachshunds en chaud, depending on which part of France you come from), (d) approx five million cakes de fairies before Doing the Deed and Calling it a Day.

I mean any sane suicidal maniac, one would suppose, would have been quite content with (a) la bread, (b) de vino et thou, not that I suppose there are a lot of sane suicidal maniacs about.

At any rate, I got to buy my packet of aspirin (pas recommendée pour les maniacs suicidée) and trotted home in order to wrap the presents.

Not that said wrapping took me much under three-quarters of an hour, partly because of the sheer number of titchy prezzies my daughter is getting and partly because I kept getting distracted by le telephone, and the answering of such crucially important queries as to whether I was interested in the all-new, all-singing, all-dancing dishwasher insurance policy from Norwich Union (I wasn't. Surprise!!!!!!!!!)

Then I received this plaintive email query from an old friend in a London wind-section, 'Why are orchestral players so discounted? Even Norman Lebrecht doesn't give us the time of day in his laments, etc etc.'

To which all I could say was, 'Eh, bien, c'est la vie,' or, to translate, that you can scarcely expect N Lebrecht or any autre person to care whether les dregs de le earth (translated: the lower strings) make it into his index or not. I mean, he's got CONDUCTORS to worry about!!!!!! Important people!!!!!!! Wakey, wakey!!!!!!!!!!!!

I then picked up said daughter from school, who informed me that Year Two is going, en masse, to Buckingham Palace to see, if not the Queen, at least the palace: and (and this is the killer) she wants ME, arch-republican, to accompany same, doubtless making oohs and ahhs at all the right times. What she doesn't know, having been not even an embryo (or dans le tummy) at the time, is that I've BEEN to Buckingham Palace, playing in the joint concert of the Hanover Band and the London Philharmonic (the former, not the latter) and that I decided it was exactly the sort of revoltingly overdone, wedding-cake place which suits the current incumbants down to the ground and which I personally would rather die than cross the road to see again encore une fois. However, by the time I'd finished explaining THAT, I was beginning to wonder what I had done with the aspirin I'd bought, and whether (through a clever combination of drugs) it could still be made to do the trick, despite the attention of check-out girls and 150 pounds of unused groceries in the fridge ...

Cordiellement yours, one whose daughter has done nothing but play the BBC's Learn French with Muzzy videos for the last couple of weeks, but you'd already guessed that, did you???


Copyright © 17 September 2004 Alice McVeigh, Kent, UK



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