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Ask Alice, with Alice McVeigh

Sorting out the musical inbox on return from holiday,
with Classical Music Agony Aunt ALICE McVEIGH

And here I am, back from Crete with my hair in a braid (well, Rachel's hair in a braid), keen, eager and gung-ho to get down to sorting out some musical agony, and my inbox ... is empty (sob!!!!!!!)

Well, not exactly empty. I am still constantly being urged to achieve a university degree in days, to improve the breadth of my p*nis, to accept home loans of staggering generosity, to access 'V*agra' at trade prices, to lose 24 pounds in 2 days (a lobotomy might do it!!!!) and to manage gold/money/diamonds for failing African princes ('all we need is your bank account details ... you will get 10% of 9 million ...')

Upon my return from Crete, I had no fewer than 1465 email messages like this, not counting the (19 or so) viruses from obvious well-wishers, which were neatly deleted by good old Norton Anti-Virus protection.

Someday some bright spark is going to write a sociology paper on the meaning of the internet, and its relation to the preoccupations of early 21st-century man. Well, I can save him/her the trouble. What preoccupies 21st-century man is, quite simply, how to become a slim, loaded, V*agra-primed, university-educated person, with access to a perfectly enormous p*nis.

But where does all this leave an empty-handed agony aunt?

All the current agonies in my life (which at present are non-aunt related) involve how to propitiate my 7-year-old, who counts the day as lost on which she hasn't had a friend around, bullied next-door into letting her use their lake-sized trampoline, biked around the neighbourhood, swum in the over-chlorinated (packed with yelling 14-year-old boys) pool, wasted several hours playing Nancy Drew or Sabrina the teenage witch CD-ROMs (on MY computer, because hers is OLD) and complained of terminal and Niger-like starvation every two-and-a-half hours (the kind of starvation, and I think this might interest any doctors among you, which can only be assuaged by -- you guessed it -- chips). You may ask -- you may well ask -- what part her Muzzy French course or her tenor horn (the alleged two projects of her post-Crete summer) play in all this, but I am giving away no secrets when I admit that she has yet to toot a toot or lisp a French verb.

Which is not to say that she hasn't THOUGHT about her music, because I have been party to long and earnest discussions on a prospective girl-band involving the following personnel:

Joanna on violin
Jenna, Rebecca, Lisha and Francesca on keyboards
Rachel on French horn

(I haven't broken it to Rachel -- I think time, the great healer, might just do it for me -- that I've yet to hear of a girl-band (a) with a French horn (b) with four keyboard-players or (c) without a single singer.)

What I want to know is how such super-women as my own sister Kathy or my friend Jane Joy DO IT. These amazing creatures (for different reasons) HOME-EDUCATE one of their kids. All I can say is, roll on September 5th, when I hope to get back for my four writing projects and crack open a cello case with no thought of earning money playing it ...

But all this has zero to do with my stern task of consoling the agonised muso, has it? -- so Basil and Keithie baby will get fed-up with me. Must resort to tried and tested route of MAKING UP OWN QUESTIONS, moan, groan.

How about this?

Dear Alice
'I am a sex-starved, overweight, poor person, with no university education/ What can I do?????
Signed, sex-starved, overweight etc etc.

Dear sex-starved, overweight, useless poor person etc etc,

Have I got the solution for you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! All your troubles are OVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Just find yourself an email address and the answers will flood to your door ...
Cordially,
Alice

Or:

Dear Mum,
I am a poor, deprived seven-year-old girl with only 95 million My Little Ponies, Barbies, Polly Pockets dolls, porcelain Disney princesses, tenor horns, tennis lessons, dachshunds, giant African landsnails and stuffed toys to call my own. I'm bored and fed-up and hungry and I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Rachel

Dear Rachel,
*&^$""$%^*():********+_;+))>><!AUGH!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Your gentle, kind and every-helpful mother,
Alice

Copyright © 26 August 2005 Alice McVeigh, Kent, UK

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