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Ask Alice, with Alice McVeigh

Half-term problems
for Classical Music Agony Aunt ALICE McVEIGH

Well, it's that time again, and, except for a couple of sarcastic ones (my father: 'If a couple in Northern Virginia are snowed in and miss two days of a fourteen-day holiday in Egypt, what proportion of their holiday have they missed?' -- see previous column if you want to know why that's sarcastic) I have had NO QUESTIONS this week.

I expect that this is because there are not just hundreds, but even thousands and tens of thousands of questions in people's (especially UK mothers') minds, along these lines this week of half-term, no school:

  1. If I take child A to Sainsbury's and child B to his tennis course, and child A gets an inexpensive toy and child B gets a bronze medal, why do child A and child B fight for the rest of the day?
  2. If I take away child C's right to punch child D in the tummy-button, why is child D so annoyed at me?
  3. If I have one nervous breakdown on Tuesday and another on Thursday, what are the odds that I will still be alive by the weekend?

and so on ...

In fact, my principal correspondents this week have all been tamagotchis. Now those of you who have tuned in to previous rants will know:

  1. that Tamagotchis are insatiable ('beedala beedala: I'm hungry / cold / tired / bored'),
  2. they constantly whine and you've got to press all the right buttons in order to feed these virtual pets and
  3. that, until too late, no one taught me that they CAN be paused, for a few hours, without turning into smug little dead-angel shapes that cause your 8-year-old to accuse you of infanticide.

Even as I write (boing! press first two buttons and you are PAUSED, buster), they are tinkling at me, as Rachel has been kindly taken over for the day by a friend so that I can get some (ha!) work done.

I am currently working on a PAUSE button for Rachel. Those of you of scientific bent, do contact me, as I'm convinced (as who wouldn't be?) that there is Big Money in it.

Dear Alice,
I am a tamagotchi, soullessly paused for more than a few hours, and I (cue harp, angel's wings, etc)

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Dear Alice,
I am one of your cello pupils, but I can't be bothered to practice, as it's half-term. Would you mind if we just ... (cue harp, angel's wings, etc)

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Dear Alice,
I am one of your editorial clients
[see]. Any chance of you doing a bit of actual WORK on my novel this week?
Yours, fed-up (cue harp, angel's wings etc)

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Dear Mum,
You are HOPELESS, I leave you in charge of my tamagotchis for TWO MINUTES and you let them DIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
yours truly (annoyed) daughter,
Rachel (8)

Copyright © 17 February 2006 Alice McVeigh, Kent UK

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