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Ask Alice, with Alice McVeigh

On employment in music, insanity,
rottweilers and the European Union,
with classical music agony aunt ALICE McVEIGH

? 'Hi Alice,

I assume you've heard that the UK government intends to make it easier for non-European Union nationals to work in orchestras here. I think, as an English person, that this is quite frankly insane. What do you think?
Colin, in London

Ask Alice

Alice Hi Colin,

Yes, I have heard this and I think it's not only insane but unnecessary. As I understand it, soloists and conductors and similarly individually hugely endowed musicians (OK, OK, I'll rephrase that: soloists and conductors, some of whom are hugely musically endowed and the rest of whom have huge endowments) are legal to work here anyway. Nor -- though I know this will majorly upset a load of leaders and principal winds and brass -- do I feel that there is any need for anyone better than we're putting up with already, particularly.

Sorry!!! No!!! I didn't mean it!!! What I meant was, the leaders and principal players already here, who are EU-born and bred are so brilliant that the Americans and Aussies and Japanese can shoot at the mark set by same in vain.

(I actually think that this is true.)

In short, it's a farce. Orchestras tend to get what they want by hook or by crook anyway (yes, I do mean crook) and all this new ruling will do will make it even more imposs for orchestras to fairly audition all potentially possible candidates. It is, in short, a cock-up.

But what else is new?? Time to shove this lot out where there is wailing and knashing of teeth.

Where is the British Obama we need?

Answers on a postcard to:


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? 'Hi Alice,

How are you coping with your mother-in-law's little Yorkshire Terrier?

Ask Alice

Alice Hi Frances,

Well, I've reluctantly come round to the feeling that Harry is kinda cute. (This has been signally assisted by his becoming self-confident enough to stop weeing all over the ground floor.) However, there remains a dark side, and this it:

Scene: Alice (with book, two aged dachshunds and Harry) is found wandering through the woods. Suddenly, Harry's ears prick up: he is alert.

(Harry's thought processes): 'Is it a dog or a bitch? Is it -- can it be -- might it really be a bitch? Yippee! my luck is in!!!!!!'

Alice: Harry, it is a bitch. It is a rottweiler bitch. And you can just leave her alone.

Harry (cavorting around the rottweiler, who is baring teeth): Yes, sirree, it's my lucky day!!!!!!

Alice: Harry, get away from the nice big doggie.

Female rottweiler (weighing in at 10 stone plus): Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!!!!

Harry (weighing in at 1/4 of one stone) It's OK, Alice!!!! I like 'em fresh and fruity!!!!!!!!!!

Alice: Harry, you dumb mutt, get away from the great snapping beast!

Owner of rottweiler (offended): Oy!!!!! Who you calling a beast?

Alice (pleading): Harry, leave the sweet little Rottweiler girl alone.

Harry: No way!!!! She's just playing hard-to-get!!!!!!

Two Sane Dachshunds (in unison): Come over here, Harry, you little prat!!!!!!

Therefore, as you see, looking after said pint-sized dog is no easy task, and though I generally love optimism, and enjoy genial, open, optimistic natures, I find Harry's a bit much, frankly ...

Your friend,

Copyright © 15 May 2009 Alice McVeigh, Kent UK

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