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Ask Alice, with Alice McVeigh

On delusions, fruitcakes and the Elgar Cello Concerto,
with classical music agony aunt ALICE McVEIGH

Ask Alice

? 'Dear Alice,

My problem is rather complicated.

(Good. It'll take my mind off the bloody Elgar cello concerto.)

I started playing double bass when I was only ten, to please my parents, who were both singers.

(Tough luck on you. Bet they were mad egotists.)

They never had much time for me, or for my four younger siblings, being rather self-centred.

(Bet the siblings played violin, violin, viola and cello.)

Even though we all played some string instrument or other. However, as time went on it became clear that none of us were going to be professional players.

(Bet the parents were annoyed. Dum-tee-dum-tee-dum-tee-dum ... vibrate the bloody quavers!!)

Our parents were not pleased: they even had a last go, giving my youngest sister singing lessons, to no avail.


She has just lost her real job, and now, at the age of 39, has decided to have another go at being an opera singer. Alice, I think it's nutty like a fruitcake, but our elderly parents are determined to waste all our inheritance by backing her to go to New York and 'realize her/their dream.' Help!

Name supplied

Ask Alice

Alice Dear name supplied,

I am dead sorry, but you must know that my magic wand snapped years ago.

I also feel sorry for your youngest sister, who is probably delusional, for your parents, who are nutty like fruitcakes, and for you and your older sister and for any other siblings cluttering up the landscape. When will parents stop trying to live the lives they'd always longed for through their children????????????

(Excuse me while I just panic-practice a bit of the last movement here. Kind of dorky, except for the last page, frankly.)

Right, where were we? Delusional ... fruitcakes. About all the consolation I can offer you is that, last I heard, there are still a lot of waitressing jobs for wannabe singers in the Big Apple, and so, once the money (and your parents) are exhausted, she won't be living in a wet cardboard box (a dry cardboard box would be worst-case scenario.)

So I don't really think there is anything I -- wait, here's a thought!!!!!!! Why don't you get a friend to mug your sister in New York???? With any luck, this will alarm your parents so much they'll, they'll, they'll -- send her to IU instead, in darkest Indiana.

Hmmmm. This one may need a little thought. Excuse me while I buzz off to demolish the pesky left-hand pizzes at the end of the second movement ...


Copyright © 27 November 2009 Alice McVeigh, Kent UK

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