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Plenty on Wikipedia and on IMDd.  Those two websites are great for the date and place of birth, as well as listing the TV, films, stage and radio I've worked on.  What they don't do is describe what it was like working on those productions, alongside the wonderful and sometimes not-so-wonderful personalities involved. They also don't divulge the highs and lows of over 50 years of marriage, bringing up three kids as well as emerging grandchildren. If you're interested, Learning My Lines (my autobiography), Echoes (my first novel) are for sale through my website, as is an archive of my blogs from 2009-2013.

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Soul Music


We left Sloane Square tube station and made our way to The Antelope pub where we’d booked a meal before going to the concert at The Cadogan Hall. The pub was packed with office workers having a few scoops before wending their way home. There seemed no way to get to the bar. Somebody told us that the ‘restaurant ‘ area was ‘over that way’.

It turned out to be three tables in a corner and the only way to order food was at the bar. It was hopeless. So we pissed off.

Tummies rumbling, we finally moved to the concert hall.

It was like the annex of an Old People’s Home. Zimmer frames and sticks everywhere. These old souls seemed to have been brought to the concert by grandchildren, who being the offsprings of well heeled punters presumably had left their horses outside tended by grooms.

Cloakrooms: this title is the posh way of indicating Toilets. Remembering sticks and Zimmer frames, all the ‘conveniences’ were downstairs. Seeing all the infirm struggling to get to the toilets was scarey. Once they’d reached their destinations, then there was the difficulty of dealing with their bodily functions. The old gents standing at the urinals waiting for a dribble was like looking at the waxworks in Madame Tussauds. Once dribbled out they make their way to wash their hands. Another hurdle. No soap, water boiling but they persevere. Then they go to the hand dryers and struggle to find a button to activate the machine. Finally, hot air gushes out almost blowing the old gents over.

Upstairs, drinks are flowing and crates of champagne are ordered for the interval. More toilet activity guaranteed.

The Concert Hall. The stage is littered with chairs waiting for the talented bums of The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. When they arrive they’re all dressed in black, suitably garbed in case, or more than likely, one of the old souls might pass away during the concert.

The conductor is Freddy Kempf who is fascinating to watch. I suspect that he’d washed his hair about eighteen times before the concert because it seemed to have a life of it’s own. Swishing this way and that no matter which was Freddy was moving. Boy, was I jealous of his thatch! The leading violinist was a tall blonde, whose hair didn’t move despite her head swaying emotionally with each dramatic moment.

The first violinists are seated on the right side, the seconds on the left. The seconds seemed to watching the firsts intently in case one of the ‘firsts’ snagged his or her finger and had to be replaced.

The one worrying part of being the audience at a concert is when to applaud. The orchestra tend to stop, put down their instruments but don’t clap it might not be the right time. It’s best to wait until the knowledgeable start`applauding then you can join in otherwise you might get kicked out.

Once they start playing it is beautiful. All fears and doubts are put on the back burner. Everyone is caught up in the glorious music of Beethoven. The strings soar and the audience is in raptures.

Leaving, everyone was smiling like they’d just had a slice of my mother’s chocolate cake.

At the tube station was an old busker playing a violin. I put £5.00 in his hat. Beethoven is good for the soul. And buskers.

3 comments:

  1. Nice post Ray, you do make me laugh, what with the loo description, black coats, (just in case scenario) darkly funny. Have you ever thought of doing stand up? I like many classical pieces too and you can't beat a hefty slice of Beethoven. Glad it lifted your spirits.

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  2. nice one Ray, Keep 'em coming.
    By the way my 4 year old loves Mr Benn and your voice over is spot on (It was my Fav in the 70's as well). It's interesting to see the pace of these shows being slower and more thought provoking than today.
    Rob

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  3. Speak to us Ray, we've missed hearing from yo!!

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