Travels, Travails and Tannhauser

We are back in the Deep North after a strenuous but interesting week in the Beautiful South (hence lapse in transmission), mostly in the enlivening company of the Canadian Professor to whom, sadly, we have said goodbye for the year. But she is going to Finland, lucky her. We both took advantage of our momentary reappearance in civilisation and did our shopping for the year, the Northern Professor’s mostly in that temple of masculine indulgence, Trumper’s of Curzon Street, mine in my favourite source of big girls’ blouses, which happens to be in Kew. I was discussing with the proprietrix of this establishment the curious fact that although a significant proportion of the female public is distinctly hefty, buying clothes is no easy matter for the dimensionally challenged; she told me that as a buyer, she finds very few retailers are willing to cater for her customers. Having spent a small fortune, I then went and walked in Kew for a couple of hours, contemplating (along with many wonderful plants of all kinds) the fact that approximately a third of the women I encountered could reasonably have shopped in the emporium I had just looted. One of the mysteries of retailing. We are glad to be back, however, eating vegetables from the garden, cheering on Dr Biswell as he approaches the finishing-line of his book, and contemplating the mountain of work which has somehow accrued to be done over this summer. Many weeds have happened in our absence, but so have the lilies, and at dusk, the garden is heavy with perfume. The dahlias have gone nuclear. They were planted in rows in the cutting garden, with no way of knowing what was going to end up next to what, and the colour combinations which have resulted are probably capable of causing significant retinal damage.
While we were South, the Real World Consultant, touching down between gigs with two potted palms which are apparently resting between engagements (they are props in a Mozart opera, it seems), kindly showed me how to copy CDs on my laptop. I was keen to have a copy of a fabulous Lesbian country & western band called ‘Two Nice Girls’ which is now utterly unobtainable, and the NP was much taken with a Couperin CD which had been played earlier in the evening. Due perhaps to the lateness of the hour, what has eventuated from the trial run is one of the most surreal objects in the history of musical recording, a CD which alternates tracks from Gretchen and the gals with tracks of baroque symphony. I’m not quite sure what to do with it; it’s like one of those misbegotten stripy affairs you see on the cheese counters in supermarkets which weld two cheeses which might severally have been quite palatable together in thin strata to achieve a result destined to please nobody. Talking of pleasing nobody, I am currently listening to Tannhauser in the line of business. Goodness, it’s shouty, to say nothing of repetitive. But you can see why Heldentenors look like Russian olympic shot-putters; the sheer physical energy expended by the bloke who sings Tannhauser over the four hours or so of the opera is probably sufficient to power a small city.

3 Responses to “Travels, Travails and Tannhauser”

  1. The German Guests Says:

    Glad you are back! And how right you are about the Tannhäuser - it’s absolutely terrible. And has always been. Which does not, of course, keep German teachers from dragging every single one of their pupils into the most dreadful production in the worst theatre they can find. And, what is worse, they do stage it. Again and again. Aahhrgghh.

  2. The Man From Maryport Says:

    My own favourite Tanhhauser moment is at the end of that Marx Bros film - can’t remember which one, but logic suggests ‘A Night At The Opera’ when a floating orchestra is cast adrift on the ocean and proceeds to steam south-eastwards on their orchestra-sized pontoon while merrily sawing away at the overture to said opera. Presumably the performance imprioved with time and distance . . but I don’t think anyone sent out the lifeboat for them.
    As to ‘Two Nice Girls’ are they any relation to ‘Rock Bitch’? More r’n'r than c&w & I believe more aimed at a male audience (groan . . )

  3. fjs Says:

    Two Nice Girls, impeccably girl oriented, created ‘I spent my last $10.00 on birth control and beer’ amongst other gems. Sadly, or perhaps happily, now several bands, none quite as good as the band which first caught my attention.

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