Wednesday 24 June 2009


I am so excited. Looking at my site-meter, I see that someone has been along to the blogspot from Melbourne. I do hope they were interested enough to 'see a few below' and that they will come back for more. At this moment I don't know how many they read because I haven't the courage to move from here and have another look at the site-meter, and I was too excited to notice when I was there. Those of you who have been keeping up will remember my terror of the Wizard of Cyberspace. I know, and he knows I know, that the second I move he can swoop in and remove all trace of what I have been doing. Anyway, it is very exciting. It would be lovely actually to meet a reader from Down Under. Do you feel inclined to leave a comment so that I can find out how you fell on this particular blog? Not that I don't value all of you who bother to look at my view of life at 75 when you are quite definitely 30 years younger in your inner world. But I am old enough to see Australia as a very long way away; a different world. So please don't mind if I've been less enthusiastic in the past about, say, Clapham.
That dealt with, I want to go back to something I was thinking about in the last post: the beauty of the performer. There were several comments posted. One suggested that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. This is a factor, but it doesn't go far enough as I understand it. I have spent so many years as an acute but detached observer I think I may be able to take in to account the eye of the beholder. A thought I would like to add, though, is that it may be something to do with concentration. It may be that signs of wear and tear, personal sadness, worry lines, even fun lines, expressons, are erased in the cause of the intensity of concentration required in performance, be it voice, or instrument or motor vehicle or the giving of life to a group of evidently lifeless wooden puppets. I saw the particular performance of the puppet opera which has so impressed me four times in a row. The wonder was never dimmed. Each time, taking a bow with the singers, the puppeteers brought the puppets on and held their hands and gave them obeisance: I doubt there was one member of the audience who didn't accept this as normal: we were acknowledging all the performers. I recall the adrenalin shock I felt, back stage later, to see these bundles of clothes, wooden limbs and heads flopping all over the place, suspended on a rail waiting to be re-humanised another time.
Perhaps I am talking about magic. Perhaps the Wizard of Cyberspace knows all about giving life to wooden dolls - and taking my work from me. When I was little, I used a device I'm sure you are all familiar with. If Iwanted to forecast an event I would say to myself that if a) happened it would be a way of indicating that b) would, too. You know the sort of thing: if the light turns green before we get to it then the letter I have been waiting for will be on the doormat when we get home. Not to make it happen, you understand, just as prior information. Ok, I'll come clean; I still do it. No, I'm not going to give you the ratio of right to wrong and I'm not even going to mention the prosaic word co-incidence.
There was another kind of magic in my experience, yesterday. I had tea, formal English tea-time tea, in a famous London store. (Never mind which one. You'll all want to go and then there will be a queue and no magic.) We had it all. A cake stand with layers appeared, sandwiches - no crusts - on one level, scones on another and pastries on a third. We were invited to choose from twenty two kinds of tea and offered a glass of champagne. There is no experience to equal it. Had my Mother been there it would have been hats and gloves. She wasn't but it was her scene and mine, too, until we all reached the age of discrimination and weight problems. There was one hitch: my companion found a hair in her scone. Torn between the reassurance that the scones had, really, been hand made and the natural squeamishness she felt at its presence, she called the Manager. A delightful lady appeared and offered her all kinds of compensation, more champagne - she hadnt had any - more scones, more sandwiches, the store. My friend was mollified by the care and the attention. It was enough to know they were mortified. The magic of the occasion was ultimately ratified by the annulation of the bill. Not a sous would they accept. Now, I hope I've done the right thing in telling you. There will be a queue not only for a table but for a stray hair as well. I should have kept quiet. Now everyone is going to want one. Never mind. You are welcome and I don't suppose you are really going to come all the way from Melbourne just to find a hair in your scone. See you soon.

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