Monday 15 June 2009


There is a problem. I am sufficiently computer literate to accomplish a number of things which seems to have deceived me in to thinking I can do it all. I can't. When I am not at home I have no way to publish a post on my blog because I wouldn't know where to start in an internet cafe or even in the warm and welcoming 'Business Centre' at an Hotel. The good news is that the Guru will spend some time here soon and it's 'teach me how to compute from elsewhere or go hungry'. Actually, threatening 'go thirsty' might make more sense: likes his tipple does my young guru. I know, I know, I am always making excuses when there has been too long a gap between posts, but they are always real enough to me. One of the things I enjoy most is writing this blog so over-coming technical hassle has got to be a priority. Last time the Guru observed me at the computer, he had a Damascan moment. It seems one of the reasons the Wizard of Cyberspace can get me is because I drop my wrists on to the front of the machine and cut off its blood supply, or whatever it is it needs to keep going. Instantly, I was transported back 65 years. "Wrists" would bellow my piano teacher. "Wrists; lift your wrists if you please". This would be followed by a sharp whack on the back of my hand if it were not the first time of telling. I swear my hands hurt even as I am writing this.

The gap occured because I have been away. I spent two days in Germany to hear my favourite opera conducted by my favourite musician. As those of you who have been kind enough to keep up will know, I do tend to find airports difficult. This time I was travelling alone and the journey required a change of flights, so, four airplanes in two days. That's an awful lot of manoeuvering and managing of bags in loos and so on, and so on This time, it was also in a foreign language so I was in constant danger of wrong- place wrong- time syndrome. I have, however, made a useful discovery. If one orders a wheel chair life becomes somewhat easier, even without a rugby player with a nice behind. (see beow) It is not unmitigated ease. The down-side is that one instantly becomes the subject of infantilisation. One's passport and boarding-card are confiscated, presumably on the assumption that, if one can't walk, then one's arms are too short to reach up to the relevant agents and hand over the documents oneself. Imagine: you have spent the best part of seventy five years managing yourself and other people very well, thank you, and suddenly you are not capable of managing two bits of paper and have to ask permission to go to the loo. The good news - and there IS, of course, good news, is that your bits and pieces are all looked after by Nanny while you deal with Nature's requirements and, a big AND, you can use the Disabled loos which are big enough even for Pavarotti and his carry-on baggage. In fact, I have taken to using those loos anyway when I have no baggage-guardian to help me. Now, you may have gathered over the blogspace that I can quite enjoy being in a 'special' position but it is certainly rough with the smooth if the stand-out quality involves a wheelchair and an airport.

Seriously though, there is a market niche for someone to train 'helpers' in the wheelchair world. I am humbled that this is not a permanent way of life for me but I still felt my gorge rise when two - yes, two -huge men strapped me in to a kitchen chair with wheels to wheel me from one section of airport to another. I did suggest, in the little German I could muster, that, even though this was not your conventional wheelchair, I was not going to fall out. I got a 'jobsworth' response that brooked no discussion. In the cold light of intellect I can see they had a point: their fault if the passenger fell out and, Heaven Forfend, might SUE the airline, but what has happened to discretion and taking circumstances in to account? It is fifty years since I worked for an Airline. What were the regulations then? Can't remember. Is it rose-colured glasses or were we more human, more flexible and less, well uniform, then? Maybe we just had more time.

Anyway, I am safe back having had a really good time. After the performance I was invited to the 'pub' with the musicians. There is this strange phenomenon I have noticed before. On stage you are aware of great beauty and aura. In the pub, they look like the rest of us, good- or not so good- looking, ordinary people, plumbers, teachers, whatever. Once, I saw a puppet opera where the puppeteers were all on the stage, part of the performance. I remember wondering how the director had found such without- exception beauty in the faces of his cast; how much auditioning both for talent and for grace and loveliness. Later, in the post performance restaurant, there they were, normal, some good-looking, some, downright plain. It is fascinating. On one extraordinary occasion, I saw the late Ayrton Senna in his car in the moments before his visor came down: transformed. What is this radiant beauty, what causes it where does it go? Discuss. See you soon.


Anonymous said...

This is your singing, ex-blogging "pub" companion writing. Thank you for directing me here and letting me read your interesting and amusing writings. I look forward to more.

If you google my name to reach my website you can find an email address there - do please get in touch. It was lovely to meet you.

Anonymous said...

The cliche that beauty is in the eye of the beholder is no less true for being a cliche. We imbue performers of all kinds, including loved ones, with our sense of beauty, which is part of rapture. Which, of course, fades and can disappear.