How am I getting on with my learning of the Goldberg? Here’s how:
How am I getting on with my learning of the Goldberg? Here’s how:
Well, dear reader(s), my Goldberg book has grown wings. In rather a thrilling week, Virago have bought it. Publication date summer 2014. What a great joy to write that sentence. The book has outstripped my own learning of the variations (aria and nine to date) , but I hope to reach variation 16 by publication date. I’ve no idea what Bach would make of Sedition but I hope you like it when it comes out. Onwards and upwards! I’m going out to lunch.
Blogs are strange things. I sometimes wonder why I write one, so then I don’t write it, then I feel guilty: I can hear Nanny saying ‘don’t start things you aren’t going to finish’. But a blog is never finished, and to be frank, there are very few personal blogs which are of interest to anybody apart from the writer and some not even to the writer. Unless you’re a celebrity, of course. I’m not a celebrity. Enough blog philosophy. To matters important to me: I’m still learning the Goldberg; I’m still writing; I’m still alive. ‘Nuff said, perhaps until tomorrow, perhaps for a decade.
This weekend sees the start of an unusual family return. For a few days, there will be, in this house, the same configuration of parents (2), children (3), dogs (2), budgie (1) as has not been found since 2004 when our older daughter went off for her gap year. Usually, friends and, in the case of older daughter, a husband, add delightfully to the mix. This time, it’s just us. How will it be, with all rooms reoccupied and family idiosyncrasies jumbling round the house again? The children arrive in stages: one already ensconced; another arriving on Saturday early and another slightly later. When we have guests, I rush about cleaning like a lunatic. Do returning children count as guests? If, tomorrow, I find the hoover irresistible, the answer is ‘yes’. If I can pass the hoover with nary a glance, the answer is ‘no’. Whatever, I am looking forward to it immensely. Oh, and the Goldberg is going pretty well too. Hours and hours and hours of practice. I must be the slowest learner in the universe. But curiously, I’m speeding up. I think Bach had an improvement plan built in to the variations and although I’m very wary of saying that improvements are being made, well, hell, improvements are being made.
My iPod finally collapsed today. Exhaustion, I think. I don’t use it for months, then fill it with Hilary Mantel, Martin Amis and Joyce. It may have been Finnegans Wake that administered the coup de grace. Since audio books are my new delight, I needed a replacement quick quick quick, so rushed into the Apple store and heartlessly tossed iPod collapsus into their recycling pile to get my 10% off a brand new tiny Nano. I haven’t felt so mean since I took my horse to the knackers and six weeks later received a cheque. Yes, they do that. They send you money for your dead horse. I burned the cheque. Anyhow, more cheerfully, audio books, paudio books! My Nano is now my even greater delight. What a genius thing it is. Mine is blue. It’s lined up next to my iPad. Really, the 21st century is smashing.
Our electricity meter (my children should look away now) was forcibly updated the other day. Apparently, it came out of the ark. Anyhow, off it’s gone to wherever old meters go – the same place, I imagine, as old anvils. So, our nice electric chap fitted a smart new meter and clipped on a little sensor thing to speak to a nice electricity monitor designed to ‘put you in control of your consumption’. Well, be warned. You’re not so much put in control as driven to frenzy. The thing offers a prim tick if you’re on target and an accusatory black cross if you’re over. You are supposed to set this target yourself but I don’t know how, so I think we’re targeted for a one bedroom flat, currently unoccupied. When that cross thing appears, it’s like being called into the headmistress’s study. Smack! Smack! Write out 100 times ‘I must not annoy the electricity monitor’. The beastly thing is currently in my study, winking like a great spying owl. I’m bowing to it as I type. Seems the politic thing to do before I reach for my revolver.
I cleaned out The Bird yesterday, and as I folded the newspaper for the cage bottom, found myself wondering: Mo Farah or Jess Ennis? Whose picture would Bird find more cheery? Actually, the Bird just wanted me to get cracking and get out, speedy as Mo, accurate as Jess. I don’t think Bird is one for team sports, or any sport apart from Cat Teasing. I’ve given Bird Jess this week. I’m saving Mo for next. Hope I’ve still got Andy somewhere, and Zara and Nick et al, and Charlotte, and Katherine et al, and Tom and Jade and Nicola, and all the others. I’d like Bird to have the full Olympic experience, if a little late in the day, though I may leave out bits of the closing ceremony. Never mind Bird, I’d have liked more Freddy Mercury, perhaps some Supertramp and Pink Floyd and much less of – no no, I’ll keep the nice Olympic spirit going a little longer.
Kind people have asked if I’m still plugging on with the Goldberg. Yes yes yes. Perhaps three ‘yesses’ is too many. Yes, I’m plugging on. Without plugging you don’t get any of those days where you’re not plugging, you’re actually playing. I’ve had very few of those, but when they come, boy are they worth it. Like Olympic medals, I suppose, except there’s no medal and nobody to hear except myself and the dogs. It’s audience enough. I could take a little bow. I could even sing the national anthem. Then I’d know I was officially round the bend. But that’s the beauty of an audience of myself and the dogs: nobody else would know, so what’s to lose?
Well, it’s a marvel. Lots of gold about. Such a pity I’m not actually good at anything sporting wise (and otherwise too, probably, but certainly sporting wise). I’ve got just the temperament for the slightly bonkers dedication Olympians must show. I mean I’ll practise something all day, every day, day after day. But what, apart from the something pianistic where dedication rather than excellence was required, could I possibly do? Dog walking! I’m going to turn myself into an Olympic dog-walker if only I can avoid all those Bradley Wiggin wannabes in the park.
Husband and I having a cup of tea this morning.
Husband says ‘What’s that noise?’
‘People enjoying themselves ringing bells,’ say I.
‘Good God,’ says he.
‘I think it’s part of the Olympics,’ say I.
‘There’s Olympic bell-ringing?’ says he.
‘Apparently so,’ say I.
Rather unexpectedly, we clink our cups. We wouldn’t do it for just anything. They are Luneville and beautiful. We clink them very gently. Get cracking, Team GB. Clink clink.