Sunday, 23 November 2008

Sublime and ridiculous

We spent the day working on Britten's Sacred and Profane. Boy, they were hard: after five or six hours' work, we'd got three out of the eight to the stage where we could risk singing them in public. What I find with Britten is that it just doesn't stick, and I don't know whether it's him or me. I think it's mostly that my taste is for a melodic line, and I'm not very harmonically sophisticated, so all that dissonance that you're supposed to understand and turn into consonance just doesn't quite work for me.

At least all five of us seemed to be in the same boat. But it was a frustrating day. If terribly character building.

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Thank goodness for the Guardian

There's been some very intelligent writing in the Guardian (as always) about the death of Baby P. I'm not going to write about the details at all, since like many parents I've found that having a child yourself makes it physically painful to think about cases like this. The point the Guardian made was that villifying the social workers involved saves the media the real horror, which is thinking about parents and guardians who kill.

It's actually not that difficult to imagine how horribly difficult a social worker's task might be in terms of visiting these families, working out what's really happening, and knowing when to make a call on it. What is almost impossible to imagine is the mind of someone who is able to damage a child so tiny, or to watch while someone else does. And when it's their own child? My brain simply crashes into the barriers: I don't know how to contemplate the idea. At the deepest level, this is simply, bleakly, literally, inhuman. And this is why we look for the easier targets and the simpler explanations: what lies beneath is too obscene to contemplate.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Polka dots?

Cigarettes are blinking in the dark
and making polka dots around the baseball park...

Lovely, isn't it? It sounds like Joni Mitchell, but it's not at *all*. Any of you clever people recognise it? (I know it, but I was surprised it couldn't be googled.)