I never learn…
Have you ever sat and watched a moth bang its head repeatedly on bright lightbulb? Well, just sometimes that’s what I think I do with my hearing. I know I can’t hear in certain situations and yet I keep putting myself in them.
Why, oh why?
Pompey-Revision-And-Onion-Soup mate visited me the other week and I thought it would be wonderful to go and see Vivaldi by Candlelight at St Martin’s in the Fields. And it was… kind of. It was a special congratulations-on-your-new-job from me to her and luckily she loved it. And I loved that she loved it but after 20 minutes of near silence while two violins battled it out, I was contemplating poking my finger in my eye and swirling it around in my brain.
The seats were hard, with an overhang on the back so you couldn’t lean back – I guess because it’s a church and they don’t want you to get to comfy and fall asleep. Somehow I still managed to for a bit of the first half.
In the second half I realised that falling asleep was a tiny bit rude and my neck was starting to ache so I tried other ways to pass the time. Luckily, there was a double bass player playing quite a lot and as a bonus he was quite cute, so I focused on him… quite literally. I stared at him the whole time, watching his fingers fly up and down the fingerboard, pretending it was a double bass solo I was listening to, and it really helped. Although I think the poor chap thought I was some kind of lunatic for staring at him for a full 40 minutes and made quite a speedy exit at the end as if half expecting me to follow…
I guess I just love classical music so much that I forget I can’t hear it. One of my favourite ever pieces is a violin concerto by Sibelius… it’s quite exquisite in places but the first couple of minutes are almost completely silent for me as there’s a huge cadenza where all I can hear is the bow scraping on the strings.
I have a flute lesson once a fortnight now, to keep my fingers nimble and really do love it, most of the time – but last week I started banging my head against a hot lightbulb again and had to play pieces I couldn’t hear for the whole lesson. And, for the first time in ages it really upset me and, rather embarrassingly, I started to cry, big, fat silent tears, and being British I tried to keep on going. But trying to blow out while crying results in one big snotty mess and some rather interesting musical phrasing.
My flute teacher, bless him, finally noticed, shut the piano lid with a bang, handed me a tissue and left me to it before returning with a large glass of red wine and a promise of lower-pitched pieces.
It helped considerably and now, whenever I see a moth banging its head against a lightbulb I feel confident that I’ve learn my lesson for the time being and I’m not going to do it again for a while.