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Friday, 27 September 2013

Sliding Doors

"No, that's alright. No really, I'd prefer to stand."

Yesterday evening I was again offered a seat on the Underground - by a man who, I swear, looked older than I do. I know I'm knocking on heaven's door but it is still a shock to learn that it's so obvious to others that they feel compelled to ease my wearisome load, Oh Lord.

Having refused that gentleman's kind offer I felt rather self conscious and, I'm afraid,  over compensated by trying to do a triple back flip to show I definitely was not aged. That, of course, was the totally wrong thing to do.

There is nothing worse than the elderly trying to act young. Grandad on the dance floor vaguely remembering moves he last did 30 years ago. Aged aunt forgetting that whilst her sexy splits routine may have stirred the young bloods in the 1970's, now she risks a visit to the local A&E, and 3 weeks' bed rest.

At the time it would feel so right. You're enjoying the music, feet are tapping and you've just got to get up and get into the groove. Fatal error. Sure enough some sadist will be on hand with their smart phone and a Twitter and Facebook account and in a one beat of your ageing heart you and your ridiculous impression of a Mike Jagger or Michael Jackson move will be amusing many who you once counted as friends. I know: it has happened to me more than once.

In my mind's eye I'm pretty cool dancing to my heart's content - casting off the years; remembering what it was like to be 18 again and high on Coke.... a Cola. Coming face to face with the reality as exposed so savagely on Twitter is not pretty. To have one's nearest and dearest cry "Oh Barry, what on earth were you thinking of. And that tie!" is enough to break the strongest of men.

On the telly earlier in the week Paul Mason revisited "Northern Soul" and his younger self of 35 years ago. It was a great programme - until he stepped back onto the dance floor and tried (unsuccessfully) to recapture his agile youth. A car crash.

I was on the tube, on my way to meet some friends at Cafe Rouge near St Paul's cathedral. Having surfaced at St Paul's tube station, I took out my phone and googled directions to Cafe Rouge. Ten minutes passed before I gave up trying to find the place and asked someone. We were going to hear the "Blitz Requim", music by David Goode to words by Francis Warner. Never heard of either of them, but it was an opportunity to see the inside of St Paul's lit up at night and listen to the rest of the programme which I knew, including some Thomas Tallis and Ralph Vaughan Williams.

There is nothing to compare with a choir on fire, and last night the Bach Choir was. Along with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra we were treated to a pretty good show. The place was packed, as the penguin suited attendants ushered us to our seats. Some dork of an American was in my seat. Can't they read the ticket numbering - we speak the same language! After that rather unchristian interlude we sat down to an enjoyable evening.

Well the first half was.. .it was stuff I knew. Familiar cadences,long remembered tunes, especially Vaughan Williams' "Fantasia on a theme of Thomas Tallis". The other piece by the same composer was not so hot. A setting of a Walt Whitman poem "Toward the Unknown Region" which in my humble opinion is a nothing of a poem! Walt misfired big time on that one.

And then a ten minute break.

Many of the attendees were, like me, of advanced years. No doubt with numerous infirmities and aliments, gammy legs, weak bladders, prolapsed bowels etc; so it came as a shock to discover that the cathedral's loos were shut. The nearest public toilets being Starbuck's, across the square. I arrived there along with a throng to be confronted by a queue for the loo stretching out of the door.

Having relieved myself at the local "Slug and Lettuce", full of rat faced city slickers, I returned to my seat.

I spent an enjoyable hour following, more or less successfully, the text. Luckily the composer had given clues in the programme  otherwise it would have been an impossible task. I'm sure many of the audience benefitted from a well deserved hour long snooze.

A couple of pints at the "Slug and Lettuce" by which time everyone there was plastered, it being a spotty foreign exchange dealer's tenth birthday party, and I made my way home. No seat offered. 

4 comments:

Steve said...

Even in my youth was uncool and could not dance to save my life. When I reach disgraceful old age I look forward to being able to recapture that.

John Gray said...

My mother told me once that I danced like a drunk old fart

Bojo said...

You need to follow Silvio's example. Dye your hair, slap on the suntan stuff and travel with a blonde bombshell. Then you will get respect not pity!

Marginalia said...

Dear Steve, rather too many assumptions there.

Dear John, mothers always know best.

Dear Bojo. He's respected; where's your judgement.