July 10, 2014

Shadows is here!

More germs

 

 

Bleagh.  I’m frelling ill again/still.  I hadn’t really finished getting over the thrice blasted stomach flu—which kept kind of circling back and biting me—and I’ve now got one of those sore throats where you feel like your throat was attacked by a cheese grater and then set fire to.  Plus the shakes and shivers that tend to go with.  Arrrgh.  YOU KNOW THERE’S A DOWN SIDE TO ALL THIS INTERACTION WITH OTHER HUMAN BEINGS NONSENSE.*  MORE GERMS.

Frell.

I made it in to my third Sams duty shift last night, aware that all was not well internally but not having arrived at true graphic cheese-grater stage yet—and also you really don’t want to cancel at the last minute if you possibly can avoid it because last-minute Samaritan substitutes are a good deal rarer and more valuable than hen’s-egg-sized rubies, and just as the Street Pastors can’t go out unless there are at least three of them plus two Prayer Pastors back at base, the Sams office can only stay open if there are two duty Sams.

As it happens it was a very draining shift** but Pythia seemed to think I’d done well, and since she wasn’t shoving notes under my nose I’m willing to believe she did think so.*** Which is a bit of a ‘yaaay’ because however earnest and willing you are you don’t know if you can do it—do it over some of the range of human distress—till you’ve done it.

So apparently I am going to make a Sam.  Knitting critter coats for Battersea Dog and Cat Rescue optional.  Yaaay. †

 * * *

*  Saturday night is the traditionally busiest night of the Street Pastors’ weekend, which runs three nights starting with Thursday, although some of the individually scariest stuff can perfectly well happen on non-Saturdays.  As a Friday regular I was braced for the foaming hordes—also it’s summer so the weather and assorted festivals encourage the punters onto the streets—and it was sure busy but nothing too hectic.  The most melodramatic aspect was the number of bottles and cans left around.  WHY ARE PEOPLE SUCH SLOBS.^  There are a variety of views about this among Street Pastor groups and areas.  We all pick up glass because of the potential danger if it breaks.^^  After that the edicts get a little less clear.   We’re not litter pickers, we’re concerned about safety, so generally speaking we look for anything to do with alcohol.  We’ll sully our hands^^^ to dispose of Guinness and Old Speckled Hen cans, but not Pepsi or Innocent Super Smoothie.  And we pour out any contents of our hogsheads and firkins before we bin them—which means you want to find a grating on your way to your bin.  On the grounds that drunk people will do anything, perhaps especially drunk teenage boys daring each other to greater feats of grossness, I am also one of those who picks up abandoned plastic ‘glasses’ that still have something that looks like beer in them.

Occasionally this may lead to a situation open to misinterpretation.  Saturday night for some reason I got my eye in and was seeing cans and bottles that my teammates were walking straight past—usually there’s someone on a team who is struck by greatness this way but it’s never been me before.#  I had just ducked aside to pick up a (empty) bottle of Cava and paused on my return to the main road to seize a half-full-of-something plastic glass.  I turned around, looking for a grating and/or a bin and saw two gentlemen, rather the worse for wear, staring at me goggle-eyed.  The Street Pastors are pretty well known around here and of course a Street Pastor on her beat is wearing logos of dazzling, unmissable blatancy.  Can you drink on the job? said one of them in hushed, almost reverent tones.  No, I said, trying not to laugh at the looks on their faces.  I’m dumping these out.  They watched me closely as I found my grating and then my bin . . . but I wonder if they went home thinking that they’d caught me at something and of course I had to pour my illicit beverage out once they’d seen me.

^ These are probably some of the same people that don’t pick up after their dogs.  Hellhounds and I walked past a pile of dog crap in the middle of a BUS SHELTER today.  How disgusting is that?  WHAT IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE.

^^ Each team also carries a flimsy little dustpan and brush for sweeping up broken glass.  I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to wield same on Saturday.  Glass weighs, you know?  And the poor little dustpan goes groan groan groan so you have to keep emptying it . . . so you hope that whoever drops a breakable object does so near a bin.+

+ I was also, on my hands and knees sweeping up glass, lavishly praised by passing coppers.  Oh my misspent youth.  I’ve become a little old lady who sweeps up broken glass in public places.

^^^ We also carry one-use gloves for anything really revolting.

# I can think of superpowers I would prefer.  There’s a woman on my usual team who is so good at it I swear she draws cans and bottles to her, like the birds flocking to St Francis.  At least bottles don’t crap on your head.

** Which is fine.  It’s what we’re for.  And while you-a-Sam may well end a call feeling ‘oh dear oh dear oh dear’ you also get to hope you made a difference . . . after all, this person picked up the phone^ to talk to a Samaritan . . . presumably because they wanted to talk to a friendly, empathetic, non-judgemental person.  THAT’S WHAT WE’RE FOR.  Make a note.

^ Or fired up their computer/smartphone for an email or a text

*** She has the lurgy also.  Possibly we gave it to each other last week.

† Thank you God.  Stamina is still an issue, but Pythia says that comes with practise and experience, which seems to me reasonable.  If I were sitting quietly and solitarily at my desk and someone said Here.  You now have three dogs, each of them seriously insane in its own individual way, and you have to walk them several miles every day as well as feeding, playing with, and generally interacting with them, including Long Yellow Rubber Pull Toy Things and sofas, including when you feel like the ancient compacted rubbish at the bottom of a dustbin-collection lorry, I think I might squeak a bit.  It’s all what you’re used to.

Yes we are

 

. . . moving house.  Removal men with rippling muscles and a large lorry are coming 1 AugustYessssssss.  Any of you of a praying persuasion please pray it goes no more catastrophically than these things usually do.  And more important that Peter finds he positively likes it there at Third House once he’s in.  Any of you not of a praying persuasion are nonetheless welcome to dance supplicatorily around bonfires dedicated to minor deities who ease tiresome mortal rites of passage like house moves.  I personally prefer Jesus, but I’ll take any good will on offer.

And minions of British Telecom, that delightfully efficient and customer-oriented corporation, are coming the day before to install necessary wiring because, as regular blog readers may recall, BT declares that there are no lines to Third House, that eighty or ninety year old cottage in the centre of town and with a phone jack in the kitchen which you might think BT would find a little embarrassing.  HOWEVER we have got round my bootless fury on this topic first by the fact that we’re going to want wireless broadband and the connections for that probably do need to be updated from whenever . . . and second I just caved when the very loud, relentlessly cheerful woman who was brokering the deal rushed past the part about how they’d do all this for free if we bought their broadband.  So we’re buying their broadband.  And I am a weak, cringing worm.  Yes.  I just want it over with.

Eleanor finished cleaning Third House’s kitchen today.*

Jonas, who is a builder by trade and can do anything, is plumbing in the dishwasher because all the local plumbers are booked until Christmas 2017.

Atlas is getting on with carving out the Desk Aperture.**

Nina and Ignatius are coming twice this week to do anything someone else hasn’t got to first.  They may make a start on clearing the space for my shed.  And I may ask Ignatius to put up some shelves, since there is only one of Atlas and he only has two hands.  Fie.  You’d think someone who works in three dimensions for a living would have at least four.

And the hellhounds ate lunch for the first time in weeks.***

But too much stuff working might go to my head.  So the ME gallantly stepped in at this point and slapped me down.†  ARRRRRRGH.††  Therefore I think I’ll make one of my hilarious attempts to go to bed early.††† Night night.

* * *

* She has been giving me a very hard time about all the things I won’t let her throw away.  That’s a perfectly usable jar!  Leave it alone!  She even thinks I have too many books.  Friendships have been lost over comments like these.  But not when someone is cleaning your kitchen for free.

** I’m failing to get on with finding somewhere to put all the books thus made homeless.  See previous footnote.

*** Don’t get too excited.  They didn’t eat dinner.

† Do I really need the ME too?  It’s not like the next few weeks are going to be arid with ease and perfection.   In the first place I still have 1,000,000 phone calls to make to/about various which will be quite lowering enough when 60% or so produce the equivalent of all the local plumbers being booked till Christmas 2017.  I’m reminding myself we already own the house, no one can gazump us, that medieval torture device that has somehow been allowed to live on in the laws of England, Third House is in the same town and only half of us are moving anyway.  Hey, my piano is moving!  That counts!  Also the hellhounds are sure to Faint in Coils which will fail to be edifying.   But it could be a lot worse.  Hold that thought.

†† It’s The Little Things.  My last clean white shirt this morning had a big black spot at the centre of the neckline WHAAAAAAT??  I got the worst of it out with a sponge and wore it anyway.  Then I put on my pale blue white floral cotton jeans which are automatically a calamity magnet because of the colour.  And I was out in the garden this morning examining something or other while Pav had her morning pee and she galloped up to me and sprang . . . leaving giant muddy footprints all over my pale blue with white flowers jeans ARRRRRRRRGH.  There was language.  Pav ignored this, of course, because it had nothing to do with her.  She usually does jump on me first thing in the morning . . . but this usually happens indoors, I’ve never taught her not to^, and the only reason the garden was muddy is because I’ve been WATERING because we haven’t had any rain in yonks.^^  ARRRRRRRRGH.  Well I’m wearing the blotched up jeans anyway too, but everything goes in the washing machine tonight.

^ Theoretically she knows ‘off’.  She doesn’t know ‘don’t jump up in the first place you muddy-footed monster’.  Usually I find being jumped on by a thrilled-I-exist bull terrier ridiculously charming.

^^ It’s been long enough that a few Souvenir de la Malmaison roses have been unable to contain themselves to wait to go brown and mouldy in the next major downpour and have popped out properly.  It only takes a few to make my entire tiny walled garden smell divine.

††† HAHAHAHAHAHAHA.  I kill myself, I really do.

It’s too hot to sleep anyway.  It’s not hot hot but it’s that kind of hot that sits on your chest like an incubus and won’t let you breathe.

 

Singing for Sanity

 

There is a person, let’s say Person A, we will call him Abelard, who is doing a Project.  He is canvassing reactions and seeking input from a variety of Other Persons.  I am on this list.  Recently I received an email from Abelard that was to everyone on the list.  I answered.  Most of our answers go to him individually—occasionally one escapes and comes to the entire list—and he then posts round ups about what everyone is saying about this or that.  I noticed that my input had not been acknowledged.  Hmm.  Then there’s an email saying that he hasn’t heard from everyone and he’s hoping the rest of us will get in touch.  !!!!!  So I emailed him again.

Nothing.

Then I emailed asking for acknowledgement that he’s receiving my emails.

Still nothing.

So I emailed his boss, Person B, whom we will call Bozo, saying that Abelard was not receiving my recent emails about his Project.  Bozo did not deign to reply to me, but he copied me forwarding mine to Abelard.  Next round-up email Abelard adds a paragraph saying Robin, I’m not getting your emails.

I forward this back to Bozo and say now what?

There is a pause, and then Bozo emails grandly, well, since you’re not really necessary to this Project why don’t you just let it go?

I stare at this in disbelief for a moment (Bozo and I have had our little differences before—just by the way).  Then I write him again.  Then I take out all the adjectives and I send what I have written, including a copy of my original email to Abelard, to demonstrate that I might conceivably have something to contribute.

There is another pause AND THEN I RECEIVE ANOTHER EMAIL FROM BOZO SAYING THAT ABELARD IS RUNNING THIS PROJECT AND I SHOULD BE CONTACTING HIM DIRECTLY.

DO I GET TO SAY AT THIS POINT THAT BOZO IS AN INCOMPETENT TWIT?

Then I took my two shifts of hellcritters out and sang like crazy.*

I told you last week that I was going to experiment in turning over a new leaf about my singing—well maybe blow on a new leaf or wave it around a little—or maybe turn over just a new petiole—although I suspect if you turn the petiole over the leaf goes with it.  Whatever.  But I was going to stop pretending I didn’t have any voice just because I don’t sound like Nadia or Joyce DiDonato, and I was also going to stop pretending that the only time I had any voice was during my voice lessons after Nadia had done her teacher magic and that it all went away again as soon as I was at home and it was just me and the piano and an assortment of beady-eyed hellcritters.**  And, since I do have a voice, such as it is, I was going to work on developing singing stamina.

And what better exercise aid than very long folk songs?***  I had another little epiphany about singing folk songs too, and this makes me look like even more of a nincompoop† than the ‘oh woe is me I have no voice’ thing.  I’ve taken folk songs in to Nadia off and on right along pretty much from the beginning and she’s even said (repeatedly) ‘find what works for you’ but noooooo I’m not going to let myself get away with it being easy.  So I keep trying to find THE EXACTLY PRECISELY RIGHT VERSION of whatever, which I will then learn slavishly . . .  but folk songs being the slippery little devils that they are I rarely do find the exactly precisely right version which means that . . . I can’t learn them.  No!  Not allowed!  It must be the ultimate perfect rubber-stamped passed-in-triplicate official THE VERSION!!!!!  How pathetic is that.  Very, very, very slightly in my defense, the problem often is that I have the version I like and I want to sing in my head and/or my imagination’s ear, from Maddy Prior or Jean Ritchie or someone, and the available sheet music is never it.  McKinley.  It’s folk music.  Make it upGood grief.

To be continued again. . . .

* * *

* Or, you know, like sanity.  Till I felt better.  Hey, it works.  A good murder ballad. . . .

** At Third House the critter beds will not be slap next to the piano.  WILL.  NOT.

*** I sang for service again this past Sunday.  This clearly counts as vocal press-ups, since over the course of a long evening you’re singing hard for probably an hour and a half.  Riordan, who was music leader for the evening service, sent us the playlist Monday evening.  Usually I’m whining for it Thursday or so and on at least one occasion we got it Saturday afternoon.^

It’s a mixed blessing however, having it that early.  You have so much less excuse for not spending serious time learning the latest rash of driv—I mean, these earnest, committed songs of modern worship.  ARRRRRGH.  What I have found, however, is that power ballads for God have the same effect on me that power ballads about everything else do—which is to say they depress the crap out of me.^^^  It’s all so moany.

So I maybe didn’t get quite as much practise in as I might have done for having had the playlist all week.  But the funny thing was that in the heat of the moment Sunday evening with everyone else singing and twanging and thundering~ . . . it all became quite jolly.  Aside from the whole ‘worshipping God’ aspect.  At the end of service as I was crawling around on my hands and knees coiling up ENDLESS, Midgard-Serpent-length frelling cables, Buck sauntered past nonchalantly and said, if you get too good at that, you know, we’ll put you on the rota permanently.

In six months I’m going to have a voice like iron.

^ People have lives.  Christians too.

^^ I would much rather sing Are you working in the vineyard of the Lord?, which isn’t on YouTube, which is very sad+ or When the roll is called up yonder, of which there are a gazillion versions on YouTube, many of them not fit for much beyond making you a Hindu++, although I rather like this one:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oIB0xL-ejQk&index=11&list=PLD747A0359ACA320E  But then I have a weakness for the banjo after a misspent childhood listening to the Kingston Trio.+++

+ ‘From the desert wilds of sin/ Are you bringing lost ones in?’ Gospel lyrics don’t mess around.

++ Although if student performances of Voi Che Sapete can’t put me off Mozart—and they can’t—the Singing Goldfish# of Goodgodville shouldn’t shake my faith.

# Glub glub glub glub

+++ YES.  I AM THAT OLD.

^^^ I had a friend a million years ago in another life+ who used to call the soft rock radio station his wife favoured ‘suicide music’.  This is perhaps a little strong but I know what he meant.++

+ YES.  I AM THAT OLD.

++ Although I like this video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C0b2GFdxuVk&feature=kp

Wheeeeeeeee SPLASH.

~ Serious drum kit.  Golly.

† Not to say an incompetent twit.

Mindfulness

 

 

Samaritans training was Tuesday this week* so I made it to Aloysius’ Wednesday afternoon silent prayer for the first time since . . . the last time Sams training was on a Tuesday.  And Aloysius wasn’t there.  Feh.  I knew this, and I’d said I’d come hold the floor down in his absence.  There were actually a few other people there—slight gleep from yours truly—but I lit the tea-light, read out a bit of psalm and hit my temple-bell timer.**

Catlady

I’ve found, myself, that it’s not that I’m not praying when I lead/ sing for services, it’s just that I’m praying differently. I’ve always felt that prayer has to be a verb — for me, it’s prayer when I set up the sanctuary . . .  it’s prayer when I’m whispering directions to those joining me in front of the congregation. . . .  It’s even prayer when I’m singing the Mi Chamocha by rote and trying to figure out who would be moved by the next reading . . . don’t give this one to that person, because it always makes her cry, which is best done if you’re not trying to read aloud . . . it’s just not the Mi Chamocha that I’m, you know, praying. Occasionally, when it’s a solo, and there’s nothing left to coordinate, and everything goes right, I get to lose myself in the actual prayer that I’m actually praying, which is holy in a different way. But it’s all prayer to me…

Thank you for this, and for your previous on the same subject.  It’s a mindfulness thing, isn’t it?  I think part of what has helped me about the headspace for performing worship is that I got put on the prayer chain at St Margaret’s really quickly*** and floundered rather trying to figure out how to cope with all this praying for people when I was new to praying at all.  I’ve told the blog that I ‘sat’ at a [Buddhist] zendo back in Maine during a year I was finding very rough, and the silent mindful daily sitting made a huge difference in my ability to cope.  I fell out of the habit of daily mindful sitting when I moved over here but I didn’t forget that that space existed and was accessible.  And then hey-presto I became a Christian and . . . gleep.  The silent-sitting space is both utterly transformed by the presence of God and also strangely—reassuringly—familiar.

The sitting-space became the prayer-space and having God to orient myself toward makes me feel as if I have an idea where I’m going, even if I don’t always fully arrive.  You have to leave your stuff at the door and sometimes I . . . can’t.  But I take my prayer-list there—or as close to there as I can get—and I go to Aloysius’ Wednesday afternoon silent prayer when Samaritans’ training doesn’t get in the way, and the high point of my practising-Christian week is half an hour sitting silently in the dark with some monks, Saturday evening, during the ‘Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament’, before night prayer starts.  The more often you go to the prayer-space the plainer the track becomes.†

I can gather a few little wisps of prayer-space when I stumble†† up on stage to sing for service.  I’m not much of a singer or a musician—I have to work at making what I hope is a half-decent noise—I have to focus.  It is, at this point in my dubious development, relatively straightforward to focus on the prayer side rather than the music side.  The less kind way of putting it is to say it rates as prayer because intentionality counts.  It does not rate as music because intentionality only gets you a pat on the head and a bellow of NEXT from the bloke running the auditions.†††

But . . . where we came in.  If you can hold your feeble, wavering, mortal focus on prayer . . . what you’re doing is praying.  It’s a bit like deciding to run a marathon when you’re over sixty and have bad knees, but hey.

* * *

* Last night was writing emails and texts.  I was expecting this to be shocking and dislocating, like a watercolourist being handed a block of granite and a chisel, but in fact it was a whole lot like . . . writing.  In this case, emails and texts.  The texting was funny.  I’ve told you that I’m older by a good fifteen years than the next-oldest of the trainees, and probably thirty-five years older than the youngest.^  And I’m like, texting, fine, okay, I can do texting, and all these kiddies were saying TEXTING?  We have to TEXT as Samaritans?  And we’re supposed to understand all those nasty text abbreviations?^^  And I’m going, oh, cool.  Txtspk!  <3 !^^^  The Samaritans’ text software limits texts to 160 characters, so my fellow trainees were saying, we’re supposed to compose something EMPATHETIC and SUBSTANTIVE in 160 characters??  And I’m saying, oh, it’s like a slightly stretched tweet—you know, Twitter.  Sure, I can do that.  And they all recoiled as if from a slavering Rottweiler and said, TWITTER?  We have nothing to do with Twitter.  —Snicker.  Us do-gooders are so straight.#

^ How did I get this OLD?  I was supposed to just kind of stay forty.

^^ Which we’re allowed to use, cautiously, trying to take our cue from the texter.  We get a lot of texts and emails from overseas and from people whose first language is not English and we do have to communicate.

^^^ Which, not very long ago, when, I think it was Jodi, used it, I had to ask her for a translation.

# I’m talking to Merrilee tomorrow night and I will have to remember to tell her, since she’s the one dragged me kicking and screaming into the twenty-first century, including both this blog and Twitter.+

+ I don’t count Facebook, which I don’t use.  I post the blog links there and if FB is in a good mood and lets me, I read any comments.  But about the seven millionth throw-it-all-up-in-the-air-and-stick-the-bits-to-the-wall-as-they-fall-down-again revision, I mean upgrade, I lost the will to live about all of it.

** And went home with Eleanor after and spent an hour and a half wringing our hands and rending our garments over an incomprehensible political situation that has recently arisen in St Margaret’s.  THIS IS WHY I HATE GROUPS.  THEY’RE FULL OF CRAZY PEOPLE BY DEFINITION.

*** ref comments about saying ‘yes’ to things you think you can do so you don’t get ploughed under with things you can’t, it being the function of a community, including a religious one, to extract as much practical value out of its members as it can.^  St Margaret’s is thriving in a general society where a lot of churches are struggling, and I’m sure one of the reasons why is the bloodhound look in the eyes of the admin as soon as a fresh victim crosses the threshold.  When you sign up to be an official mailing-list member you are doomed.

^ See previous footnote.  Sigh.

† More or less.  Some frelling day I will be able to sit properly at home.  The old Zen-Buddhist, and Zen-Christian, thing is just that every time you’re distracted you bring your mind gently back to your breath, or whatever you’re using as a focus.  If I’m sitting with monks I need to bring my mind back, oh, no more often than thirty-seven times a minute.  At home alone, relying solely on my own resources . . . it’s like trying to whack a manic fly with a flyswatter.  LAND SOMEWHERE YOU DEVILSPAWN SO I CAN NAIL YOU.  Sigh.

†† FRELLING CABLES EVERYWHERE.  MICROPHONES, KEYBOARDS, GUITARS, BASS GUITARS, DRUMS^.  I DON’T THINK THE FLUTE IS ELECTRIC YET BUT I’M SURE IT WILL BE.

^ Or drum accessories.  I don’t think the drums themselves are electrified (? Like I have any idea), but there are certainly cables running (perilously) to the drum kit.

††† This is aside from questions of the quality of the actual music we’re attempting to perform.

 

Tra la la update

 

Jonas Kaufman, AKA world’s most fabulous male singer*, was interviewed on Radio Three this past Saturday afternoon**—early enough Saturday afternoon that I was still kind of staggering around groping for more caffeine and tripping over the hellterror, who gets very excited by the prospect of . . . everything.***  And I was listening to him and thinking [sic] approximately three things:  (1) He sounds nice.†  (2)  He sounds a lot like Nadia talking about singing.  (3)  WHY AM I BOTHERING?  If he’s a Ferrari I’m a junkheap bicycle with bent steering and a tyre missing.  SIGH.

I sang for service again last night.  I think I’ve told you I’m singing approximately fortnightly because they are mysteriously short of singers††.  Horrible confession time.  It’s fun.  Even more horrible confession time:  it’s chiefly fun because of the team thing, I who loathe groups and feel that the perfect social assemblage is two hellhounds, a hellterror and a laptop.†††  I realised the fun thing with particular acuteness last night because we were attempting a song that nobody knew, but Buck, who was leading, had decided we should.  So we were all somewhat equaller than usual, although not that much because Buck and Aloysius more or less know what they’re doing and the rest of us say ‘yes boss’ and try not to look stuffed.  But learning something as a group—learning something that needs a group to do it—is, you know, bonding.‡  I suppose God gets a look-in here somewhere too.‡‡

It is interesting, how far I’ve come.  Nadia teases me about the sleep she lost, when I was first taking lessons from her, wondering how she was ever going to open me up out of a faint squeaking noise.‡‡‡  Due to various traumas today was my first lesson in three weeks and I’ve been missing her—the thing I go to her for even more than knocking the weevils out of my repertoire§ is to reset my voice.  The longer I’m left un-reset the less voice I have as the old habits relentlessly shut me down again.

Except . . . not so much.  I was certainly glad of my resetting today§§—we also had a little weevil-elimination from THE SUN WHOSE RAYS ARE ALL ABLAZE—but I’d had enough voice to leave a singe mark on the back of Buck’s shirt yesterday evening.  I’m learning more music because every note isn’t a life or death struggle against entropy.

Singing is, you know . . . it’s fun.

* * *

* http://www.jonaskaufmann.com/en/  Note that I’m not the only person who thinks so.  The thing about Kaufman is the dark edge:  I adore Juan Diego Florez ^ http://www.juandiegoflorez.com/ for example but he doesn’t scare me.  Kaufman in full transcendent roar is scary.

^ We’re sticking to tenors here.  If we let baritones in+ we’ll be here all night.++  And when did opera singers get cute?  I never wanted to go home with Pavarotti.+++  When I was still young enough to go hang around stage doors they were never cute.  Unfair.

+ Dmitri Hvorostovsky http://hvorostovsky.com/ for example.

++ Um.  It’s already morning.  Just by the way.

+++ Note:  ewww.

** http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04571zt  I really hate the BBC web site, it is such a mess.  If you don’t know exactly where to find something in the schedule you’re gerfarkled.  I idiotically, because I so should know better, just now started by putting ‘Jonas Kaufman’ in the search window and . . . got one hit, to a review of some CD he was in quite a while ago.  You need to download your podcasts fast while they’re still unearthable on the recent schedule.  Because I am a dedicated, not to say pathological, listener to Radio Three I use the wretched BBC site a lot and have I think three times filled out one of those PLEASE TELL US HOW WE’RE DOING questionnaires in which I give them relentlessly one star for everything and fill the ‘other’ options with detailed complaints. . . . And for some reason nothing ever changes.

*** Hellhounds open one eye and say Wake us up if the world ends.  Well, wake us up if the world ends if there’s going to be anything good to chase.  Demons, sprites, fifty-foot mutant rabbits, etc.

† It’s not enough that he’s cute, he has to be NICE?

†† Any Fool Can Sing.  As witnessed by the fact that I’ve received a few compliments on my singing.  HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.  I think this is known as ‘be nice to her so she’ll keep coming and filling up a gap on stage’.  Although Buck turning on me—I was immediately behind^ him last night—and saying, you’re really loud, may not exactly construe as a compliment.

^ repeat behindBehind is good.  Farther away from the FRONT is GOOD.  Also, it turns out, good is the awful spotlights that frelling BLIND YOU.  It means you can’t really see the congregation.

††† Peter is in bed asleep as are all sensible people at this hour.

‡ I’m trying to decide why it seems so different in kind from bell ringing, which is also a necessarily team thing.^  Maybe because music is simultaneous rather than serial?  And by being simultaneous rather than serial there’s slightly more room to go wrong without anyone hating you?  Well, at least in an informal service in a small-town church.  There isn’t a losing-the-quarter equivalent in informal small-town service singing, I don’t think.  If you make a horrible clashing noise you stop and start again at the beginning of the verse.  Nobody dies or goes home mad.  And nothing that happens on stage at St Margaret’s is ANYTHING like as intimidating as the frelling ringing chamber at Forza.  Which I have to start cranking myself up to face again as soon as Wednesday night Samaritan training is over—and as of this week we’re more than halfway.

^ And which I blame for getting me softened up on the subject of team activities.

‡‡ Pretty much every musical friend I have warned me that singing for service may make it less about worship and more about performance.  I am very likely missing something but this doesn’t seem to be what is happening.  It may have to do with the fact that This Voice is as new as my Christianity is.  Newer.  It’s like oh, gee, thanks, God, I like being audible when I sing^, here, have some back. ^^

^ So long as I am remotely on pitch

^^ I’ve started thinking about writing my own Jesus Is My Boyfriend power ballad.+  Or maybe just setting a few lines of a psalm.

+ I still think most Modern Christian Worship Music sucks rabid wolverines.  Maybe it’s just that holding a microphone makes me care.

‡‡‡ Remember that we’re talking about something growing from the size of a bacterium to the size of a small, undernourished Chihuahua.  Very impressive in context^ but I will still never make Mastiff size or, to put it another way, I will never sing with Jonas Kaufman.

^ Yaaaaaaay Nadia

§ When I’ve been performing something in an especially weevilly way I tell Nadia that at least it proves I’m not slavishly listening to the pros on YouTube.  Speaking of pros:  Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau singing Schubert lieder:  AAAAAAAAUGH.  WHY AM I BOTHERING?^

^ For fun?

§§ Nadia can briefly raise me from undernourished Chihuahua to mini bull terrier.  If I ever made it to whippet x deerhound I’d start going to auditions.

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