When that great 'Practical Joker in the Sky' finally pulls the plug on his cosmic play station and brings this entire tragic farce to an end, I think we, as members of the least exclusive club in the world - Mankind - will be able to look back and take pride in certain achievements. In my title above I was going to mention cathedrals but, dammit, it would have ruined my cheap alliteration, and as you all know, next to irony I just luuuurve alliteration. So instead I put in 'silicon chips' about which I know absolutely nothing except that they are dead-clever thingies without which computers would not work and if computers did not work this blog would not exist and this blog is, of course, one of the crowning glories in the history of Mankind - don't bother I can't hear you! Sliced bread should not be under-estimated, either. Can you - and here I am mainly addressing my male readers - remember trying to slice those squidgy white loaves and getting an A1 bollocking from your Mum because the slices were either too thick or because the knife was on a slant so only half a slice was produced - and that's quite apart from all the cut fingers, blood on the bread, and so on? Then some genius in a bakery far, far away invented sliced bread and the world was truly a better place.
And all of that load of old tut brings me to the main point of this post, last night's concert in Exeter (see previous post). Alas, the 'Memsahib' was unwell and couldn't make it but there's always a good side to everything because it allowed me to inspect, at a distance of course, the ladies in the band. Back in the day, lady violinists and cellists and so forth tended to be plump, matronly and deeply unattractive, but today they are, well, sorry to use an Americanism but 'hot' is just so right. Also, it is just such a pleasure to see young women in smart little 'black numbers' with stockings and high heels instead of the usual refugee-camp garbage they cover themseves in. Sorry ... what was that? ... What about the music? ... Oh! ... Yes, of course, the music ... now where was I?
Well, of course, it was superb! Don't ask me whether it was played well or badly. Unlike the musical efforts of the late, great Eric Morecombe, the notes all seemed to come out in the right order and as that reaches the limits of my musical expertise I can say no more. I was slightly surprised not to receive a 'Bayreuth Blast' from Wagner but his Siegfried Idyll was a quiet delight and the only hint of brass in a mainly string piece was from a solo horn which sounded more bucolic than battling, if you know what I mean. The music moved gently between lightness and quiet intensity. Just what I needed as a balm because the bloody concert ticket gave the wrong post code and 'Nursie' inside my little black box commanded me to go to the wrong end of Exeter and I only just reached the concert hall in time!
Tchaikovsky's violin concerto was played by another 'hot' young lady called Jennifer Pike. The musical 'experts' sometimes rather look down on these hugely popular pieces of classical music almost, one suspects, because they can't stand the thought of common people enjoying what they enjoy, so I'm sorry to annoy them further by saying that this common oik just melted with pleasure under Pyotr Ilyich's magical romanticism. Then came 'Beet's Big 'Un' - the mighty Fifth! - and it was lift-off time. I don't often give advice to other people but let me tell you that if ever you are feeling at a low ebb, then sit down and listen to Beethoven's Fifth. You will be transported!
And once again, I was left thinking that the gradual evolution of the symphony orchestra is a truly great achievment by Mankind, although to be fair, like the great cathedrals which were built by generations of craftsmen, so the development of the symphony orchestra has been the work of generations of musicians, some humble craftsmen who made the instruments, some towering geniuses like Ludwig van Beethoven. But whatever, or who-ever, the achievment has been magnificent.