Thursday, 22 January 2015

West Worthing

A man vomited on the train this morning. He had the decency to do so into a dustbin, but the sound and smell was overwhelming. I had very little sympathy for him: he was obviously rancid from a night of heavy drinking, and no innocent person should have to put up with that. Think of the children...

I bumped into Ellie at Victoria station who had just got off the train I was getting on to go to West Worthing. It was lovely, if not a little surreal, to see her.

Fiona was staying with us last night, and sat up 'til late in our sitting room, doing a string arrangement of a track in E flat minor, which is about as awful as keys get for string players. As Nathan puts it, "just think of it as playing in one natural!" A general discussion about string music led to the sharing of viola player jokes. For those who don't know, viola players are the butt of many jokes, largely because the majority of them are failed violinists and because the instrument is a hybrid which is too small to play low notes and subsequently often ends up sounding like elastic bands stretched across a shoe box.

Examples of viola jokes are as follows:

Q - "How do you make a viola play in tune?"

A - "Chop it up and make a xylophone."

Q - "How is lightning like a viola players fingers?"

A - "Neither one strikes the same place twice."

And so it goes on...

I did a day with PK in his West Worthing attic, taking the first tentative steps into the mixes of the songs Keighley and Billy Whistle from Brass... And so far, so good. There were a couple of rather terrifying moments. One of the lads singing tenor in one sequence had got a little over-zealous with his rhythms, and the brass players were a tad over-ripe with their ensemble pitching in places. That said, what they lack in general tuning is almost certainly made up for in exciting, dramatic playing. Ask yourself what you'd rather have on the recording of a musical...

Olivia, PK's wife, made the most exquisite puff pastry, feta cheese tart for lunch, which excited me so much I couldn't couldn't concentrate until I knew I'd secured a second slice!

We wrapped things up at 8pm, and just as I was making my way along the High Street, I saw the road barriers coming down, and the lights of a distant train coming into the station. I made a dash for it, but managed to miss it by a second, largely because a jogger decided she was going to systematically run in front of me at half the speed that I wanted to run. It was as though she had a hell-raising sixth sense, which told her exactly where I wanted to be at any given moment. Every time I tried to run around her, the silly moo changed direction, seemingly oblivious to my existence, and my growing levels of panic.

When I finally got on a train I decided to look for a guard to check if my train ticket worked for the short hop I was making from West Worthing to Hove. I went up to a bloke in uniform who was standing next to the train door and started to speak. It was only then that I realised I was talking to a Mormon, and that the badge which I'd assumed was his Southern Trains identity tag, was actually something which read "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints." He seemed a little surprised. I burbled and extracted myself from the hideous situation by heading into the adjacent carriage as speedily as possible. I wasn't going to get into a chat with a Mormon. That would only ever have ended with some kind of defenestration.

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