Saturday, 28 May 2016

A 1920s weight lifter

It's been a lovely day today, but I have largely stayed indoors. Nathan is in Macclesfield, of all places, pretending to be a waiter at a wedding who suddenly bursts into an operatic aria. I reckon there can't be a wedding guest in the world who hasn't at some point been "surprised" by some sort of singing barman, but Nathan is always off somewhere else to do more! He once did a gig in South Africa which didn't quite go to plan. The mother of the person whose party it was was so horrified at the cheek of the lowly waiting staff bursting into song, uninvited, that she went on a rampage, screaming at people, claiming the party had been ruined.

I got a bit lonely today so went out to the local barbers for a haircut - really just for something to do. I had a nice chat with the barber. We talked about the musical Taboo which I worked on for the best part of two years in the early naughties. He was a "club kid" in the mid 1980s and regularly visited the real Taboo club which featured so prominently in the show. He's only about five years older than me, but whenever I meet someone like him, I feel eternally grateful not to have been a young gay man living in London during that era. Those gender-bending, balls of wonderful energy were all-but destroyed by HIV/ AIDS. He'll have lost friend after friend and gone to funeral after funeral in the late eighties. That era, for that very small, tight-knit community, was every bit as catastrophic as the First World War.

The barber was quite excited by my moustache because it looked like the 1920s strong man he had on one of his tattoos. He was horrified when I told him I'd been using Pritt Stick to keep it in place. "There's all sort of wax" he said, "that will do the job just as well." "Why do I need wax when I have Pritt Stick?" I asked. He sighed, and then cut my hair to look just like a 1920s strong man.

Nathan returned from Macclesfield and we watched a programme about Beethoven's Fifth Symphony which made me feel a little bit ill, because it was full of the conjecture that I responded so badly to at university when studying Sibelius. Sometimes it's possible to over-analyse a piece of music. It needs to be okay to admit that we don't know why a certain phrase was written, or to acknowledge that a composer might have written a piece of music, not because he was consumed by revolutionary spirit, but because he was given a much-needed commission which kept the wolf from the door. Ultimately, to me, it doesn't really matter. If it sounds good and it's moving or exciting, I'm not sure I care why.

No comments:

Post a Comment