I think I may have discovered an instrument I loathe even more than the clarinet. I realised this fact whilst sitting in the cafe again this morning. My ear suddenly tuned in to the most ghastly, strangulated sound, which I eventually diagnosed as a harmonica. Now, when I say I hate the harmonica, it goes without saying that I am not including the extraordinary contribution Larry Adler made to jazz music with his fully-chromatic vibrato-tastic mouth organ, but a badly played harmonica is hideously tough on the ears. It's such a crude racket. It's like the crystal meth of the music world, particularly if it's one of those harmonicas which only plays in one key and offers nothing but a load of random extra scruffy scuffy notes. Add to this the fact that pretty much all harmonica players think they're incredibly cool and you have a very nasty mess!
There were two ghastly men on the same tube as me this evening. They seemed intent on making more noise than was humanly possible, literally shouting at one another at the tops of their voices. One was fat; it made him more resonant! I think they were showing off. The thin one was smoking an e-cigarette, which, for some reason, irritated me even more. Are you even allowed to smoke e-cigarettes on the tube? The whole situation became a great deal worse when a busker got on the train and started singing Jonny Cash, which the two men decided to join in with. Badly, but full-throatedly. I became incandescent with rage when they then didn't give the busker any money. I think if you're going to engage and sing along with a busker (even if it's just so that the last remaining people in the carriage look over at you) you have a duty to give him a bit of money. Ghastly creatures.
On a more positive note, I did some work this evening which I very much enjoyed. I was marking papers in a professional quiz which was being run for a group of lawyers in the city. It's quite a high-octane experience. The quizmaster sweats away, being fabulously charismatic and pressing buttons on his laptop to facilitate all sorts of visuals and sound clips, whilst the marker's job (me) is to endure the most insane adrenaline rushes as 15 teams hand in their papers for scoring which needs to happen in the few minutes it takes for a quiz master to give the answers to the previous round. I suspect adrenaline rushes of that nature work very well for me because I was feeling a sort of buzz all night! Obviously I spent a lot of the evening wishing I was also in one of the teams. I've decided quizzes are my favourite thing in the world. If I could do one in Thaxted once a month, I reckon I'd be happy as Larry!
It always amuses me to hear the names that people choose for their quiz teams. Apparently the same ones come up every time the quiz master I was working with does a quiz. They're almost always puns, like Quizteama Aguilera and Quistopher Biggins, or names designed to make the quiz master sound like he's saying a rude word, like "Norfolk and Chance" (and if you don't get why that might sound rude, say it quickly and aloud a few times!) Quizzie Rascal, I'm told, has become very popular of late. We had a "Lizzie Rascal" today, which sort of took the pun out of the pun whilst still maintaining the pun!