Saturday, October 01, 2016

2016 trip

After a false start earlier in the year when I was diagnosed at the last minute as having atrial fibrillation, I finally flew out of Melbourne on September 19. The flight, business all the way, was uneventful and I arrived in London feeling OK, having had a fair amount of sleep en route.

I found the apartment pretty easily and realised that twenty-five years ago I had stayed in a hotel somewhere in Cartwright Gardens.

A quick summary of the past ten days: Wellcome Collection; How the Other Half Loves, by Alan Ayckbourn; The Play That Goes Wrong; Philharmonia concert of Stravinsky ballets, including Perséphone which was very beautiful; visit to Sir John Soane's Museum with Michael Hurley; trip to Brighton to see Andrew, Dan and young Leland; Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour (great fun); The Threepenny Opera; a last-minute ticket to the dress rehearsal of Richard Jones's new Don Giovanni at ENO, with Paul K. I've also caught up with, and interviewed, Daniel Thomson and Alex Roose.

Yesterday I managed to see Andrew Watts who is in very fine form.

Today I go to Bristol for three days, staying in an Airbnb - we'll see how that goes.

Monday, February 01, 2016

Bruce and concerts

Last Wednesday Bruce went into hospital for surgery to remove a cancer under his tongue. I understand the op went well and he's now recuperating in an ENT ward. I think he's still in a great deal of discomfort but news from Peter is that he's keeping entertained by the lives of others in the ward. The nurses are also very good.

Because of this I went to see the Kransky Sisters on Thursday night: musically fun (all based on TV themes) but the linking narrative was awkward and under-rehearsed. Then on Saturday I went (with Brent and Dennis) to Chapel Off Chapel to see Thrill Me, a musical based on the Leopold and Loeb story. It was a two-hander (with piano accompaniment) and had quite good lyrics, although the music want quite as good. A good production and excellent performances made for an entertaining night.

Then tonight I went to the 5th Homophonic concert - part of Midsumma. Ben O, and a few others I know were again involved and it proceed to be a most eclectic and entertaining evening. Probably the best work was A stopwatch and an ordnance map, a seeing of a poem by Stephen Spender by Samuel Barber for men's voices and timpani. Great stuff.

I've also been busy recording Reflections programs, though today's was a bit of hard work.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Mailout and songs

The highlight of last week was Friday's mailout, which went with amazing smoothness. With a slightly early start, around 9.30, we were finished the stuffing around midday. Jane and I started on to complete the count, and full in the stupid form. Luckily the On Air magazines arrived around 8.45 so there was no sitting around waiting. Having a few new people help energize the room as well.

On Saturday night I went to St Stephen's in Richmond for XL Arts' concert of British song. And very impressive it was, too. Great to hear so many good singers and very promising for the up-coming Dido and Aeneas.

Today I had a nice Korean lunch with Jim, and tonight P&B came for beef, bacon and red wine pie followed by ersatz pêche Melba.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Quick catch-up

On Tuesday I went out to North Balwyn (quite accessible by bus it turns out) for drinks with Grantley McD - it was at his father and step-mother's. Being painfully punctual I was the first to arrive, but that gave me a chance to meet his folks (I think we had met before) and his partner Josef.

Included among the other guests were Vivien H, Michael R and, later, Cookie N. It was a lovely evening.

On Wednesday there was a strategy meeting of the Reflections group at the radio station - just to bring Nicky G and Jane M up to speed on management of the program. As it was over 40 C we thought we might have a drink afterwards, but alas all venues at the Convent were closed.

On Thursday night I joined P & B for dinner at The Commoner. This was arranged as B will be having an operation on his tongue in a week or so, so it was a last chance to have some decent food for a while. It was, not surprisingly, a very enjoyable evening.

Friday morning saw a visit to the dentist - really the first serious appointment with the new woman. She did a couple of fillings, but it turns out that one of them is messing up my bite - the new bit of my lower tooth is bashing against the tooth above it. I'm going in today to see if she can grind it down a fraction. I can't say I'm completely happy with her, but we'll see how things go. Next stop is a crown, to be done in February.

Saturday morning was The Romantics as usual - this week was a program of music by women and I think it went off quite well. Then in the evening the three of us went over to Noel's for dinner: two very tasty curries.

On Sunday night I filled in for Adrian McE on Choral Masterworks and caught up with Adele S which was great.

Now, I'm just catching up with a few things before I head into town to see what the dentist can do with this new filling.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Bookings and drinks

Quite a pleasant day today - I spent most of this morning booking accommodation in Brighton and Edinburgh, and a ticket to Der Rosenkavalier in Berlin. I also looked for somewhere to stay in Berlin and thinking I've found a possible.

Lunched at Mavis the Grocer.

Tonight I caught the 302 bus in the opposite direction to normal, out to North Balwyn where Grantley M was having drinks for friends at his father's. It was a very pleasant evening and I met G's partner Jo, who seems very pleasant.

Last thing tonight I sent out the reminder notice for the first mailout for the year, to be held next Friday. With luck there might be someone to take over the coordination among the new ones.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Bach and more

On Friday I went with Chris, Melissa and Jane to Ballarat where we sang Bach's B minor mass with EG and a great baroque orchestra plus some cracking soloists. It was hard work as the acoustic was difficult to deal with, particularly because of the way we were arranged, but overall I think it was quite a good performance.

We stayed for a few nibbles before setting off home. Saturday morning was The Romantics as usual, this week an all Schubert program.

Yesterday and today the temperature went up so this morning I thought I'd go and see the new Star Wars film. Unfortunately doing a Google search for screening times doesn't produce correct results for Hoyts Victoria Gardens so instead I went into the Warhol/Ai Wei Wei exhibition at the NGV. It was well worth it.

Ai Wei Wei

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

A Bach surprise

Yesterday I got a call from the radio station around 5pm asking if I could present that night's Concerto program. I didn't need to think long before accepting. I also had a call from Niki E asking if I was available to sing with Ensemble Gombert in Bach's B minor mass in Ballarat on Friday. I of course said yes.

Because of my radio commitment I couldn't attend last night's rehearsal, but went along tonight, singing tenor 2 with Stuart and Michael S. The orchestra sounds amazing - I think it's going to be an exceptional performance. Another rehearsal tomorrow night.

Also had a nice lunch with Margaret today.