Thursday, November 07, 2013

It's all money!

The delivery people actually did their stuff and I am now the proud possessor of three new box sets of previously (well, forty odd years ago previously!) unobtainably expensive recordings.  Admittedly not all of them are that old, many are fairly recent issues, but there are certainly old favourites among the 150 CDs that I now have!  A box of Teldec, Erato and Das Alte Werk with treasures in all of them – and of course some discs that I may not even listen to once.  But that is where my swimming comes into the equation.

The little memory inside my swimming device is set to ‘random’ so that I get what could be described as an eclectic selection of music to accompany my stokes.  Half of it (or more if I am truly honest, although it comes from my collection) is made up of music I don’t know.  

Perhaps some bits are taken wildly out of context and one has to make allowances for the noise of exhaled breaths and the splash of swimming to lessen the quality of the musical experience.  There have been times when I have wondered what the music was and then gradually disentangled the tune from the watery obstructions to clarity and realized that it was very well known to me.  So, the listening experience is experiential as well as entertaining.

But the random switch does mean that I get to hear parts of my collection that other devices do not reach!  And to make sure that this voyage of discovery continues I am assiduously loading the discs into my computer so that when I come to change the music in my swimming device there will be a whole range of new material to delight!

The car crash saga continues with a voyage to pastures new to see the garage that the hittor wants me, the hittee to use.  I am prepared to do this, but never again, after trying and failing to find the building in which the hittor worked.  When we eventually found it, it turned out to be the flashy headquarters of a pharmaceutical company in the same town where Barça have their equally flashy (though not quite so tall) out of town forcing academy and extensive playing facilities.  Indeed while sitting on the tasteful sofas in the entrance hall we saw a star of the team appear.  It turns out the Piqué has founded a computer games company and has his business in part of the building!

Things have been arranged so that the car (and a replacement for me for a couple of days) will be done starting next Thursday.  Fine by me as long as it is done.

The day has not merely been composed of futile searching for large buildings and eating an extraordinarily expensive compensatory meal.  Which, interestingly was composed, for me of crystal bread with oil and tomato and a plate of some form of potato with fried eggs sprinkled with a fierce sauce and overlaid with elvers – that isn’t the interesting part, what is fascinating is that I felt absolutely stuffed after it!  I am daring to trust that my stomach might actually have shrunk a tad.  I say this because it doesn’t really look like it – but I have a touching faith in the power of words!  No indeed this was not the only notable occurrence today.

Spanish roads are not know for their sympathetic layout.  Or their signage.  Or the quality of their upkeep.  Or the quality of their lighting.  Or – but you get what I am trying to say.  I was beguiled by a straight road to continue in a straight line and therefore bumped into an intrusive kerb.  A truly horrible sound.  With worse results.

I must have looked like the archetypal pseudo maiden in distress.  I couldn’t find the spare wheel at first, so I had to get the manual out of the car and start looking things up.  I eventually found the bits and pieces but only after deconstructing the boot of the car in a way in which I am not confident of ever getting all back together again!  My distress must have been so palpable that a stockily competent lady accosted me in a torrent of Spanish from which I understood that the corner was a notorious accident spot, multitudes of drivers had suffered what I had experienced and the police, contacted on a number of occasions had done nothing!  (Their being, of course, inside the bars.)  So far so interesting, but she also reminded me that I was within screaming distance of a mechanic and garage!

Scream, well, walk and ask, I most certainly did and had to drive the car a horrific distance to the garage because the guy was by himself and couldn’t leave the premises even though the car was within sight.  Given the one way systems that are de rigeur in all parts of Spain I had to drive four times the distance to get to the garage because I couldn’t get there by reversing or driving directly.

The garage man was either generous or canny or both, but he changed the wheel for nothing.  The wheel which is my spare is completely different from the other wheels and is described as ‘compact’.  It is the same diameter you understand, but about half the width.  I assume this is because there is little space in the boot as the batteries take up a lot of the spare room in the car.  I now have to replace the ‘compact’ wheel with a real one.

Easier said than done.  We went, after our epic journey to get the details of how the car was going to be sorted, to a place which looks to my untutored eye most like the change-while-you-wait places in the UK.

Wait was certainly the operative word.  I detest garages because of the condescending nature of the employees there.  They ignore queues with a lofty indifference that puts one in mind of the excesses of behind-the-golden-curtain Chinese emperors, in their more autocratic moods!

Anyway I stomped out in a huff and drove to the next commercial centre down and there, behold, we were ignored again!  This time by people gazing with adoration at their computer screens, so actual human customers were more of an irritation than a guarantee that their jobs would continue to exist!  Toni however calmed me down and, given the general run of these sorts of characters, the one who dealt with us was of a higher quality than one is used to.  Although he didn’t actually have the tyre that I needed (of course) he did guarantee to get it by tomorrow and we could leave the damaged wheel with him and it would be ready to place on the car by the time I called in tomorrow morning.  This I have to experience to believe but at least he didn’t ask for money and so I am going to go with blind faith!

Toni is having study deprivation and fell back on his computer with a disturbingly voracious appetite to make up for time lost!

The OU course continues with people becoming a little more critical in their analysis, which is good.  There is little point is giving some sort of bland approbation for stuff which needs work.  A new critical pair of eyes is essential to improve standards.

As I type I am listening to a version of the next opera in my series, a Handel opera called ‘Agrippina’.  I have been dreading Handel: the operas are Wagner-long with idiotic stories and are full of recitative.  But the music is by Handel and there is something compulsive about the whimsical logic of his sounds.  And they are something you can listen to for the first time and feel that you are getting something more than just a first experience for another dozen listenings before you ‘get’ the music.  This is the sort of music that calls for an imaginative approach to give the ever-suffering member of the audience to look at while the plinkerty-plink music is going on.  I wait to be amazed by the experience!

The more I listen to the music the more it seems to suggest that I have heard it before.  I know I haven’t and I further know that I am responding to style rather than anything else, but that is a stage in getting to know and love.  That might be going a step too far, but I think that I will be able to get through the three hours without too much pain!

And while I type and Handel plays, the Turangalila Symphony is loading into the computer to join the three or four versions that I have, though not possibly in the computer memory yet.  The last year has seen me hoover up all the disc bargains that have been around so that I have more than a lifetime’s music waiting to be listened to.  O the joy!  I think I will leave the Bach until last!

I am looking forward to the weekend because Sunday or is it Saturday is the day when we go to Irene’s for our long, long delayed Eastern Meal.  Unfortunately spiced down for Spanish and Catalan taste, but it will be something different and if I am in a good mood I will donate a tin of my stuffed vine leaves that I have been hiding away as a treat for when I deserve it!  Even I can share when necessary!

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