Monday, 29 September 2008

Thou Shalt Not...

Well, dear reader. As if world poverty, global warming, a nose-diving economy, and drug banditry (not forgetting homosexuality, of course - I'm sure there's a Freudian explanation for their excessive interest) weren't enough,my employers have seen fit to draw up a list of the Ten Blogging Commandments. I kid you not! You can read all about it here. (By the way, isn't that clever, eh? I inserted that hyper-link all on my own! Oh damn, that's commandment number one gone already.)

Anyway, for anyone with an inordinate amount of time to spare (oh no - number five!) here is the full list. I dread to think how many years of purgatory I must now endure as a result of coveting dear Felicia.

1 You shall not put your blog before your integrity
2 You shall not make an idol of your blog
3 You shall not misuse your screen name by using your anonymity to sin
4 Remember the Sabbath day by taking one day off a week from your blog
5 Honour your fellow-bloggers above yourselves and do not give undue significance to their mistakes
6 You shall not murder someone else's honour, reputation or feelings
7 You shall not use the web to commit or permit adultery in your mind
8 You shall not steal another person's content
9 You shall not give false testimony against your fellow-blogger
10 You shall not covet your neighbour's blog ranking. Be content with your own content!

Thursday, 25 September 2008

Oh, but it is...

Someone affixed this cartoon to the vestry notice-board. If only...

Sunday, 21 September 2008

Pomp and circumstance

No, dear reader, no - this is not another tirade of abuse directed at the Welsh windbag, Bryan Tryffd. I like to think that, with your help and encouragement, I have 'moved on' since the events of last weekend. Your messages of support, your words of wisdom (why, even in one case your poetic musings) have given me heart. I am at peace with myself, I have been in good voice this week (far better than Drane, whose verse week it has been, and who has made a pigs ear of some Purcell) and have enjoyed some lovely late summer sunshine with my paramour. No. The title of my post this week concerns events at the cathedral earlier today. For, once every year, the massed ranks of the RAF descend on the place with their squeaky boots and their brilliantined hair and conspire to look shifty during the chaplain's sermon. They dutifully remove their caps the instant they set foot inside the church; they say 'amen' together in a loud voice and in all the proper places, and they stand abruptly to attention on the first chord of the hymns. What they don't do, dear reader, is then sing the bloody things!
What normally happens on such occasions is that the dear boy, our assistant organist (he of the multiple and sometimes simultaneous female conquests - really, I don't know where the fellow gets his energy!) pulls out 'all the stops' so that the few brave airmen growling out the air two octaves lower than they should are spared all feelings of self-consciousness. As a consequence, those exercising their vocal chords in such a manner are encouraged to sing even louder, at which point the box is closed abruptly and the organist stops playing. It provides the choir with a moment of amusement, and these are few and far between. But the assistant was absent for this morning's annual Battle of Britain service, and his deputy (the newly appointed organ-scholar) seemed unfamiliar with this minor act of musical mischief-making. We were therefore treated to such hymnody as befits Bleanwyrn and Cwm Rhonda (oh no, it's him again!) as if we alone were singing. Which in point of fact we were. And as if that wasn't enough, we had the obsequious anedoinal preachings of their bloody padre to endure for half an hour. Half an hour! Even the sub Dean (he of the dramatic pauses) doesn't go on that long. So all in all, a somewhat disappointing Sunday. And to make matters worse, Felicia happened to remark (whilst glancing disapprovingly at my hush puppies) how smart the young men looked in their blue uniforms. I feel a visit to the shoe shop may be necessary.

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Last Night of the Proms

Damn and bloody blast Bryn Tryfel! There, I have said it. It is 'out' in the open at last. And I feel better for having thus unburdened myself. Ah yes, I feel the great weight of last Saturday evening lifting from my shoulders at long last. I should make clear at the outset, dear reader, that I have the utmost respect for the man's musical abilities. I have, on occasion, even had the honour of being in his 'backing' group (so-to-speak - I had a minor part in an 'Elijah' he was doing years ago in Huddersfield, if I remember rightly). And speaking of which I have never, to this day, heard either live or on recorded disc anyone, whether living or departed attempt the first two phrases of 'Lord God of Abraham' in just one breath. One breath! The man's a freak, for goodness sake. Breath control like that, and a voice as big as St Pancras railway station can only have been bought at the expense of his immortal soul, I fear. But no matter. He will not 'appear' again on my portable TV set for some time, and I can always hide my record collection when Felicia comes again for supper. 
I had thought, of course, that an evening chez Can Bass followed by the musical festivities from the Albert Hall would be a most enjoyable experience. I could gently 'show off' my musical erudition (I mean, of course, give dear Felicia the benefit of my wisdom - which is a darn sight more than Clive James could when presenting the damned show!); we could snuggle up on the sofa finishing the wine; I might even 'hold her hand'. But no! First we had that idiot Norrington appearing on the conducting podium in a straight-jacket borrowed, no doubt, from the local lunatic asylum (and the orchestra would have been much better off if they had kept the tapes tied so the fellow couldn't wave his arms). Then the Welsh Windbag himself. Dear God, what a face (no competition there)! And what a voice! As soon as the fellow opened his mouth in that peculiar manner he had poor Felicia in a swoon. 
"Oh Can Bass" she said, slightly breathlessly "hasn't he got a lovely voice? It makes me go weak at the knees. Can you sing as low as that?" 
With the colour rising to her cheeks all the while, I attempted to explain the subtle differences between a baritone and bass (I am, technically, the former) but she would have none of it. 
"I'm down to do a solo in the tomorrow's Benedictus" I informed her "if you'd like to listen." 
"Oh yes, Can Bass" she cooed. "I'll be there". 
And then what happened? Yes, you've guessed. The DoM went and gave the blasted solo to Walter Drane (whom I noticed, incidentally, singing in the same peculiar manner as the aforementioned Welshman - i.e. with his bottom lip pulled down at the side like Fulton MacKay addressing Norman Stanley Fletcher, or Mr Geoffrey Boycott smiling. Honestly, the man is such a poseur!). 
After the service I attempted to explain to Felicia what had happened and apologise for dragging her to the cathedral under false pretences. But she was having none of it. 
"Oh but Can Bass, hasn't he got a lovely voice - just like that man last night on the telly."

Thursday, 11 September 2008

A stalker!

Forgive the note of alarm this evening, but I have just 'logged on' (as we say) to find a stalker, er... stalking me. Somebody by the name of 'Working Mum' (though with clearly insufficient in the way of gainful employment) has elected to 'follow' me (whatever that means) and a shadowy image has thus attached itself to my dashboard. This disturbing turn of events comes at a most unfortunate time. As those of you kind enough to comment on my last post may have deduced, things have 'moved on' apace between myself and a certain member of the cathedral team of servers. So much so that I informed her, the other day, of my activities here on the world-wide internet. Suffice to say that it was nearly the end of what I still hope will one day blossom into a beautiful friendship. But after I disabused her of the mistaken (but entirely understandable, given a somewhat sheltered upbringing) conclusion she had reached about me and persuaded her once more to answer the telephone, she decided to book an hour at the local library and 'take a look'. And I'm afraid I could not resist the tempation to browse the stacks in the vincinity of the library's 'web zone'. I know, I know; please don't remind me. But once I had ascertained that she was finding what she read mildly interesting, I leapt out of my hiding place and whisked her off her feet and danced with her all the way to Ye Olde Wisdom of Solomon. Only kidding, dear reader, only kidding. We went to Ma Batty's Tea Shoppe instead! But seriously, it was strangely important for me to receive the lady's tacit approval of my scribblings. But what will she make of my 'following'? And by a married, grown-up lady to boot! Oh dear, the course of true love never did run smooth, I suppose. But at least Shakespeare didn't, to the best of my knowledge, run a blog.

Sunday, 7 September 2008

Greater love...

Hello everybody. What a day it's been! I scarce know where to start so I'll begin (in the immoral words of Dylan Thomas) at the beginning. So. Here goes. Are you sitting comfortably?
Sunday morning at the cathedral generally begins at nine o'clock sharp with a short rehearsal prior to the first of the morning's services. Today was no exception. We amused ourselves in the song school by following what the DoM actually beat for a change (tho' we set our own tempi in the service); we were informed that our first engagement with the new girls' choir would be in November (much to Rodney's relief); everyone looked very smart in newly washed and ironed surplii. Some of the younger choristers had even combed their hair! Even Drane (Dec Bass 1) was on good form for once (not boring one incessantly with the details of his holiday). We robed in the vestry and then lined up for the procession and... there, looking resplendent in her virginal white alb was the woman of my dreams. Oh, what a sight to behold. I caught her eye and definitely detected the slightest twinkle as she stood to attention for the Dean and Chapter, cross held aloft in her steady hands. After the service, over coffee, I made my move (I have been taking lessons from the Assistant Organist - he of the multiple conquests). And? I hear you cry. What happened? Do tell. And I will, dear reader, I will. But the details will have to be related at another time. I could not, for the love of God, tell you one snippet of the things we talked about. I cannot recall I single word I uttered. All I see now in the dim light of my study is the radiance of her face, the clear beauty of her eyes and the retrouche quality of her freckled nose. Oh Lord, open Thou our lips! Suffice to say that at luncheon I forswore the company of my fellow academical clerks and the cosy familiarity of Ye Olde Wisdom of Solomon for a little cafe that Felicia is in the habit of frequenting with her mother. We had a tolerable Welsh Rarebit and I bought the dear young thing a cup of camomile tea. (I myself showed the utmost restraint and ordered dandelion and burdock, whatever that is!) And we arranged to meet again, the very next time she's on the servers' rota. Oh, how my step was jaunty on the way back to the song school to prepare for evensong; how my mood was gay! Even the vocal contortioning of Howell's Gloucester Service was as music to my ears this afternoon. The Dean preached a reasonably interesting (and short) sermon and, as we left the cathedral the DoM handed us the music list for next week. And we've got Stanford in G on Wednesday. Stanford in G! And it's a Can verse week! Oh, there most certainly is a God after all, Mr Clack, and He is kind and benevolent and benign and omnipotent. And so to bed, altho' I fear I shall not sleep. I must, however, get a grip before the morning. Kayleigh's here, first thing, for another lesson.

Thursday, 4 September 2008

New term

Well, what a summer! I must say, after the monsoon that has been August it has been a blessed relief to climb into September, laden as it is with fruit both real and metaphorical. A new choir term begins this weekend, and I have been in training for the vocal demands to come. (In fact - tell it not in Gath - I have been trying desperately to recover vocal abilities mothballed over the so-called summer. I have been a very bad teacher, doing none of the daily exercises I demand of my pupils!) However, on Sunday we commune with Palestrina - pleasant enough, if one likes that sort of thing - endure a little Mozart and then return to (English) normality with Stanford and - guess what? - Howell's Gloucester Service. Serendipity! Anyway, I for one am looking forward to the start of term; I have read the posts here on the blogosphere of many who regard it as the start of several more months of untrammelled misery. They are mostly schoolteachers, poor souls. (I have also read from some - parents, mostly - who regard it as a blessed relief from the company of their offspring!) But no - I shall iron my surplice and iron-out the few remaining wrinkles in the vocal-chord department and resume my duties on Sunday with renewed enthusiasm. Yes, even though the DoM is back in charge. (You may recall the so-called gentleman was on sabbatical last term.) Why? I hear you ask. Has Can Bass gone mad? Is he 'soft' in the head? Oh no, dear reader, no. Not soft in the head - but in the heart. For I have seen the wisdom that is the servers rota for this coming Sunday. And guess who's crucifer!