Trills and Spills have time set aside at every meeting for the dissipation of negativity from something that has happened to one or other of them. (I would have thought that there was no need to look further than being a member of Trills and Spills.) The week of the meeting I attended Rachel had been to audition for an opera on the Isle of Wight.
'I would like to share this experience with the group,' she announced. Trills and Spills wore ready to be horrified expressions. 'It was for a gala.'
'I took a ferry over and everything!'
Sharp intakes of breath from all around me while I wondered how they had expected her to get over to the Isle of Wight, swim?
'A ferry...and everything,' Erica repeated in a hushed tone.
I looked at her. She winked at me.
'I was due to sing when the orchestra took their lunch break.'
'The orch...' Erica began the hushed-tones echo routine, but clearly thought better of it.
'As I was trying to say, I was due to sing when the orchestra took their lunch break. I arrived in good time, warmed up and got myself into the frame of mind. Made sure I had the beam of energy to sing just at the moment when they called into the hall. And I did, I just know!'
'We can tell you did from the way you're telling us!' said Sian.
'Ah,' said Erica, ambivalently.
Rachel was smiling at Sian. Sometimes she needed approval from others. Most of the time I could imagine her playing Sardines on her own.
'Then when I got into the hall: oh, no - '
'Were you in the wrong place or was it the wrong day, or something?' Erica interrupted to ask. 'Sometimes you can get somewhere to do your singing as you think and the venue is being used instead as a Jehovah's' Witnesses convention or an erotic trade fair or an abattoir.'
'Nothing like that, Erica, no.'
'Oh, goodie. We are relieved, aren't we, guys?'
'What was wrong was that I didn't have enough room to sing as I would need to, to feel that I pleased myself in terms of getting out of the experience what I had sent out into the universe to get out of it. I had what you might call a thin runway to sing in. The rest of the space was taken up with the orchestra's instruments.'
'Aghast, I am!' Erica was virtually shouting. 'The last thing that you could possibly deal with would be a thin whatever might be on offer.'
Erica smiles so innocently you can't pin her down on being insulting.
'All these trombones and things in my way,' Rachel went on. 'So I moved some of them to give myself room. Naturally. And the panel asked me what on earth I thought i was doing and to cease and desist, did I mind? Yes, I bloody well did mind!'
'You go, girth,' Erica whispered so that I only I could hear.
'You needed to take your space to sing, for goodness' sake,' Therese said. 'What was wrong with moving the stuff out of the way?'
Sian said, 'If they wanted you to do your best, they needed to give of their best first to honour the value that they were putting on your being there and making your music for them.'
Then there was a pause, that went on too long. I realised that I was meant to have said something negative-dissapationary. I asked, 'Rachel, did you sing well? Have you heard from them?'
'That is simply not the point.'
'It is. if they liked you, they'll employ you.'
Therese said, 'Again with the purely financial aspect of the art form, you, Iestyn.'
'Yes, and good. And here's something else to say from a different financial aspect. If my mate Major, lead trombonist with the London Philharmonic, had come back from lunch to find Rachel shoving his three grand's worth of instrument around, they would have been wiping her breakfast off his sounding bell.'
'Whee!' said Erica.