Thursday, 15 October 2015

Boys and their Toys

  I first performed Swan Lake as Madame Galina Ballet Star Galactica for my college Rag Week Revue.  Then I was asked to leave the course.  The principal said that my voice was failing to show any signs of bloom in the sound; probably because, though I was meant to be at Guildhall studying classical singing, I was too often to be found instead preening imaginary chest feathers in the Lauderdale Refectory, crying lakes of tears down the Student Union window or pirouetting around the German Song Laboratory.  I had to go.

                                                                            Wistful at the SU window

  Bass Matt Davies and I were sitting on the singers' benches under the boards listing Guildhall Gold Medal Winners.  
  'Jane Goodman should have been thrown out long, long before me,' I said.  'She never sings anything developed.  I sang Brahms this term.  All her early music shit.  Nymphs and Shepherds Fuck Right off, Fuck Right off...'
  'She's amazing in the early stuff,' Matt said.  'And you sounded like a menopausal cow in your Brahms, we discussed this.  But what exactly do you mean by developed'?'
  'She should sing some Massenet.'  I was obsessed just then with Maria Callas singing "Pleurez Mes Yeux" from Massenet's Le Cid
  'Massenet?'  Matt laughed. 'Are you mental?  By developed you just mean later chronologically, right?' 
  I supposed I did.  'Progress,' I threw in.
  Matt was shaking his head.  'Bach was composing before Mozart or Beethoven, but you wouldn't say their music was more developed just because it came later, would  you?  Chaucer was writing earlier than Betjeman; Shakespeare earlier than Coward.  And moving the metaphor: hoovers - later in the vacuuming oeuvre can be a definite no-no.'
  Well, he explained, there we were, pre-nineties, pissed on cheap brown sherry from the back of the parents' drinks cabinet, Speedos worn specially at half-mast, randily packing raw liver into the pipe of the old pull-along Henry for a bit of wanky-sucky-fun...

                                          'Ooh, we're having calf liver today, are we, big boy?'

  'But now later - or developed, to follow your line of thinking, Iestyn - what has progress put on the market?  The Dyson. So much as look at the on and off switch of one of those pull-alongs and there'll be your pecker - never mind the liver - surfing through the sluts' wool, bottle-tops and matchsticks in the turbo drum. Progress isn't always progress, Iestyn.'

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