Monday, May 23, 2005

A Czech Tempest

What a weekend. Happy to have failed this evening's mock exam in Conflicts in favour of a multitude of happinesses that may defy a tutor's belief. It has been many weekends since I have shared pints with Sir Vaclav of Potesil, he of Vladivostok and Finnish ridiculousness. Surely his presence hastened my encounter with Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, and for that alone he must be praised. Though the breakdown of the Absinthe bottle was singularly tragic, and only partially saved by the Bosnian Lejla and Russian Standard Export.

But beyond that, consider the wonder with which we approached the Tempest at Shakespeare's Globe (tickets purchased deja) on a hungover morning... "we'll be fine so long as the coach doesn't break down", I utter fatally as the OxTube pulls away from Gloucester Green. So, of course, it does vent smoke and pull over after an hour, and yet our replacement leaves Cooper behind while we proceed along a path destined for the most ingenious of coincidences: 12:16 to Hillingdon; 12:39 to Shepard's Bush; 1:01 to St. Paul's; and then the mad dash down and across Millenium Bridge to the Globe, sneaking under the usher's arms to salvation and one of the last Rylance pieces. To describe our arrival as perfect timing would be an insult to the word "perfect".

Then later, at the classical music concert, the Shostakovic Cello Concerto soloist - a Chinese woman - actually breaks a string midway through her performance. Normally the most tragic of circumstances, but as we were there primarily for the "favorite" symphony of MacDuff, Rach's No. 2 (have I begun using such a word too often?), it amounted to just another element of pure strangeness. Certainly one that caused gaffaws of laughter from myself as, rather abruptly and hilariously, as the soloist pops her instrument midway through and apologizes with the exclamation that: "There goes my G-string."

Even better is the response from Vaclav: "See. When I arrive, things happen." Indeed. I got lost in Rachmaninov's music subsequently, then the slow walk past Trafalgar Sq. where once I saw the great Nelson Mandela speak, and then past Churchill, Big Ben, and the Abbey by full moonlight. Beauty.

How could I ever hope to explain such wonder to the tutor who marks the terrible effort produced today for the mock exam, that counts for nothing? Is it enough to plead a month's grace period? And why can't the fact that I indulged so graciously in Guinness following the weak showing count for anything? And have you ever been to Brazenose and met Sion or her puking boyfriend?


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