Saturday, April 22, 2006

Bartok and the Dream

Busy listening to Bela Bartok last night - and remembered where my love of his music came from.

Back in the early 70's I was involved in a school prodution of Shakespeare's, 'A Midsummer Nights Dream' .

Don Boyle and Elaine Stone directed it and I think they based their ideas on an RSC production.

The fairies were dream like, elemental and in body stockings (mine was for a very tall man - so it fitted me fine - the stomach pushed out rather than the head thrusting up).

Weird music was wanted - and Malcolm Berry, of all people, (club footed, mountain climbing Geography teacher with a skimpy beard - who ended up knocking off every schoolboy's dream mistress, Alison S.), came up with the goods: Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra.

Through the end period of rehearsal and every night of performance (5 - or only - 3?) the music blasted out - and has been ingrained ever since.

Strange how fate gets a hand - I am now living and working in the part of the world Bartok lived in - and regularly hear the folk music live he collected and put into his works.

Best bit in it has to be the sound of the "ass" he-hawing: Keith Reed, where are you?

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Man stops Car!

Out for a walk yesterday when I first heard and then saw a rather delapidated car chugging along with a small dog running after it, yapping away (yes, that small a dog).

A man and a woman came round the corner, walking along on the opposite pavement towards the car.

Suddenly the car stopped.

Out jumped the driver, ran round the back of the car, went up to the woman, who, judging by the way she stood and looked at him, knew who he was.

He took a small spey from his pocket and carefully squirted her lapel twice.

Meanwhile, the passenger door opened and another man jumped out and also approached the woman.

Two more squirts.

A couple of very quick kisses and the men jumped back into the car. The engine started and the car chugged off, dog dutifully running and yapping behind.

Different societies celebrate Spring in different ways – here in Hungary the Monday after Easter Sunday is definitely different.

Friday, April 07, 2006

The Danube

I went for a walk in Pest yesterday - I really wanted to get a glimpse of the Danube in full flood.

Years ago I learnt about bank full discharge and over bank full discharge - the 'idea' is a little different when you see something like the Danube only just being contained within the raised banking running along the side of the river, with the Hungarian Parliament building just waiting to be flooded and with a suddenly stretched view of the now distant Buda above which the old fortress manages to tower.

Restaurant boats in a fixed mooring are in danger of unfixing - the only thing holding them seems to be the gangplanks now perversely pushing into the sky, the boats floating way above the invisible entrance gates.

A Ticket Office roof intreguingly pokes through the grey speeding water.

Small groups of people wander along, inspecting and wondering - almost awed at the sheer dominating power flowing relentlessly beside them.

The sky threatens more rain.

Strange, no reports on the BBC. The media don't think this is important enough to give it air time. Politics of the Middle East and football are far more significant, the editors decide.

Not for those of us who have seen the ancient Danube flexing a little of its powerful muscle and giving a sign that it is quite capable of washing away the petty political institutions we are obsessed with.