Monday, 17 November 2014

Via train.

I have no shortage of subjects for this blog post. Since last time I was here I’ve been to the proms – not the last night, which is all a bit flag wavy – but the Ode to Joy, as well as some more modern pieces that I hadn't previously known. We queued for the cheap tickets, one of us from 3, and the others after work. They dispense raffle tickets to mark your place in the queue, so the person who came at 3 was able to find a good spot for us in the gallery.

And it was brilliant, completely different from the experience of playing something from a recording. More distinct and, of course, LOUDER in the forte parts and softer in the piano.

The Albert Hall is plush inside, red and gold like Christmas. Critics complained at the time that the exterior made it look like a hatbox, but now that so few people wear hats the nearest metaphor I can think of is red velvet cake.

I’ve also had a mini grand tour to Paris, Milan and Venice (pics below) taking in Notre Dame, Musee D’Orsay and other cultural monsters. Better than that though were the random snippets – the most lackadaisical lion I’ve ever seen lounging in red brick over a doorway near the Seine, the view of Sacre Coeur through the clock face at the Musee D’Orsay, scattering crumbs of pizza to sparrows at a cafe by the Accademia bridge. 


Notre Dame, Paris

Balcony, Venice

And I walked miles, Gare du Lyon to the Seine, to Notre Dame, to the Louvre, through the Tuilleries, along to the Petit Palais. Paris is a city of vistas, tempting you on to the next thing, forever trying to catch up with the horizon. Venice on the other hand is a place to get comfortably lost, narrow streets and small bridges connecting piazzas, each or almost each with it's own cafe and church and children playing football in the evenings.

I was less impressed with Milan, but I suspect I didn't really give Milan a chance. I was only there a day, and it seems unreasonable to squeeze Milan's Cathedral between Notre Dame and St Mark's and expect it to look at it's best. I shall have to go back.

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