Writing of distinction

I return to the theme of big heads previously explored in Stalking, though many of you may not have made it far enough through that particular magnum opus to know this: never mind the quality, just feel that quantity!  And, do remember that 1200 is the new 500 (well, it is when it comes to word count).  On this occasion, the over-sized cranium in question will be mine.  Yes, roughly a month has passed since the last use of this particular shoe-horn, so it is once again time for me to try and slip in a reference to my essay prowess.

Yesterday evening, TMA03 was returned to me by the electronic magic of the Open University: marked and commented on in the by now traditional manner.  To my significant surprise, my marks had risen once again to reach a level that would gain a Distinction, though you should not expect this quality of writing to make an appearance on GofaDM any time soon (I do only produce one post a month for the OU, and puns are frowned upon).  Plato scored rather better than the Dalai Lama (yes, I am thinking of developing AA100 Top Trumps as a way of garnering extra credit), so perhaps I did pay a price for my lunchtime spurning of the latter’s element of the Open Day back in April.  Or perhaps I’m just a natural at philosophy and it’s time to start inviting young ladies to come back to my place to see my stone?

However, this ever upward ladder of achievement is doing nothing for my performance anxiety.  I’m going to have to pull something pretty spectacular out of the hat for TMA04 (and thinking about TMA07 just brings me out in a cold sweat).  Still, I did have a small epiphany this morning as my bowl of porridge slowly rotated in the microwave, which will help to fit the Jewish element into my 1200 words.  This post is, in a very real way, a form of procrastination before I start my essay plan.  A plan!?  What have I come to?  Next, it’ll be running my life based on PRINCE, and I worry it will be the project management methodology rather than the self-help manual penned by Niccolò Machiavelli.

In other news, Spring is finally busting out all over Sawston and so my swollen cranium has had a chance to gain a little colour and my body some much needed vitamin D.  In response, I’m heading off to the seaside tomorrow: bucket and spade in hand and hankie knotted to protect the top of my head from the sun’s ultraviolet rays (it may also help to connect me to my virtual Jewish grandmother – of which more in another post).  OK, I may be exaggerating a little, but I am off to Brighton, “a town which looks like it is helping the police with their enquiries” in the immoral words of Keith Waterhouse.  I shall be visiting that city’s famous Dome to take in a performance of Shostakovich’ 13th Symphony Babi Yar (in which at least one regular reader of GOfaDM will be performing) which is (a) about as Jewish as his output gets and (b) demonstrates that symphonic composers are rather less triskaidekaphobic than hotel and airline operators appear to believe that we, the great unwashed, are.  So, my visit counts as both homework and one-in-the-eye for superstition.

Now, I really must start that essay plan…

The Face of Youth?

The final part of my cultural olympiad on Wednesday was a trip to the Wigmore Hall for some string quartet action.  However, prior to that a quick trip to the Meson Don Felipe for some tapas and a carafe of Toledan red wine – slightly alarmingly, I realised I’ve been going to the MDP for 21 years and it has barely changed in all that time (I think the walls may be a slightly different shade of red) whilst I’ve become raddled with age.

The Škampa quartet concert at the Wigmore was being broadcast on Radio 3, so to add to my growing roster of celebrity encounters I did have an excellent view of the back of Petroc Trelawny’s head (though his ears were concealed by his ‘cans’).   The concert was jolly good – and the Shostakovich Quartet No. 3 particularly affecting, which might be down to the performance by the Škampa, cultural overload on my part or the effect of consuming a carafe of red wine (or some combination of the above).

As well as the radio recording, the concert was also being photographed for internal publicity material for the Wigmore Hall.  This photographic record seemed to be entirely of the audience – and, so far as I could tell, mostly of me.  Chatting to the photographer and his assistant in the interval, it would seem that I was selected because they needed pictures of someone young – and in common with many classical music audiences, there were slim pickings.  I did point out to him that I wasn’t that young, but he was willing to take ‘relatively’ (an indication of just how ancient the rest of the audience were).  His oppo even asked what someone like me was doing there.  I’m not quite sure to what aspect of me he was alluding: my youth perhaps, my lowly social class or the fact that I was particularly stylishly dressed (as I like to think, but I have many of these illusions – entirely unsupported by any evidence whatsoever).  Even as I was heading off down Wigmore Street after the concert, I was ‘papped’ once again.

So, for current and future employees of the Wigmore Hall, it would seem that I will be the “face of youth” (and possibly the body as well).  A proud boast I’m sure you’ll agree – and the main driver for this post!