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!