This post will be relatively light on jokes (aren’t they all?) but may provide some entirely unwanted insight in to the author.
As I started to make my lunch, I also started the podcast version of The Verb (several mentions of which on GofaDM have so far failed to produce lucrative sponsorship from either BBC Radio 3 or Ian McMillan) as I find it usually makes an excellent accompaniment to meal preparation – somehow both the hands and mind are busy, but not in conflict. Virtually at the opening, the Mexican poet Pedro Serrano read a few lines of his work in his (and its) native tongue. Immediately, all the hairs on my arms stood to attention, followed by a manly tear (or two) gracing my cheeks (well, two of them at any rate) and my legs being reduced to jelly. I had to hold on to the work surface for support and ultimately had to abandon lunch for a little while and have a sit-down. I can’t really explain why it had such a powerful effect on me: my Spanish – once described as “lower operational” – is really very rusty and I’ve never tried it up against poetry (mostly up against electricity market regulations, which are as far from poetry as one is likely to find – but were at least in Castilian Spanish). Perhaps it was the combination of his voice and the sonic shape of the words? Poems later in the programme had a similar impact, though only when read in Spanish – which was sadly faded out for the English translation. I suppose that Mexican poetry fans are not a core demographic for Radio 3, but given its rather modest listenership it really can’t afford to alienate them. I think I need to acquire some of Pedro’s work in Spanish and reclaim my two-volume Spanish dictionary (en tapas blandas) from storage and see if I can recreate the experience at home. I would certainly pay good money to hear him reading his own work – but not in translation, it needs to be the original.
Having already felt that someone had walked over my grave, I was then knocked further from my axis by hearing Suzanne Andrade reading from her play Golem – what incredible and unsettling words. A play it would seem I shall now have to take in – or at least acquire the play script (assuming it exists). The show ended in emotionally safer – but no less fascinating – territory, with airline pilot Mark Vanoenacker and the story of waypoints and their sometimes surprising names.
For those of you worrying, I did (in due course) resume creation and then moved on to the demolition of my lunch – so my blood sugar levels are fine. You needn’t rush out to bring my a snack – though, I wouldn’t say no.
Oddly, this feeds into a realisation I had yesterday sitting in the baseball court-like performance space of the Winchester Discovery Centre – well, it has the same flooring and even folding “bleachers” like a US high school sports hall – whilst enjoying a little chamber music. It struck me that if we remove physical fuelling of the self, and the basics required for maintenance of the aforementioned self and his modest home, almost all of my economic activity is linked to the Arts (well, if we ignore the costs associated with my foolish plan to become a gymnast dreadfully late in life). Most of my travel and eating (and drinking) out are because I’m off to see a play, some music, a little comedy or the like. Even my trips to visit friends have as an ulterior (or at least bonus) motive of their being a chance to take in something (or preferably several somethings) cultural. Frankly, I would be at a complete dead-loss without the Arts: I’d have to manufacture an interest in sport or cars or girls (or boys); and nobody wants to see that.