This week at the Proms, Daniel Barenboim and the W-E-D-Orchestra are performing the complete Beethoven cycle. Last night it was Symphonies 4 and 5; number five was filled with reckless passionate drama, with the final chord being held for about three seconds (but it felt like thirty). How different from his appearance at the Albert Hall back in ’96 when he conducted the Chicago SO in Bruckner Eight – a magnificent, gleaming monolithic performance with a crisp, precision-tooled ending.
Journal Entry, 12 Sep ’96:
Last Saturday went and had puncture repaired on car, bought two paperbacks (John Saul & Richard La Plante) and two CDs (‘Older’ and ‘Bilingual’). Went to Admiral Duncan, turned up at work with bitten neck. Of course Sivvy interrogated me so I told him all.
Have just listened to Barenboim conducting Bruckner VIII on Rad 3; absolutely brill. Clear, sharp, dynamic, hysterical applause from audience.
Journal Entry, 6 Sep ’97:
Diana’s Funeral….day of high emotion, millions of people, tons of flowers, helium balloons, devastating performance of ‘Candle in the Wind’ and a eulogy from her Brother which brought the house down.
Tonight’s Prom concert replaced by a performance of Faure’s Requiem.
‘Men in Black’ (Sci-Fi comedy adventure movie) withdrawn from cinemas ‘cos of the tunnel car-crash scene.
Journal Entry, 13 Sep ’98:
Scarborough – MAG annual conference and the MAGnificent Party.
Friday night we met up at Heather’s, and me, H & Paul, Liz and Janice all set off for the Old Schoolhouse at Low Marishes…
Got to campsite fairly late, about 10.00-ish. Started putting tent up in dark, forgot to put block of wood under sidestand and the bike toppled over into the mud. Went and had burgers & cider and danced to band and disco, staggered off to bed.
Woke up 8.00, paracetamol and coffee.
Rain, rain; about 10 a.m. we set off for the Spa Centre at Scarborough, got there 20 mins late, just missed opening address.
A lot of the morning given over to Chairman’s proposal regarding patch clubs; he described how members of the HA regularly attended rallies & caused damage to bikes and people, culminating in the cancellation of Magna Carta rally.
At lunch we wandered round Scarborough, had fish & chips on t’beach, ice-cream (Michael Winner’s favourite) and went up in the hillside tram.
Back to campsite – bagels, cheese straws, Scotch eggs, olives, Danish Blue, Red wine etc. I fell ill with a cold & went to bed at 10.00.
Journal Entry, 18 Aug ’05:
David Bick asking me yet again about preparing more CPO adhesion primer for Pardal. The minimum order from Whitchem is 15 kg which will produce far too much. We can’t ask Evode to send us any ‘cos they also sell adhesives and will be able to take the business from us, and I don’t think we will even be making Semset next year anyway…
Perhaps if I tried to create
A musical collage to portray the last four years
It would start with the glorious sound
Of the sun going down
Somewhere behind that warehouse
That they threw up two years ago
Exactly placed to spoil my view
And just in case I happen to forget it’s there
The roof is grey
To match the sky on any given day
Except in Winter, four o’clock
When everything becomes an operatic sweep
Of amber, salmon, peach shot through
With lines of molten zinc that let me keep
This memory alive in spite of those
Who think that what is dull
Has more concrete reality than
Stolen moments when we stand and watch
Another angry year grow old and die.