A Simpleton Goes Shopping

What I learned this weekend:

  • When buying things, it helps to have either money, checks or credit cards with you. There I am at the store, I spend about 15 minutes hunting down a new shirt, tie and other sundry items, then proceed to stand in one of the longest checkout lines in the history of mankind, get about two places from it being my turn, then realize I don’t have my wallet along. I tell the guy behind me, “Oh, I forgot something. Go on ahead.” He says to me in a thick south-of-the-border drawl, “Okay. I’ll hold your place for you.” All I can do is gesture to the effect of “Eh, don’t bother”, as I go to the other end of the store, return all my items from whence they came, and then pretend I have a phone call, walking purposefully towards the exit so that I can save some embarrassment as I leave the store with nothing in my arms. Sigh.

What I learned this morning:

  • Just because you’ve scored a gig tickling the ivories at a highly-respected London venue, it doesn’t mean you’re good. Listening to the classical station this morning, they played a recording of some chap’s performance of a Mozart piece at Albert Hall, and I was struck by how unremarkable and incongruous it was. I feel I have firm ground to speak on this, as a pianist myself. Funny thing about classical music — and particularly piano solos — you can hit all the notes, you can play it exactly as it’s written on the page, but if there’s no soul and no cohesiveness, it’s merely a technical exercise, like watching somebody solve a math problem. I firmly believe that liberties not only can, but should be taken with classical music. Too often people are bound by what’s on the page, and are afraid to do anything that isn’t specifically notated there. That’s not art, that’s nothing more than translation. (I have similar views with regard to actors being too bound by what’s written in the script, to the detriment of injecting any of their own passion and point of view into the piece. But that’s another rant.)

© 2006 DJ Holte

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