CP shares some thoughts with his reader
20 November, 2020
As for the biobook……..After a little thought – not deep, I don’t do deep – I conclude that it must be for the far future, if not for the birds. Autobiography is possibly the least satisfactory medium in which I could write, mainly because of a dearth of both interest and content.
My life has been a serene stroll through the foothills of academy and various careers, largely unencumbered by ambition, application, love, relationships, marriage, fatherhood, mortgages, poverty…..Outside work, I play a decent game of bridge, I can usually finish The Times cryptic crossword, and I know the meanings of lots of words and the form of lots of horses. The height of my athletic prowess was to gain a double quarter blue at tiddlywinks, but I have never managed to achieve anything really worthwhile like playing the piano or autofellatio. My highs are not very high and my lows not very low, and my verdict is that my autobiography could worthily take its place in that famous series ‘The short Book of…..’ that was popular a few years ago.
It will come as no surprise to you that the time-shifting postcards of your lady psychiatrist do not appeal as something for me to ponder long – blame laziness and lack of intellectual curiosity. My view on death has not changed much down the years: as a non-believer the implications of the existence of Heaven and Hell hold no personal anxiety, but I confess that the very thought of death and the eternal void that follows sometimes makes me shudder slightly.
If I need another excuse for (at best) delaying my life story, it is that right now I am the busiest I’ve been for years, and that at least some of that industry is channeled towards helping others. Next week, I will be a reluctant participant in two Zoom singalongs, on Tuesday I will greet a small group from nearby St Luke’s Church and on Friday I will Zoomchat with eight students from UCLH – a task for which few other Greenwoodies are fitted, and one that I regard as a highlight of any week when these polite, interesting and interested young people come my way. Away from ‘work’, on Thursday evening I shall co-host a Zoom chat and drink with some racing friends.
I’ve no doubt that in the coming months, with or without the virus, my butterfly mind will alight on some topic that will take my interest and perhaps generate an entry in your blog.
24 November, 2020
I’m beginning to feel a bit put upon, with three more Zooms to come this week and most of Monday helping to put up Christmas decorations. My Manager is trying to persuade me to join a panel discussing general safety and fire precautions in sheltered accommodation, a request I might well accept. Today’s proclamations from on high suggest that I can join my good friends on Christmas Day, so I just have to decide whether I should risk unknowingly passing the plague onto friends who will take it back to Suffolk, which has so far escaped relatively unscathed.
19 January, 2021
I knew I had to write this. If you think it’s suitable for your blog, please go ahead and use it.
Tempora mutantur nos et mutamur in illis
I am a changed person in 2021, but not perhaps for the better. I seem to have fallen prey (maybe only temporarily) to accidie, a general listlessness, an intellectual torpor, a creative vacuum. I’m reading less and writing less, those erstwhile admirable occupations replaced passively by listening to music, wallowing in nostalgia and the occasional need to be jerked from my emotional flatline.As to the first, YouTube provides me with anything from You’reWelcome (the shortest Beach Boys track at 1.17) to Mahler’s ethereal 3rd Symphony with the peerless Claudio Abbado on the rostrum. (I was lucky enough to be present at maestro Abbado’s stupendous performance of Mahler 3 at the Proms in 2007; a friend made me a CD from the radio broadcast which I play at least monthly while reading the brilliant reviews of this once-in-a-lifetime event with tears in my eyes, thus also fulfilling my third recent enhanced occupation). On Television Channel 81‘s Talking Pictures my cup runneth over with daily British delights featuring the likes of Dennis Price, James Mason, Herbert Lom, Cecil Parker, Joan Greenwood and Googie Withers – remember her in ItAlwaysRainsonSunday?Once upon a time I could be emotionally uplifted by mass singing, for example at the Last Night of the Proms or Welsh Choirs or even CarminaBurana. Now I need a stronger ‘back story’. The atrocities in Paris in 2015 that shocked the whole world had a special meaning for me as I was familiar with many of the locations. An unforgettable postscript was the France-England rugby international at Wembley, when the English fans, equipped with song sheets, joined the French in an incredibly emotional rendition of the Marseillaise.Enough – my iPad is being plopped on by real tears.