Thursday, 21 September 2006

Z is awake

I did know better, but I was tired. And I was in bed, asleep, by eleven o'clock.

Half past one and I was awake again. An hour later I came downstairs, made tea and started reading.

A friend, in a letter, enthusiastically suggested that I should take up singing. I am puzzled. He hasn't heard me, or he would not have proposed it. I can hold a tune, mostly, especially if I sing in a key of my own choosing, but that no more makes me a singer than the ability to rule a line makes me able to draw. Isn't it funny, the impression one gives of oneself.

Singing seems as if it should come naturally. You know you have to learn to play an instrument, but you use your voice all the time, and all children like to sing. Self-consciousness creeps in sooner or later, and in my case has never left. I couldn't play the piano in front of anyone but my music teacher either and piano exams were torture. I flew through the theory exams with full marks and scraped past the practicals with a point or two to spare.

Another friend's daughter plays the flute, and has just started the saxophone. In just a few months, her teacher assesses her at approaching Grade 5 level. He (the friend) wanted her to take flute exams but she is unwilling. I applauded her for sticking to her guns; I think the imposition of music exams, and the months of dull preparation for them, destroys for many children the enjoyment of making music. One can always catch up on the grades later if one wishes. He said that he wants her to do it so that he can frame the certificate and point it out to people, to make him proud. I do understand; he did not receive much praise in his childhood and in compensation lavishes it onto his children. But that doesn't mean I agree.

Oh, by the way, the Sage went to the auction yesterday. He was outbid, but we weren't surprised. The estimate was £700-£1,000, we were willing to go to £2,800 but it fetched £4,800, plus 20% commission plus VAT on the commission. A nice pair of spoons, but that was too much for us. It shows that the major auction houses haven't much clue about estimating what some items are worth. When you see in the paper that something fetched far more than the estimate, it might mean keen bidding or it might just mean that it was undervalued and the dealers and collectors know more than the auctioneer.

"I nearly came home with a set of silver plates," he said. "Ten of them were going for a couple of thousand pounds and I didn't think that was dear. But I didn't quite know what we'd do with them." "Oh, okay," I replied non-commitally. I knew what he meant though, I'm sure they would look lovely, but what would you do with them? You couldn't use them or they'd get scratched. And putting them under china plates on the table would look pretentious. A pair or two on the dresser would be handsome, but ten is a bit OTT. Anyway, it didn't happen.

Quarter past four. Still too early to stay up. I might as well have another couple of hours in bed and hope to sleep a bit more - of course, I'll probably roll out of bed sluggishly at nine o'clock.

Good morning.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Exams do take the pleasure out of music. I'm so glad that i didn't go through the back-stabbing conservatoire route.

Z said...

Of course, immense amounts of hard work as well as natural ability is needed to become a professional musician, but I should think it would be only too easy to lose sight of the fact that you are doing what you love most.
Of course, I do know people who enjoyed the challenge of music exams, but I don't think they should be pushed on a child.

How do we know said...

Good Morning Zoe! Did you get to sleep at all?

Z said...

I went back to bed, which woke my husband, and eventually drifted of to sleep for another couple of hours. I'm going on a longish coach journey tomorrow (as long as I'm not on Squiffany duty) so maybe I can catch up on some sleep then!

PI said...

I am just at the stage where i am jettisonong stuff that requires cleaning - brass, copper silver etc and it's a great feeling.

barbie40 said...

Let's see if this comment goes through..the last 2 I left on your posts (Tues and Wed) were thrown out...

anyway your comments box looks very very ill indeed..it's a squshed up and weird....

what I did say previously was all about olives and salami and cheese and pate and wine and silver...

sorry cannot remember exactly what i said!

Z said...

Hi Pat. Brass and copper are simple, I don't clean them and call tarnish 'patina'. I do polish the silver cutlery as it's what we eat with every day, but I also cheerily stick it in the dishwasher and it doesn't do it any harm.

Hello Barbie, welcome and thank you very much for trying yet again.
Your comment sounds like a feast!

Anonymous said...

Oh Z that Barbie40 was me....thats' my user name...I just don't know what the dickens is going on ...I moved to beta-blogger a few days ago and since then Blogger seems to have lost its marbles...

*sigh*

Z said...

Well, the welcome still holds. I had been mildly anxious that a friend of mine had found me - her name is Bobbie which, by the locals, is pronounced Barbie.

Not that it would matter if any of my friends found me, but I would suddenly feel a bit naked in the marketplace if you see what I mean.

I'm avoiding beta-blogger until everyone says it's sorted.

Anonymous said...

See? I left another comment and blogger though me out..so I'll repeat it..

Sorry I alarmed you...it was only me...hee hee..now you can breathe again! :-)

Z said...

Geena, I'll have as much trouble commenting with you. I have fallen foul of Banana's blog. I have to comment under 'anonymous' and cut'n'paste my URL if I want to put it in, which I can't be arsed to any more.

They make it difficult so that I'll go for betasoddingbloggerdammitgrrrrnotthatI'mbadtemperedoranything.OrmaybeIam.

Anonymous said...

I use Haloscan commenting...so it won't affect you.

Z said...

You are just so considerate!