February is know as a wicked month: this year came in like a lamb and went out like a tiger. So, all was well and we were chugging on to spring – flowers arriving in the garden, etc. – when the ‘Beast from the East’ struck and then danced a merry tune with Storm Emma. In practice, this meant, sub zero temperatures for the last days of the month and then intense snow for the very last day. It was the speed and intensity of the snow that hit me. I left the house in Cornwall saying, ‘I did not believe it’, only to be in a crisis snow situation 30 mins. later. I then had to abandon my car when I lost all control of it. Luckily, I was near a farm and got to the house after a little walk. Then, frozen up for a few days only to be hit by high rains and winds of Emma.
So, Lent, and a time to give up things – but not food with this climate. Not just yet.
Earlier in the month, my neighbours – Caroline and Marc -celebrated the arrival of their first child – Martha – into the world. Photo has me with holding a baby for the first time ever!
I managed to get over to Berlin for the Guitar Ensemble of Europe’s guitar courses: Intermediate and Beginners. Good teams and a lot of work done. Snowy there too, but some nice lake side scenery.
Played this rather lovely Ovation there – loaned to me by Hernan Nunez.
The chairs seemed to be radioactive!!:
Back to London and the Modigliani exhibition. Quite impressive; although after the Cezanne portraits, these seemed a bit derivative. Still, he did fashion his own recognisable style, and surely stuck to it through a series of portraits and still life figures. Once he had it, however, that was pretty much what it was/ is. That being said, he did die at 35, so we shall never know what else he might have done.
But, it was School Half-Term!!
Off to the theatre and Harold Pinter’s The Birthday Party, first performed in 1957. In those days, it was badly received and shut after a week or two. Now, however, it is seen as a modern classic: a kind of mix of Beckett, Kafka, Agatha Christie and Ben Travers. So, farcical in a very noir way, and focussing on the way we use language to subjugate each other. Also, the way memory is refashioned to suit our wants. A stunning performance from an acclaimed cast.
It is the 100th anniversary of the death of the French composer Claude Debussy. So, I have been listening to his wonderful chromaticism; especially in his solo instrument and quartet work.
Also, reading Julian Barnes’ latest: The Only Story.
He has really matured as a writer in recent years. He always was a good story teller, but now he adds a new depth. As in recent books, the themes include memory, the impact of singular events on life, the nature of love in its glorious manifestations.