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The Mile-High Blog

November 12, 2014
I'm about three windows back.


A couple of firsts for you.

To start with, here, almost live, is the first airborne episode of simonsometimessays. At the time of writing most of the following I, and Mrs simonsometimessaystheelder, were cruising at an altitude of I know not how high, at a ground speed of I know not how fast, some 1,800 miles from Perth.

I bring you, equally live, the first Australian episode of simonsometimessays, and the first one in which the original (at least to these pages) Mrs sss does not make a direct appearance. She remains, however, an ethereal presence: her spirit stands on my shoulder to ensure that I don’t overreach myself or sell my readers short. The word “aura” comes to mind – and with it this track from an old American band of that name. Cross Eyed Eagle is not well-known; maybe we shouldn’t be surprised about that, because although it is not a bad track, it’s not hugely original and pushed no boundaries.

But before we get too much further with the explanations let me share with you another first – my music of the moment. As so often happens, I find myself enthralled by something I’ve never heard before: Peter Boyer’s Three Olympians, and Ares in particular. Really potent stuff, from one of an extraordinary pool of modern American composers. This counts as 20th Century, because I subscribe to the pedantic (but correct) view that the year 2000 was the end of the Second Millennium, not the beginning of the Third. I link to it merely because it was literally in my head at that moment, not because it forms part of my theme, if there ever has been such a thing as a theme in these perambulations. It is highly probable that there will be more of that before we are done – a little earlier I was listening to some Cesar Franck chamber music, also unfamiliar to me, and I’m going to share that with you anon.

If you look closely you can see me waving in the bottom left-hand corner

If you look closely you can see me waving in the bottom left-hand corner

So, what were l and my mother (for it is she) doing on the way to warmer shores? Not, as you might suspect, avoiding the mists and mellow fruitfulness (or more accurately the wind, rain, cold and – in my case – the horrors of other people’s soggy clothes combining with the steaming humidity of an overcrowded commuter train). Rather we are joining the celebrations of what promises to be a splendid wedding. Elsewhere on the same aircraft were a younger brother and his Australian wife, and it is through her that we are connected to the occasion.

Our invitations arrived some time ago, and contained a novel approach to the music for the celebrations. “What song will get you up and dancing?” Resisting the inclination to reply with “any gavotte”, I chose instead Viva Las Vegas, one of Elvis’s best. And that’s saying something.

But it a choice that required a little finesse. It was very important to demonstrate serious musical credibility, find something that would actually be possible to dance to if pressed, and yet be just a touch unlikely appear on the playlist. Mum, on the other hand, has opted for a riskier strategy. She wrote “surprise me”.

Anything might happen now: Mum has put herself utterly at the mercy of the bride and groom (who have well developed senses of humour), and she can’t now reasonably object to their selection, whatever it might be. The SWV (Sisters with Voices) track Surprise Me would be a neat solution, but I am privately hoping that they will unearth something totally inappropriate: Radiohead’s No Surprises, possibly.

150 minutes from a late evening touchdown, the Boyer came to an end. As promised, and as I then enjoyed, here is some Franck to soothe your stress, and de-crease your foreheads: the Sonata for Violin and Piano.  The part I give you if you don’t have time for the whole thing is the first movement – sonorous, internally rich and so multi-dimensional that you could easily get lost in it and never want to find your way out.

And that is exactly what I suggest you do.



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One Comment
  1. Have a fantabulous trip! Glad you didn’t have to shout at anyone on the plane and that there were no pesky kids behind you. 😉

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