1. Yesterday I got Arnold Schoenberg's Five Orchestral Pieces on CD. The music was conducted by Simon Rattle.
"Rattle's lyricism is tender and poignant,"
reads the description on the back of the CD.
"... with a fine balance between voluptuousness and real tenderness. Rattle caresses the Violins and fondles the Celeste and brings the wind section to a climax of melodious moaning. Then he bends the orchestra over the back of the podium and ..."
Okay. I made some of that up.
2. When he wrote the music, Arnold Schoenberg was facing a bleak, modernistic world of anarchy and chaos, stripped of faith, morality, order, and meaning. Nowadays, little old ladies listen to it mostly because it is nice and soothing.
I'm not sure which interpretation I prefer. Niceness and soothingness or bleakness and meaninglessness? They sound like pretty much the same thing.
3. Speaking of bleakness and meaninglessness, I was at Parliament station yesterday. It's not something I do very often, and yesterday I discovered why. It's so boring. You get off the train, and walk to the escalator, and then stand on the escalator for what seems like hours on end. You look at the walls, at the ceiling, at the other escalators, at the passengers, and then you realise that the ceiling is more interesting.
People stand about on the escalators in deathly silence. They stare, mostly at the backs of their eyes. T. S. Eliot, or Dante, or somebody comes to mind:
I had not thought death had undone so many ...
On the whole, I think the trip out of Parliament Station could be made much more exciting if, instead of sliding onto the floor, the escalator had terminated in a gaping black chasm of nothingness. I only hope that, as I slid into the void, I would have the presence of mind to shout, like the man in The Simpsons, "I REGRET NOTHING!", before the blackness swallowed me whole.
4. All this stuff about gaping black holes of nothingness reminds me, did I ever tell you about my work?
5. Hey, look! It's a kitten hiding beneath a dandelion!
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