Just one cornetto

by Keith Clarke

By the time this reaches the blogosphere I shall be swanning round Venice, gaping at art and canals and hoping not to encounter too many people playing Vivaldi at me. It’s my luck, one way or the other, to be out of the UK when the Arts Council makes its biggest funding announcement in history, but I’m not losing too much sleep over that. It’s a great way to use up airmiles while British Airways is still in business, and we booked it ages ago.

Of course it not so easy to escape the world of rolling news and avoid taking the office with you. There’s a worrying message on the Venice hotel website that wifi is available in all rooms, but I think I’ll forget that and dedicate my few days to the study of renaissance art and fine wines, though not necessarily in that order. I shall survey the remains of the British music industry when I get back to Blighty.


If any Venetian students do try to run me down with The Four Seasons, I am at least protected by an ear problem that is currently quieting the world down a bit. A deaf music critic is probably as useful as card tricks on radio, but this is not the full works, just a little local difficulty that can almost certainly be cured by large doses of Grappa. Not like a few years ago when a very unpleasant inner ear infection had the effect of making music sound entirely weird, single notes sounding as discordant chords. I took the opportunity at the time to say in an editorial that Angela Gheorghiu was singing like a drain, and that if the London Symphony couldn’t do better than that the players  should take up gardening instead, swiftly diving in with an explanation before the lawyers turned apoplectic.


As we sit and wait for the funding axe to fall, cheapskate music is all around. A colleague tells me he went searching for Gustav Holst’s Fugal Concerto in the Naxos Music Library and got the message: “Did you mean holst frugal concerto?” Look out for The Love of Two Oranges and other cost-cutting works.

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