Lime, lights

"We should quickly seize enlightenment while we still have the chance. In much less than a century all of us will be dead. We cannot be sure that we will be alive even tomorrow. There is no time to procrastinate. I who am giving this teaching have no guarantee that I will live out this day."

His Holiness the Dalai Lama

So I write on. … most of the words have already been high jacked by bandits…

I don't often come across a use that feels wrong, but I couldn’t hide my surprise when I read:

“There, he whipped out a tiny knife he had secreted in his underwear and plunged it into his throat.”

in the Guardian.

In my inner dictionary, "secreted" goes with "secretions" and not with "secrets”. As the Dalai Lama eloquently points out, there is no time to check.

Strategise as a verb, and I stumbled on another new verb:

“Their reply brooks no argument.”

If I was paranoid I would think there was a connection between my analyst’s name and what she has to put up with.

And for the first time I set eyes on a Bergamot. The peel is indeed very tasty – is tasty the word, or maybe aromatic? Pungent? Funny how a cross between a lime and an orange turns out yellow.

Last night I saw the moon rise over the motorway as I drove into Toulouse. It seemed huge and orange. Almost touching the road. I felt as if I could reach out and touch it, it seemed so close. I was mesmerised by the sight. It was so beautiful, and I felt that what was so powerfully attractive about it was the contrast between its naturalness and the artificiality of the electric lights, cars and tarmac on the ground. As if the moon was soft and the man-made landscape was hard. Yet the fact is, unless the earth is destroyed to make way for an intergalactic highway as Douglas Adams predicted, the moon will still be there when those lights have long since gone out and weeds have ousted the tarmac… Realising my confusion between hard and soft, long-lasting and ephemeral (for the moon was only a beautiful sight for a very short time) reminded me of another confusion. My first classical singing lesson included exercises to work on the difference between soft, low notes and loud, high notes. In my mind (and in my singing up till then) I equated low notes with loudness and high notes with softness. My teacher pointed out that my perception was upside down. Low notes are soft and high notes are high-energy and strident. I reasoned that it could have been because in my childhood I heard drunk men shouting and women singing very softly but really I have no idea how it happened. It is not a problem having faulty perception. It would be a problem to assume that all our perceptions are accurate representations of the world.

This one is fresh, but sometimes it takes a long time to be able to recount an experience. Last night I went to see some musician friends perform. The night was never-ending and memorable. Their music is highly original and spontaneous, but most of all they are great people. A few years ago these same musicians, in another formation, a fanfare whose speciality was to play outside and be able to mingle and involve the audience, did a series of spectacle-concerts in a theatre with a stage director.


The back and sides of the stage had sheets of thin clear plastic hanging, a couple of feet from the walls. When we went in the musicians were all chatting and walking about doing things very casually, almost as if they were at a party. Moving along the back behind the plastic and up and down the sides, and some of them on stage. The beginning was really exciting. There was a weird stool with a pole on the back of it. The musicians went off, someone came on and hung a plastic torso with a head on it on the pole, then went off again. Somebody else then came in and fitted a tube to the torso, and went off again. We could hear the musicians playing in the distance and suddenly belches of smoke came out the nostrils of the torso. This went on for a long time. A bear walked very slowly along the back behind the plastic and down the sides then back to the back and pressed its nose against the plastic and looked in at the audience through the plastic looking very sad. Then the musicians started to come on stage and MS made bear sounds with his soubassophone. Then the singer broke into Berlioz and the musicians played and it was so good I was aux anges. His voice is fantastic and I could feel the song move the skin on the back of my head.

After the Berlioz they did a very cacophonic number I recognised because MD had given me a tape to translate the words for him. It lasted a long time and when W started growling through a loudhailer, Billy started to put his hands over his ears. The friend I went with said why are they doing the same tune four times? Then FD, who had not said a word to the audience till then (in other settings he normally provides a lot of warm, funny interaction with the audience) proclaimed "Mesdames Messieurs, le merle" and they all whistled. There were side effects on the plastic after that and light effects that looked nice on the instruments but the whole thing was so cold I wanted to go home.

After more than an hour, during which time the only 'contact' with the audience was that at one point they faked not being able to end a piece and ended up coughing and clicking and eventually snapping their fingers, and FD came forward to the audience and held his hand up snapping his fingers and of course, we all started snapping our fingers. Later on FD took a microphone that was hanging from a wire on the ceiling and started off very serious about "Well, you must be wondering why we're here, and why you're here. Well, I'm going to tell you in a very precise and clear manner” (which was supposed to be funny because he kept repeating himself and it wasn't precise or clear). He went on "it's all about time, and about being in the present moment. There can't be any continuity because the past is separate from the future and you can't get two moments to join together". His voice is fabulous and the sound quality was excellent and I could have listened to him all night. While he was going on about time and the moment and why we were all there, he let go of the microphone and the speech continued, so we could see it had been a recorded message. The effect was, in a very clichéd way, like the bursting of a bubble.

Then more cacophony that lasted a long time. They were all obviously moving in the precise way their metteur en scène had rehearsed with them. Later, FD took the mike again and started talking more nonsense as if he was cracking jokes. He said "there was a duck and a cow (for example, don't remember exactly) and the duck said putain je ne sais pas ce que j'ai je suis toujours nase and the cow answered c'est parce que tu bouquines trop le soir chérie”. Then he repeated the same thing using different animals, and then a third time. Then more music, either I was by this time devastated or the music just didn't take off the way it usually does or it was the cold atmosphere but it was painful and at the end when they stopped, a child in the audience was crying. Then FD thanked the Théatre de la Garonne. He walked back on very slowly and apologised for forgetting to thank the Théatre de la Digue (where the gig was). By this time I was so desperate to get out I just left, along with a lot of other people, and we could hear them announcing they would do a morceau for an encore and it lasted 30 seconds. I don't know what happened after that I was out the theatre.