When I was at university in South Africa many many years ago, ZIPPO cigarette lighters were known as arseholes because everybody had one. Today I think maybe the ubiquitous mobile phone deserves that appellation. Chris and I went on Sunday night to a concert of ancient Cretan music in what’s known as our “Arts Café” and, within minutes, at least five mobile phones lit up in our immediate vicinity. What gives with these people that they are so hooked on the damn things they can’t leave them alone for a minute? It’s truly frightening. The three musicians were fantastic, Crete is not short of excellent musicians, but I’m afraid, believing it to be a concert, we went with the wrong attitude, that is, British, because a concert it was not. For the Greeks it was a social evening, a get together, a greeting of friends, kiss kiss kiss kiss, and a catching up of gossip and I suppose all the latest news. There is certainly one thing the Greeks are still very good at indeed and that is conversation. Naturally if the music was very loud so were the voices. In the end we succumbed to the atmosphere and, having got over our Britishness, thoroughly enjoyed the evening. Naturally also the liquor flowed and a traditional pilafi was served. I love pilafi. Could OD on it given half a chance. The Arts café does host a number of very interesting performances. We’re not short of culture here. Oh, no, Mister Horne very cultural we are.
It reminded me though of a not so pleasant experience in New York when some years back I went with Gray Lee and his then current girlfriend to the park to listen to opera and after a while had to leave as I just couldn’t stand it any longer. So, okay, enjoy your picnic but do you have to sit with your back to the stage and natter away non-stop and loudly while singers up there are belting their hearts out? Unmannerly people can behave quite outrageously without realising it. Gray and his girl-friend needless to say stayed put to the end.
Suddenly, having passed my eightieth birthday, I am getting fan mail again. I wonder what brought this on. One of my lyrics in a musical goes “It’s nice to be appreciated, nice to swell with pride, when you’ve worked hard, and you’ve worked long, and the world is on your side.” Unfortunately no matter how hard or how long you’ve worked, the world ain’t always on your side but it’s nice to be appreciated even on an individual level especially when you’re told you’re quite quite brilliant, not something I readily believe Mister Coward but I will certainly bask in it for a while.