Epistemysics

Some theatre each day keeps the doctor away…

Opera’s Triple Threat

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Saw Opera’s Triple Threat tonight with the Sydney Philharmonia Choir.  Rather surprisingly good, actually.  I had high hopes, and they were met for the most part.

But the trip home – oh, my word, my deary deary word!  It was so busy around Circular Quay – indeed, the whole city.  So busy at Circular Quay that it took much longer than I anticipated to get back to the railway station, what with the hordes of people coming in the opposite direction so they could look at the projections on the Opera House.  So busy that there were policeman stopping people from walking towards the point.  I decided to walk to Wynyard instead, rather than push through the huge density of crowd around Circular Quay Station – just as I’d done last night – except, apparently, it’s much busier at 7.30 in the evening instead of 10.30, and so I was struggling to walk down George Street as well.  And the trains were packed.  And I missed my train by about one minute (not that I knew when it was, but when I arrived at the station, I saw that I’d missed it).  And the next train that I needed ended up being twenty minutes late in the end.

Thank god the show was good, otherwise I’d have been suicidal by the time I’d gotten home.

I’ve got the first program of the Mahler Chamber Orchestra tomorrow, too, and it’s the last day of the Vivid Lights.  Will I survive?  Tune in tomorrow to find out, dear reader.

From The Prisoner, by Marcel Proust:

“I had promised Albertine that if I did not go out with her I would start work.  But the next day, as if, while we were asleep, the house had miraculously travelled, I found myself waking up to different weather, a different climate.  No one works immediately on landing in a strange country; there are the new conditions to get used to.  Now, for me, each new day was a new country.  Even my laziness constantly took on new forms: how could I have recognised it?  Sometimes, on days when the weather was pronounced hopelessly bad, just living in a house placed at the centre of steadily falling rain had the gentle smoothness, the calming silence, the absorbing interest of a sea-voyage; then, on a bright day, simply lying still in bed would allow the shadows to pivot around me as if around a tree-trunk.  Or else, from the first sound of the bells of a nearby convent, few and hesitant as their early morning worshippers, barely lightening the dark sky with their warm wind, I had already recognised one of those stormy days, mild and unpredictable, when the roofs, briefly dampened by rain, then dried by a breath of wind or a ray of sunshine, poutingly display a few drops and, as they wait for the wind to turn again, preen in the passing sunshine the rainbow glints of their shot-silk slates; one of those days which is filled with so many changes in the weather, so many atmospheric incidents, so much turbulence, that the lazy man feels he has not wasted it, since he has taken an interest in all the activity that the atmosphere, failing any action on his part, has undertaken in his place; days like those times of rioting or war that do not seem empty to the schoolboy missing his classes, since, hanging around outside the Palais de Justice or reading the newspapers, he has the illusion that the unfolding events replace the work he is not doing, developing his intelligence and excusing his idleness; days, in a word, to which we can compare those which bring our lives to some exceptional crisis and which make the man who has never done anything believe that he will, if all turns out happily, adopt new habits of diligence: for example, it is on the morning when he is going out to fight a duel in particularly dangerous circumstances that, when he is perhaps on the point of losing it, he suddenly becomes aware of the value of a life which he might have used to establish a body of work, or simply to enjoy himself, and of which he has made no use at all.  ‘Only let me not be killed,’ he says to himself, ‘and see how I shall work, starting this minute, and how I shall enjoy life!’  Life suddenly seems more valuable to him, because he has included in it everything it might be able to give, and not the small amount that he usually makes it give to him.  He sees it through the eyes of desire and not as what experience has shown him he can make of it, that is, something so very commonplace.  It has, in an instant, been filled with work, travel, mountain-climbing, all the fine things that he thinks the dreadful outcome of this duel may make impossible for him, without realising that they were already impossible long before the duel was thought of, because of his bad habits which, even without the duel, would have continued.  He comes home without a scratch.  But he goes on finding the same objections to pleasures, to outings, to journeys, to everything of which he feared for a moment being deprived by death; life is enough to cut him off from them.  As far as work is concerned – since extreme circumstances exaggerate what was already present in a man, diligence in the hard worker and laziness in the idler – he awards himself a holiday.

I followed his example, and did as I had always done since the original decision to start writing which I had made long ago, but which always seemed to date from the day before, since I treated each day, one after another, as if they did not count.  Today was just the same; I was letting its showers and spells of sunshine pass without doing anything and still promising myself that I would start working tomorrow.  But I was not the same person under a cloudless sky; the golden sound of the bells contained not only, as honey does, light, but the sensation of light (and also the sweetish scent of preserved fruit, since at Combray it had often hung around our table, like a wasp, after the dishes had been cleared).  On a day of such brilliant sunshine, keeping one’s eyes closed all day was something permissible, usual, healthy, pleasant, seasonable, like closing one’s shutters against the heat.  The weather had been like this at the beginning of my second stay in Balbec, when I would hear the violins of the band between the bluish flows of the rising tide.”

For me, it is despair that throws down its gauntlet and summons me to risk myself.  It is the oncoming gloom that makes life seem as if its remaining time will shrink into a mote in the air, and disappear in a quantum gust.

85/whatever.

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Written by epistemysics

June 9, 2013 at 3:43 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

2 Responses

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  1. Quantum gust… *chuckle*

    Neil san

    June 10, 2013 at 1:24 am

  2. Here’s me, baring my soul, and you come along and make it sound dirty. Sigh!

    epistemysics

    June 10, 2013 at 2:06 am


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