Monday, 26 March 2012

The Rake's Progress

I had two tickets for Scottish Opera's The Rake's Progress in Glasgow yesterday. By Thursday last week, it had become clear to Elly and me that we weren't going to make it, so when we got back to Moffat, on our knees with exhaustion, I gave them to some one else who was going and suggested she go up to someone in the queue at the box office and give them away. I saw The Rake designed by David Hockney at Glyndebourne in 1975. Ten years earlier, one of my school friends based not far from Glyndebourne and its eccentric founder, who would travel to London on business wearing tennis shoes, spent an idyllic summer as a programme seller at Glyndebourne, and having a precocious affair with a local playboy. In those days, the auditorium was small and tickets were very difficult to get, but we were lucky to have a neighbour in London whose aunt was the librarian at Glyndebourne and got them that way. The librarian was married to someone called Spike Hughes, a jazz musician and author of the successful 'The Art of Coarse...' (fishing, gardening, cricket etc) series of humorous guides to various pursuits. The neighbour co-founded the game- changing Chinese restaurant Mr Chow and ran what he called his 'dingy nightclub' in Jermyn St. All this could be the subject of a novel, I suppose, in which I would play the part of a dazed onlooker akin to that of Charles Ryder in Brideshead Revisited. Except that, in so many ways, life itself is so much more exciting and strange than most novels. The dentist has just rung to cancel my checkup appointment in Lanark today! Hooray!

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