Saturday, 29 December 2018

Paulo's ABBA Party

Edwin with friends at the Abba party
Last night was party night at Paulo's. The theme is usually highly classical, with opera singing and professional musicians, but last night was "Abba", in a severe break with tradition. Edwin did a good job of sight reading to lead the singing, supported by Max who is a professional organist in London, and showed how to lead us in on the upbeats. The Abba songs were followed by a traditional hearty rendition of Jerusalem, in memory of the mother of Paulo's partner, John.

John chose it as a hymn at his father's funeral, despite some resistance from the vicar who declared it was not a proper hymn, but he managed to get a friend of his to sing it. John told the vicar to turn the microphones and PA system off, as it would spoil the purity of the vocalist. "But can she fill the church with her voice?" asked the vicar.

"She fills Covent Garden without trouble," John responded, and the vicar gave way after that.

Jerusalem was especially poignant, as Edwin has left for a 10 day vacation in Isreal today. Ann and I should have been going as well, but this was lost when my cancer treatment intervened. Indeed, the whole evening had more the atmosphere of a wake than a party, as the principle harpist who normally performs for us is on extended absence at her majesty's pleasure.

Ann and Grandad-John at the Abba Party
Paulo is Portuguese and Edwin's piano teacher, and makes a fair sangria, mostly containing vodka with a dash of fruit juice. I am saddened to say that Ann drowned her worries about me by consuming this to the point of unsteadiness. She has no recollection of getting in the car to return home, or of falling out of the car to lie with her head in the bush at the gate. We carried her in, but she was certainly a little the worse for wear even 24 hours later.

"Why do people get drunk?" she asked the next day.
"To forget," I said. "If you get drunk at my wake, you'll forget who I was!"

The BBC are running a series of 100 influential women. Everything these days seems to be about women; the BBC are shutting out half their audience. They should aim to be more balanced in their broadcasts: I paid my licence fee as much as everyone else, until they said I was too old to contribute. Why not a series of 100 influential old people of both genders? I'm sure there must be some oldies who've continued to add to the world in meaningful ways, rather than merely being the drain on society that we're painted to be these days.

Please send me a comment if you feel neglected by the BBC
Mail comments to: grandad.john@2from.com

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