Sad Banter

Being an opera singer, I’m something of a pronunciation nerd. We all are. It comes with the territory.
I actually feel a jab of pain and stress when someone who should know better calls Don Giovanni “Don Jee-oh-vahn-ee” or sounds the g in tagliatelle. When a pretentious American – and I have no idea why it’s only pretentious Americans who do this – pronounces the great tenor’s name “Pah-va-roh-ti” I want to slap them. I can’t help myself. We singers spend so much of our working lives perfecting this stuff that when someone cocks it up, it seriously grates.

A touch of politics

Now I’m a green card holder I can donate to a candidate in the US elections. I’m going to give money to the Obama campaign, not because I expect him to stop the oceans rising – it’s a serious albeit ambitious aspiration – but because when Romney says he’s going to “help you and your family”, noble and modest as that may sound, it is profoundly dishonest.

A ball and cock story

A few days ago my cold water tank started overflowing at a steady trickle. So I emptied the loft cupboard of all the old tennis racquets, puzzles and bits of wood and carpet that I have bunged in there in case they might one day be useful, and I climbed inside on my hands and knees to have a look at the tank. I checked the ballcock and adjusted it a bit but couldn’t find any problem. Thinking that as I couldn’t find any problem there mustn’t actually be one, and that somehow the mere act of climbing into a cramped cupboard and fiddling about with a ballcock might suffice to make the non-problem go away, I gave up and did what all good DIY-ers do: just hoped it wouldn’t happen again. Much to my surprise the overflow trickle seemed to have stopped so I must have done something right and I felt suitably smug.

Not a fan of Dorothy

We went to see “The End Of The Rainbow” in Bath on Saturday. It’s a play with songs about Judy Garland’s final performances in London shortly before she died at the age of 47. It was a big hit in London, garnering huge plaudits for Tracie Bennett as Garland. I’m not about to write a review. I’m also decidedly not a Garland fan, but I could recognise that Bennett’s impersonation of her was impeccable and sensational, and she certainly ripped up the stage. She was extraordinary. And yet I found the whole experience curiously unpalatable, like watching a car crash in slow motion.