This weekend reminded me just what a big part music plays in my life; and not just one particular genre, but a whole variety.
I was driving into Exeter on Saturday for my Exeter Writers meeting, listening to Radio Devon, when the following words came over the airwaves:
You talk like Marlene Dietrich
And you dance like Zizi Jeanmaire
Your clothes are all made by Balmain
And there’s diamonds and pearls in your hair, yes there are
Instantly, I was transported back to February 1969—which seems like yesterday, but my calculator tells me it’s 46 years ago—when I was studying for my O Levels and Peter Sarstedt’s haunting song, Where Do You Go To My Lovely was at number one in UK for four weeks. I found to my delight I could remember every one of the words, and sang along at the top of my voice.
And that was just the start of a very musical weekend. At our Harvest Festival yesterday morning, the traditional church choir, in which I sing, joined with the more contemporary Worship Band for a mix of old hymns and modern songs, all around the theme of trees.
At home, Michael was chilling out to Rarities 1971 to 2003, a collection of B sides and live recordings by The Rolling Stones. We had our usual Stones versus Beatles debate—and as usual, agreed to differ.
The afternoon was spent at a rehearsal for A Night at the Opera, a concert coming up later this month. If any of you happen to be in Teignmouth on 17th October, Red Earth Opera will be presenting a programme of favourite arias and choruses. For me the special moments will be singing The Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves—a particular favourite of my late father—and having just a tiny role—two lines—in Nessun Dorma.
My musical weekend finished with The Passion of Puccini, the latest production from Devon Opera. Featuring a selection of well-known and less familiar arias, the highlight of the evening was a performance of Acts 3 and 4 of La Boheme. The stage, in a private house, was tiny, but the six young soloists brought an exuberance to the joyful parts and such emotion to the tragic ending. I’ve seen this opera many times—and until now, my favourite version was the one I saw in Kiev years ago. On that occasion, the audience sat in stunned silence before the applause started, and when the lights went up, it wasn’t just the women who were reaching for their hankies. But last night was even better; being within feet of the stage, as part of an audience of just eighty, made it all seem so personal and mesmerizing. Devon Opera will be performing this programme twice more this week; if you are anywhere near the South West, do try and get a ticket.
The topic at Exeter Writers on Saturday was author bios. We discussed the purpose of these pieces and had a go at writing different versions. Looking back at mine, I talk about my interests in books, theatre, eating out and walking—a new-found interest, but one that crops up a lot. But I didn’t mention music. I think I need to go back and rewrite my bio!
Readers, what songs take you back to your past? And can you remember all the words without prompting?
Elizabeth Ducie was a successful international manufacturing consultant, when she decided to give it all up and start telling lies for a living instead.
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