…..yesterday, planned a Xmas shopping trip around Gloucester, a place I’d rarely been, with the intention of then attending the recital of Handel’s “Messiah ” at Gloucester Cathedral. Shopping in the rain was..shopping in the rain..but lightened by a hurried meal at The Cathderal Inn before the concert. Good food and some fine real ales ( no head). Recommended. Anyway, slipping into our seats just before the off the audience is probably about 5/600 strong and is brightly lit by the Cathedral overhead lighting. A huge brass candelabra stands about 20 yards ahead with 4 huge candles on it – only one lit. I soon realise that my newly purchased thermals are not keeping out the cold as the chill seeps up through my feet into my thighs and forcing me to tug my coat around me.
The young lady sat next to me smells quite pleasant and for a moment I consider asking her what she is wearing. Could be a good pressie idea, maybe, I thought. I wait and smell somemore, it is pleasant with a hint of spice. And then a nervousness grips me that suggests that it might actually be the Chinese Takeaway they may have had on their way here.(She is with her partner.) There is a hint of that. How embarrassing it would be. “‘Scuse me, but that’s a lovely scent. What is it? ” ” Prawn chow mein.” “Ah, is that new? Lancome? Chanel? ” I decide discretion would be better.
The concert kicks off. The choir is good – the orchestra good – the soloists….can hardly be heard. The lights glare (where are the candles, where is the atmosphere), my body soaks up the cold like blotting paper till it runs freely from my nose. We last until the interval and trying to find an “official” to offer some feedback to we leave. How disappointing. Crap sound, freezing cold, no atmosphere. We head home well dischuffed at having forked out £20 a ticket.
An hour later we are sitting in front of a roaring fire, sipping a fine French, fast forwarding the recording (my wife always makes….) of the X Factor and there is a warm and satisfied glow all round.
One extreme to the other…………..