The viola plays again

Special rendition

Just before 11h yestermorn, the BBC played Silent Night by a composer whose skills excelled in the use of the propensity of violas to play in unison with themselves. Alfred Schnittke was a master of the improbable and novel, even taking into account the built in weakness of the tuning system of the instrument. Viola players are well known for overcoming the stiffness of the tuning pegs in their instruments by applying wax rather than chalk to their stems. They are also one of the boldest and most brash of musicians, outdoing even the infamous ‘bonists, in their ability to overcome what may appear to the untrained ear to be a mistake. In a word they are the toreadors of the musical world.

On the BBC playlist it was item 17. You would have had to wait nearly two hours to hear this exceptional piece of violistic virtuosity, or scroll forward to 1:54, just after the adverts, which just like June 4th, are not there. At the time of posting it would have only been available for a further 29 days, so you had had to be quick…to listen, but now that the 29 days have expired all that remains for you is this faint and feinting echo of the performances of that day.

As always, Coco must apologise for any inaccuracies, or deviations from the facts of the matter, but one must not let the facts get in the way of a good story, as every viola player knows, and secondly, to the two excellent musicians for any misrepresentation of their performance. Coco should add that the instrument – it is actually a violin that is being played in this performance, demonstrating even more the extraordinary ability of the performer, which approaches that of Mike Yarwood, to be able on that most well-behaved of instruments, to imitate one of the most incorrigible.

Essential Classics – Georgia Mann – BBC Sounds
Refresh your morning with a great selection of classical music.


Why look for a scapegoat when the answer is obvious?

Putney High Street
Congested traffic near the Post Office on Putney High Street, London, February 1910. (Photo by Topical Press Agency/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

The BBC reported it, and no doubt others, but why look for a scapegoat when the answer is obvious?

London congestion: Cycle lanes blamed as city named most congested

Coco thinks they are talking about motor vehicular congestion which is surely caused by motor vehicles. If there were not so many of them there would be no congestion.

Sometimes we look for blame where there is no blame.

Another article reported: Racism: Vaughan Gething (a Welsh government minister) talks about everyday prejudice, saying that he was often asked if he is a member of staff at restaurants because of his skin colour. And followed up with an astonishing remark: ‘If I were a white man relatively smartly dressed going to a place like that, that isn’t what people would ask.’

Is it indeed a terrible thing to be approached as if you were a member of staff. It is something which happens to Coco also, often in large, largely empty stores. Coco would apologise that he was not; then learned that sometimes you can just go along with it, after all Coco might know the answer to their questions, and members of staff are like policemen there is never one around when you want one; then finally settled on the reply: I’m not a member of staff, but what is your question? After all customers can help each other.

What was Coco’s ‘crime’? It might have been the colour of Coco’s skin, but no, the most common reason given was the white shirt and tie.

To turn the minister’s words around: [As Coco was] a white man [relatively] smartly dressed going to a place like that, [that is precisely] what people would ask.

There are many reasons why we may be identified as staff members. It is not an insult, neither is it racism. It is a misunderstanding; and when the other person does not know you from Adam, who can blame them?

So when you go to a smart restaurant, please remember it is not the beach, nor is it a sports arena, then we shall all look as tidy as the waiters do.

The Lord said: When the king came to see the guests he saw a man there who did not have on a wedding garment. So he said to him, Friend how did you come in here without a wedding garment? The man was speechless. Then the king said to his servants: Bind him hand and foot, take him away and cast him into the outer darkness where there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

The king I am sure had made provision for the robing of his guests as he had previously sent his servants out to gather people from all over and bring them straight to the feast. There would be tailors and carpenters, butchers and farmers, merchants and servants, candlestick and carpet makers none of whom were allowed home to dress properly. Our king, Jesus, has made provision for his people to be at his wedding feast. We can never be good enough (clothed in righteousness) to sit at the feast, but in his death on the cross he took our filthy work clothes off us and gave us a robe of righteousness fit for the wedding feast of God. (Matthew 22)

The High Street after road improvements were put in place