Tuesday, 3 August 2010

After approximately 20 attempts, I managed to roll a kayak on my own last night - yey! I felt much more at ease floundering about under the warm swimming-pool water than in the sea: I could see everything going on and would spend multiple attempts before giving up and coming up for air. Normally I'd concentrate on getting my paddle at the correct angle, then negate my success by failing to keep my head back, getting just far above the water to gasp another breath before splashing back down again and hanging out upside-down. At one point I thought - why am I not panicking? I suppose taking away the cold and the salt left me in an all-too-familiar position: as a trombonist I'm used to not always having the liberty to breathe whenever I like. Funny profession. The successful roll felt easy and I was a bit shocked to find myself in an upright position again and even looked around me to see if someone had given me a push... but no, I'd done it myself.

My only concern was that getting out of a kayak, I realized that my left knee was in a great deal of pain, as though I'd twisted or pulled it somehow. I guess the bike's going back in the shed. It's not hurting now but still feels wierd... it's been at a slight angle all my life, making me a bit pigeon-toed on the left side; I have a fantasy that it suddenly decided to straighten out.

In the pub the other night after the two shows, I realized suddenly what I really like about actors. They can tell you plainly if they like or don't like something, and why. Doesn't sound like a super-human feat, does it? But when was the last time you heard a spontaneous and well thought out discourse on why something was good or bad? Needless to say, the actors were amused by my observation and made me test them on it, in the course of which I learned that Star Wars was originally intended to be a silent film, and, having realized that my tourist activities could derive some inspiration from a well-placed question, a good deal of good things about "London." The only pitfall of the conversation was when one actor turned to me, puzzled and said "This is something you LIKE about us?!" Well, yes.

Afterward I did wonder: why do I find judgmental discourse refreshing? Is it because I'm bored of people not forming opinions on ideas or on music? I ask many people what they liked or didn't like about a concert and get the answer, oh, I just liked all of it. What? Is the baroque obsession with good taste too elitist to indulge in the 21st century? Are people so often told what to think that adding their personal opinion on top of it all seems over-the-top? Or do I find it refreshing to hear people judgmental for a different reason altogether: because as a performer myself I'm always so concerned that other people are judging me that I feel relieved that at least part of my paranoia is vindicated? Did I say all that out loud? As a matter a fact, no, not a word. Oh good.

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