Monday, May 27, 2019


Like most people, scents are able to trigger memories for me and transport me back to certain moments and people. I have been known to hang on to certain scents long after I have realised that I can't hang on to the people they are associated with. Sometimes you forget what has been stored in the scent database and the intensity of your feelings takes you by surprise. The same holds true for music. 
On Saturday I was passing time between a breakfast date and a lunch date and idly browsing the offerings of a concept store downtown. They had Italian music on at full blast and I recognised Antonello Venditti, contributor to the soundtrack of my teenage years when I had an "Italian phase". I shazamed a certain song whose title I was not sure of and it turned out to be "Lilly". It made me think back to school trips to Italy, unrequited crushes on boys who didn't even know I existed and feeling ugly and fat even though I was neither of the two. 
I've also always loved live concerts, in particular the type where you stand in the crowd and shout all the lyrics at the top of your lungs.  On Saturday night I attended an open-air concert in Schönbrunn. I had seen the band (Bilderbuch) live before, but only know a handful of their songs and basically went because a friend initiated it and I thought the venue was original. They performed well, but it was not really "my" concert in the sense that I had associations with any of the songs. The concert before had been Herbert Grönemeyer, an artist whose new songs I am not familiar with at all, but the lyrics to his old hits all of which he played I still know by heart and which make me think back of certain times in my life.
Guess who started compiling an "Italo Hits" Playlist on Sunday...

Monday, May 20, 2019

The Things I Do for Love...

On Saturday, I attended the art performance of a good friend of mine. Pretty much everyone I chatted with in the audience, including her kids, admitted that it wasn't really their "kettle of fish" but they were there to support her. My sentiments exactly. Unless I am out of town or otherwise booked with something I cannot reschedule and/or animals and small children are hurt in the thing you want me to witness I will gladly attend your choir performance, dance show, piano recital or exhibition opening if I like you. If it's excruciatingly bad I might find an excuse the next time, but the first time round, I will show up and bring friends. Ultimately, I hope that you'd do the same thing for me if ever I am planning to invite you to a public display of my talents.  Or should I say "talents". Be very afraid.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Mean Girls

In my previous post I told you that I attended the wedding of a good English friend last weekend. What I did not tell you was this was the first time I saw her school friends again after 30 years when I  had attended school in Maidenhead with my hostess for a week or two. Back then, I found these girls all downright scary. They were very cliquey, made insider jokes and used slang I didn't undersrand. Above all, they pretended to be very worldy wise and experienced in the things that mattered to seventeen-year-olds back then...all of which I was very inexperienced in myself. It wasn't that they were mean to me, I was just an isignificant add-on to their friend and they didn't give me much attention. It was more that they left me feeling inadequate and provincial. Fast forward to 2019 and they (a group of 5 women) clearly did not recognise me at the wedding and to be honest I had not given them a single thought in the past 30 years, but I immediately recognised them and remembered how intimidating they seemed back in 1989.
Only a few days later, I had a very unpleasant work meeting where a group of female colleagues was very vocal about their discontent with a project I was the central point of contact for. I'm not saying that their anger was entirely justified, but it was as tiring as it was unpleasant. Bestie Boy helped to act as mediator and together we stayed late to produce slides to appease them. Essentially, they had felt poorly informed and I realised that my strategy had been entirely wrong: I like to avoid conflict and confrontation whenever possible and my instinct was to minimise contact with the evil witches demanding colleagues and just hope for the best. Well, that backfired and only served to make an already extremely stressful week that bit more stressful. Learning: try not to avoid the mean girls or wait until they seem harmless a few decades later, but face them and hope that your own friendly attitude rubs off on them.

Monday, May 06, 2019

30 Years

Sometimes I only realise just how old I am when I calculate how many years ago a certain event took place. Or how long I've known certain people. When this post goes live I will hopefully be back from England where I will hopefully have had a great time (and not frozen my bum off) at a lovely wedding in scenic Henley upon Thames. The wedding of a dear friend with whom I did a language exchange thirty (30!) years ago! I really can't believe we have known one another for that long and that we have kept in touch over all these years. We don't meet very often at all and don't write to each other bar one birthday and Christmas card per year, but when we do meet in person, we instantly click and reconnect where we left off the last time we saw one another. She has a great sense of humour and I remember the three or so weeks when she stayed with my family around Easter 1989 mainly laughing and sharing private jokes that made us convulse with fits of giggling. I have no doubts that we will still be in touch in 30 years time...or even 60? Okay, that's probably a little too optimistic, but we shall see...
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