Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Roses, singing and suchlike

I have been enjoying going to the Scots Kirk in Paris. It has a homely and chaotic feel about it, and the itinerant congregation is definintely a bit different to your average CoS gathering. However, given that we are small in number, my high volume singing has been noted and now my chickens have come home to roost.

I have been asked to sing not one, but TWO solos on Sunday morning, on the theme of The Rose. Thus, I am chanelling Dame Joan Sutherland with the Irish song 'Tis the last rose of the summer, and then following that with a Bete Midler hit - The Rose. I was over at the kirk pracising tonight at 21h45. Only rock and roll bands start their practice at that time of night, and only then after a good few snakebites. I am in the wrong game.

I actually did a few recordings of myself with my guitar singing somthing when we were back home. Embarrasingly, I also recorded a few takes with me wearing my sunglassses. Frankly my guitar playing is duff and my pop song singing not a lot better ("Venus" I think was the hit I was hitting) and I need all the visual help I can get. My chords are not better with sunnies on.

Recording oneself is an interesting thing to do sometimes.

I heard a story at the weekend about someone I know very well. The first time he got drunk was when he was in his late teens and his parents were not in town, having accompanied his younger sister to Dublin for a ballet exam. Armed with a bottle of Martini, a piano, a tape recorder and some Brahms, the evening panned out something like this

- drink some Martini
- play and record a Brahms tune
-drink some more Martini
-play that Brhams tune again...and so on, with each subsequent rendition of Brahms, presumably getting a little bit worse.
How I would love to get my hands on that tape.

Before I start looking too closely, I think there are a few files of my own I need to delete- featuring me, my guitar, my mumsy M&S jumper and my sunnies.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Brussels Sprouts

We've been seeing a bit more of Paris recently and even ventured out on the Thalys train to Brussels at the weekend!

We went to the bakers at the top of our street to pick up our pain au chocolat before going underground and heading the Belgian way. I love the bakers window. I am amazed that at 10am on a Saturday morning in February, all manner of buns, cakes, tarts, fruit pies are available. In Paris it is entirely acceptable to buy all your desserts from the bakers. If you are having people round for dinner, I imagine the guests would be slightly disappointed if you attempted to make it yourself, and having seen what is for offer in the Patisserie window I can undertand their bias. I have cooked practically nothing in the last 3.5 months. Never mind any fruit tarts!

SO, purpose of this post...we went to Brussels at the weekend!

Belgium is famous for a few things.

Hervé's adventures of Tintin being one of them, beer being the other. We briefly spotted Tintin and Snowy on the side of a building, but took it upon ourselves to find out a bit more about the beer of Belgium. Happily, you can get a Dégustation menu of beer! I particularly liked the cherry beer. Slightly sweet but not too like alcoholic cherry aid. Second from the left, I think!

We had a good wander around, and benefitted from catching up on lots of sleep in our lovely B&B. Run by a gay couple, when I asked for a map he told us that he only had the Gay Map of Brussels. I am still not too sure what the main sites in Brussels are, or indeed where they are, but I do know where to get a good sauna and some lubes.

Some of my favourite people in the world were in Brussels at the weekend...the Scouts. I have a very fond affection for the Scouts, I think because I enjoyed being a guide, read the guide handbook a lot and am overly influenced by the writings of Enid Blyton. I think there must have been some sort of rally - or jamboree, prompting the following pic! Incidentally, the crazy French pronounce scouts as "scoots", with a very tight oooo sound. Nut jobs.