About this blog

This is a window into the weird world of Anglicanism, as experienced on a Cathedral Close. Has anything much happened since Trollope's Barchester Chronicles? You will still see the 'canon in residence' hurrying across to choral Evensong, robes flapping, as the late bell chimes. But look carefully and you will notice he is checking the football score on his iPhone as he runs. This is also a writer's blog. It charts the agony and ecstasy of the novelist's life. And it's a fighter's blog. It charts the agony and ecstasy of the judo mat. Well, the agony, anyway.

Monday 31 January 2011

Week 5 Joining a Choir

This is not the top secret new thing, (that’s still embargoed) this is just your regular new thing. Regular both in the irritating coffee shop sense of ‘standard’ and the proper sense of ‘taking place at regular intervals.’ There are several things that annoy me about coffee shops. 'Do you want any cakes or pastries with that?' Look, dumb dumb, if I wanted a muffin, I’d ask for one. After all, I mustered the courage to ask for an americano. Or do you suppose I simply hadn’t noticed the array of carbs I’ve just queued beside for 5 minutes? Gosh, cakes and pastries! Hadn’t occurred to me!


My new thing: joining a choir. Or more precisely, voluntarily joining a choir as an adult. I was in the choir at primary school mainly because we got to sing showy descants in assembly. We were hated by the growlers who’d been poked in the back and told to shut up. This was the 70s, of course. Poking children in the back is now frowned upon. It's gone the way of birching. Political correctness gone mad. I was also forced to sing in the Junior House Choir at grammar school for the House Music competition. We all were. Down by the Salley Gardens, miming the high notes. I can remember it word for word: ‘She [mime] me take [mime] easy, as the leaves grow in the-[mime] treeeeee.’

Banishing that memory, I made my way to the Cathedral School music room earlier tonight. On my way I met the school chaplain. ‘I assume you aren’t joining the Ladies who Lark,’ I said. ‘Not without surgery,’ he replied. There were around 30 of us, most of whom I know by sight from around the Close and in the congregation. I should also know them by name after 4 years, but I’m crap at names. I’m increasingly crap at faces these days, too. I am, however, extremely good at blagging. It’s part of the skill set of a clergy wife. Lovely larky ladies, all. Especially those, whatever they are called, who happen to be reading this post.

I unexpectedly found myself free to join this choir when my Monday judo session has closed. I went along interested to see what differences and similarities there are between singing and fighting. Here are my observations. Differences: 1. you sweat less in a choir than in a dojo, unless perhaps you are conducting. Our conductor and trainer is Cathy Lamb (one half of the Director of Music). She, of course, being a lady like the rest of us, merely glows. 2. I didn't have an opportunity to strangle anyone. Early days, mind you. 3. it costs less (a £1 donation as opposed to £5 for a judo session). Similarities. 1. warm-up exercises. 2. Familiar sense of personal incompetence. 3. Unlike Junior House Choir at Aylesbury High School for Gels in 1974, but like rolling around the floor with blokes in white pyjamas, IT WAS GREAT FUN!

Tonight we were rehearsing Psalms 150, and 23 which will be our contribution to the Psalmathon on Sat 5th Feb. We also did some work for a ‘Come and sing’ performance of HMS Pinafore on 5th March. ‘Gaily tripping, lightly skipping.’ What larks in the music room.


  1. The endorphin high you get from singing doesn't involve bruising, getting very sweaty or having to wear special clothes and no shoes. Plus there isn't (usually) much contact with the floor, with or without mats. What's not to like??!!

  2. You don't get to kick people.