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 11 July 2011

30th Lichfield Festival

Honestly, it's the Lichfield Festival, and the Close is a complete pigsty.  There are 30 of these fibreglass pigs around the city, each hand decorated by local groups and charities.  Behind this fellow (in his fetching Peter Rabbit style jacket) you can see the half-timbered Festival office, the nerve centre of the entire operation, where Festival director Fiona Stuart sits tearing her hair out.

Fabulous line-up of events again this year.  So far the chancellor and I have been to hear the Creole Choir of Cuba, making the cathedral resound with their staggering harmonies and rhythms.  The following evening it was Zic Zazou in the Lichfield Garrick theatre, playing their Heath Robinson collection of industrial-based instruments.  There's not much they can't get a tune out of, these Frenchmen.  Possibly the most moving rendition of La Vie en Rose squeezed out of a deflating balloon that I have ever heard.

Last night I was invited by Peter and Laura Tanter, who had sponsored this concert, to hear the Endellion String Quartet, with Wendy Cope.  They were performing in the cathedral's Lady Chapel, currently plain glazed, while its famous Herkenrode glass is off being restored (please give generously, see cathedral website).  This venue has quite astounding acoustics, as those afflicted by the dreaded concert hall cough (e.g. me and my mate Pauline of Netherstowe House fame) will testify.  Why do you never get a cough like that in Sainsbury's?  I missed the first movement of Haydn's String Quartet "The Bird", as I battled valiantly, eyes rolling back in my head, tears streaming.  The next piece was Wendy Cope's and Roxana Panufnik's The Audience.  Which ends with a poem about... a concert hall cough.

Tonight I'm taking our younger son to a performance of Withering Looks at the Garrick.  He did Wuthering Heights  for AS level, and needs to detox.  I'm hoping that Maggie Fox's and Sue Ryding's spoof will do the trick.

You will notice that I'm not designating any of these things  as a New Thing.  This is because I've essentially done this kind of thing already--we've been in Lichfield nearly 5 years after all--and it would be cheating.  However, I can truthfully say I have never been to a late night concert in the cathedral.  So that's my plan for this week's new thing.  Trouble is, there's too much to choose from.

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