• Upcoming trips

    Feb 3 - Feb 13 Caribbean cruise May 1 to May 14 London vacation. (Hotels and details later). Hope to see you all then.
  • theatre and Concerrts

    December 7. Went to the Met to see the abridged version of “The Magic Flute”. We have seen this production before and still the charm of the great puppet characters keeps the children in awe and their parents happy with their parenting. An amusing interlude.

    December 9. Saw the Manhattan School of Music’s production of “Cendrillon” by Nicolo Isouard at the Florence Gould Hall. The MSM is having both its concert halls renovated and is using outside premises like the Alliance Francaise’s hall. The School and its talented young students put everything they have into this production; Scenery, lighting, costumes and acting was superb. As was the directing and conducting. Refreshing also, was that the cast was of the age to be convincing in their parts.

    December 10. The first of the “Peoples Symphony Concerts” this season (Their 118th year!). “The Variation String Trio” did the honours accompanied by guest pianist: Orion Weiss. Their programme included a new work by Nina Young (b.1984) Very interesting, but not, I think, a world-beater.

    December 31 Went to the Kaye theatre at Hunter College  to see the New York Gilbert and Sullivan Players’ production of “H.M.S. Pinafore”. Cast and orchestra captured the high spirits of the musical romp and the sets were surprisingly professional. Reminded me of the old Sadlers’ Wells days,

    January 2, 2018. Saw the Met’s “The Merry Widow”. During the first act, the acoustics left a lot to be desired and words were difficult to hear, even in English. But all went well in the second and third acts; the Russian style dancing was rousing and the sets were spectacular. There are usually only six ‘Grisettes’ (Can-can girls) on a regular stage, but the Met’s vast space seemed to be full of them; three, even, descending from the top of the proscenium arch! All with their frilly knickers a-shaking

     

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Memoirs

The Memoirs of:  bwthompson@lifeline/nr.end/hom.sap

(Full chapter index below right)

What manner of ego motivates an autobiographer, I wonder? Is there any justification for encumbering the minds of unsuspecting readers with memories of events which shaped one’s own life? Certainly, yesterday’s movers and shakers were confident that their successes improved the fate of mankind; that their failures were the fault of others; and thus owed posterity a duty to set down their version of history before the revisionists of the next generation got at it. My own view is that the passing decades, centuries and millennia will prove them wildly mistaken. Winston Churchill, for example, would he have waxed so eloquent if he had foreseen that the net result of his successes would be the impoverishment of Britain? That Germany and Japan, the very enemies the Brits expended so much of their wealth and blood to defeat, were soon to become the its economic masters, second only to the United States? And take Karl Marx and his monumental effort to devise a perfect social system which would function without the aid of human nature–would he have bothered if he had known that his most famous disciple, Joseph Stalin, would use it to murder a million of his own people and grind the rest into fearful poverty? Or would give rise to a Pol Pot or a ‘gang of four’?

But, what of the mass of ordinary people? Without them, the movers and shakers would not have much to move and their shaking would be fruitless. Tiny, as they may be, the contributions each of us makes, become the totality of the history of man’s existence, and the absence of even one alters the end result! Are the lives and tribulations of the common man of any interest though? They determine Homo sapiens’ path to glory or extinction, so the answer ought to be “yes”. But the common man has rarely been able to express his innermost thoughts in the past, let alone commit them to paper. He agonizes inwardly over his failures–“If only” starts many a long train of introspection. He is secretly proud of his successes; the little manoeuvres he performed in order to improve the lot of his family and himself; the backing he gave to friends and family in times of stress; his passing-on of his values and his pride of craftsmanship; his survival even; all give him a feeling of inner satisfaction. A feeling that he has, after all, changed the cutting-edge direction a little.

Why, then, should his flower be left to blush unseen now that technology has given him the chance to set down his thoughts with ease? The computer, chat rooms, web-pages and e-mail have released him from the bondage of silent acceptance–He may not command the attention of the masses but still, the satisfaction of engaging in the dialogue, even if it is only among his intimate circle of friends and family, is much the same as that of those power-wielders monopolizing the headlines. It may be a matter of degree, but, in the end, it is the individual’s own ego which senses achievement and failure.

In my case, my memories and perceptions are my very own. I have disdained all research—I like my memories and conclusions as they are. In putting them to paper, I have been guided somewhat by the adage: ‘Don’t confuse me with the facts–my memory is already made up!’

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