Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Some Things Are Literal

Over the past couple of days I've learned that "under the weather" can be a literal thing i.e. getting itsy bitsy sickie wickie from the changing climate.... or climate change, depending on your politics. I've also learned that "ending on a good note" can be literal as well - musicians have this tendency to practice without thinking of the law of diminishing returns or whatever it's called, and end up beating a dead horse (if that indeed is the phrase, I tend to get confused when euphemisms use seemingly randomly chosen farm animals).

You know how a baby cries really loudly and people joke, "What great voice projection!" The voice professor here tells me there's more truth to that than one would think - because babies can cry for as long as they do, and not wear out as much as the typical adult tends to after shouting a while. Natural voice projection. You get it at birth, and two decades later you spend quite a bit of time and effort to get it back and make it into a career. How about that.

The new conductor of the school orchestra is British, so when I ask him a question I can actually include the vocabulary of crotchet, minim, semiquaver, and other members of our quaint musical community. To which he'll tell the orchestra, don't worry, he's correct even though you have no idea what he's talking about, which is just fine. And then he coins the words "crisper", "pitchier" and "chalugernought". I always thought the first was supposed to be "crispier" but I suppose that would have entailed a food substance in eat-me range. The second I think was just cheeky. The final was a amalgam of the chuga-chuga of a train and the juggernaut bow intensity required then.

No man can be an island, but Britain is one anyway. Or one and then some, if you include the Falklands and Northern Ireland. I have no regrets coming here instead of going to the Birmingham Conservatory because of the scholarship situation, but some days I wish I had assimilated a proper accent. And I'm aiming to go to Australia after this - if that works out I'll barely be speaking the English language after a couple of years.

Moving from the literal to the literary, I think I may just apply for a writing competition here on campus. I've had a couple of unrealized ideas, and though writing what you know is the maxim of choice, I think sometimes it's good to let your alter ego take charge. I'm thinking of a dark piece of a disgruntled, jaded musician who looks at the music world with utter cynicism, and ending off with a moment of truth where he resists the hope of the young in music and the magic of sound. In verse. Maybe in a time signature too, who knows. I meant that symbolically - as in a specific kind of meter... but what the heck, why not actually throw in the time signatures, literally. Maybe stave lines too.

More on the literary, so apparently Dumbledore's gay, how about that. Which made me think about what Dumbledore would say about calling gay people names.

"Before you call a gay Muggle a Guggle, think about
how it would be if someone called you a Gizzard."
(Now read it again with the best British accent you can muster.

Yes, I think that would be just about right. Go diphthongs! Now, I'm all supportive of having some real diversity in popular literature, and I think it's absolutely great that books like Mark Haddon's The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time get prizes and attention these days. And the whole Lemony Snicket deal, which makes it cool to be a bookworm, an inventor... and a biter. Ok the last one was a bit weird.

Makes me think that what my housemate says it right - whatever other ills American society has, public policy actively and successfully places people with disabilities with opportunities to work, and access to facilities. Asian cultures - note the plural - tend to have better respect for the fellow man on the whole, true, but that's mostly on the presumption that the fellow man is very much alike to you. We also tend to do quietly dispose of those who are different in some way or form. Sometimes people do it to themselves, sadly - I once met a perfectly able Thalassaemia carrier who doesn't question why Singapore Airlines won't give him a job. Idiot.

Anyhoo. So, Albus is gay. I think that will be particularly interesting in a socially more conservative society like that in Malaysia - especially since everyone's already read the books. I'm all supportive, but at the same time, when I read in the article this little section:

A spokesman for gay rights group Stonewall added: "It's great that JK has said this. It shows that there's no limit to what gay and lesbian people can do, even being a wizard headmaster."

I went, I'm sorry dear, but that's just not quite accurate. Truth is, there's no limit to what gay and lesbian people can do... even being a popular fictional character.

And that's why some things are literal.

1 comment:

yingjieliow said...

hi andrew!! =D