Thursday January 12th, 2017

The exercise:

Write about: the opera.

Hanging with the boys went pretty well this morning. Then Kat took Max for a walk around the farm after lunch and unsurprisingly lost him to her parents. So that left me with Miles, who mostly napped.

This is me not complaining about the cold. At all.

Looking forward to getting back to work tomorrow night. Compared to the pre-Christmas madness, the last couple of weeks have felt rather empty in that regard.


"Hi Liam, thanks for picking me up!"

"Uh.. hi?"

"What? What's wrong?"

"What are you wearing?"

"This? Oh, just an old t-shirt and a dirty pair of jeans. You know, stuff that I won't mind getting a little wrecked at the concert tonight. Why are you dressed up all pretty?"

"I think there may have been a misunderstanding..."

"You told me you were taking me to see some music tonight - what's there to misunderstand?"

"I don't think they're going to let you in the door of the opera house dressed like that..."

"Why not? Don't they have a mosh pit at that club?"


Greg said...

Well done on not complaining about the cold! At all!
It sounds like a pleasant day, but I can see that it might be nice to get back to work again and see new people and old colleagues and generally have a change of scenery. I hope you don't quickly decide that it was better being indoors with the kids and not complaining the cold. At all.
I like Liam. I think I've met some people like him too actually, but I really like the idea of a night club called "The Opera House". That's got to have some kind of postmodern appeal to it :) Great descriptions in there as well, of his clothing and his attitude, very nicely put together.

The opera
Kevin gestured towards a spot in the darkness around them and Ernest decided that it was easiest to just accept that the man knew what he was doing. If he wanted Derby and Samual dead it would surely have been easier to just leave with the vampires, or abandon them on the way down to this... nest? What was the name for where vampires lived anyway? He mentally shrugged, then mentally braced himself, and then again. The darkness was as unwelcoming as last time, and the memory of the chill in there was still fresh in his mind.
He stepped in, and once again felt like he was falling. This time he tried to ignore it, concentrating on putting one foot forward then the next, and though it was like striding through treacle as well as falling downwards alarmingly fast, it seemed to help a little, and he was sure he was through the darkness in half the time it had taken him on the way in. He looked around, surprised, when he emerged, and then composed himself as Samual staggered through, his face now ashy-grey and his eyes wide and watering. After him came Kevin, and Lord Derby thought momentarily of sheepdogs, and the darkness simply disappeared, no longer there and having never been there. Samual fell to his knees, struggling to maintain his self-control but clearly upset. Kevin looked about them.
"'Pressive," he said. "Never seen any'un take us back outside the tombs on the first attempt before."
Lord Derby inclined his head, then knelt by Samual. "Deep breaths," he said. "We're outside now, come over here into the sunlight." The afternoon Edinburgh sun was as strong as it got, and though there was enough chill in the air still for their breath to mist now and then in front of them, it clearly helped Samual. Colour returned to his cheeks, though it was clearly still washed-out, and he stood up again, looking around them. "I think we're about fifteen minutes walk from the hotel," said Ernest, pointing across the cemetary to the skyline. "You should be fully recovered by the time we're back!"

Greg said...

The Voices Hotel lounge bar was called the Opera House and was arrayed with the chairs and tables in front of a large, stage-like bar. There were four barmen on duty through the day and evening, reducing to two later in the evening when only gentlemen came in to slowly drink expensive spirits, smoke cigars and hold quiet, cryptic conversations that might or might not affect the well-being of the realm. A door behind the bar led to a kitchen and single-page printed menus were available at the bar. Kevin disappeared off to wherever his job required him to be, and Lord Derby glanced at the menu for a moment before asking the barman to provide a Chef Tasting's menu for two. Then he sat down with Samual in chairs near a wall that gave him an excellent view of all the entrances to the room.
"I would expect we'll be joined shortly," said Ernest. "There are too many people in this hotel for us to go unnoticed for any length of time I should think. However, I'm going to ask you to not talk of what we saw this morning: if even the Lords-Martial ask you about it then I would very much like you to tell them that we visited the cemetary, which is true, and that I studied the tomb and the markings on it, which is very close to the truth. I think it better if the vampires and their little... what is the word for a collection of vampires, I wonder?"
"Clan, my lo-- Ernest," said Samual. His voice still caught slightly trying to use Lord Derby's name.
"Oh really? Well, the vampire clan are a particular problem that I have ideas about. I would rather we resolve it without fuss, and if they become known there will certainly be a fuss."
"Of course," said Samual. He looked a little worried. "This is an order, is it not?"
A waiter dressed in tails and a white shirt, looking for all the world like a tenor ready to perform, set down a plate of skewers. Each skewer held a cube of chicken marinated in soy-ginger and caramelised on two sides and a cube of pear sautéed in olive oil and dusted with the finest grating of ginger. Lord Derby tasted one, and smiled with pleasure.
"I see," he said. "Then yes, Samual, I am ordering you to be discreet about this as an Investigator in the employ of His Majesty."
"Thank-you, sir," said Samual. He tried the skewers as well, and the colour finally returned properly to his face. "This is amazing, sir!"
"Hardly my doing," said Ernest with a smile. "They have an excellent chef, it would seem."
"Ernest!" Three voices at once called out from different doorways, and the entire room seemed to turn to look at him and Samual. Ernest rose to his feet, a charming smile on his face, and waved casually. He caught the eye of the barman and raised four fingers to indicate that more food was needed, and then seated himself again.
"Did we bet on who would find us first?" he asked, and Samual,his mouth full of chicken and pear, shook his head. "Silly of me," said Ernest. "Though I fear I would have lost."

g2 (la pianista irlandesa) said...

Maybe I'm too new-fangled or whatever, but I for one think that as long as it's not actively disruptive, y'all can wear whatever you want to the opera. Besides, other than the music and the design it's not like the story of operas are all that über-refined.

I'm also the kind of person whose first "live" opera experience was Don Giovanni done by puppets, so what do I know?

Not terribly much, I will admit. Since that puppet Giovanni I've seen a few other operas---these ones performed by people, whether live or recorded---and while I've enjoyed the experience, I haven't been enamored by it. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate the musicality and the stage craft and all that jazz. But a lot of the things that make opera Opera for people just don't resonate with me.

The style of singing, for instance, how did all that vibrato get to be a thing that people like? Maybe it's a learned affinity; maybe it's that my ear is far more used to the blends sought in choral singing. Some vibrato is nice for color, but in some cases I can't tell what the proper note is supposed to be.

Also stories of mixed-up/ill-placed/sometimes-doomed romantic love. There are so many of these stories in opera. I'm so tired of these stories, period. If such love grows out of a story organically, that's fine, there are lots of stories I like that have a romance (heck, I turned my parts of one of the first year-long prompts on this blog into a story with a romance). But so often in opera the presentation is so stilted and contrived and wearisome, and I can't blame it on the fact that everyone has to sing everything. People do other things in life besides fall in love and be jealous and do whatever else doomed lovers do, I promise.

But don't get me wrong, I'm not sworn off opera entirely. I know some folks who are involved in opera I'd like to support, I still want to see Wagner's Ring Cycle at least once in my life (if only to see the logistics of doing such a thing, seeing as at least one of the four parts clocks in at over five hours). Cripes, Shostakovich wrote an opera about a nose, I have to see that.

Marc said...

Greg - at all indeed! :D

I think it's good to alternate between the two - pretty sure I'd get quite tired of either one if I did it for too long :P

Ah, a welcome return to sunlight and what passes for normality. I think I can appreciate how Samual is feeling! I am certainly looking forward to where your tale goes from here!

g2 - I think you and I are in agreement on opera. Though it sounds as though you are giving to give it more of a chance than I.

... having said that, the nose opera does have me intrigued :)