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Name: lesley153
Bedfordshire, UK

Age: yes, very. . . . . . Sex: like raw celery - uses more calories than it's worth. . . . . . Location: half way between Oxford and Cambridge.

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September 27, 2008

Ooh - I'm going to see HIGNFY!

Have I Got News For You is a topical quiz, and one of the funniest shows on TV.

When my son went off to study in London, he very quickly discovered the joy of going to studio recordings. All the fun of a live performance, with none of the expense - heaven-sent for students. He's seen Mock the Week, which is THE best programme of all time, except Top Gear but I think there's a two-year waiting list for Top Gear tickets. He saw the Christmas edition of Parkinson, with Lenny Henry, Katherine Jenkins and Judi Dench; Thank God You're Here - an improvisation show with Paul Merton;  and he was at the last Room 101, with Ian Hislop.

He also saw a pilot for a new programme with Graham Norton. The pilot was so bad, it was never shown. A few more episodes were shown but I think it sank without trace. Ah well. Can't get them all right.

I've been laughing at HIGNFY for ten years so. He found that tickets would be available, and asked if I'd like to see it. Would I! Applying for tickets online doesn't mean you'll get any, and getting tickets doesn't mean you'll get in, because there is always overbooking - they don't want TV audiences to see empty seats. But today he asked me what I was doing on the 23rd of October: nothing: wrong, you're going to see Have I Got News For You! because he has got tickets, and we will make sure that we get there very very early.

I'm quite excited. :)

Nothing much happening.

My son's not going to be on the telly. We sat glued to every episode of Maestro, and didn't see him, although there was the odd brief glimpse of the orchestra he was in. Same at one of the Prom concerts shown on TV, where a few of the contestants had turned up to chat in the interval. Just the odd shot of his orchestra.

Last year, he went on tour with a college orchestra, to Croatia. On the way back, one of the customs people, seeing an influx of twenty-somethings, asked what they'd been doing. Son explained, and the man said: "Oh yes - I saw you on the TV!" So perhaps that's his hat-trick. Twice on local telly, and once in eastern Europe.

I was delighted that Sue Perkins won Maestro. Goldie was having a whale of a time, learning, enjoying, and doing astonishingly well. But she was at least his equal on musicality, and she has grade 8 piano. I think, in the end, her formal training and discipline showed.

Merv wanted Goldie to win, and was surprisingly annoyed when he didn't. Perhaps because he'd blown the cost of a phone call to vote for him. Twenty-five pence, wasted! Merv was muttering about Goldie's expressiveness, and dismissing Perkins by means of disparaging remarks about her sexuality... but that's Merv for you. Women, for Merv, are just about sex and money.

I've had a haircut. Doesn't get much more exciting than that. My hair wasn't doing much; just hanging over my shoulders. It's now just short of shoulder length, and it moves when I move, which I think I like. It's the mutton-dressed-as-lamb look - my favourite.

We had a little jaunt to the new IKEA in Milton Keynes yesterday. Son drove, I relaxed. But I paid for everything, including fish and chips and peas and tea twice. Come to think of it, I paid for his petrol too. Ah well.

We passed the Pöang chairs, and lingered, wistfully. These are the only chairs he's found which fit his back since his spine surgery. They start at about £60 but the one he likes has a dark frame and leather cushion and costs twice that. I promised to treat him to one when he moves into his new flat.

On the way out, we passed their bargain corner, and spotted an ex-display £90 Pöang chair, with a dark frame - and a cotton cushion, but who cares? It was only £21.50. Cushion cover in the washing machine: good as new. He now has his very own Pöang chair, and we saved £70. Good trip, that. Doesn't happen very often - but once will do. (He still wants a leather one, though. I haven't got away with it!)

Today he's gone flat-hunting for the new academic year, with all-new flatmates. Last year's landlord was going to refund the whole of their deposit, but has just said that he will deduct an unspecified amount because the oven hadn't been cleaned (oops!), and because two of the boys left graffiti - crayon on the glass wardrobe doors. Odd that that should be in two bedrooms. It might be only one of the boys, spreading his artistic talents. Son's written to the landlord saying it's unfair that he should be penalised for damage he didn't do. It'll be interesting to see how far that gets him. It can't be beyond the landlord's wit to remove a bit of wax crayon from glass, but then he shouldn't need to, and it shouldn't have been beyond the flatmates' wit not to do it in the first place.

These are the same two boys who always kept a bottle of vodka in the freezer, and made sure they got cheaply mellowed on it before they went out. Then they would spend the evening seeing how much they could throw down their necks, and much of it would end up on the hall floor (and walls) when they staggered back in at six o'clock in the morning. Yet another moral about who's good to share a flat with.

Louis Fussell and The Curse of the Ninth

According to Wikipedia: "The curse of the ninth is the superstition that any composer of symphonies, from Beethoven onwards, will die soon after writing their own Ninth Symphony. Most prominent examples, besides Beethoven, are Franz Schubert, Antonín Dvořák, Anton Bruckner, Gustav Mahler, and Ralph Vaughan Williams."

To these illustrious names, we can now add Louis Fussell. Louis played and taught the violin and viola, and also made instruments, and lived and worked all over Britain. An early job
was violin teacher in a girls' school in Aberdeen, where he spotted Annie Lennox's talent on the flute, and wrote a flute concerto for her. Another job was in Southampton, where he founded a youth orchestra: he was honoured recently when the orchestra celebrated its 50th anniversary.

Eventually he settled in Bedford, where he carried on his musical activities, and his fund-raising for cancer charities. He marked his 70th birthday by riding his bike to Land's End. He did the ride twice more - once on his 80th birthday - before he decided that three was enough, but he continued to ride his bike everywhere, including to Southampton to see old friends. He also arranged fund-raising concerts, putting orchestras together, persuading local musicians to play, and choosing the programmes, which usually included his latest symphony.

He completed his 9th symphony at the beginning of this year. Less than a month later, he was riding through Bedford to have dinner with friends, when a car knocked him off his bike, and killed him - we think - instantly.

Tonight, my son was in the orchestra, and I was in the audience, for the "world premiere" of Fussell's 9th. The musicians said that it was probably his best. Some of them were playing instruments that Louis had made. There wasn't an empty seat in the house.

Close but no hat trick.

I am about to go into Proud Parent mode. If that's something you'd rather not see, please look away now.

This is what I wrote two blogs ago - "he" is my son, who plays the violin:
The BBC is making a programme called Maestro, like Channel 4's Faking It, with eight non-musical ("celebrity") people playing at being conductors. He plays in a conductors' training orchestra called I Maestri, and they will be the BBC's guinea pigs for these pretenders. They're recording something tomorrow - he could be on the telly!

Sorry, I shouldn't have called them un-musical. For instance, David Soul has been singing for years, Sue Perkins got Grade 8 Piano... just that they have never conducted.

All the participants except Jane Asher had a go at conducting the I Maestri orchestra last Wednesday. She did rehearse, but with a different orchestra.

He has been on TV twice before, for seconds at a time, and we were looking to this programme for the hat-trick. I was glued to the TV for the whole hour yesterday evening. Each participant's effort was preceded by a minute or two of their preparations, which were with their mentor, and a piano, and sometimes a string quartet, and sometimes an orchestra. A couple of times there was a split-second view of an orchestra that wasn't the BBC one, but all you saw was a couple of heads and their bows - not even faces. There were one- and two-second views of the orchestra Jane Asher practised with, but that's not the one we wanted to see!

A friend of his said she'd spotted him, but we've just watched the programme together on the computer, and we don't know how she could have seen him, because we didn't! But I was pleased to see I Maestri acknowledged in the closing credits.

One other person asked "How hard can it be?" and picked up a baton to find out. This was a journalist from the Daily Mirror. He wasn't very good at it. :) Here's the article in his newspaper:

If you scroll down nearly to the end, where it says "Watch Mirrorman Damien with the Maestro celebs by clicking on the link below," you will see the first four seconds devoted to a moving shot of I Maestri. If you pause at 3 or 4 seconds, you will see my son, standing up in the middle of the room, adjusting imaginary cufflinks on his shortsleeved (famous, red) shirt. He's dead centre of the shot just before it cuts to Sue Perkins.

It's not much, but it's better than nothing. Maybe I'll see him on the telly next week. Or the week after that?

FT Freak

I'm stealing this too. Thanks, Paige!

More than 100 quizzes played -  yes, just passed 950

At least 2 quizzes online -  none online, a few in my head

Played the Global - yes, up to the Geniuses (ROFL)

Joined a Friends group - yes, the Anchovies. Love it.

Hourly or Daily -  frequently!

Blog - Oh yes! Try and stop me. :D

Won Last One Standing - Don't remember - only played a few times a few months ago, with Leelee63, as a tribute to an FT friend of hers who had just died.

Played 2 LOS games at once - No! although I did know a woman who could play five bingo cards at once. But that's not the same really, is it?

Played Quiz and Conquer - Ooh - I haven't heard of that one. :( Let me at it!. On second thoughts, better not.

Comments in blogs and chat forums Yes, lots.

Created Tournament - No, but know a lot of people who have.

Answered question at AFT - No. Well, only in my head, to find that it or they had already been answered.

Popular quiz online - No quizzes. :(

Gold Member - Yes

Visit at least twice a week - Daily, but I'm not addicted! Oh no.

Played a Crossword - More than my profile shows - about 250.

Written a Crossword - No

Anything in your blurb - Yes, and I haven't changed it for months. Must put thinking cap on.