Monday, April 04, 2005

That Little-Known Fifth Season

Thanks to the torrential weekend rains and the spring thaw, it looks as though little-known fifth season is upon us: Mud.

We've been relatively lucky here. We have a few tiny damp spots on the downstairs floor, but some folks have flooded basements, or worse. On the coast near here, a 300-foot section of the road just fell away into the water.

All the same, it's impressive. You can step outside the front door at night and hear the river roaring like Niagara Falls over the little rock spillway down the street. My pond is chock-full, and then some. I don't think we'll have much problem with drought this year, but don't even ask about mosquitoes.

Musical News of Various Sorts

Greg didn't get the part in Into the Woods in spite of his being a real live honest-to-gosh prince, but he's not all that disappointed. He had just begun to contemplate what all that memorization and all those rehearsals would do to his summer vacation, and he's relieved that he now has the time back (so to speak). Also, he'd like to come with me to Wales to pick up the puppy in August, but performances might have interfered with those plans.

Our is up to the usual mischief. Some of us are a bit concerned that the Rutter Magnificat, the only remaining component of our upcoming spring concert, might not be a big enough draw at 40 minutes for people to want to come see it. We have no other scheduled for that concert. Maybe we can get the children's chorus to reprise their songs from "Snow White," which they performed last month. They don't have to be talented or even prepared; they just have to be cute.

Someone came up with the frickin' bright idea that we should cancel both spring concert performances, and then offer the Rutter some Saturday in June, and then sing a on that Sunday in another town. This doesn't address the basic problem of our lack of content, but it did get our director all excited for all the wrong reasons. I, for one, do not have the intestinal fortitude to stand up in front of the chorus and tell them for a third time that we're moving the concert dates. A lot of people have already changed their plans twice to accommodate the performances... plus I was hoping to weasel out of having to sing in the Pops concerts. I loathe Pops concerts.

Anyway, it should make for a lively and amusing Board meeting next week.

From the Netflix Queue

On Saturday night, we watched a sweetly tongue-in-cheek Norwegian film called Kitchen Stories. It was a gentle, subtle, typically Scandinavian comedy about two men who become friends in spite of their trying not to, and thus enriching each other's lives. It takes place in the '50s, in the era of efficiency studies. One man is a Swedish observer for a study that concerns how people use their kitchens. He and his fellow observers are each assigned a little camper-trailer by the company running the study, and then they are all sent to a remote area of Norway to observe the kitchen habits of Norwegian bachelor farmers. (I can just imagine Garrison Keillor watching this movie and howling.)

The observers have been cautioned not to speak to their subjects or to fraternize with them in any way, for fear that to do so would harm the purity of the data collected in the study. Each observer is expected to sit silently in a very high chair in a corner of the kitchen and watch how the Norwegian bachelor farmers use their kitchens.

The main character in the story, named Folke, is assigned to a particularly crusty old Norwegian farmer who has had second thoughts about the study, and who would have called the thing off except that the Swedes offered each of the participants a horse, and his own horse is sick. (It turns out that the horse they offered is a Dala horse figurine.) Anyway, the farmer goes out of his way to make sure that he does nothing worth observing. He cooks in his bedroom upstairs so that the observer sees nothing, and he even drills a hole in the floor so that he can observe the observer.

They carry on in this fashion until one day, when the farmer returns from the barn, saddened that his horse isn't getting any better. The farmer sits down in his kitchen and pulls out his pipe for a smoke, only to discover he's out of tobacco. The observer offers some of his own tobacco, and the two then start to strike up a friendship (in defiance of company orders).

I won't give any further details, in case any of you plan to see this film and want to know what happens next. Greg and I both enjoyed its low-key charms.

1 comment:

Pirate said...

As Greg is the composer in the family, maybe you could get him to compose something along the lines of Vivaldi's Four Seasons: this one entitled The Fifth Season: Mud. What do you think? I envision lots of deep, "muddy" bass notes.