At the Gare du Nord
The piano, a classic upright, was in the middle of the concourse, free to anyone to play. The two little girls weren't playing anything properly, just tinkling around, but the acoustics were good and the sound floated out and all around the arches and ironwork and up the escalators, it was rather lovely.
- Words that exist but I'm not sure I want to use them, and words that I'm not sure exist but I want them to:
A couple that have gained currency in this, the Age of Counselling:
John: You have a girlfriend! ... care to elaborate?
Sherlock: Well, we're in a good place. It's um... very affirming.
John: You got that from a book!
Sherlock: Everyone got that from a book.
Maybe I quite like feeling affirmed. Maybe I'm not sure I should.
Conflicted. Conflict, as a verb, as in - this conflicts with that - has been around forever and is fine; I'm quite easy with verbing nouns, on the whole, though 'impacts on' always grates a bit. It's the use of 'conflicted' as an adjective to describe a feeling that seems rather buzzy and uncomfortable. Yet it is a state of mind it's quite difficult to convey in other words, although 'torn' is perhaps as good as anything. I think I am somewhat conflicted about the word 'conflicted'.
But I'm difficult like that. I try quite hard to avoid 'empathy', though I have sympathy with the sense of it.
I lived through too much of my life before knowing of the term 'straw man fallacy', so was more easily made a victim of it, or indeed more likely to practise it. What, though, is the expression, for when a person injures another, then makes such a show of their remorse and humiliation at having done so as to make themselves appear the injured party and have the tables of sympathy turned in their favour? Heaven knows, we've all done it or had it done to us, there really ought to be a term for it.
- Other reflections on language:
The perfect tense. I have spent much time trying, mostly unsuccessfully, to explain its nuances to French speakers who use it too much and wrongly, and often I have ended up advising them to avoid it and stay with the simple past, which isn't easy for them. But lately I have noticed how helpful its graceful, two-part tying of the past to the present can be.
Grant me chastity and continence from the wilfully profligate over-use of adjectives and adverbs, but not yet.
Some of you might enjoy this, it's only ten minutes or so. The song, Üsküdara, is Turkish in origin, from the days of the Ottomans, but has spread over all the Mediterranean and beyond, so there are Sephardic, Balkan, Greek and perhaps even Hungarian versions, it seems Eartha Kitt even sang it, though I've not heard that, and yes, there was a line of the melody in Boney M's Ra-ra-Rasputin. This version, by beloved Hesperion XXI, is performed in a very fine Lutheran church in Copenhagen.
About four minutes in, the singing moves to a recording of the late Montserrat Figueras, which the live musicians continue to accompany. Hesperion do this quite a bit, I gather, I don't know how long they will continue to do so. It's perhaps a little manipulative the way the camera closes on Jordi Savall as he listens to then joins his playing to his dead wife's voice, and of course he doesn't weep, he's heard and rehearsed it a thousand times and he's a professional, but the sorrow and love on his beautiful and expressive face is moving to see, nevertheless, and Montserrat's voice is sublime as ever.
There's a very good article and interview about Savall here.
(I spent ages trying to work out how to embed the video, since Youtube no longer seem to show the HTML code to do so under the 'share' tab, in fact I don't really know why they still have a 'share' tab, as nothing comes up when you click it. In fact you can embed any Youtube video by using the icon on the blogger toolbar thing. They really do make everything so easy, as long as you do everything on a Google subsidiary of course.)