My phone is ringing at regular intervals this morning, but all I get
when I pick it up is a beeping noise. Some misguided
machine out there is trying to communicate with me and doing a very
bad job of it.
According to this
report from Transparency
International, New Zealand is the equal-second
least corrupt country in the world (behind Finland, and sharing its
position with Denmark).
We went to a Prom concert on Sunday night to hear Valery Gergiev
conduct Prokofiev's 3rd piano concerto and
Shostakovich's 4th symphony. The latter was really
quite amazing. It requires a huge orchestra (four clarinets, four
oboes, four flutes, bass clarinet, treble clarinet and bassoons in
the woodwind, two harps, lots of exotic percussion, a piano and lots
of brass as well as all the usual strings). When playing at their
loudest, the music totally filled the Royal Albert Hall, and I think
I could even feel the floor shake slightly at one point (and we were
in cheap seats, high up and quite a distance from the orchestra
really). In contrast, the ending is a very quiet fade out, and
everyone was very still and quiet for an age until Gergiev relaxed
and let us applaud him and his orchestra (the Kirov).
It's a shame the audience couldn't keep as quiet through the rest of
the performance. There were lots of coughs and
splutters. I don't think I've ever coughed during music at a
concert, so I feel pretty intolerant. They should implement some
sort of “one cough and you're out” policy, because the coughers
are typically repeat offenders. Anyway, here's
a review from the Guardian.