Sunday, March 2, 2008

Sexy Yarn

I started my weekend off badly, I must admit. I attended symphony again. You know how pervy I am about that. The whole experience set off my decadent, hedonistic side, and it's just been a long, slow slide down into the pits of sensualism. I know, I say that like it's a bad thing.

Anyway, I bought tickets to this weekend's show because the highlight of the evening's program was Ravel's "Bolero", which I simply had to hear live, conducted by our local music director/conductor, being as his Stravinsky completely changed my world (well, the trappings that he used to wrap the Stravinsky rocked my world; like the bacon around the edge of a medium rare filet, it was the perfect touch and topping on a perfectly cooked meal, and they wrapped their filet in hand-cured peppered bacon.) I was most definitely not disappointed.

The opening hour (it was a super-de-duper long show this week, over 3 hours long) was a performance of a large portion of a national youth orchestra. Typically, I wouldn't have arrived on time for that particular portion of the evening, but I had nothing else to do and they were doing Saint-Saens (memo to me: get dotty-umlautie things for my fonts), and I do love me some Saint-Saens. I didn't realize until I got there that the second item on the bill was Mahler *spits on the ground*, a conductor whom I detest. Fortunately, they only did the first movement from Mahler's second, so I didn't have to flee in tears. Equally fortunately, they reversed the order of those two pieces, so I got the Mahler out of the way first (which didn't, in such a small dose, offend--in fact, I quite enjoyed it. I suppose I can take Mahler in bits and pieces. Perhaps this indicates that I can innoculate myself against his particular flavor of painfully noisy chaos, and maybe, one day, listen to an entire Mahler symphony without wanting to put my own ear drums out with a blunt pencil) before being soothed with the Saint-Saens ("Introduction and Rondo capriccioso in A Minor for Violin and Orchestra, Op. 28" with Barnabas Kelemen on violin). Mr. Kelemen, by the bye, totally kicked ass. I'm usually a piano girl who enjoys violin, but he reminded me of what a well-made violin in the right hands can do.

Oh, and then my Brothers, then they did "Pines of the Appian Way" from Ottorino Respighi's The Pines of Rome, and I fell in love. I confess, as a child, I did love the violin above all other instruments in the orchestra. Then I grew up, experimented and sowed my wild oats as adolescents are wont to do, and fell in love with the piano. Piano broke my heart, and I fell on the neck of the cello (in the hands of Yo Yo Ma), and while I do still love the cello (which still sounds as if it's crying for me and the love we once had, and I will totally hor myself out for cello as done by Trulls Mork), I confess that in a moment of weakness I fell back in love with piano. But somewhere in between my relationships, I have, I admit, had a few flings with the brass and woodwinds. Oh, don't cry for percussion; I'm always open to a one-night stand with them--gotta love the rhythm section. Respighi's "Pines" was tailor made for the pervy brass fancier, and I almost wish they'd been able to find a brace of buccine for the event. I'm sure the trumpets and trombones were doing their best, because they certainly were calling me to war, or something the like. My God, people. I wanted to jump out of my seat, march down the main drag and carry the Imperial banner. So, I've just gone to and ordered a cd of Respighi (and Bolero and a generic collection of militaristic/rousing/big and enthusiastic orchestral music). Must. Own. I don't care if the critics think Respighi is a bit too commercial or plain or not avant guarde-frou-frou artiste enough; he totally kicked my butt. When the dust settled (make no mistake, put a group of strapping teenage boys with healthy lung capacity on brass, stand them on a section of floor raised about ten feet above the heads of the greater orchestra and say "Blow it like you own it", dust will get stirred) and I managed to finger-comb my hair back into place, I jumped up with the rest of the audience and applauded with enthusiasm, even though I couldn't hear it over the ringing in my ears.

Then there was an interval so we could recover some of our hearing, and our local symphonic came on to do a couple of solo pieces for the red-haired step children of the orchestral world--the tuba and the double bass. Rather enjoyed the tuba, frankly. I had no idea you could do things like that with a tuba. The double bass performance felt rather too intimate for words. Of all the instruments in the orchestra, it's the only one that seems to be an active participant in the whole thing rather than a tool--maybe because while playing it, it looks as if you're dancing with it. The woman who played the solo, too, is rather...not tall, nor does she have ape-like arms (luckily for her), so the entire performance was like watching her stumble down the street drunk hanging off a friend's shoulders. To reach some of the higher notes on the instrument, she had to drape herself quite intimately around the neck of the double bass. I almost felt like they should have had some privacy or something.

Somewhere in there, we'd had a second interval, I think before the double bass piece, and the last one to play was "Bolero." I don't know why I'm surprised our conductor did it so well; he's Swiss. What do the Swiss do better than the rest of the world, aside from providing quality banking services for the illicit and the paranoid? Watches and chocolate. Two things essential to the successful staging of "Bolero" are a maniacal control of rhythm and a dose of sensuality that is heavy enough to be enjoyed but not so heavy as to cloy. Watches and chocolate, people. I was seduced. Poorly done, "Bolero" is farce. Done well, as it was Friday, you realize what Ravel was getting at--form does not have to be cold, and it takes a lot of skill to do form well.

After that evening, I needed my smelling salts. I took a mocha instead as I waited for the garage to clear out.

So, Saturday morning, I attended to a semi-promise I'd made and visited my new LYS, which is run by one of my knitting coven members. It's lovely. No soy yarn anywhere (yay!) so I could touch and squeeze and sniff to my pervy little heart's content. It was wonderful. I went in for one item, and one item only:

Black worsted wool, suitable for felting, for what I think is going to end up a gift for a friend. If I don't keep it myself. It took me only a minute to find what I needed, in a bin off to the side. Brown Sheep, which is the brand I'm using for the Who scarves. But then, in a basket off to the other side, I saw:

Frog Tree alpaca, 20% off. The lipstick pink was just too pretty-pretty to resist, and it co-ordinates with the blue so very well. I couldn't resist. I'm not entirely sure what I'll end up doing with it, but it's now safely ensconced in the stash at my ankles as I write. I'm also not entirely sanguine about owning a yarn with "frog" in the name, but I'm hopeful. I was about to leave when the proprietress came over, we chatted about an idea I'd had while deep in the binge of completely unrefined hedonism I'd been swooning in the previous evening (more on that idea later, when I've had time to fill a notebook or two with notes on it, to sharpen the edges and fill in the colors a bit), and she drew my attention--curses!--to something in a basket that I'd passed by initially because I know the limits of my checking account:

Rowan KidSilk Haze. Superkid mohair and silk blend. Fern and Blackcurrant are the names of these colors. Initially, I was only tempted by Fern. I can stop at one, I told myself. Make a small scarf, or perhaps an airy and small shawl. But the Blackcurrant looked so fetching up against the Fern, and just sounded so tasty, so I, a green and purple thing, whatever thing I use it for. Then we had tea in the comfortable crafting area in back, and I got to looking at pattern books and stitch dictionaries, and before I knew it:

Fern and Blackcurrant had babies, the little sluts. The red is Liquer, the orange is Marmalade. Sigh. You really don't want to know how much it cost me to get out of that store. Trust me, you don't. I certainly don't, and I paid it! Oh, well. It is my first splurge, in terms of yarn quality, on myself that I've made so far. Mostly I knit in acrylics and wools, and the stuff from Knit Picks doesn't count, as it's not really expensive. This stuff has silk in it, really from a worm's butt silk. I love the colors all together--it looks like autumn. I did make a promise to actually knit it into something with it (since I kept saying I would be happy to just put it in a pretty vase and set it out for guests to fondle--yes, I am a sensualist enabler), so now I've got to find a pattern/stitch pattern/something to make of it.

I blame Ravel and Respighi.

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