Monday, May 26, 2008

Music matters

Just been listening to my friend Jessica Duchen on radio 4's Music Matters. (You can catch it for the rest of the week here, starting just after 20 minutes in).

I may end up tied to a stake by hooded culturati, the first wisps of smoke emerging from the Enid Blytons piled up by my feet, for this comment, but I really think that Jessica writes about music far better than Ian McEwan does. If I sound surprised or defensive about this, it's only because I have such high respect for Ian McEwan in general (but my all time favourite is in fact The Daydreamer, which probably marks me as the childish Philistine that I am) and because he takes such a serious interest in writing about music.

Anyway, the prospect of nice warm feet starts to feel appealing as the wind and rain wail round our extension on this Bank Holiday Monday.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

from beans to mug - brewing up envy and pleasure

We've just got a lovely Italian coffee machine - not something I'd been planning, an impulse buy when I spotted it on sale, ex-demo at half-price, at my local Ringtons.

It quietly grinds the beans to make a truly delicious cup of coffee with luxurious layer of crema, and I am now an overnight convert to espresso.

Apart from the pleasure of drinking the coffee, there's also the secondary pleasure to be had from other people's enjoyment of their coffee.

One of our friends last night quietly asked me how much it cost. Will they get one too? There's a potential third pleasure, given that we don't normally think of ourselves as trend-setters.

But what if they do - will the fact that our coffee machine no longer surprises and delights them reduce our secondary pleasure? What if their machine makes even better coffee than ours - will our beautiful espressos turn to ashes in our mouths?

Ah well - time for our nice leisurely Sunday morning coffee, I think. Oh, the comforting power of little rituals to crystallise and replicate emotions.