26 December 2007

A Gargoyle's Christmas

I'll come back to cribs another day; suffice for now to say that yesterday Dad and I wound up sitting next to the one in the Pro-Cathedral. We'd gone into town pretty much at my suggestion, giving Dad the opportunity of hearing the Pro-Cathedral's Palestrina Choir for his first time ever, him somehow having missed out on that treat in all his decades as a Dubliner.

I suspect that even had he heard them before he would have found it a memorable service, not least because at ninety minutes' long, it would have been more than double the length of most Irish masses! The Haydn Kyrie and the Gloria perhaps tilted the celebration in the direction of a performance rather than a mass, reminding me of how I've heard that Liszt used to seek out masses without music in order to avoid that very phenomenon, but all told it was a splendid affair, solemn, prayerful, and glorious, memorably marked by Cardinal Connell's remarkable homily, and culminating as the celebrants left the church with the Hallelujah chorus from Handel's Messiah.

As far as I know, the Messiah is the only major piece in the Classical repertoire to have been premiered in Dublin, back in 1742 if you're curious, but I'm afraid I can't help thinking whenever I hear it of a brilliant T-shirt I saw a fella wearing in my local a few years back, the front bearing the word 'Hallelujah' eight times, and the back the legend 'they don't write lyrics like that anymore'.

Home then, to open the wonderful gifts I'd received in the post over the previous week or so, reluctantly discarding the marvellous shiny black paper and silver ribbon that had concealed one fine present, and to gather around the rubber plant -- it's a long story -- giving and receiving presents, before starting into the first leg of the Annual Turkey Endurance Test in the Gargoyle household, all set to the dulcet tones of Showaddywaddy. Yes, that's a long story too.

Doctor Who followed, with me being spectacularly off in my speculations; frankly, despite all the media gushing, I thought it a ropey affair, cobbled together from clichés although with some decent light relief from Bernard Cribbins and the delightfully-named Bannakaffalatta, and with a heartwarming conclusion. As for Kylie, well, I couldn't help but admire her footwork, especially in a scene where she keeps her balance in hells when I'd be stripping down to bare feet.

Round to visit one of my oldest friends then, giving his parents my card and chatting to his sister, filling her in on my dramas of the last two years, and drily remarking that I shall look forward to resuming normal service, because I'm rather tired of talking about myself; as forms of narcissism go, detailing the manoeuvres of the last two years really isn't the most entertaining!

Home then, old comrade in tow, there to engage in an epic game of Trivial Pursuit, struggling on until three in the morning over an abundance of sandwiches and snacks, and wondering whether Bombay really boasts of having 100,000 homeless people. We played in teams, names having been drawn from my German hat, and I'm afraid that I did not win.

There has been speculation that my wine intake may have contributed to this in no small part, but in truth I don't think I would have answered any questions differently even had I been sober.

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