Sunday, September 27, 2009

Day 196: Friends Reunited

Today's soundtrack: Shostakovich - Symphony No 7 in C Major

What's with all the culture, Paul? Can we not have some glam or some reggae? Even some ska?

Well, it's the weekend, and I have to give you what iTunes gives me. And today it's giving us some Shostakovich.

And easy listening this ain't. 'Challenging', I think is the word, even for classical music buffs. Believe it or not, I actually went and sought out this disc, in the rapidly-shrinking classical section of HMV, after seeing the work performed at the Bridgewater Hall in Manchester, as part of the celebrations of the RNCM opening its new wing some time last year.

It is a powerful piece of work though, and not for the fainthearted. The work was written in the 1940s, as a condemnation of the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union, and specifically the siege of Leningrad in 1942.

You don't get that from Beyonce!

Anyway, on to more interesting things. And speaking of sieges, in one of the most lumpen, forced and over-trivialising links I have yet done, it was very painful watching Portsmouth lay siege to the Everton goal in the second half of today's game at Fratton Park. Thankfully, we'd done (just) enough in the first half to have a one goal lead to defend, which we did - more by luck than judgement on this occasion though. A class piece of finishing from Louis Saha (again) giving us a lead we deserved at the time, having missed a couple of gilt-edged chances previously.

However in the second half Portsmouth came out fighting and could (and should) have at least tied the match - a combination of poor finishing and both excellent and flukey defending kept them at bay until the final whistle. Yes Stu - Lucky, lucky, lucky...

Sadly, Stephen Pienaar now seems to be the latest victim of the Everton Freak Injury Syndrome, picking up a knee injury when one of the Portsmouth defenders decided to 'head' his knee.

Oh dear.

And so to this evening - a surprise party in Hooton for George, a very close friend from way back, who I see far less often than I should. We met up with a lot of good friends from way back, when all our kids were growing up together. Some of the kids were there - and my, have they grown up! The kids I used to tease and play with when they were at primary school have now turned into strapping, handsome young men - and quite gorgeous young ladies!

My, that makes me feel old!

George was properly choked I think by the occasion. Knowing Michelle as he does, I think he was expecting some sort of surprise to celebrate his birthday - but not today, and not like this!

We left relatively early, as Mrs W's homing instinct kicked in, leaving the party to continue, no doubt into the early hours. But we're too old for that now! Oh dear.

Naturally, a lot of friends, keen to catch up, were asking me about work - so I spent a lot of time ploughing through my current situation, which I'd king of been dreading - but it was actually quite good to talk about it - and understand that it's not just me suffering - even some people still in work are finding the current situation is making their day to day jobs more difficult and intolerable.

Tough times - but what I need to remember is that there are people - friends - out there I can talk to, who will sympathise and empathise - and that sometimes it is, indeed, good to talk.

So no Shostakovitch on the soundtrack, you'll be pleased to hear - instead, something about friendship. Joe Cocker, at Woodstock (40 years ago this year!) and A Little Help From My Friends.

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