Mobile and Immobile

We had a free day today, (well, except for the concert in the evening) so a small group of us from the woodwind section thought it would be nice to wander down to the Prado. Unfortunately the weather was being very British, so by the time we reached the gallery we were soaked to the skin. The first thing we did when we arrived was pile into the cafe to warm up with a hot drink-we sat, huddled round hot chocolate, steaming gently. The Prado was as interesting as ever, with paintings I hadn’t had time to see when I was there last time. After a few hours of walking round we all decided that we had had enough, my back was aching and my feet were still very wet indeed. To prevent trench foot, we reconvened in a restaurant near the hotel which has one of those fantastically mistranslated menus. Now I don’t wish to laugh at things like this especially as my Spanish skills are limited, but sometimes its easier to try and translate the Spanish menu rather than translate the English menu. In case you were wondering, we all had the special of the day which was


Land fill ravioli of bees with cheese of the thyme goat aroma”


I assure you, that is a direct quotation. Tasted nice though.


The first half of the concert was the Bartok music for strings, percussion and Celeste – this has no woodwind in it. It was a welcome break for half the orchestra to stretch out on the sofas backstage or drink espresso to kick start the evening. All too soon however we were back out onto the stage for Brahms 1, one of my favourite pieces. In Madrid, just before the leader walks on, there is a recorded announcement to remind you to switch your phone off. It always makes me jump as it is so unbearably loud, this is then followed by a lot of fumbling in the audience and the orchestra. There is no mobile signal in the Barbican so we always have to remember to switch off elsewhere, however on this occasion someone in the audience forgot. To make matters worse, they were directly in Daniel’s line of sight (the audience sits all around the orchestra). Now I don’t know whether it had already gone off in the loud bits and we just didn’t hear it but in a pause in the slow movement, they received a text message. I hope it was important as Daniel fired a look at them that could probably kill at 30 paces. When my brother got married, my two boys, who were page boys, had behaved well all day. They were only about 4 and 6 at the time and were bored in the speeches. They decided to crawl under all the tables which was very cute until they decided to crawl under the table with the wedding cake on. It moved, and they turned and looked at me. I couldn’t shout out as there were speeches going on, so I gave them the dad look. It was exactly the same look Daniel used. I am happy to say, there were no more mobiles-oh and the wedding cake was fine.

Coming home after Salamanca was a bit of a disaster I’m afraid. We got up very early to get on a charter plane at what is one of the smallest airports I’ve been to. It has one main room to wait in and then the gate-you walk across the tarmac to get on the plane. As there was only one plane until the second flight in the evening, it was fairly empty. Everything went smoothly, we boarded the plane and then nothing happened. There was a fault and so we had to get back off. This could get very dull so I shall skip through what happened.

  1. We boarded

  2. A fault was diagnosed

  3. We got off

  4. We had another coffee

  5. More coffee

  6. We got back on to get our hand luggage

  7. we got off again

  8. Coffee

  9. A new plane was sent from Madrid

  10. 3 hour wait and more coffee

  11. New plane arrives

  12. It doesn’t have enough fuel to get to London

  13. Wait for a refueling plane

  14. More coffee

  15. Refueling plane arrives after an hour

  16. It doesn’t have enough fuel

  17. Refueling plane goes off to refuel

  18. Comes back and refuels our new plane

  19. We get on

  20. We arrive back at Stansted about 6 hours late

  21. Orchestra goes straight to a rehearsal at St Lukes through the rush hour.

  22. Orchestra curls up in a corner thinking that there must be easier jobs.

International jetsetting at its most glamorous.

Joost relaxing during the Bartok. I checked, he was breathing


About LSO

The London Symphony Orchestra is one of the world's top orchestras. Our home is at the Barbican Centre in the City of London where we play over 80 concerts every year, but we also spend quite a bit of time out on the road, touring all over the world. Recently we have toured to Germany, France, Russia, New York, Japan, Holland, Hungary, Austria, Belgium, Italy, Switzerland and Lithuania; and coming up this year are China, Taiwan, Malaysia, Japan, Hong Kong, Spain, Portugal, Florida, Romania and a return visit to New York, where we are resident at the Lincoln Center.
This entry was posted in Gareth Davies, Spain October 2008. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Mobile and Immobile

  1. Paul says:

    Sounds like Hoffnung at the Oxford Union, also made into an Irish ditty on the lines of why Paddy won’t be in to work today – the barrow/barrel and the bricks. Better luck next time!

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