you'll have to take my word for this because i'm taking someone else's advice on the selfsame matter. i seriously doubt that many of you are opera fans, though i'd be more than happy to be surprised. brief conversations with those who are far better informed on the subject than i have given rise to the knowledge that even within the realms of operatic appreciation, there are schisms and divides. this positions certain aficionados on the side of german opera, specifically those of wagner, while others consider these an abomination and that italian is the true home of the art, and will bear no contradiction.
i would certainly not consider myself anywhere near being a member of the cognoscenti, for i doubt very much i could appraise you of the storyline behind any of the world's great operas. rather irrationally, however, i have always harboured the notion of purchasing wagner's entire ring cycle, and not simply because of the inadvertant us of the word cycle in its title.
having moved this far west to thrust my artistic pretensions upon an unsuspecting and largely uncaring world, i found the act of painting to be a somewhat lonely and quiet affair, locked as i was in my downstairs studio for most of each day. thus, a radio was procured to accompany my every brush stroke and palette knife dalliance upon the canvas. radio's one and two were deemed too rhythmic to allow for unfettered expressionism, while radio four's talk format led to my deserting the job in hand to pay more attention to the conversations.
radio three, however, was content to purvey lengthy pieces of orchestral music with sparse interruption from the announcer, so i opted to become highbrow in all my artistic dealings, and listen exclusively to classical music. at the time, each thursday afternoon, the station would broadcast an opera in its entirety, each successive act preceded by a precis of the forthcoming action. not having had much to do with opera previously, i was pleasantly susprised to discover that i had an affinity for this so-called elitist musical form and looked forward to oils and watercolours each thursday pm.
though the home of english opera seems to be encapsulated by concerts at glyndebourne, likely at least in part due to the inclemency of the british weather, these performances are held within the purpose built concert hall on the premises. europe, however, generally fares a tad better on the meteorological front and holds several open-air festivals, proclaiming their operatic presentations in the great outdoors. it is the avowed superiority of this means of appreciation that has been passed onto me by those with a more refined awareness, and to which i now inform you too.
it will, however, come as little or no suprise that the principal thrust of my narrative has, in fact, nothing whatosever to do with opera at all. it does however, pertain to a similarly elitist practice; that of track racing. now i mean not to disparage those who participate in this branch of the sport, for of those i have met, i would be telling a great untruth if i presented any as being more ighbrow than the rest of us. but it is an all but undeniable fact that track racing or riding is marginally less accessible than that of road riding or time-trialling, simply because it depends entirely on premises built specifically for the purpose.
i would be teaching my granny to suck eggs were i to reiterate the history of track racing in britain, resting as it did principally on concrete outdoor tracks. most of these have been demolished or re-absorbed by the undergrowth in the years over which cycling in circles has waned as a cyclist's premier pastime. there are, however, one or two historic tracks still barely in existence, relying on the enthusiasm, dedication and hard work of groups of individuals who stoutly defend that their time is still now. one such is that of herne hill in london, a track that has suffered as much as any, yet refuses to lie down amongst the weeds.
herne hill, however has even more in common with the practice of performing opera out of doors, despite my misdirections. this coming tuesday (16th july), evans cycles, hoy bikes and the antidote design agency (responsible for the teamsky corporate identity amongst others) are inviting all and sundry to join them at herne hill to not only witness competition winners riding the track on hoy bikes with sir chris, but take part in a question and answer session with britain's most decorated olympic medallist.
those chosen for the track ride have been posting pictures of their rides to instagram with the hashtag #ridesummer. these were automaticall added to the evans cycles ride-summer map, and the winners chosen by sir chris.
following the q & a, chris hoy will offer a brief introduction to the highlight of the evening, an outdoor cinematic viewing of belleville rendezvous an aninated movie that every cyclist worth their salt ought to have watched a minimum of six times prior to this herne hill showing. if this is just the sort of evening you thought you'd like to have planned for a tuesday eve, the presentation begins at 8pm and ought to be complete by 10:30pm, the movie commencing at 9:15pm.
for those of you like me who will be nowhere near herne hill on tuesday eve, take the telly into the garden and watch the dvd of belleville rendezvous
for those who would like to attend, evans cycles have graciously provided four pairs of tickets for the event. to win, simply tell me the names applied to both styles of hoy bikes currently available from evans cycles. e-mail your answers to firstname.lastname@example.org by this sunday eve (14th july). winners will be notified by e-mail on monday.
friday 12th july 2013