Last night I went to listen to John Williams with two friends. People of the same kind tend to hang together and my three dearest friends are all widowed. The best thing of all is that unlike a lot of people we can get out, we make merry when we do and there is nothing like a decent play or some lovely music to make my night.
The people on my right were holding hands, the people in front were holding hands too and the couples kept looking at one another and I thought I hope they've been married for a long time.
We started off at the Champagne Bar, Ann and me, but Jack was coming late so we left there and went to the Fat Buddha which is just across Millenium Square in Durham City where I have my home. We ordered a bottle of wine and three glasses and then I went to the Champagne bar John had also a bottle of wine but this one was opened.
Now I'm partly deaf and so is Ann. I had to make a quick decision and the champagne bar is hell when its full, I can't hear anything. So I took the bottle and the bloke and headed out, much to the amusement of the bar staff. I never do subtle and I was wearing a pink coat and a hat with feathers. Anyway we went back to the Fat Buddha, sat down and sank the open bottle, amidst much laughter.
The manager appeared and told us that we shouldn't bring wine into his restaurant, they would charge us corkage. I smoothed the man's feathers, I don't want to be barred from there. I haven't been thrown out of anywhere for four years, so I was terribly nice to him and we took the other bottle to the gala and I kept it in my bag.
We had ice cream and I forgot about the incident. The music was soothing but I thought afterwards how strange, that I have been going to the Fat Buddha regularly for five years, at one time I was drinking there three nights a week, I go and eat there six or seven times a year and yet the only time I have seen a manager was when he had something nasty to say.
This is what is wrong with part of our society today. It's the letter of the law which counts and in very small matters. I should have known that manager, he should have been aware that I spend a great deal of time in his restaurant and at his bar. I did tell him of course and it is a very good restaurant and yes, we were in the wrong but he should have been more sensible, he should have said nothing. And that is what management does today, it carps. Among all my hates one of the top ones is small mindedness. I shall continue to go to the Fat Buddha, where the young staff are lovely and they know me. Places like the Fat Buddha and the Champagne bar are the few places where I get to talk to people the same age as my kids and I love them.
The opposite of small mindedness is a man like John Williams, sitting there on the stage, dressed like he would be at home, the guitar caressed against him, he is a gentleman. Genius is a combination of talent and work and people who work at that level are the best of us all. He has a lovely sculpted face, a shock of white receding hair, a mouth all smiles. He has knowledge and manners and when you have worked all your life and are the best you become humble, the sort of humility which gives everything to other people and yet your heart sings.
So thanks, Gentleman John, you gave me joy.