The Aardvark Blog
Five reasons to be cheerful for 2017!
Five reasons to be cheerful for 2017!
I am by nature a cheerful person, and recently all the sack cloth and ashes about the dreadfulness of 2016 has made me start to think that perhaps the prospects for 2017 are not as bad as we all fear. After all - as an excellent 'thought for the day' said this morning - there have been far worse times and places to live. After all if you were living at the court of Vlad the Impaler it would rarely have been worth ordering a new doublet and hose for the new year. And who would have wanted to be a window repairer in Prage during the 30 years war. There are always grounds for optimism.
So here are my five reasons to quit the black, and embrace the purple.
1) In 2016 it has just been announced that Mozart was the most successful music star of the year. His records apparently outsold every-one elses. So perhaps 2017 will be Beethoven's year, or perhaps Johann Sebastian might have a look in. It's true, unexpectedly classical music is having a bit of an upsurge. If you are lucky enough to live in the central Marches, there will be lots of opportunities this year to join in. We have the excellent early music programme at Discoed, a re-invigorated Ludlow Music Society, the Three Choirs Festival down the road in Worcester, Presteigne Festival featuring Satie (yes I know that they're a year late for his anniversary, but don't quibble), and an absolutely brilliant Arcadia Festival line-up in October (I am dying to say more, but have been sworn to secrecy. I can reveal that there will be a French flavour to this year's proceedings). And if you don't live in the Marches, do not despair. When I was passing the Wigmore Hall earlier in the month I noticed their January programme posted outside, and it was all I could do not to salivate.You have the Novus and Danish Quartets and Cuartetto Casals playing Mozart. Later in the year there will be lectures from Alfred Brendel and a return to the Wigmore Hall for Les Arts Florissants. And above all else there is Radio 3, that eternal balm for the soul. Let us not mention the horrors of the breakfast show, but beyond that there are the delights of composer of the week, CD review, Opera from the Met, concerts from anywhere and everywhere and Proms rebroadcasts. So much fantastic music.
2) Aardvark is once again hosting the English Civil War Society in August. That's right, once more the cannons will fire and the horses whinney. There will be fine ales (including a special civil war brew from the Swan Brewery in Leominster), stalls, printing presses and sedition. Brilliana Harley will once more assert her rights, and at end of day the castle will fall and the household will be dragged out to imprisonment in Ludlow. Yes, it will be our biggest ever re-enactment and entry is a meagre £3 for adults and nothing at all for under 16s.
3) New books from old masters. For Fantasy lovers George R Martin's new book has been announced, whilst for detective story buffs like myself there are new books from all the regulars including Martin Walker, Donna Leon, Lindsey Davies and many more. Then there are all the books one missed in 2016. If you haven't yet got a copy of 'Meetings with Remarkable Manuscripts', how have you been spending your time?! Yes, books are everywhere - the dreaded Kindle is heading for the great back drawer in the sky - and reading is definitely cool again. Writers are once more heros in films (enough of all those sensitive architects), and it is ok to litter your house with books (no more cold white emptly homes).
4) There are now some really great comedies again. Last night we laughed so much at John Finnimore's Christmas special that we had to listen to it again on Iplayer, as my laughing had drowned out some of the best jokes. If you haven't caught the Donald Trump Saturday Night Live sketches on YouTube, then you are in for a treat. Alec Baldwin is brilliant as the Donald, and just think we have another four years - at least - to enjoy the mockery.
5) And finally 2017 is not and never can be 2016! We will be spending New Year's Eve with my God son and his parents at an ancient house tucked away in the Malvern Hills. What better way to mark a year's passing than with friends and a glass (or two) of French wine.
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