The idyllic life of an Artistic Director

Who would have thought I would be writing this while surrounded by deep snow. It may be pretty, however it isn’t practical. So far we have had to cancel the first round of the Festival’s Young Musicians competition as no one would have got to Devon safely; then I had to cry off from going to the finals of the Oxford Lieder Prize which also meant that I couldn’t stay with close friends; next on the list was a trip to the Royal College of Music to hear one of our previous Young Musicians winners, the talented violinist, Joel Munday and finally another London gaunt still hangs in the balance. If you add to this the cancellation of a discussion with the BSO’s Heather Duncan (try driving to Lyme Regis through hedge high snow); as well as a festival meeting then it rather sums up the perils of living at 1200ft perched on top of Exmoor.

 

There are advantages to being snowed-in. It provides every excuse to say ‘I am awfully sorry but there is no way I can possibly be there”. And it’s true. When I have no access, I really do mean it. Proof of this was the delivery – or should I say, non-delivery of a gas top-up from Flogas. Bless their efficiency! It meant I had no gas for three weeks which resulted in the three cottages (we used to do holiday lets) had no heating which might have burst the pipes when it thawed. The water pump froze thereby preventing any hope of a hot bath. Try visualising me having a high-class Badedas strip wash from the washing up bowl (I drew the curtains in case anyone was foolhardy enough to venture down the drive to peer in). The latest is the Aga needs a service judging from its output of minimal heat and its lack of the ‘pop pop’ sound that should lurk in the background. It’s funny how comforting that pianissimo gurgle of flames is; a sort of monotone Musak.

 

It always used to amuse me when, on the odd occasion, I would be on the phone having an earnest conversation with say, the CEO of a company from which I was trying to extract some sponsorship, when I would find myself saying would he mind if I took the kettle off the boil. Then the large German Shepherd dog – Flora – would bark at the arrival of the postlady at which point all hell had broken loose and any hope of bagging thousands of £££££ for the festival had gone.

 

It’s a miracle that any programming takes place. Forget the creative bit.

 

Oh, the life of an artistic director! (Dare I say it but it’s great fun)

 

Penny Adie

21st March 2018

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