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From The Telegraph:  Retired Doctor Attacks Taxi Driver With Stick Over Fears He Would Miss The Opera.

An opera lover beat a cabbie over the head with his ornate walking stick and swore at him because he feared he would miss a performance of Puccini.
Peter Williamson, a retired doctor, swore at the cab driver as he shouted at him and asked where they were going because he feared he would be late for the open air show in Holland Park, west London.
The physicist, who is a fellow with the Royal Institution, was turfed out of the taxi after launching a tirade of abuse at driver Kevin Johnson.
After dropping Williamson at a cash point on Kensington High Street, Mr Johnson saw Williamson walk past the machine, so climbed out of the car to point him in the right direction.
But Williamson raised his stick above his head and struck his head with the handle, leaving him bleeding and needing stiches.

At a hearing at Hammersmith Magistrates’ Court Williamson admitted assault occasioning actual bodily harm.
The court heard he had been keen to see a performance of one of Puccini’s lesser known works, ‘The Girl of the Golden West.’

Mozart or Monteverdi, I perhaps could understand.  But Puccini?  Really?

Incidentally, the fellah was trying to get to the open-air opera center in Holland Park.  I don’t even know if this place existed when I spent a year in London back in ’87-’88, but I used to go to the open-air theater in Regents Park no great distance away to see performances of Shakespeare, Ben Jonson and others, and the shows were more than once disrupted by air traffic going in and out of Heathrow.  When it got bad, the actors would simply stop and wait for the roar to subside.  How do you do that with an opera?

UPDATE:  As long as I’m on bombastic, diva-driven 19th Century opera (of which I am not a fan, in case you haven’t cottoned yet), let me just stick in this extremely short clip from the Marx Brothers’ A Night At The Opera.  (It became something of a Thing in the Robbo Family Household in my misspent yoot.) In the immortal words of the New Yorker’s review, “doing to ‘Il Trovatore‘ what ought to be done to ‘Il Trovatore‘”.

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

The appearance of buses doing dummy runs on the streets round Port Swiller Manor, coupled with the rash of “Let Me Show Off My Kids” posts on Face Book and elsewhere, reminds ol’ Robbo that the balloon is just about to go up for yet another school year.  That being the case, kindly indulge me in my own LMSOMK post here.

This year the gels will be in 11th, 9th and 7th grades.  Yes, I now O-fficially have two high schoolers and a middle schooler.  (Funny, because it seems like just yesterday that I was posting about diapers and Wiggles concerts.)  And not just high and middle schoolers, but female high and middle schoolers.  As I remarked to Mrs. Robbo the other day after breaking up yet another cat fight, “You know, boys just punch each other and have it done with.”

Anyhoo, the breakdown:

Along about the last quarter of last year, the Eldest Gel decided that for college she’d really like to attend Mrs. Robbo’s alma mater.  At the same time, the penny dropped that if she actually wanted to get in, she’d better start doing something about it academically and extra-curricularly.¹  As a result, she started exerting some effort, and her grades began to climb.  She goes into this year knowing exactly what she needs to do, and I think having a concrete goal will help her achieve it.

The Middle Gel moves to the Upper School on her campus and also is now a Senior Chorister down the Cathedral.  Between the additional school work at the former and the many more practices and performances at the latter than she had in middle school, her life basically won’t be her own until next June.  (For example, she’ll be singing “The Messiah” at Christmas.  They’re also scheduled to perform during the year at Strathmore and Carnegie Hall.)  Perhaps that’s why she’s been cramming in as many reruns of “Dr. Dok-Tor Who” as possible these last few weeks.

The Youngest Gel is bouncing off the ceiling with excitement to begin middle school.  She tested into the local G/T program and also is planning to take up both the cello and cross-country running (moving on to crew in high school).  Recently she’s been consumed with getting herself organized to take it all on.  She and the Eldest Gel have a bad case of Sibling J. Rivalry, and her chief motivation to excel seems to be an overwhelming desire to wipe the Eldest’s eye.   Hey, whatever works, right?

So, as the late, great Johnny Olson used to say on “The Price Is Right”, “Heeeeeere we goooooooo…….”


¹Legacies ain’t what they used to be.  However, it certainly can’t hurt that not only is Mrs. R a Vixen, so are Robbo’s Sistah, Robbo’s Sistah’s Mother-in-Law, the Eldest Gel’s godmother and the Middle Gel’s godmother.   And ol’ Robbo himself is an honorary member of the school’s theatrical tap club, Paint & Patches.  So we got that going for us.


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August 2014