I sometimes teach, at a place that shall remain nameless, near the strand. It is well placed for it allows for a quick sprint to St John’s Smith Square to listen to their Thursday lunchtime recitals. This requires a series of deft maneuvers, including leaving the students some five minutes early, running to catch the district line, and if things have gone a little awry, a taxi from Westminster station to that most sublime of regular quadrilaterals.
The last stretch of the sprint, if done on foot, sends one scurrying past the warring parties of pro-Europeans and their opponents and the encampment of television journalists on College Green. It adds a certain excitement to the journey, the shouting of well practiced slogans and the more general atmosphere of antagonism leaves a spectre of joyful violence hanging over one’s head as the last turn is taken heading down Lord North Street.
This week’s concert had Emma Halnan on flute and Daniel King Smith at the piano who together played a very enjoyable program of music by English composers. The first two pieces, sonatas for flute and piano by Malcolm Arnold and Edwin York Bowen, seemed significantly more modern to the ear than the pastoral sounding final piece which was a premier. It was delightful enough for me to pick up a copy of the CD on the way out.
Around noon on Friday I found myself in the American bar at the Savoy drinking when I had meant to eat lunch delivered in a cardboard box; later on I stumbled in to the Chiltern Firehouse when I had meant to head to King’s Cross. Both encounters led to some interesting number crunching, including the realization that calculating the number of starting formations for Fischer Random Chess requires a whole page of paper rather than the back of a receipt. But the back of a receipt turned out to be ideal for giving out a phone number.
Having again ended up at the Chiltern Firehouse on Saturday evening, I was asked at the cloakroom to give the name of a regular twelve sided shape; a dodecagon as it transpires. The place seems to have attained a mathematical flavour. This visit to the Firehouse had followed Mahan Esfahani’s concert at the Wigmore Hall that evening where the highlights were Bach’s fourth and fifth partitas. Esfahany may speak as much as he plays but it is a joy to hear him play.