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The Scrivener: Let's Disagree

"It's always good to differ amicably, isn't it?'' muses Brian Barratt, before introducing us to two outstanding singers.

What sort of a bike is that, I wondered. There it was, parked close to where I was enjoying my morning coffee. Bright, shiny, new, yes, but with a distinctly old fashioned look. No fancy side panels. No flashy exhaust system. No glistening black and bright red colour scheme. None of the showy attachments you see on bikes nowadays. It reminded me of the sort of motorbikes I rode in the 1950s.

Along came the young chap who owned it, so I asked him what it was. A Suzuki TU250X Retro. Yep, it was retro right enough, but a very recent addition to the Suzuki range. He and his wife had two cars. One of them reached the end of its working life. His wife had generously allowed him to replace it with a motorbike. His good taste led him to this particular model. And we had a jolly good chat about motorbikes of bygone years. For someone half my age who had just bought his first bike he was very well informed.

His good taste, did I say? Well, yes someone else's good taste is inevitably taste which concurs with one's own, isn't it?
Good taste came wafting towards me again a couple of days ago. An old friend called out a greeting and came across for a natter. She wears a wonderful and colourful assortment of flowing shawls and long scarves (not all at the same time) which flap and trail along beside her. Our usual topic of conversation is music she is a music teacher, among other things. In terms of taste, we delight in disagreeing about who is and who is not a 'good' singer. 'Good' is a simple euphemism for 'the one I prefer'. For instance, I think Yvonne Kenny, Australia's most celebrated operatic soprano, sings beautifully. My friend does not fully agree.

I am moved to tears when I listen to Kathleen Ferrier, the British contralto who died tragically young in 1953. I think her voice is beyond excellence. My friend agrees, almost, but doesn't really like her enunciation when she sings German works.

It's always good to differ amicably, isn't it? Makes you think. Here are a couple of samples for you to listen to. See what you think.

Yvonne Kenny, 'Lascia ch'io pianga' (Hear thou my weeping) from a Handel opera:

Kathleen Ferrier, 'What is life to me without thee?' (Che faro senza Euridice?) from a Gluck opera:

Meanwhile, in another area of artistic taste, I relish walking along a short lane that connects a car parking area to the street where my doctor has his rooms. A new single storey building, the premises of a pharmacy and compounding chemist, has a blank wall running the full length of the lane.

Two young graffiti artists have been commissioned to paint the wall. Over the past week or two, I have watched them working on their preliminary outlines and beautifully coloured backgrounds, adding pictures and symbols which represent the pharmacy and compounding chemist's work. It is technically graffiti painted with spray-cans. And it is outstanding Art with a capital A. If only I could show you a picture of it here. Then again, it might not be to your taste. And then we could amicably disagree, eh?

Copyright Brian Barratt 2013


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