Yé Ye | 爷爷 | Grandpa

He was a lone traveller, a truly gentle man, who had nearly lost all his teeth. He sat at the back of the bus, hardly spoke, and often wandered away all by himself. When he did speak it was a dialect that nobody could understand.

 

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On China, family and writing

Location: Hainan
Time: 02:30AM – 05:00AM

How refreshing it is to fly to a country that feels like home yet bewilders you at the same time. I am swallowed up in the population, the ginormous bureaucracy, unknown to billions of people and barred from social media. It is weirdly pleasant, especially after such a publicised and popularised fortnight in another place, to escape into this culture. It means that I don’t get carried away wallowing in the memories of this ‘success’ and that ‘achievement’, swimming in the blue aftermath of adrenaline-filled days, all mopey that it has come to an end. The last thing I want to do is self-indulge and forget about where I am and who I am with.

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The Forgotten Youth – a response to David Nice (The Arts Desk)

Location: On the 9-hour plane from Helsinki to Guangzhou

My happiness of the weekend has diminished a little after reading someone’s written words. The good memories on- and off-stage, regardless of their emotive strength and permanence, are now partially smudged out by one particular 5-star review about our BBC Prom – quite ironic I know. Sadly, some of the review was not written in the right way, and I thus feel guilty for enjoying our success and accepting the praise. It also brought my attention to an even bigger issue – NYOS and Scotland’s reputation that has been largely ignored in the classical music scene.

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These thoughts have been brewing in my mind ever since I read it, muffling the glorious music I saw performed this weekend. Believe me it really takes a lot to beat Petrushka, Scythian Suite and The Rite of Spring. So, I am going to let it out.

The disappointing words were from David Nice, writing on behalf of The Arts Desk a joint review on both the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain Prom and the NYOS Prom. Many nice things were said for both orchestras. He lauded them both. He rightly recognised the potential, standard and professionalism of NYOS that have been ignored for far too long by the BBC Proms and everyone else. NYOGB was given a much-deserved 4-stars. However, a few sections render it a distasteful comparative analysis of two fantastic youth orchestras, which bothers me quite a lot. I speak out against it as a young Scottish musician, as an alumnus, friend and former intern of NYOGB, as a friend to some of its current musicians, and finally as Leader of NYOS Symphony Orchestra. Continue reading

About a Violin

Part I

Wake up, wake up …

I wrote my final thank you card today and accepted the fact that I was going to cry very, very badly and uncontrollably in the violin shop. I buzzed the door, entered and greeted the lovely receptionists. Also there, by chance, was the lady who had made all of this happen. She was attending to another violinist – American, I think, judging from her accent – and took a tiny second to recognise me in my granny glasses and state of exhaustion.

Oh dear, I thought, this tragedy’s going to have an audience.

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A gift in Marylebone

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I wish people didn’t visit Oxford Street, for there is little to see that inspires and only stress to be felt under your skin. It is hard to really see any thing when you walk along the pavements because all things that could be seen are blurred by herds of people walking around aimlessly and stubbornly, smudging themselves and all surrounding elements into unnecessary chaos.

It is hard to see Paul at the bottom of the stairs at Bond Street Tube Station, around 17:15 on Friday. He is one tiny, unassuming pebble in the vicious current of rush hour and London shopping mania, easily brushed away and avoided, easily dodged. I walked past him and felt a click in my moral resources* that halted me before I touched in with my Oyster. I wanted to give him some change but I had none on me at the time. Then I remembered that I had organic cookies and chocolate and decided there could be worser alternatives to sweet treats.  Continue reading

Tuesday 19 July 2016: Too hot to sleep

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“I am burning, I am burning … “

Well, thank you London, for showing me you’re capable of producing summer, but I am not sure if I can handle it.

Today I was stuck to the Tube, or more specifically to the millions of green and blue poly-fibres sprouting vertically from my grimy seat, which always cause unexpected yet significant discomfort against the bare skin of my thighs if I happen to be wearing shorts or a skirt shorter than knee-length. All these tiny sticks of plastic pointed and poised defiantly on my skin, irritating it slowly but surely, burning as the sun does as you walk about nonchalantly, gently going about its job as a minor disappointment in my perfectly decent life. Continue reading

April: Postcards from Edinburgh, Glasgow and Strasbourg

Edinburgh – 03.04.16

The clock reads 02:59AM and my train is at 07:33AM, but my mind continues to reel round between my temples the pages of music that I don’t know, and my heartbeat is running away. I have tried every corner of the bed. I’ve crooked my back into countless different angles, spread my arms out under the pillows, listened to the radio, gone to the toilet, drank water …

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March was quite grey

Wales

I was in a place where the wind cocooned my head, limbs and body like a giant spinning, unforgiving frenzy. Air was charging into my ears and whipping the fabric of the raincoat against my cheeks. It heaved and pushed the water, forward and upward, roaring out platoons of white waves that swamped the length of the shore. It even pierced the thin layer of water on the sand, impregnating it with galaxies and galaxies of bubbles. They obeyed the wind and performed their wild orbital dance, alone, in clusters, slaves to air and gravity.

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