Postcard from Edinburgh

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I.

As the bus turns left from the East end of Princes Street, a macabre scene bleeds into one’s periphery like an incoming raincloud. The passengers look up out of the blindness of their touch-screens and crane their necks by the window-glass.

It can’t be. He was immortal…

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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

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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January 25th 2013 – Robert Burns’ Night – Patriotic

Happy Burns’ Day! Today is the birthday of our celebrated Scottish poet, Robert Burns.
Last night, we had a lovely Burns’ Supper at school.

Mini and I decided that the dining room would be fine with just one St Andrews Cross flag; the other two acted well as dresses:
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The day “Hurricane Bawbag” arrived and tormented my life.

I swear that it is a massive health risk to be sleeping in a room as cold as the one I am designated in school. The heating ‘works’ to a feeble extent and the windows are old and single glazed. This is just perfect for the newly named “Hurricane Bawbag” to sweep through the entire boarding house, under the crack of the doors, through the sides of the windows and hit me.

Towels to shield myself from the wind as much as possible. It’s not really working but hopefully it can have some sort of placebo affect on me. The cold still comes through the sides and I don’t know how to prevent it other than blutac and clay. I don’t have any though…

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The only thing school have provided us with are these blinds. I WANT THICK CURTAINS, but oh no I can’t because they’re a fire hazard.

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What’s worse is that the school have now announced a new rule that we aren’t allowed to dry our clothes along the radiators in the corridors because it’s a fire hazard. They are also threatening to only let us have tumble dryable clothes.

If my radiators worked then I wouldn’t be using the ones in the corridor! I have learnt my lesson anyway, because after hanging my damp bath towels for the night, they vanished the following day. WHOEVER HAS THEM PLEASE RETURN THEM TO ME. I am deprived of my two best fluffiest warmest towels and I am stuck in a room which doesn’t even function as a room anymore: it’s just like being outside. So I am cold and unable to dry myself properly with the less lovely towels I have borrowed from the boarding house. Getting ready for bed is torture and getting up in the morning is just hopeless.

I’m not going to complain about this to my mother or she will have probably have the school sued for it.

Meanwhile during the school day, we relived the feeling of jealousy and anger when we discovered that almost all schools in Scotland had shut at noon due to the winds. We never shut. Last year it was snow and this year it’s a bawbag. All the day pupils left and at the end of the day everyone almost just gave up rehearsing.

Our English teacher was away so this is one of the many things that happened in class this afternoon:

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We were meant to be completing the questions which required us to analyse sentence structure and types of sentences.I think the majority of us only completed one question because we didn’t understand it.

Our instructions included revising/learning certain tools of punctuation. We did this through singing (badly) and it was quite amusing; the textbook facts set to the tune of Away In A Manger Christmas carol; it did not fit well at all; the French class told us afterwards it was so loud.

Our supervisor was another teacher but she was in a separate room doing work. She did tell us off for making so much noise but she let us do some creative singing in the last moments of the lesson and she wanted to see it as well. I just couldn’t stop laughing!

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I hope I am alive by the end of the week. Apparently it’ll be below freezing tonight. I think I might light up a fire by burning a piano in school and perhaps a few books.