17th March


At the interval, as the applause dies away and people begin to make for the exits, the woman in blue turns and smiles nicely at the young man behind her. He and the girl beside him are the last to stop clapping.

‘Did you enjoy that, then?’

‘Oh yes, it was very good. Wonderful.’ His hair is black and unruly, his jaw unshaven. He has some kind of foreign accent. She already knows this because, before the concert started, he leaned forward and asked if he could see her programme. She felt exploited but as she and her husband had only glanced at it she felt she couldn’t refuse. He took it eagerly. ‘Thank you, thank you.’ After a few minutes he returned it. ‘Thank you,’ he said again.

‘You liked the pianist?’ the woman says. The pianist, along with the conductor and orchestra, took three bows.

‘He is genius,’ the young man tells her. ‘This is why I must hear him. It is hard to come to this concert but I must.’

‘You’ve come a long way, you mean?’

‘No, I mean expensive.’ He laughs. ‘I am student. I do not eat for two days, but is worth it.’

Obviously he must be exaggerating. It fits with his borrowing her programme.

The woman in blue’s husband says, ‘Shall we get a drink?’

‘In a minute.’ To the student she says, ‘It’s a shame that the andante was spoiled.’

‘Spoiled?’ He looks astonished.

‘By the sniffing.’ She nods at the girl. ‘Your friend sniffed all the way through it.’

The girl says, ‘I did not sniff.’

‘It was very distracting.’

‘No,’ the student says. ‘She did not sniff. She only cry a little, when the movement finish. She cannot help it.’

‘It was so beautiful,’ the girl says.

‘You should learn more self-control,’ the woman in blue says. She is still smiling nicely. ‘When you come to a concert like this, to a place like this, you should be more considerate of others.’

‘It was the music,’ the girl says. She looks as astonished as the boy.

The woman in blue stands. ‘Yes, gin and tonic, please,’ she says to her husband. ‘Shall we go?’

Reader: Tam Dean Burn
Fiddle: Aidan O'Rourke
Harmonium: Kit Downes
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