Dear Mum, sorry it’s so long since you had a letter, tho' at least last time I did write rather more than a few lines! Just been re-reading your letter about the newly-weds. (What’s the married name?) [I have no idea which newly-weds these would have been; presumably a cousin of mine marrying someone. Nor do I know who it was that ‘descended’ on my mother.] I am sorry to hear that you’ve once again been descended upon by one of my obviously bludging generation ˗ sorry, two ˗ and it always seems to happen to your holiday, too. The only thing I can hope about, and the fact that Mary comes and goes so often, is that it lessens any loneliness you may be experiencing. [I think the 'Mary' referred to here was probably also a cousin.] Though why you should I can’t imagine ˗ I’ve had all this place to myself since Easter (!) and now find that since Julie has come back that I quite got to like having the place to myself. Purely selfish, I am, and yet I like having other people around too. I know, tho’, even tho’ you say that it spoilt your holiday, that you do enjoy cooking for other people ˗ and that it’s probably good that they’re there because means that you’re definitely eating properly. I’m only sorry to hear that it doesn’t sound as tho’ they paid you very much towards it. We are a selfish generation I know, and yet I always seem to wind up being sympathetic towards my fellow youngsters. We’re very spoilt, that’s the trouble.
|The cover of Talbot's 1986|
recording, The Golden Tenor.
You’ll be interested to know that I’ve just shown around the place (the flat) a new occupant ˗ making four of us here, and bringing the rent per person down by over a pound. Not that it seemed to be making much difference to me at the price it was, but it seems silly to have so much room and to be spending money unnecessarily. It’s a Welsh (!) tenor (!) of 24, who is going to be at the Centre for the coming term, and who happened to mention that he needed a place to stay, just as I was thinking that a fourth person would come in handy. I had talked to John about it and one night this week when he was here, we shifted the beds around in our room, just to see how much space there was, and really, you could hold a dance in there now! What also sparked off the idea was that Mike had said they a divan in the cellar of their flats, and that it would only get damp down there. So it’s arriving tomorrow, and Jeffrey (Talbot) arrives on Monday. To me he seems a nice guy, coming from a similar family situation as me, and tho’ he’s a typical tenor, he’s also down-to-earth as well. I think it’ll work out all right, since none of us is ever here that much anyway!
John and I are going out tomorrow to see if we can’t get some cheap furniture (2nd-hand) as the flat, tho’ furnished, has large bare patches, and the living room looks more like an Ideal Home exhibition stand than a living room. We’ve decided how much we can spend and with a bit of luck, may pick up something worthwhile. Or several somethings.
I’ve been sticking up, with double-sided sellotape, cut-out pictures from magazines, and tho’ that sounds revolting, it’s much better than bare white walls. Actually, apart from the fact that they’re a little crooked ˗ some are ˗ they don’t look bad. But I stuck one lot up so crookedly, I had to stick the others up around it crookedly to compensate! (I can hear you screaming from here.)
Have I told you what I thought I might do at the end of term? Don’t recall doing so, but the last letter was too long to remember all I said. I’m thinking of say getting a part time job ˗ preferably musical of course ˗ there was a job as a Music Librarian in this week’s Stage (the trade paper) which would have suited nicely if I hadn’t been studying. It was part time. And with this I’d like to spend about 6 months at least catching up on repertoire ˗ I don’t feel satisfied with what I know at present ˗ and do whatever coaching comes my way, with anything else in that line. Actually, on Wednesday, I again went to ElthamAdult Education and am getting £5- 12 for coaching amateurs for about two hours! The boss-man said that there was a possibility of more work there ˗ and if it could be relatively constant, that would be very nice. The normal rep is away, at Glyndebourne, and that will be for a while. (Spring must be here ˗ it’s eight o’clock and still light ˗ and fairly mild.)
I got your latest parcel a couple of days ago, with the biscuits and cheese and meat and fudge. Dear mother ˗ you put the fudge in a box in a plastic bag, remember? Well, guess what happened? The fudge returned to its natural state, and was a lovely solid squelchy block! It was terribly funny. I left it out in the air (no, not right outside!) for a day or so (including in the sunlight from the window, which didn’t help) and it’s starting to harden up again. I’ve had one or two irresistable pices, and I think it’s coming right. Hazel has demanded that I take some to her ˗ she’s had NZ fudge before apparently! (Funny, the Canadians and Americans and Hazel all go for the same kind of things as the NZs: milkshakes, hot-dogs...fudge! The English don’t know how to make these things, tho’ they pretend. Oh yes, hamburgers too.)
We’ve already had a very busy first week ˗ we’ve had one of the Ring Cycle ˗ Wagner ˗ in our first Reps’ class, which hasn’t been as bad as it might have been, and we have Rosenkavalier coming up in May. Man, that’ll be hard work! I’m still one of the two Reps with nothing special to do (Alistair and David are doing work outside) and so I’ve got lots to do. Might as well be busy!
Lots of love, Mike.