Saturday 2 January 2010

Coming into 2010

Sparkling fireworks

The New Year’s Day was ushered in at the residence of the neighbours I have been so blessed to have, dinner first which went down a treat but I missed desert, I was just too tired to keep up I returned home to take a 30 minute nap.

With 15 minutes to go of 2009, I returned to my neighbours and we ushered in the New Year with a good toast of champagne.

The wonder of New Year in Amsterdam was resplendent in fireworks, the sky was lit up with what someone estimated was EUR 25 million in smoke.

Looking towards the Nieuwmarkt where we have the Chinese community, it was roman candles, Catherine wheels, crackers and explosions, some rarely seen in Europe except when imported by the Chinese, but nothing to need the air raid shelter for.

My last New Year’s celebrations in Amsterdam turned in 2006 and for many others I had spent here before, within 30 minutes of midnight the air was thick with smoke, this time, the wind was so brisk, it was all blown away but one tradition still remained, the bonfire in the metal boat downstairs where Christmas trees sparkled into ashes outliving their seasonal usefulness.

I had a restful night and got up a little late but just in time for my elevenses and a breakfast of fried plantain and stew.

The Vienna Concert

I was about to miss my New Year’s Day ritual on BBC 2 [1], the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra’s New Year’s Day concert conducted this year by Frenchman Georges Prêtre [2].

God willing I would get tickets to see the concert live, they are gold dust and really spoken for by the third week of January for the New Year 11 months away, it would be a fantastic pleasure.

The familiar Strauss family polkas, waltzes and marches featured with the well-known Blue Danube showing the source of the Danube River in Germany through Austria, Hungary, Serbia and its deltas in Romania into the Black Sea, It flows through 10 countries in all as the Second longest river in Europe. I think 2 other Austrian composers featured, I cannot remember their names.

Georges Prêtre a man of 85 was spritely, youthful, energetic and a joy to watch conducting the orchestra for 2 hours of fanfare, without notes, I repeat, from memory.

I am beginning to think of all professions, being a conductor takes you into old age almost like a young man, if I remember a conductor at a major BBC Proms performance the last year which lasted almost 2 hours was Sir Charles Makkeras who then was also 85 and he did not look a day over 60 in his element.

The ballet dancers from the Volksoper Ballet were arrayed in designer clothes by the Italian, Valentino, who appeared with the dancers after they had finished their repertoire.

In the end, Radejsky’s March which includes conducting the audience in regulated clapping is just so inviting you to want to be there the next time – who knows, once again, I might just be the guest of some Austrian dignitary or diplomatic personality, better than entering the lottery for a ticket.

Films and thanks

After that it was Jake with John Wayne and now the Guns of Navarone – all this film nostalgia, text messages with messages of goodwill for the new year, I am looking forward to 2010 with much confidence, hope and refreshingly new things.

Happy New Year to all my friends, well-wishers, readers, those who have followed my blog and left comments, I wish you all a prosperous and rewarding year with good health and great achievements, more importantly, may your joy be full.

Thank you for all your support, friendship and help, it is much appreciated.

Happy New Year!


[1] BBC - BBC Two Programmes - New Year's Day Concert, 2010

[2] Georges Prêtre - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Viewing Vienna through New Year's music [] Written January 2009

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