Friday, October 24, 2008

prints, joke, parallel talk


Posted by Picasa Bee, taking up Lucy's comment, asks if Lucy's term "tenderness" is the collective noun for leaves? If it isn't, it is now.It is in my mind at least. As though in anticipation of the thought, but before these comments were made, I find, yesterday, these leaf prints on the tarmac- ghost leaves -made I assume by leaves, which left a "shadow" where they had sheltered the ground beneath them from the rain before blowing away.

Sometime you have jokes on the brain like tunes on the brain. My current joke on the brain relates to a story told on BBC Radio 4 about the late Alan Coren, who during a French class at school, remarked to the teacher, "one man's fish is another man's poisson".

In the train, two businessmen, unconnected with one another, are sitting side by side. One is discussing at length the strategy to adopt in order to obtain a contract. The jargon flows. "We'll call price the product accordingly" he says. His neighbour, meanwhile, is talking about something quite different, interrupting his argument, with the sort of laughter, which sounds like the way it is written - ha, ha, ha . As their two voices overlap and contradict, you think of those moments in opera where two character sing in opposition to one another and in rising crescendo at the same time.

5 comments:

marja-leena said...

I've often admired the 'prints' or after traces of leaves on sidewalks, but have never had the camera with me at those times. Must start carrying the little one with me at all times!

You may find it interesting to know that some sidewalks in the city of Vancouver have leaf patterns impressed right into the cement - lovely!

Bee said...

Oh, that IS a tender trace of leaves!

It is annoying me that I can't think of the musical term for the duelling duet of voices that you describe. Would you describes your commuters as tenors, baritones, or basses? (Perhaps "bass," like fish, is also plural by the same spelling. "Basses" doesn't look quite right.) I like the fact that you turned what could have just been annoying, braying voices into something amusing.

Barrett Bonden said...

That surely is the most graceful analogy ever made about train-travelling business-talking businessmen. Perhaps it was the comparative shortness of your journey that permitted such tolerant objectivity. Given my option, say Newport to Paddington, I might have occupied myself dreaming up collective nouns for them: an "irritation", a "superfluity" or "a suitful".

Plutarch said...

Marja-Leena. Are leaf patterns in the cement on the sidewalks of Vancouver deliberate decoration? Or chance? Either way perhaps next time you pass with your little camera ...

BB. Your're right I was in a tolerant frame of mind. And besides, you expect mobile cacaphony nowadays as a matter of course when you venture on to a busy train.

Bee. I, too, was looking for such a term in opera. Words sung at the same time, as a sort of duel, by opera singers are not quite the same as descant or counterpoint. Or are they in musical terminology? Is there an opera expert in the house?

marja-leena said...

Yes, the leaf patterns are intentional. And only in some areas of the city, so hopefully will have camera when I see them again!

I hope you find that answer for the term for duet-yet-not-quite-duet-like opera singing!