Today is an auspicious day. Not only is it the day the UK second female Prime Minister has started her first full day in her new job, but it’s also ten years to the day that I started blogging.
Where has the time gone? 2006 feels like it was yesterday: Brian Kay’s Light Programme on Radio 3; my arm done up in a sling following a road traffic accident; and, a short film admitting to my weakness for printer ink. I look at pictures of myself then and wonder whether the weight gain is down to age or my ongoing weakness for red wine.
Like Merlot, the BBC Proms has been a constant feature of my blogs over the ten years I’ve been writing them. They’ve always been, what I describe as, unorthodox. Why make a feature of what you know, when one of the most unappealing characteristics of the thing you love are the many people all too eager to demonstrate their knowledge and informed experience.
That’s why I have – for the most part – written about the point where classical music connects with the otherwise banal detail of everyday life. The post about listening to the Proms whilst dealing with a house-wide flea infestation was especially successful – one of my most popular blogs to-date.
Writers need a narrative arc – something to pin their ramblings on. The Proms is the ideal framework. That which is central to my ongoing experience of classical music is the perfect excuse for writing: it gives daily inspiration for blogging at the same time as deepening my experience of the thing I love.
If it’s this blog’s 10th birthday, then that also means the approaching Proms season will be the tenth I’ve written about. So what to write about this year? Like any good piece of journalism (?) there are questions which need to be answered.
How has the Proms changed in the years I’ve slavishly followed it, and how has it changed me? What is my relationship with the Proms now and how do I identify with it? How has my perception and understanding of it changed, and how has it deepened my appreciation of classical music as a result?
Some things must remain the same on this blog in the coming weeks: the way in which those questions are answered has to illustrate the way in which classical music is part of my life as a listener or consumer. Plenty of other people can tell you about the hard facts about a work, or a composer, or an artist (and take the responsibility for them when they’re not correct). What I’m interested in showing is that place or moment in time when the Proms interfaces with my life that’s what is personal, authentic, and ultimately distinctive.
At the end of it all there’ll be a big party with music and balloons, streamers and speeches. Before that point, there are 74+ other concerts to feast on. It’s time for summer to get underway.