Happiness as Anarchy #87: Cultural Change

It tickles my fancy when I play a Sarabande that at one stage it was illegal. Bach’s Sarabande – the one I play is part of the fifth French suite – is a beautiful, restrained piece of baroque keyboard music. It doesn’t get much more refined that this in the classical musical world. However … in the 16th century things were different. Having it’s origins in folk music and dance in Latin America, the Zarabanda was considered “so lascivious in its words, so ugly in its movements, that it is enough to inflame even very honest people.” (Juan de Mariana). Public performance was punishable by two hundred lashes!

I’ll be playing the whole suite and telling tales of Versailles tomorrow night in Castlemaine if you’re in the mood for a little once-inflammatory entertainment.

Amie Brûlée Versailles 2 small

Happiness as Anarchy #84: Fixing dripping taps

If there’s one way to feel a sense of accomplishment, it’s through successful plumbing repairs. Today I successfully changed the washers in not one, but three dripping taps. I am filled with a sense of achievement and a new calm permeates the house in the absence of drips interrupting the aural environment.

If only my taps were as stylish as Versailles:

Versailles tap

Happiness as Anarchy #80: Sewing

I’m making an 18th century costume for my new show, Les Femmes de Versailles (The Women of Versailles), which has its first outing next weekend in Castlemaine. The dress has been quite a process – making hips, a giant skirt, stomacher (the fluffy bit that covers the front), jacket, and ruffles, lots of ruffles. I’ve been finishing it off today and am reminded how much I like sewing – hand or machine, I like them both. It’s a very calm and satisfying activity, and I can’t help thinking perhaps I should have spent all those years sewing instead of phd-ing.

18th century dress

Happiness as Anarchy #71: Sleeping like a log

There’s something very satisfying about waking up feeling like you’ve slept well. I never get enough hours, but I love it when I’m physically exhausted and wake up in exactly the same position as I went to sleep in. As though I fell asleep the instant my head hit the pillow and I didn’t budge until morning.

I’m not sure how well I would sleep in the quasi-public surroundings that the queens at Versailles were subjected to. All those seats were for people to watch her majesty get dressed every morning.

Chambre de la reine Versailles