If we must have great crashing sounds, I’d prefer they be thunder, accompanied by lightning. We enjoyed a few flashes with late supper on our balconata yesterday, up here in the High Doganate. We’d been promised the same, for tea, the day before, but the weather prognosticators with their sophisticated computer models cannot predict a city shower one hour in advance. One giggles at their claim to predict climate trends over the next century, with the same junk equipment.
Yet, no sooner had they declared the all-clear, twenty-seven hours later, than we finally received our deluge. I had myself given up by then; had been watching from my balconata majestic effects of light and colour in the approach of the sunset, while black wool coalesced in the sky above, directly over the High Doganate; and in the antediluvian stillness beneath, the waters of Humber Bay turned deep indigo. Then gloriously, the world was awash, with lightning streaks to emblazon, and crash crash like dear old Ludwig, shaking his fist and hurling the crockery.
Notwithstanding album notes I have deposited, recently in this space, I am not always against a loud orchestra. Sumer is icumen in, as we say, and that brings extravagant public make-work projects, to burn off the taxpayers’ excess cash. This is democracy at work. Past, non-democratic regimes have erected huge public monuments to the glory of God or the glory of their kings; we get Pyramids assembled by gentle, reasonably quiet slave labourers, which remain tourist attractions for millennia to come. Democracy, too, does megaprojects but, to no point at all. Within a generation nothing is left except the debt.
There are several half-way houses in my neighbourhood for the criminally insane. These appear to be the primary local beneficiaries of megaproject spending, with huge efforts devoted to making them ever more plush. The inmates cannot be expected to work, so teams of architects and planners, builders and specialized tradesmen, site consultants and landscape designers, gardeners and decorators — along with their respective administrators and inspectors and union representatives — are constantly assigned, to demolish the last remodelling and replace it with something grander.
And there is now a provincial election in progress, in which a government that bought the last two elections, and lied their way to power the election before, seeks to retain its perqs. They have taken the people of this province for idiots, and have been richly rewarded.
Perhaps I should be more discreet. Our current premier is suing the leader of the opposition for asking pertinent questions in the Legislature about her own involvement in the colossal corruption of her regime, and until at least June 12th, should be treated with some caution.
Now, I have touched before on the natural alliance between “liberals” — or, Liberals, as in this case — and the criminally insane. The former are perhaps the latter’s most pampered constituency, but the two are not interchangeable. While the criminal tendency pertains to both, the element of calculation differs between “politician” and “client.” Yet, as in any feudal system, lord and peasant, provider and supplicant, share material interests, and an essential point of view. Each is capable of identifying with the other, so that whether the issue is disarming the law-abiding public to improve the criminals’ chances, or launching whimsical programmes to spread the working stiff’s lifeblood around, or inventing new “human rights” with which the criminal may turn the tables on the just man, or select fresh victims for his sport — services are indeed provided in return for a reliable vote.
From their side, the criminally insane are not without calculation. In Parkdale, for instance, where election placards are often treated with disrespect, the giant signs for the Liberal Party that go up promptly on the lawns of the half-way houses the morning an election is called, are the only ones which are never defaced. (Rather slow this year; I don’t think they were expecting the election would need to be called so quickly.)
Gentle reader may heckle that the criminally insane are only a small minority, hardly worth such efforts to corner their votes; but such a reader cannot live in Parkdale. For here is where one may gather some sense of the continuum, between the criminally insane tout court — the “avant-garde” of progressivism, as it were — and that plurality whose moral and intellectual disorders are relatively mild — which is to say, just enough to vote Liberal. (Readers in the USA may substitute, “Democrat.”)
For centuries, the secret of success for the parties of the Left has been to encourage their avant-garde. When every public policy you offer so obviously advances the interests of the Devil, it is important to avoid reason, and cultivate fashion instead. The Left has been consistently fashionable since the 18th century, at latest. There has been no pendulum of political fashion. Or if there was one, it broke long ago. And since, there has been at the heart of every fashion statement, an irruption of madness.
Which returns us to the question of orchestral volume, and the sound of so much industrial machinery, as the make-work projects irrupt around me. (The jackhammers have just cut in — a whole section of them, equivalent in a symphony to the strings.)
To be fair, the politicians must be made to share the blame, and thus punished proportionally, with the exponents of our “northern” culture. Canadians, like Germans, and Swedes, are an industrious people. And we are never working harder than when towards some profoundly counter-productive purpose.
The gratuitous nature of some of these projects astounds me. Take for example the workmen I discovered repaving a back lane, then installing speed bumps over the smooth concrete. Any rational creature, such as an Italian, could see the same end could be admirably served by leaving each of the potholes in place. The peace of the neighbourhood is being disturbed for a prolonged period — for the sake of the peace of the neighbourhood. (And they call me crazy.)
One must find some way to cancel this, and large orchestras are the ticket. Around seven this morning, by when the noise of construction busy-work had become insupportable, I put on Mozart, Piano Concerto No. 10 (in E flat major). It is for two pianos, which ups the ante slightly — harder for an orchestra to drown out two pianos than one. But on this disc, the orchestra of John Eliot Gardiner (full of magnificent old “authentic” period instruments) was already able to drown out even the three pianos in the preceding Concerto, No. 7 (in F major).
Mr Gardiner (or Sir John, as he has since become), is a sensitive man, and I don’t think he meant to submerge such fine keyboard soloists as Malcolm Bilson, Robert Levin, and Melvyn Tan. It’s just that he couldn’t help it, given the size of his orchestra. Therefore, I reasoned, why not put it to work against a worse enemy, i.e. the politicians and supporters of the Liberal Party of Ontario, and the rest of the post-modern world?
It is the same on the streets, really. They don’t consciously intend to drown out the birdsong, nor the sounds of the children playing; they simply can’t help it, given the equipment at their disposal, which they have been paid to turn on, when a wiser authority would have instructed them to disable it.
Perhaps I begin to understand the motivation behind heavily amplified rock, punk, rap and other “anti-music.” People have been deranged by modern urban life, and with their own mad levels constantly rising, seek some kind of retaliation against it.