Bringing the heat from Martinique

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Folks who like to sunbathe are probably having a field day in the UK at present. I attended a rehearsal with a pianist visiting from Martinique yesterday and she seemed to be wilting in the heat, as were her offspring. My parting words to her were as follows: are we in London or in Gaudeloupe? She smiled wearily.

Those of us who are accustomed to living in hot weather conditions are less likely to do things like basking in the sun. I prefer heat to feeling cold, so I’m not grumbling about the current climate. Even so, I don’t feel inclined towards exposing my skin to the sun’s rays for very long.

In fact, the mindset is very different in places like Lagos in dealing with this sort of thing. Air conditioners and fans are valued possessions. On one occasion when I visited Lagos many years ago, I was invited to sing some arias from Handel’s Messiah in a Church service. I was given a comfortable seat in the packed Church hall and I waited for my moment. There was one snag, however – there were air conditioner vents right behind me, blasting cold air into my back.

It was an awkward situation, because there was nowhere to move to in the packed space and I would have distracted the congregation if I made a fuss about getting up to find another seat.

Anyone familiar with singing Handel arias would know that it helps to be fully warmed up vocally in order to successfully pull off the quick paced vocal runs and trills. I had to sacrifice the secure beginning of my performance to get my body warmed up again. I hope I won’t have to deal with similar issues today when I sing a Purcell aria in a concert at Longfield Hall, Knatchbull Road (near Loughborough Junction, Brixton). In Other Words begins at 7pm tonight. Hopefully see some of you there.