09 September 2006

Free to drink martinis and watch the sunrise

When a chap reaches a certain age, he likes to think he can look forward to a, how to put it, 'placid' existence free of the hurly-burly of his mis-spent youth.

For some time now, I've been cajoled/promising/planning a pre-dawn pilgrimage to Corfu's own Table Mountain, Mount Pantocrator.

I finally met my match in a charming lady who, hearing of my cut-glass vowels and talent for feigning education, approached me for "English lessons".

Being of the legal profession, she had a specific brief which involved going through English language publications as subscribed to by our learned friends at the Bar as well as role playing around the topic. She had not met Rumpole and we are having a fine old time reading him out loud and giggling in unbecoming fashion.

Instead of becoming more hardened to feminine wiles and charms, I find my resistance draining by the day, which is how I agreed to dine and dance her (ugh) and generally frolic til it was time to drive up to greet the dawn. Not at all my kind of thing but women have these "looks" and ways round a chap's obdurance.

So into the jalopy we piled (full tank of gas; I wasn't going to fall for that gaffe) and as I looked over my shoulder and felt for reverse to ease out of her carpark, I joked that at least we'd get in some solid conversazione.

The merest touch on my hand and a "I think maybe not" and she's handing me a gift-wrapped CD.

Groan. Almost certainly some improving album of ethniki Greek folksongs sung in the original to accompaniment of screeching stringed instruments and percussion courtesy of jawbone of an ass.

I fix rictus smile and remove the wrapping.

It is the latest offering by one Robert Dylan Esq, Modern Times.

I was literally lost for words. A couple of hours with the car's ace stereo pumping The Master is my idea of bliss.

She'd asked my mama what sort of music I liked and, bless her, she'd remembered the hazy expression that comes over me when listening to Master D, so out went this honey and purchased it for the ride.

Dilemma: be rude and listen in dazed silence, or be a gent and make chat and have it low in the background (sacrilege). The gent lost and quite right too.

Sadly, madame hated the sound and wanted to know "what makes this so good?" to which of course there is no reply.

But the thought and the timing totally threw me.

We did finally turn to chatter during which she quoted back to me an unguarded moment when I'd down the phone, "Bollocks to that!", interested to know in which context she might use it.



"Certainly not in court."

"But it would be so interesting"

"I don't doubt: Some Greek millionaire up on some charge in London has you flown over to defend him.

Opposing counsel in full flow sees his chance and pounces,
"My Lord, may I compliment my learnèd colleague for the defence on her expert grasp of the facts - and indeed of the language - but may I refer her to Jarndyce vs Synge when-"

Miss Kollas: "Bollocks to that!"

Prosecuting Counsel: "My Lord!"

Presiding Judge: "Yes yes, Mr Pauncefoot, I take your point.

Miss Kollas (trying to look stern behind fond gaze), I believe that in the demotic it's pronounced "V ollox", the B pronounced as a 'V'"

Kollas: My Lord is well informed.

Hizzoner: (flattered smile, the old goat) "Not really, but my good wife and I have enjoyed many holidays on your charming island of Kerkira."

Kollas: "Next time you're there, you must be our guest. My parents have several town houses and servants that are never occupied."

Hizzoner" "How very kind of you. Perhaps you could leave details with my clerk."

Prosecuting counsel: My Lord!

H: "Yes yes, Mr Pauncefoot, but these points of law need to be hammered out."

But I stray from the point. Amazing album, about which Chris Ayres reported that,

HELPED by a massive advertising campaign for iPods, Bob Dylan sneered and hummed his way to the top of America’s Billboard chart yesterday — marking his first No 1 album in 30 years.

At 65, he is the oldest living person to send a new album to the top of the US charts.

His album, Modern Times, knocked the all-girl pop group Danity Kane from America’s top position. None of the members of Danity Kane were even born at the time of Dylan’s last No 1 album, Desire — released not only before the invention of Apple’s iPod, but also before the compact disc.

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