January Daybreak


A chance exchange when I said goodbye to Vicki Haircut post-trim the other night prompted a slew of ideas on the 202 home to Torridon Road:

“If there are any concerts you fancy going to in January, let me know., said Vicky as we’d waved goodbye to each other, “I’d love to come along.”

Regular readers may recall I took Vicky Haircut – the lady who has regularly cut my hair for the past ten years or so – to a Prom concert earlier in the year. She had a ball. I’d found a new concert-going friend. Everyone was, as they say, a winner.

On the journey home I started thinking about Christmas gifts. As well as a hairdresser, Vicky is a nurse too. Her pandemic tales were jaw-dropping. She’s worked hard. She’s chronically underpaid. But her ambition isn’t dented. She’s ever so slightly older than me but she’s still striving for more. She is incredible. Such dedication and warmth and all-round loveliness needs to be rewarded. Me buying her a ticket to a concert is a no-brainer and a simple no-brainer too. An ideal Christmas gift she’ll be pleased with.

Later on in the same journey (around the Catford Bridge stop for those interested in the detail) I start thinking about a blog post of ideal Christmas gifts for classical music devotees, newcomers, or the curious. A Good Idea, I think. I should probably do that. It would probably end up being a list of things I want my partner to buy me for Christmas, truth be told. I should probably just tell him what I want.

That’s when I start to think about books, the pointlessness of buying me CDs (I’m a Tidal user when I’m not using Spotify) and, eventually, what dreamy concert destinations I had in mind.

I immediately start thinking about Elb Philharmonie in Hamburg. I’ve never been. Everyone raves about it. I want to go there. Then I start Googling flights to Hamburg. The cost of a Premier Inn. I think about the drabness of January. I think about the excitement of travel. And reading. And international airports. And the joy of being an introvert.

And now, a few days on, I’ve made Some Arrangements. My first self-funded trip abroad for twenty years (the last time was Riga for the 2002 Eurovision). I hope to God the Bamberg Symphony doesn’t cancel on 16th Jan, otherwise, I’m spending a day in Hamburg for absolutely no reason.

I’ll see to Vicky Haircut’s Christmas gift tomorrow. I promise.