Yesterday I watched - and loved - the live broadcast of The Sound and Music.
'Finally!' Rukan al Daher commented when I told her. 'I've been waiting to chew it over with you. Surely you didn't love the simplified performance of "The Lonely Goatherd"? You were so strict with us studying that song at Guildford.'
'Your yodeling isn't nearly specific enough, Rukan,' I had begun by saying, sometime in the summer term, nineteen ninety-three. 'The goatherd is lonely. You just sound poised. Beautifully poised, but not lonely.'
Rukan was a friend of the Saudi Arabian royal family and these days can be seen introducing the Jordanian Eurovision entry. She had another go at sounding lonely in her yodeling.
'Excellent. Real sense of isolation,' I said, vamping along on the damp-ridden piano in the Founder's Studio. 'Er... why are you sounding upper-class now?'
'Prince on the bridge, love; I was trying for regal.'
'But the prince isn't yodeling on the bridge, he's just bystanding on it, overhearing.'
She sang on.
'Okay, okay...yup. But listen: now, our goatherd is directly addressing - as opposed to being overheard by - the one little girl in the pale pink coat. She yodels back and but one yodeling chorus later, has a child by him. So, let's please have our goatherd sounding ball-quiveringly randy.'
Her glance fell on the dictaphone with which she recorded all her tutorials at Guildford.
'Iestyn, I have to transcribe this tape, and give my notes to the official sponsors back home, showing that I've been using state money wisely and that I've not been disregarding let alone offending religious law. So, my goatherd's yodeling will just have to sound like his family and the mama with the gleaming gloat have got together previously and drawn up a mutually beneficial betrothal contract, acceptable in the sight of God.' She pointed a forefinger at me. 'I like the soles of my feet unwhipped, thanks.'