Hmm, being someone new, tomorrow, anyone in the world I wish, alive today or long ago. Hmm….
This is one of those Daily Post prompts. You’re meant to write a Post in response to the Prompt, then create a Pingback within the Post – somehow. That’s an awful lot of Ps to get one’s head around but I’ll have a go, though knowing my technological luck it’ll either fail to ping or it’ll pong instead. Another hazard of pingbacking, apparently, is self-pinging. I envisage this as some nightmarish feedback loop, my blog feeding back to my blog feeding back to my blog…
Talking of ponging. We weren’t, but it sort of ties in – I can’t help but hear the late Kenneth Williams fulsomely singing in a commercial for toilet cleaner. Kenneth Williams was a comic genius, one of those chaps you couldn’t help laughing at. But uneasily, always uneasily. A strange mixture, always: ultra-camp/scary. Anyway, a rudimentary cartoon loo, having inserted into its tank a block of a freshening product called Bloo, announces “Oooh, I feel like a New Loo.”
I wonder what it would be like if you could, though? Take some sort of magic tablet, wave some sort of wand, yell Abracadabra – and there you are all of a sudden: someone else. And maybe somewhen else.
Apologies: marginally relevant Blast from the Past.
Well, I definitely wouldn’t choose to be me again: one lifetime of me-ness has been way more than enough and if reincarnation turns out to be a kind of Groundhog Life and having to come back as the same person again and again and again until I get it right… Nooooooooo!
I’d like to be a Man, for starters. Men on the whole lead more interesting lives, and they are free in a way that women still aren’t. Still. And probably never will be. I want to lead a proper life.
And I’d like to be musical because that’s something I’m not – except in my soul. In my soul I am a great composer, I am… In reality I am the girl who could never make sense of musical notation. I got stood next to the music mistress in Assembly and told to turn the pages while she belted out some hymn or other on the piano. She knew I couldn’t read music. I’d had to report to her in the staffroom after school about not being able to read music, even. So why… ? Revenge, I suppose.
Of course I turned the pages in all the wrong places and nearly died of fear. She was bald, I remember, my music teacher. Going thin on top. And Apparently her false teeth fell out during one of her music lessons – landed with a porcelain chatter on the piano keyboard, apparently. If only they had obliged during my page-turning-assembly-humiliation, everyone might have laughed at her instead.
And if I’m going to be musical and a man I want to be Thomas Tallis, who wrote Spem in Alium, the best piece of music ever. I always wanted to meet Thomas Tallis – how much better to be him.
In which case I’ll have been born towards the close of Henry VIIIs reign and will have started out as an organist in Dover Priory, in my own county of Kent (so perhaps I am Thomas Tallis, spookily reincarnated for some unfathomable reason as a lumpy old Englishwoman). And then I’ll make music at Canterbury Cathedral (been there, done that, paid the entrance fee, investigated the souvenir shop – they won’t let you out otherwise).
Throughout my career, though ‘an unreformed Roman Catholic’ I’ll play a careful political/musical game, subtly adjusting my style to suit the tastes of four successive monarchs. Not much else is known about my life except that I will write quite a lot of the world’s most fantastic music. But what else matters apart from that?
I’ll die peacefully in my house in Greenwich in November 1585 and be buried in a church called St Alfege, the exact location of which has disappeared from the maps. My bones may be discarded by labourers when the church is rebuilt between 1712 and 1714. All that will remain of me is a brass plate upon which someone has engraved some verses so dire as to be worthy of that remarkable (and much later) Scottish poet William Topaz McGonagall:
“Entered here doth ly a worthy wyght, / Who for long tyme in musick bore the bell: / His name to shew, was THOMAS TALLYS hyght, / In honest virtuous lyff he dyd excell.
“He serv’d long tyme in chappel with grete prayse / Fower sovereygnes reygnes (a thing not often seen); / I meane Kyng Henry and Prynce Edward’s dayes, / Quene Mary, and Elizabeth oure Quene.
“He mary’d was, though children he had none, / And lyv’d in love full thre and thirty yeres / Wyth loyal spowse, whose name yclypt was JONE, / Who here entomb’d him company now beares.
“As he dyd lyve, so also did he dy, / In myld and quyet sort (O happy man!) / To God ful oft for mercy did he cry, / Wherefore he lyves, let deth do what he can.