Saturday, October 10, 2009

Robbed of Music! By an Arse!

- Don't start something you can't finish, my uncle used to say.

I don't recall if that particular uncle liked classical music, but I certainly do not like taking on the challenge of getting to the Esplanade (currently the world's most inconveniently located Entertainment Centre) unless it means listening to some good floppy-haired cellists (can't find the link to my or Izzy's blog about the Russian Orchestra a few years ago, but this one will do - there seems to be a world-wide plague of floppy-haired cellists) and musicians of that ilk.

The Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra is in town and playing Beethoven Tchaikovsky tonight and I am in the toilet. Physically I mean. I am in the dunny, the loo, the crapper. My arse is grass and being attacked by a weed-wacker.

I've started , but no matter how hard I try, I cannot finish...


Earlier, T was pissed off with work and SMS(short message service)'d to say -

- Let's meet at Harry's for a beer.

Actually, I was already on my way in a nice Mercedes taxi hoping for a bit of quiet time to finish reading that Krugman article on Friedman in the New York Review of Books from a few years ago (I'm still trapped in a "fuck I don't know anything about politics OR economics" spin), but I made it sound like I was dropping tools and heading off for a TDIF (Thank Darwin It's Friday) ale too. Dropping tools? It was already after 6, but this is Singapore, not Sydney where anyone at work after 4 on a Friday obviously hadn't booked their yacht for the weekend.

We had one beer (metric pint = 500mls). Izzy came looking very sophisticated in a cute LBD (I don't have to tell you what that is, surely?) with a white pleated scarf and a pair of scarlet 4" heels that would plague her all night. We listened to T's appalling geek puns and, this is where the mistake of our early arrival at the pub was made manifest; our glasses were empty and there was 20mins to go - WE HAD ANOTHER BEER. Before a concert, that is a MBM (Major Bad Move.)

When it was getting close to tune-up time we called for the bill. Typical for Harry's, it took forever to get change and while I waited T and Iz went for bladder relief. When T got back, the change still hadn't come so he waited and I went for a pre-show slash...


NOTE: The next few paragraphs contain WTMI (Way Too Much Information). But people don't talk/blog about crapping much (unless they're German or James Joyce) and it's such a big part of life... and hey I love toilet humour! so -- Enter at own risk.


I was feeling a tad gassy after wolfing that second beer, in fact I felt like I might need to take a dump. Man, what an inconvenient time! Instead I took a piss at the urinal and tried to squeeze out a fart. Sometimes a fart and a piss can take a lot of the pressure off, hold that inconveniently timed crap urge in abeyance for just long enough... to watch a concert orchestra for example. But no, this one needed to be attended to straight away. The next train down that tunnel was going to be the goods! But I'd only had a light breakfast and not much lunch, so I didn't expect a major effort.

So, reluctantly, I ducked into a cubicle, dropped me daks and sat down. Slowly, shyly, a little cigarillo of a turd squeezed itself half out... and stuck there. There was not enough solid momentum backing it up to force the issue. I had already let out most of the gaseous components which meant I could not explode it out with another big fart. A bit dropped of the end finally, but most of the turdlet just oozed itself to comfortable (for the turd, not for me) and intractable positions deep into every fold, crease and niche of my anal canal.

Now remember the other week when I had problems down below? An UTI (urinary tract infection) means more than a burning urethra I had found out. It means massive bone-splitting, muscle rending, out-of-synch cramps that push you bladder down into your prostate and raise the innards of your intestinal chute in all the wrong painful directions at all the wrong teeth-clenching, involuntary groaning times. At that time, I got myself constipated because the spasms meant I couldn't coordinate my shit extruding mechanisms to defecate properly... for five days. Oh fuck, that hurt. Bad memories came flooding back of a history of anal fissures(x2), one so bad that I was in hospital for a week (and my nick-name at work became Lord of the Ring, because I mentioned to someone that I had to sit on one those blow-up rubber rings - You've never seen one? You need to stay in more.) Anyway, it was bad. I thought with this UTI I was either getting another one, or that I had developed haemorrhoids from all the white-knuckle straining.

My arse has only just recovered thanks to the advice of a pharmacist in Plaza Singapura. Two words - nappy rash creme.

So here I am with a mushy chocolate cigar stuck in my quoit. Thank Darwin I am not in a Malaysian or Thailand or the Singapore heartland toilet with just my fingernails between, well, between nothing really. No baby-wipes, no nappy rash creme. At least I have toilet paper. There is two minutes to go before the concert starts and I have to extract myself from this toilet trouble in time. Cheap, rough toilet paper. Holy hell! And hell it was...

But even as I stood to do up my jeans, giving up any more wasted efforts, I knew it was not over yet. There was certainly something left, something horrible besides the rubbed-raw flesh of my sphincter. I had proof of Gödel's Incompleteness Theorem: it was half-stuck up my bleeding arse.

Enough time had elapsed for Iz and T to be worried about me, and I saw T come into the toilet looking to see if I had had a heart attack, but I was already washing my hands thoroughly - for a second time...

- You OK? they asked.

- No. Read about it in my blog tomorrow.

And so we headed to the concert hall with minutes...



Our chance to get seated for the first piece was gone, as we were two minutes, maybe three, late. The lady was just shutting the outer doors and the band was already playing; we could see and hear it on the LCD (liquid crystal display) display above the outer entrance. You don't expect this sort of punctuality in Asia! The tickets said 7:30, that means, seriously, move to seat around 7:30 because the actual music will start at 7:45ish. But not tonight - 7:30 meant 7:30, kaboom. We are dealing with the Dutch here!

It was a little bit OK for it became evident, as a small crowd gathered around the LCD that there were others in the same predicament. Being late I mean, not have the remnants of half a turd still stuck in their shit-chute.

The first piece by Wagenaar (sounds Dutch or Swedish - note the comment on YouTube = hoor de voor do goor de goor) was the Overture to Cyrano De Bergerac, and only 14 minutes long. So we miss that, so what?

I told T and Iz, who didn't know it seems, that Cyrano was a real person. He was in fact well-known(-ish) as a pioneer Sci-Fi writer back in 14whatever (OK, he died in 1655). I had bought his Journey to the Moon and enjoyed reading it (in English!) in the cafes of Paris. Quite subversive it was - Cyrano was very critical of the French Church at the time, but got away with it, saying it merely fiction!

We went to our seats at the first break in the programme and listened to Nina Kotova play a cello piece by somebody called Theofanides that was like the soundtrack to a really scary movie. But as the deep rumblings of the drum and intense scratchings across the strings reverberated, my bladder immediately started to distend itself with the filtrations of THAT SECOND BEER! 20 minutes to go!

At the next break I had scramble across everybody in the row and get out quickly. Luckily too, because those parts of that cigar which I had been forced by the pain and frank bleeding to let lie, had liquefied nicely while I was sitting there and were now thinking of trickling into prominence in the windmills of my mind arse. Itchy, itchy arse. Yowser -- full bladder, itchy arse! Back to the loo, and a big big sigh as everything was slowly, gently brought under some form of control.

By the time I returned (I had whispered quickly about "just getting over a bladder infection" to lady at the door as I nearly bowled her over in my rush) the next piece - Rachmaninoff's Rhapsody On A Theme Of Paganini - was well under way. The sympathetic door lady let me into the crying-room where I could at least see the performance and listen to it through little tinny speakers, but unhindered by the din of band that was playing upstairs in the main foyer of the Esplanade complex.

It looked great, the amazingly young 14 year old(!) pianist Conrad Teo was jumping around like a madman (as required by a lot of Rachmaninov, I am informed). But seeing it through glass and not hearing it properly made me feel that I had lost the opportunity to have the memorable experience of a really spirited performance. When it finished, Intermission was due. I went downstairs for a slash again, but found the foyer empty I came up. It must have been a truly great performance because I saw on the LCD display that the orchestra was still on stage and the audience were still applauding! This was obviously the centerpiece and the highlight of the night.

Sigh. I missed it.

The Tchaikovsky was good, was really good in fact - it was the 4th Symphony, and in the 2nd movement, there's this beautiful rising/falling theme that goes da da daaa dumdum dur da dee dada dee da dum, then go down a tone and repeat; you'd know it if you heard it (starts at 1:21) - but having missed the the Wagenaar, AND the young kid playing Rachmaninov, and being uncomfortable for the second piece, I felt a little disappointed (with myself) and that brought down my appreciation of the whole thing. (I remember, now, thinking that from the our expensive seats in the middle of stalls perhaps you couldn't hear the wood-wind as well as you might if you were seated higher up).

Overall I felt that my arse had cheated me out 50% of the concert and brought me down so I couldn't appreciate the entirety of the night.

But then, as an unexpected encore the orchestra did a terrifically rousing arrangement of (what to me sounded like) Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody - without a piano! Very spirited also, and it left me smiling.


OK bum-story sorties are over, things were back to relative normality after that....

We gave up waiting in-line for a cab, or waiting on-hold to book one and walked for ages to get to the nearest MRT with Izzy in bare feet looking for a place that sold black flip-flops - fuck the Esplanade is dab in the middle of Transportation Nowhere - then walked for what seemed ages from Somerset MRT right through a fucking construction site to Orchard Rd...

- Fuck all this walking, cry my feet, as do Izzy's... She got some plasters at a 7/11 and was OK then, but my neuralgic dogs can't handle it all and they were barking!

But that persistent annoyance didn't stop me pondering what would constitute a great day - golf in the morning, book browsing, reading and chatting in the afternoon, and going to a concert in the evening, all without having a sore arse to fuck it all up.... Just dreaming...

We got to Cuppage Plaza at about 10:45, hoping somewhere would be open (Singapore!! restaurants still shut way too early) and found that the small place T wanted to try out was still open. People even came in after us!

This was some great Japanese food - great sashimi (the hamachi - yellowtail - in particular was superb), yummy boiled pork-belly, shioyaki mackerel, and some GENUINE Kobe beef, OMFD, that really just melted in the mouth - Toothless grannies could eat that, said T. Reasonably priced for a Japanese food in Singapore too! Maybe that where a great place to end that perfect day too.

I have the name of the place, but it will cost you... OK, it's called Nagomi.


And for MY encore - the genuine Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody No 2 - played as it was never meant to be by the peerlessly funny Victor Borge and side-kick...


p.s. Now, after having listened to Borge, I can't tell if this the music they played or not!


Stephen Folan said...

I shouldn't worry to much about boning up on economic. None of it seems to apply to the last 2 years, the previous 10 were based on let's do what we did last year or copy someone else (at a corporate and governemnt level). Treat it like football - pick your economist and support him - rah rah Keynes, go go Friedman, we love Hayek, boo Schumpeter.

makes for a more spirited debate as well.

expat@large said...

Ah, the advice of age-wisened man! Sounds good to me!

Paula said...

Which uncle was that?
Way too much advice? - Indeed!
Who is 'T'?

Love you just the same...

expat@large said...

Paula: very inquisitive tonight aren't we?

It was an uncle of mine, not one of yours, you'd not know him.

T is T. He's just cypher, an incidental in the joke that is this post...

Why do you ask? I guess, if I'd wanted people to know his name, as if it matters, (without his permission) perhaps I might have used it?

And everybody loves me, baby...

Paula said...

To explain: I get confused with all the acronyms used these days, - even people's names are abbreviated, ie 'T'.

I now know what WTMI means anyway..


expat@large said...

I get confused too, have to work hard as I can just to remain as far behind as always and not slip even further... !!!

(I pretend to know them, but usually I am just kidding myself!)

Creepy said...

I will be re-reading that part about your experience in the crapper. Pure poetry. "Lord of the Ring", I wish I had come up with that! But I've got a friend whom I will be re-nicknaming thanks to you!

Have you ever read "Bob the Anal Fissure"?

expat@large said...

Crepy: feel free, it's not mine anyway but a buddy who ALWAYS nick-named the people he met as a mnemonic.

That story of Bob the Anal Fissure was SO funny and man can I relate! Yes the dehumanisation of being a patient... It's something we medical pofessionals relish, seeing a rich professional person walk down acorridor with his arese hanging out. It reinforces out satrapical temporary superiority.

Difference for me from the BOb story was with my AF stretching, I got an inflammation in the flesh all around my arse and it ballooned out and was as taut as a drum until the week on antibiotics brought it under control. Hence the Ring. I guess that all stretching must have done some damage...

But the pain and itching were gone as soon as I woke up. As happended my FIRST AF "violent anal dilatation", before it came back 8 years later. Thank Darwin they didn't give out a Christmas Party video...

p.s the stuff they gave in the injection just prior to the operation would have been amyl nitrate - same as in Poppers. It relaxes the smooth muscle of the intesinal tract, include the anal ring. Very useful for fist-fucking. I remember reading about it in one of Edmund White's "adventures in New York" books. I think I stopped reading him at that point.

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