Handel the Overachiever

Oh, how bitter it is to return to work after a four-day weekend. I have sulked and grumbled and headached my way through three days, deliberately sleeping through my alarm, proofreading with gritted teeth, threatening to turn up on the doorstep of unhelpful authors with an angry wolf in my arms, eating a disgusting amount of chocolate. On these occasions I wonder whether I do anything of use or value at all, an impression strengthened when I learned that Handel composed the whole of his Messiah (our performance was on Sunday) in 24 days. What did you do in the last 24 days? Between you and me, I didn’t compose a world famous oratorio that echoed down the centuries and had the King himself wiping tears from his royal beard. Handel, you jammy beggar. Bet he had no problems getting himself invited to palace shindigs after that.

Good to know, though, that even Handel experienced teething problems: the first performance of the Messiah was in a concert hall on the unsavoury sounding Fishamble Street in Dublin, and it got delayed for ages because the Dean of St Patrick’s Cathedral, one Jonathan Swift, wanted it to be renamed ‘A Sacred Oratorio’ (eh?) and have all the money donated to a hospital for the mentally ill. Ha. What a nerve. When you write an oratorio, Swift, you can call it what you want. I think he was just annoyed that Handel managed to be a successful unofficial Englishman, whereas he was stuck back in Ireland writing pamphlets about baby-eating and maintaining ambiguous relationships with orphaned daughters of household servants.  

There’s a great deal to be said about having a secure job in this economic climate, of course, and when I’m not so busy I haven’t a hope of catching up (as now), I do enjoy it. I can’t imagine doing anything else that would suit me so well. I just can’t help feeling a bit peeved that my engineering journals are never going to make the Queen cry. Unless I told her she had to read one.

No more four day weekends for me – clearly more harm than good. Especially now I’ve got three bars of the Messiah repeating dementedly in the back of my head with plots to make her Majesty shed a few tears. Get a grip, woman! A large pile of proofreading awaits, and that wolf needs riling up a bit before we leave.


4 thoughts on “Handel the Overachiever

  1. DAD says:

    Hahaha! you are funny Rach x (and cutting!)
    Although you were right to give old Swifty a few home truths! – his turn-coat political ramblings and self-indulgent poems and letters – nor his ‘Gulliver’ for that matter – can hardly be held up against the genius of ‘the Messiah’ I am unsuprised to learn from your blog that he tried to throw his weight about in Dublin before the Premiere – He had such a chip on his shoulder from his ideas of grandeur which no one else, it seems, shared – and his eventual settling for 17th best as Dean of St Patrick’s. (You must listen to Melvin Bragg’s ‘In Our Time’ programs on Thursday mornings – Facinating! – maybe you do??)
    Oh and by the way – did you ever finish ‘Kevin’?
    We ‘need to talk about’ it!! lol
    I really did NOT expect the end twist – Seems obvious now – but all through reading the letters I wanted to know what Franklin had to say for himself!!
    Keep on Blogging!
    Love Dad xxx


  2. racheljeffcoat says:

    Good boy! Wasn’t Modest Proposal disturbing?! You should read Gulliver’s Travels – it’s even more of an acid trip. He kind of falls in love with a horse at the end.


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