Sunday, January 02, 2005

Really, I wasn’t expecting to be asked…

My father attended many parties in his teens at which guests were expected to play music for the pleasure of the other guests. During the late 1920’s and early ‘30’s, he said there was a strict protocol for how this worked. Here’s a typical example:
“Diana, we’d like you to play some music for us.”
“What a surprise, I didn’t expect to be asked, I’m not prepared to play!”
“Please, Diana, we’d really like to hear you.”
(After several more exchanges like this, Diana finally says:)
“Well, alright, I’ll be glad to try.”
At this point, Diana’s harp, which was delivered by truck several hours before, is wheeled into the salon. Diana sits down and – quel surprise – is definitely ready to play.

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