Sunday, June 12, 2011

When you're Happy and you know it

There’s only one thing I love better than attending a Zubin Mehta concert, and that’s attending a Zubin Mehta rehearsal. One reason for this is of course is listening to the maestro deconstruct a piece. The way he breaks it down to its bare bones and then packs it all together again, strings, winds, percussion and all, it’s magic. Now while this remains my official excuse for getting out of work on a Tuesday morning, what truly fascinates me is looking at people’s socks.

Before you think me perverse, you must understand that the general rule of an orchestra is uniformity. Classical music is a rigid affair when it comes to dressing and unless a soloist, it’s hard to break away from the black and white. When you watch an orchestra on performance day, there’s a clear difference between the audience and the performers. For one, they place themselves above you, about five feet actually and for another, for that hour and a half or so, being part of the orchestra is just greater than being part of the audience. But now this is all on performance day. Catch them on rehearsal day, and it’s a whole other ball game.

At rehearsals, the tailcoats are replaced by jeans and t-shirts, and even slippers. For a moment, looking at the Hawaiian shirts and floaters, you can actually deem to think that you could be one of them. What’s most interesting is how their sense of dressing gives away their character. And it’s here that the socks play a pivotal role. The little piece of their character that they can carry into the monochromatic sea, is their socks. Let’s face, men have it fairly tough when it comes to formal dressing. Everything must remain sober and well, dull. But there is one aspect of their dressing where they do they to play around, and that’s the socks. It’s sort of a guilty pleasure, white shirt, black blazer and trousers, and red and black striped socks.

That’s why I was thrilled when I found I always have more respect for a man with coloured socks. And respect can always grow to something more when it’s a chiseled faced, six-foot-one double bassist.