A nice surprise yesterday, when BBC Radio Ulster invited me to be interviewed by phone on their 'Sounds Classical' programme with John Teale. They wanted to trail next weekend's Proms in the Park - there's a good big event in Belfast - and someone had stumbled across my Indy article on the nightmares musicians experience during outdoor performances.
So at a quarter to eight John phoned, we chatted over some Venezuelan guitar music and then the interview began. It was just long enough to bring out the story about the harpist and the birdshit and to explain what can happen to valuable musical instruments in extreme temperatures; and long enough, too, for Solti the cat to decide that since he's the resident conductor, he ought to be included. Solti has a miaow loud enough to be heard through the piano and violin being played together, so if he's in the room while I'm on the phone, winding round my ankles and protesting at full volume, everybody gets to know about it. I think that yesterday evening, the whole of Belfast met Solti.
So, any musicians who have trouble with birds at open-air concerts should stop and reflect: it could be worse. It could be cats.