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Author: Julian Lloyd Webber

 

The other day I felt a ‘tiny twinge’ in my left hand – the one that does all the complicared finger-work (actually it was more than a ‘tiny twinge’ but I couldn’t possibly say so). I decided to visit a hand specialist who told me that I should have a cortisone injection into my hand immediately. Worried, I visited a second specialist. I was told that on no account should I ever have a cortisone injection in my hand. Confused, I saw a third specialist who prescribed both super strength anti-inflammatory drugs and ultrasonic treatment. This combination worked and I am relieved to report that my career-threatening ‘tiny twinge’ has disappeared. So is my wife. For a musician pacing around like a caged beast, unable to play, cannot be the easiest person to live with.

 

Not only was I devastated to think of all the future projects that might never happen, but I was astounded by the sudden realisation that my hands were not immune to the constant punishment I inflict upon them. Also there was the little matter of survival. Because, in common with nearly every solo instrumentalist I know, I have absolutely no insurance. How risky, you may think – like my tax advisor, who laughed at my idea that if anything really went wrong, I could sell my valuable Stradivarius.

 

Yet, for a musician, selling your instrument is hardly an attractive option. Not only is it a final admission that your playing days are over, but it would feel like selling your best friend and companion to the highest bidder. Surely, though, I must have insured my hands? Great idea. I investigated it once. But the requirement that you had to break most – if not all – of your fingers in several places seemed excessive! A more cunning trick, I thought, would be to take out insurance against ‘non-appearance’. After all, sudden deafness, blindness or even severe haemorrhoids are hardly helpful to playing the cello. But the insurance terms were as ludicrous as they were expensive. I had to be unable to perform for at least six weeks and if I undertook any alternative employment, the insurance payments would cease immediately (no more columns for newspaper’s then!).

 

The most worrying aspect of ‘musician’s injuries’ is that we are terrified to admit that everything might not be perfect, for news travels faster in the music profession than Shanghai Airport’s bullet train. If you do admit to having so much as a toothache there will be at least twenty people queuing up to take your place.

 

The days when a soloist could turn up, play their concerto and be twenty miles on the road home before the orchestra had even returned to the platform for the second half, have long since disappeared.

 

Nowadays, something closer to blood is required. You need to give a ‘pre-concert’ talk, meet a group of schoolchildren who play whichever instrument you play during the interval and attend a sponsor’s dinner afterwards. All of which is fair enough, I suppose, in these cash-starved times for the arts.

 

But there are occasions, after a concert, when all you want to do is sit somewhere quietly by yourself. Especially when – as happened to me recently – you have just discovered a magnificent pub near the hall serving ale from the cask and superlative gourmet food. So I am not ashamed to say that I made my excuses to the concert’s sponsors: “I am so tired and I must be fresh for tomorrow’s rehearsal” and set off happily to the pub.

 

Several pints of beer – and a couple of courses later - my reveries were interrupted by a strong tap on my shoulder. The sponsors had finished their meal and arrived at the pub for a final drink!

 

Translator:Terrie Dai

如此擔憂

有一天,我感觉我的左手有一阵阵“轻微的刺痛” - 尤其在演奏时(其实比“轻微的刺痛”要严重,但是我不愿这么说)。我决定去看一位医治手的专家,这位专家说,我的手需要立即注射可的松注射液。

 

我很担心,去找另一位专家,并告诉他,这听起来没道理,我从来没注射过可的松注射液。

 

我很困惑,去看了第三位专家。他的处方是用强力消炎药,再配合超声波治疗。这种结合性治疗见效了,我欣慰的告诉自己,那威胁我职业生涯的“轻微的刺痛”消失了。对于一个音乐家来说,不能演奏,就像是被关在笼子里的困兽,使我们变成很难相处的人。  

 

这不是危言耸听,不能说这些可怕的事情永远也不会发生,但是我很震惊的意识到,因为长久以来没有好好保护我的手,所以不能幸免的要受到惩罚。当然还有些遗留的小问题。据我所知,在所有的独奏音乐家里,只有我是完全没有买过保险的。有多危险,我的税务顾问笑着对我说,如果真的出了问题,我可得卖掉我宝贵的斯特拉迪瓦利了。

 

然而,对于一个音乐家来说,卖掉自己的乐器,几乎是一个痛苦的选择。这不仅是承认你演奏的日子已经结束,而且,感觉就像出卖你最好的朋友和同伴给出价最高者

 

看来,我必须投保我的手?好主意。我做了一下调查,条件是“苛刻的” - 你只有在大部分手指受伤的情况下 - 如果不是全部的话 - 才能得到赔偿,只是几个手指受伤,似乎很难索赔。

 

多么狡猾,技巧的条款,保险条款定得如此可笑,是因为赔率太昂贵了。还有,我必须最少六个星期不能演奏,如果我还有其它可供选择的就业(连为报纸写专栏也要算上!)保险金将立即停止。毕竟,突发性耳聋,失明,甚至严重的痔疮,都对演奏大提琴有影响。我想,我将采取不购买保险。

 

最令人担忧的还不止是受伤,而是我们害怕承认并不完美这样的事实。在音乐圈里,新闻传播速度比上海机场的高速火车还快。甚至如果你承认有类似牙痛这类的小问题,都至少有20人在排队等着取代你的位置。

 

在以前,当獨奏家演奏完他的協奏曲后,甚至在樂團還沒走回音樂會下半場他們所在的位置時,他就已在回家的路上了。這类的事在当今音乐界已不可能再出现了。

 

如今,有些“应酬”的事是必需要做的,你需要在音乐会前主讲一个讲座。在中场休息时接见一个学童团体并指导他们,也不管是否专业对口。还要在音乐会后出席赞助人的晚宴。我想,所有这些额外的应酬,是因为现今已没有多少人对投资艺术感兴趣了。

 

 

但是,有些时候,在音乐会后,你可能只想坐在某个角落,静静的独处一会儿,特别是当你(最近发生在我身上的事)发现了一个很好的酒吧,就在音乐厅附近,那里有新鲜啤酒刚从橡木桶里倒出来,还有非常美味的食物。所以,我毫不惭愧的想了个借口对音乐会的赞助人说:“我很累,我必须为明天的排练保持精力。”然后愉快的动身走去酒吧。

 

喝下幾杯啤酒 幾個時辰後有人重重的拍了拍我的肩膀,打斷了我的遐思。

 

贊助商們剛結束宴會,再到酒吧來喝幾杯!

 

戴莉翻譯