Last week, writing met J.S. Bach trying to tune his harpsichord at Cohan Castle. This week, I read Rachel Cusk’s The Bradshaw Variations, where Thomas Bradshaw takes a year off work to learn the piano. Coincidentally, Thomas stuggles at one point with the C major fugue from The Well Tempered Clavier by Bach.
The Bradshaw Variations was a disconnected story, with no central character, no real plot, and no overt message. Music, however, held the show together. It was a force representing both freedom and discipline. Music is neither random nor monotonous – it’s a strange mixture of both. The Bradshaw tribe was similar. It included rigid, traditionally-minded old fools, modern career women who hated their careers, house-husbands who knew nothing about house-work, frustrated wives who drank too much, or who loved the idea of being an artist whilst secretly preferring chaotic family life with an impulsive husband, two long-suffering children, and a manic dog who pees, vomits and hurls himself at doors which he always wants to be on the other side of. They all lived together like musicians in some kind of experimental jazz band. By extension people generally might be considered to live together in a similar way. Bravo I say.