Monday, August 30, 2010


It's wonderful to be able to post a picture of a happy, successful, just-defended graduate students - former grad student, I should say. Many, many congratulations to Paul. I took him out for a celebratory dinner to The Frog and the Peach, in New Brunswick, who did themselves proud with a dessert plate saying "congratulations," in chocolate fondant, round the rim, and a candle. That might look like a large heirloom tomato with goats cheese, but actually, it's half a baked peach, with some frosted lavender (frosted lavender!!).

But what to sing? Plenty of other tables were bursting into "happy birthday," for the most understandable of reasons, I imagine. None of us felt like "On the banks of the Old Raritan," even if we knew the words (I'm sure that Barry, who was there as well, must do ...). Walking back to the car, I managed a stanza of that vilest of songs, Cliff Richards's "Congratulations" (anyone else remember that terrible, terrible rain-soaked Wimbledon, when CR stood up and conducted damp spectators in the stands in a sing-along of this? Or its endless rendition outside Clarence House, for the Queen Mother's 100th birthday? I had to double check that she did indeed live until 100 - that seemed like a folk memory). It's not a song that I ever ought to be allowed to sing in public, however quietly, and in a deserted street (I blame the rather good chablis). But at the same time, it seems as though there ought to be an appropriate, celebratory, socially acceptable song for such splendid occasions as this.

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