Monday, 28 May 2007


I have inadvertently managed to become the organist at Krakow's American Catholic church, in spite of being neither American nor a Catholic (nor- in truth- an organist: I'm a pianist who went through an "organ phase" in my final year at St Andrews, rather than just using caffeine to get through the exams like everyone else).
It happened entirely by accident on my part: in fact, since moving to Krakow my life has taken on an aleatorical slant, so that I am constantly surprised by things not turning out quite as I might have expected. I think this is due to a combination of culture shock, and the fact that the Polish language and I do not entirely understand each other yet.
My life is like practicing tennis against a slightly uneven wall and never being quite sure which way the ball is going to bounce back.
In any case, one week, when there was no organ music in church, I offered to stand in occasionally when the regular accompanist couldn't make it: only it turns out that there is no regular accompanist. I talk too much, this is my problem. Just go around, opening my big mouth, getting myself into trouble.

So this is how I found myself sitting in the organ loft with the number one best view during the sermon on Pentecost Sunday.
Now, apart from an embarassing habit (inherited from my mother- thanks Mum) of occasionally bursting into tears during particularly rousing hymns or church services, I tend to be fairly down-to-earth about religion (editor's note: for 'down-to-earth', read 'spends a lot of time in the pub at Walsingham'). However, last Sunday, I was really struck by Pentecost and the disciples 'speaking in tongues'. Perfect, I thought, finally the Bible talks about the responsibility of linguists:

“Are not all these people who are speaking Galileans?
Then how does each of us hear them in his native language?

And yet they don't even mention the poor interpreter sweating it away in the Mesopotamian booth...

No comments: