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Friday, April 01, 2005
Up the Swanee

Since I last filed a blog, I have been back to Airstrip One and returned to Oz, yet the subject of this commentary continues where I left off on February 24th. It is about what (mostly arts-based) Airstrip One news makes it onto the air or into the papers over here. I was delighted to see that Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, Master of the Queen’s Musick, has been up to no good:
When a whooper* swan flew into power lines near his Orkney home and died, he recovered the carcass, informed the RSPB of the bird's demise, and prepared to make some fresh swan terrine.

But the composer's intentions landed him in trouble, as police descended on his house on the island of Sanday, removed the swan he planned to cook, and cautioned him.

Yesterday, Sir Peter pronounced himself bemused by all the fuss and joked that a prison term might inspire some "very interesting music".
You can read the Grauniad’s full account here. The article also recounts how Sir Peter
...had offered some terrine he had made from a swan that had died earlier to two officers who arrived at the house with a search warrant, but they declined. He also voluntarily handed over the leg of a swan he had stored in the freezer.
According to the naughty Mr Maxwell Davies, Mr Robert Killjoy-Plod and accomplice also
’...took a pair of swan wings they found in a shed. I was going to give them to the Sanday school for their nativity play. Those they have already got are looking a bit dusty, and these would have been ideal for the angel Gabriel.’
Tut tut and quadruple tut.

Given that UK (English?) swans are the property of her Maj, don’t you think she ought to take better care of them? What on earth is she doing letting them wander off to Orkney? Madam, there is a marked contrast in the way in which you treat your swans and your corgis; we never hear about corgis running into Scottish pylons, do we? Get yourself organised, Ma’am: your swans need you!

* Interestingly, on the station where I heard the story, it came out as ‘a whopper swan’. Ho hum.

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