Erg 16km & Penguin Cafe Orchestra reflection

PM. Erg 16k, 1:56.7, r21/22 HR: 148(157). Model C @ Brookes gym

Pretty tired, having had two consecutive 5½ hour nights of sleep, and somewhat distracted knowing that there was a gig I’d really like to be at, just 60 miles away, but felt surprisingly relaxed and coped with this session very well. Left achilles still a bit creaky, and right shin sore, but should be OK. Winter training is often all about balancing the mileage against the odd niggle here and there (provided they don’t get too annoying!). I was going to go out in Oxford tonight, but feeling a little jaded and decided to give it a miss.

Penguin Cafe Orchestra
Last night’s gig was wonderful. They’d balanced out the sound a little and were slightly more polished overall. “Paul’s Dance” was a delight of synchronization, where the night before the tuning had been a little off, for instance. There was just a slight slip from the clarinet at the start of Giles Farnaby’s Dream – the reed was a little dry, but that’s always going to be a danger when an instrument like that has to stand untouched for half an hour before being played. I recognised a few faces who, like me, were seeing them on more than one evening.

The music just flowed, really beautifully, in a way that I remember so well from the gig that I saw here in the summer of 1995 (I realised it must’ve been the summer because I remember the chapel being full of light). On that occasion I arrived late and sat upstairs, striking up a conversation at the interval with the woman next to me who’d also arrived alone. That time there was a possibility of seeing them again, of course, but a possibility that was taken away with the unexpected death of Simon Jeffes just two years later.

Listening to the music last night was both uplifting and tinged with sadness, knowing that Jeffes couldn’t be with us. There were many of us with a tear in our eye. Truly a magical experience, and one that I’d love to experience again, but I didn’t get tickets for the extra last night. Someone else can have my seat tonight.

Penguin Cafe Orchestra

Someone’s posted four pictures from the first night here


The Times review

The Guardian review,,2226389,00.html