I was on the bus the other day and a headline on a discarded newspaper caught my eye – “Next year, concerto for laptop”. I bent over and grabbed the paper to check out the full story. It turned out the article was not about an upcoming laptop concerto, but was about the recent baggage restrictions on flights leaving the UK. Due to the recent terrorism scare, there have been extreme limitations to the amount and type of hand baggage one is permitted to carry on flights originating in the UK. Musical instruments are very often larger than the new allowance and so musicians were told their instruments must be checked. However, musicians with priceless instruments are, understandably, loathe to chuck them into the hold with everything else.
To make a long story short, at the end of a recent performance, a prominent conductor took the opportunity to slam officials for enforcing this restriction when it is apparent musicians are unable to comply, forcing them to cancel travel or develop elaborate plans to transport instruments. This conductor, Mark Elder, said “I think we would all agree that the time has come to put an end to this unfairness. Otherwise it seems to me that next year we should all look forward to Concerto for Laptop and Orchestra.”
Hmmm. I actually was looking forward to Concerto for Laptop and Orchestra. Seeing “laptop” and “concerto” in the same headline was the whole reason I picked up the paper. More recent news reports suggest that this restriction will soon be lifted, so we won’t have a concerto for laptop next year, and to that I say – how unfortunate. Can we have our Guarneri violins and our MacBooks too?