One shouldn't joke, ever, it seems. As we drove towards Calvia last night to see the first of the newly established Arts Society of Mallorca's talks on art, it was raining lightly. The people who kindly gave me a lift wanted to get an early start because "the rain had made everything slow down" and there appeared to have been some chaos in Llucmajor where they had come from. "Oh, these people don't know what rain is," I remarked. In much the same way as I had often told Hong Kong people that they didn't know what cold is. (They don't.)
Yes. That night, at least eight people died on the island; washed away inside their cars, drowning in their basements or just crushed or pummelled to death by water and objects after a river burst its banks in the torrential downpour. Roads are cut off, people have no power and many have had to flee their homes. It is a terrible tragedy which unfortunately takes away the joy of the Arts Society's meeting. I suppose it's in bad taste to even write about it now. But the Arts Society deserves huge praise for pulling off this thing to a packed room last night after only 10 months in existence.
They had managed to snag famous Antiques Roadshow host Eric Knowles to talk about The Genius of René Lalique, and what an evening it was. The man was so ridiculously knowledgable and the topic so interesting, nay, riveting - well, I had of course expected that. But I hadn't expected to laugh and laugh! It was Art Nouveau slash extreme beauty and skill meets stand-up comedy, old-school style. With voices! He did Yorkshire, American south and mid-west, Scotland and France.
We were roaring with laughter and he played us like so many mouth organs, in his unpretentious way that seemed so natural it must have taken thousands of hours of work to perfect it.
Meanwhile, that natural disaster was going on just a few kilometres away but we didn't have a clue. Oh! I wish that evening could have lasted and lasted.
Still, I'm glad i got a full year's membership of the Arts Society so I'm sure to get a seat at next month's event.