Imagine if *February* came to stay and never left again like in the chilling short novel *Light Boxes* by Shane Jones. The onslaught of the cold, the snow, the ice, the darkness, all would be never-ending. Countless articles are published every year on ‘why we hate *February*’ – the *helmikuu* (month of the pearl) which sees snow droplets freezing into pearls of ice, Shakespeare’s *Feverell*, a time for *februum* (purification). While this short little month is certainly not the most welcoming, I find that it still has a lot going for it.
This is the week when children in Luxembourg take the initiative to go *liichten*, bringing light from house to house with their lampions, Americans observe the behavioural patterns of a groundhog looking for his shadow in the hope of an early spring and the French try to get luck in money matters on their side by catching a crêpe with a frying pan after tossing it in the air with their left hand while holding a golden coin in their right hand. Henri and I also have our very own *Dinner With Daisy* going-ons planned for this *Sunday 6th* *February*. On the program are some fantastic movies by *Dorna Aslanzadeh* with a sneak preview of her new short film ‘Janice’ for which I have composed music. We will also enlighten you with the music of experimental composer *Michael Parsons*, brighten your day with the words of writer *Alexia Anastasiadis* and enchant with the theatrical drum and flute duo *Zashiki Warashi*. An acoustic treat by *Royal Treatment Plant* and some music chosen by *French For Cartridge* will complete the bill and light up your faces. There will be food available at the artful Jamboree venue for those who come with an empty stomach and there may even be some birthday cake (or crêpes) for good measure. We start early at 18.30 for a cosy Sunday night, which should put a spring in your step for the rest of the month. Entry is £5 on the door and tickets can also be bought in advance at http://www.wegottickets.com/ev
On *7th February*, Dinner With Daisy release the final single off the acclaimed *French For Cartridge* album ‘Liquorice’. It is called ‘*A Hundred And One’* and available for a limited time only as a *free download* from the French For Cartridge website www.frenchforcartridge.com .The video for the song, made by Dorna Aslanzadeh and starring Swedish actor Benjamin Moliner, has been shown at various festivals in Europe and has had a lot of hits on youtube. It is well worth a look over at http://bit.ly/dSlw9G . On the website you can also now find a ‘shop’ section as well as a lot of other video footage and photos.
Of course many believe that *February* can predict how the picnic and barbeque season will pan out for the year. In fact, the days of 12th to 14thFebruary were traditionally said to be ‘borrowed’ from January. If these days were stormy, the year would be favoured with good weather. If they were fine days, the year’s weather would be foul. The eager groundhog might however be fooling us since cats seem to differ in opinion. Apparently when the cat lies in the sun in February, she will creep behind the stove in March. But do not despair of the treacherous conditions ahead because if *February give much snow then a fine summer it doth foreshow*.
While I was looking closely at what this winter month has to offer I did come across an interesting custom which has been lying idle since the Forties. Friday of Shrove Week was traditionally the day when boys were entitled to kiss girls without fear of rejection or a good old slap around the face! Known as Kissing Day or *Nippy Hug Day*, men did have to ask before taking their kiss, but if they were refused permission they were allowed to ‘louse’ or pinch the woman’s bottom! How about that! Valentine’s Day with its mass-produced heart shapes looks quite tame in comparison. Of course, because Easter falls very late this year, we do loose the carnival excitements, *semla* eating and kissing fun to the month of March this year. Most years, however, all this is part of the likeable character of February, which does not seem as bad as many want us to believe.
Apart from the Dinner With Daisy Club Night next Sunday, I myself will stay warm and cosy indoors most of the time as I have started to work on my new *opera*, a commission from the Grand Théâtre de Luxembourg. In addition a new piece for piano+ wizard *Sebastian Lexer* and a new work for *Ensemble* *Lucilin*give me plenty to fill my days at the moment. I hope you too have a lovely rest of the winter and a great February!
Here are some more links and details:
Catherine Kontz www.catherinekontz.com
Dinner With Daisy Records www.dinnerwithdaisy.com
French For Cartridge www.frenchforcartridge.com
Jamboree Venue. Cable Street Studios,
566 Cable Street, London E1 Limehouse
DLR/Shadwell tubes/DLR* *http://www.facebook.com/jambo
Royal Treatment Plant www.myspace.com/royaltreatment
Michael Parsons http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M
Alexia Anastasiadis www.alexiaanastasiadis.co.uk
Zashiki Warashi www.myspace.com/drumandflute
United Instruments of Lucilin www.lucilin.lu
Sebastian Lexer www.sebastianlexer.eu