Act 1, Scene 1. London. Winter. Indoors. A fire is lit and two figures are stooping over it whilst rubbing their hands.
Juan Antonio Pesetas: But, why?
Me: Oh, I don't know, it's... it's... it's beyond my control.
Juan Antonio Pesetas (getting exasperated): Beyond your control? Who are you? Bloody John Malkovich playing Vicomte de Valmont in Dangerous Liaisons, rejecting Michelle Pfeiffer?
Me: No, I mean it, it really is beyond my control. You see, I expected to find real winter in London when I arrived in the city eleven years ago. The kind they tell you about in fairy tales but the snow rarely materialises. And that's why I've always felt that winter in this city is fake. It gets cold, surely, very cold, but no snow.
Juan Antonio Pesetas: But you got it wrong, my friend.
Me: Don't call me your friend.
Juan Antonio Pesetas: I didn't call you 'your friend'. I called you 'my friend'.
Me: Yes, that's what I meant, 'my friend'. You're my alter ego.
Juan Antonio Pesetas: The dandy one.
Me: Yes, the dandy one.
Juan Antonio Pesetas: Because in the absence of real taste you have to appeal to a man who knows how to dress properly.
Juan Antonio Pesetas: Don't 'hmmm' me. You know I am telling the truth and that's why you're reluctant to begin a new section of songs for winter Sunday mornings.
Me: No... I... it's hard to explain... I still don't believe in winter.
Juan Antonio Pesetas: That's not the point, is it? The point is, it has nothing to do with you believing in winter or not, it is to do with us, your alter egos, having some independence.
Me: Who's ever heard of alter egos being independent from the matrix?
Juan Antonio Pesetas: Have you seen 'The Matrix'?
Me: Yes, why?
Juan Antonio Pesetas: Because... ahhh, nothing... So, you are not going to budge, are you?
Me: I have no reason to.
Juan Antonio Pesetas: You have no reason to? How about the overwhelming response you had to your 'Song for an Autumn Sunday Morning' section?
Me: That was different. Autumn is different. It's full of delicate auburn hues, nostalgic sunsets and a sense of complete, melancholic abandon.
Juan Antonio Pesetas: And winter, on the other hand, carries its grey, white and blue very well. It's a far more elegant season. It lays bare landscapes' anatomies. It unearthes gardens' bones and through its microscopic eye we are able to see the various components that make up our surroundings without the distraction of those terribly garish summer colours.
Me: I take it that you're not a summer person.
Juan Antonio Pesetas: You know that very well, don't you? At the end of the day I inhabit your brain. By the way it's getting a bit crammed in these days up there, what with Autumn Songs, Song for an Autumn Sunday Morning, Road Songs and Food/Music arguing over space I can barely stand upright now.
Me: Sorry about that.
Juan Antonio Pesetas: Oh, yes, and Living in a Bilingual World was complaining the other day about inappropriate working conditions. The word 'trade union' was muttered in Spanish, French and German.
Me: Thanks for the tip.
Juan Antonio Pesetas: You're welcome. Back to winter. Yes, or not?
Me: OK, what have you got for me, then?
Juan Antonio Pesetas (growing visibly excited): Oh, boy, you're going to love this. Songswise, I've got 'El Cóndor Pasa', 'Hallelujah', 'Angie', 'The Secret Life of Plants', the list goes on.
Me: And artists?
Juan Antonio Pesetas: Artists? The lot. I. Have. Got. The. Lot. From Beny Moré to Billie Holiday, Rufus Wainwright, Cesária Évora, Simon and Garfunkel, Chambao, Martine Girault.
Me: Well, it seems to me that you have everything pretty tied up.
Juan Antonio Pesetas: Yes, none of your 'it's beyond my control' malarkey. And what's more, Song for an Autumn Sunday Morning did a little compilation for us, readers and fellow bloggers, of all the tracks it played recently, week in, week out. Scroll down to the bottom of this post and relive again those beautiful, orange-tinted mornings. The order has been altered, though. It's more like a random playlist.
Me: Well, that's it, then. (looking at YOU out of the computer screen) From today until the spring every Sunday morning you, my dear reader and/or fellow blogger, are invited to come in, sit down in my little cyber-house, kick your shoes off and enjoy watching a clip especially selected to withstand these cold winter mornings (only if you live in the northern hemisphere, mind). In the meantime I will be busy in my cyber-kitchen making us both a hot cuppa, coffee for me, though. I am not a tea person. And all thanks to one of my alter egos, Juan Antonio Pesetas. Thanks, Juan.
Silence. Juan Antonio Pesetas stares at me intently.
Me: What's the matter?
Juan Antonio Pesetas: There's something else...
Juan Antonio Pesetas: Have you made a decision yet?
Me: About what?
Juan Antonio Pesetas: About... you know... what you've been working on for a very long time...
Me: Ahhh! I almost forgot! No, I'm sorry, Juan, it's been hectic these days.
Juan Antonio Pesetas: Yes, but you started it, seventeen years ago.
Me: I know, I know, Juan, and I am also aware that I had a stab at it about two years ago and I managed to squeeze a few ideas out of it.
Juan Antonio Pesetas: How many pages so far?
Me: Forty-seven at the last count.
Juan Antonio Pesetas: Forty-seven? Forty-seven pages in seventeen years?
Me: Well, you know that I did not start it in Cuba.
Juan Antonio Pesetas: Yes, but you conceived it there! Did you not?
Me: Juan, I don't need your aggro now, mate. It'll get done when it'll get done.
Juan Antonio Pesetas: Really?
Me: Don't look at me like that. It'll get done.
Juan Antonio Pesetas: That's not what I would like to hear. I would like to hear the phrase 'it will be done'.
Me: OK, it will be done.
Juan Antonio Pesetas: Fine, can you crouch down now, please? I need to go back in.
Me: Be careful.
Juan Antonio Pesetas: Yes, I don't need reminding, though. The other day I almost fell on top of Road Songs' head.
Me: Can you give it a message from me, please? Tell it that I am preparing a one-off post to be uploaded very soon. It's a type of hootenany.
Juan Antonio Pesetas: Consider it done. Cheerio.
Me: Cheerio, Juan. Chao.
'El Cóndor Pasa' - Performed by Drip Trio
'Song for an Autumn Sunday Morning' Compilation
Image by photographer Cornell Capa, from Life Magazine Archive.