Monday, 25 October 2010

It's Not What You Know But Whom You Know.

Sir Adrian' s Head  . . . . . . . .

A young musician, a female clarinettist, having played in an orchestra for a few years, decided that medicine was her first love after all and she gave up her job and returned to medical training. During an important anatomy exam, she stood at the dissecting table and watched an attendant carry a tray holding an object covered with a cloth towards her. Students were not given exam details in advance and she therefore awaited disclosure of the object nervously.

The cloth was removed and to her utter amazement, there, on the tray, rested the head of Sir Adrian Boult, which she recognized immediately and which she had last seen attached to his body, very much alive, conducting her and the orchestra from the rostrum.

Sir Adrian Boult had died and left his body to medical science.

. . . . . . .  and Sir George’s Reputation.

It is a well-known fact that medicine and music have a great affinity for each other. Medics often love music as much or even more than musicians do.

Beloved tells a story, which goes something like this:

When he was in imminent danger of losing the use of his fingering arm (i.e. the arm that holds up a string instrument), a very serious and potentially life-threatening operation to his neck was the only option. The famous medic, who happened to be the Queen’s official Neurosurgeon, who was to perform the operation, found time for a chat during prepping.

“I hear you are a musician at Covent Garden; what do you think of Solti”?

Beloved was one of only two members of the orchestra who actually liked and admired Sir George Solti for his rigorous and exacting approach to music and who was therefore known as a bit of a slave driver.  Beloved admitted his admiration with a clear conscience.

“That’s good”, said the great man, “ the last time I had dinner with George . . . “

The operation went well, the arm and Beloved’s career were saved.


  1. huh. what an intriguing story...not sure i want to see someone head on a platter...

  2. Ohhh..! An engrossing, if slightly macabre anecdote, Friko! Shades of John the Baptist here, I think..

  3. Is this an anniversary of the demise
    of Adrian Boult, or were these two
    anecdotes just bubbling there just
    before sleep dispersed and morning

    Great connection between music and
    medicine; perhaps music is medicinal
    in several ways. In other dimensions,
    I have read, the music of the spheres
    is in the air at all times. Only here, on
    this plain of existence do we have to
    labor to "remember" the music.
    Your Beloved does sound like quite
    the character though.

    Reminds me of a tiny poem of
    my own:

    Exit Strategy

    Is there poetry after death?
    Of course there is;
    death is poetry.

  4. Lovely, dear. I was reading this while waiting for my tea to be put in front of me. I'm glad I'm vegetarian, that's all I can say.

  5. Quite a pair of stories. I was glad I knew your Beloved is still among us, or I would ahve been afraid to read on after the Boult story. Good save on the Solti question, and glad all turned out well!

  6. Well, if you want to get a-head...

  7. Hard to find something appropriate to say. Interesting anecdotes for sure.

  8. This reminds me, in an offhand way, of being prepped for surgery and having the operating room attendants discussing the demise of rock'n'roll. Luckily they were wrong and I survived.

  9. Great stories! Just the thing for pre-Halloween!

  10. There surely aren't many things stranger than life. Please have a good Tuesday.

    daily athens

  11. The head on a platter - well it could be an urban legend, and I'd be sure that's all it is if this had come from anyone but you.
    So glad your beloved had the right answer to the 'what do you think of....' question. I hate to think of the consequences otherwise.

  12. Wonderful stories, Friko. Unnerving.. but wonderful.

  13. This teaches you to always speak good of other people. Especially when you are near someone with a knife.
    Yes, Friko, we have visited each other before, but Val urged me to read about the Heinzelmännchen, as we have been musing about my nearby gnome-meadow of about 100 garden gnomes (scary, I think). Ja klar, ich bin ja deutsch und schreibe nur aus Spaß auf englisch. Ich bewundere Deine Sprache! Wie lange lebst Du schon in England?

  14. And if the Beloved had not spoken favorably of Sir Georg . . . ?

  15. The first was a great Halloween story. Pure shock.
    However so happy your Beloved made the right choice in the second story and is now fine. That surgeon could just have easily been recently punched out by George. Different ending??
    Loved Angela's comment about someone holding a knife.

  16. Good choice Beloved. I would have been very careful too. Great story for Halloween. I can't imagine an exam with the head on a platter. But strange things happen in medicine, for sure.

  17. Two anecdotes! An embarrasment of riches, Friko - but this is usual for you. Everything you chare has a worthy gravity that always rewards. It's a privlege "knowing" you

    Vielen Dank für mein Leben bereichern mit Ihrer Freundschaft.

    Aloha from Honolulu

    Comfort Spiral


  18. What a great opportunity to get inside a director's head! Fabulous.

  19. Beloved was lucky indeed! I was not so lucky. During the height of the Iraq war I had to go to an orthopedic surgeon as I was having terrible pain in my knee. The doctor said he could hear an accent – was that French? Stupidly I said yes. So he started a sermon about how terrible the French were, etc. etc. by not helping Bush with Iraq, and placed the shot in the wrong place, making my knee even worse – so bad that the next doctor gave me an Handicap pass for my car! I should have said I was Belgian or Swiss or French Canadian from Quebec. I’ll be more careful next time. Doctors can have strong opinions.


Comments are good, I like to know what you think of my posts. I know you'll keep it civil.