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I cannot quite remember how his name is spelt. Forgetfulness does not allow me to know whether it sounds as if it should be French but is pronounced incorrectly by an ill-bred Englishman,or not. He was a famous British conductor of the war periods and one who did not take fools gladly, except himself when he would make an occasional gaffe.

Memory does play tricks on us, and especially the names of the famous or beautiful whom we encounter. This be-knighted conductor, Sir Thomas Beecham, of the LPO and goatee beard fame, recounted in his biography a meeting with an elegant lady in a Manchester hotel foyer.

For his life he could not remember her name but had an inkling that she had a brother. After the opening pleasantries he had still not connected the polished voice to a name so he ventured a question.

”And Madam, how is your brother and what is he doing now?” To which she replied with aplomb: “He’s well thank you …. and still King”.

Why is it that the ridiculous takes so little effort to remember while the most normal of words and names drift aimlessly into the wells of forgetfullness? I have no difficulty with:

And as in uffish thought he stood
The Jabberwok with eyes aflame
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood
And burbled as it came

It seems like a record of my entrances to parties and functions, and how I must be remembered.

Why is it that on meeting a beautiful lady whose smile is only matched by the beauty of her bust, waste and calves, I can recall all those assets and even the flow, texture and colours of her dress, but from the instant of introduction, her name has gone to the mists of time.

I can recall forever her mobile number, but would have no idea who I am calling.

Fortunately, my embarrassment can be masked by a glass or several of any of many alcoholic accompaniments, and I stand in the shadows rustling through my memory searching for names – even dredging up the faces of my several ex-wives, I have little ability to put a name to those well remembered (and often frowning) faces.

Usually this search ends with my turning away from anyone who approaches me and darting to the toilet while doing an alphabetical search from Abigail, Andrea, Anne, Ashley, Ayesha …. all the way to Zara, but without any recognition to match the smile.

I am left just to escape, hoping that few will notice my departure without the niceties of thanking the hosts, whose names have now become unknownin a veil of forgetfulness. All I recall is the wonderful flow of a memorable lady as she danced with another, a tryst in the making. I guess that I won’t make a good salesman, or Casanova.

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