Richard Parker’s At-Home Ritual
What Richard Parker is…
I always have at least three books on the go at any one time. Each one fulfils a different area of interest in my life. I am not a great reader of fiction (with the exception of works by Jane Austen and Anton Chekov which I reread over and over—year in, year out).
‘Stravinsky: The Rite of Spring’ by Peter Hill
Currently I’m obsessed with Stravinsky’s epic work ‘The Rite of Spring’ which he created for the Ballet Russe, but also as an orchestral and piano work. Peter Hill’s ‘Stravinsky: The Rite of Spring’ explores the colossal impact of the composer’s most radical and controversial work, from its inception and composition to its scandalous premiere in Paris in May 1913, where the audience reacted with outrage and abuse.
I am totally immersed in the cultural, social and historical significance of this work, and I am simultaneously listening to and watching The Rite of Spring via online performances of the ballet, orchestral performances and piano versions which continue to shock and beguile me as I read…
‘The Beautiful Fall’ by Alicia Drake
I have read this wonderful account of the friendship then rivalry of Yves Saint Laurent and Karl Lagerfeld several times, and I reread it every time I long to be in Paris. This was definitely my Golden Age. The creativity right before the commerciality of Paris Fashion in the 1970s.
‘Paris Fashion: A Cultural History’ by Valerie Steele
I am just starting this history of fashion in the City of Light in an attempt to kick start my French language studies, which I sadly abandoned years ago. I heard a great lecture by the polyglot Steve Kaufmann, who maintains that the key to learning languages as an adult lies not in biological imperatives, as it does with children, but rather in studying subjects of personal passion in the target language. As beauty and fashion are in my blood, I thought this book would be a great motivator to study French again. I shall report back on my progress…
Music is such an important part of my life, my intellectual, artistic and social expression and sadly, I do not have access to my beloved piano and weekly lessons with concert pianist Elyane Laussade while we are staying here in Kyneton.
However, I did learn the cello as a boy and throughout university, and so I’ve had my old instrument restored and here I am playing and practicing every day.
Right now I’m taking online lessons twice a week with the wonderful Australian cellist Luke Severn, working on technical studies and scales by Piatti, as well as a wonderful Beethoven Sonata Movement (originally scored for Mandolin) and a gorgeously exotic and evocative piece called ‘Orientale’ by the Russian Romantic Composer, César Cui.
I love the daily ritual of learning new pieces, perfecting complicated sections, then ultimately performing a piece for Greg and Ezra… my favourite audience!
Easter and Christmas are my favourite times of year for baking; I love recreating traditional cakes and cookies, and finding ways to modernise these recipes with new ingredients. This year it was a luscious Simnel Cake with a centre of caramelised marzipan and lemon nutmeg Easter Cookies.
‘The Croft’ by Ali Milles
I’m absolutely loving watching theatre performances online. Last night we enjoyed the chilling psychological thriller ‘The Croft’ by Ali Milles, from the Original Theatre Company from London’s West End. I highly recommend!
I do two things (almost) daily to care for both body and mind…
At 6am, I spend 30 minutes meditating with the Brainwave Meditation App. If you know me, then you’ll know that sitting still and being quiet are not my strong points, and I find this scientific brain-entrainment method of meditation both effective and doable.
At 7am on weekdays, I train online with my Personal Trainer, Yago Aldir, from Project Better. At my age, workouts are far more geared towards improving quality of health and functionality rather than looking good, but I would be lying if I said vanity wasn’t also a powerful motivator!