Tuesday, 19 January 2010

"Can you spare a bit of change, please?"

A busy day for me today; but ultimately one of little consequence. I did a morning's composing in Highgate and then settled down after lunch to look at potential funding avenues for the motet. Fortunately, my Arts Council application made it through the lack-of-snow to Manchester, but following the bitter disappointment of the PRS turning us down, I’m mindful of putting all my eggs into one basket. It’s also clear that the Arts Council received a stupidly large number of applications at the same time as mine, far more than normal due to their change of application procedure, so I think I’ll be lucky if they’re able to help. All very depressing.

Nevertheless, in the spirit of proactiveness, I got on the phone and spoke to a few of the livery companies to see if they could help. I then ‘phoned about six charities, feeling increasingly like someone in an advert for the Yellow Pages. It seems nowadays that most funding bodies concern themselves with giving opportunities to children and young people, making me wonder where all these opportunities were when I was growing up!? Regardless of sour grapes, I have to face facts. My inter-generational, inter-cultural project seems to only half-tick the boxes, which isn’t good enough for these organisations’ specific funding requirements. Even if I threw caution to the wind, and took a punt on one of them, the process could well take too long. One suggested if I applied today, I’d only find out if I'd been successful in six months' time... Crumbs!

So, I took a deep breath and fired off an email to the wonderful Law firm who stepped in at the last moment to save the live performance of Oranges and Lemons. I felt bad. I’d told myself I wouldn’t go cap in hand to them again. They we so generous in July and I surely can't expect them to fund me a second time in the same tax year. Still, I must continue to mumble; "can you spare a little change please?" to anyone who'll listen.

350 years ago, London was a jittery, nervous place. No one knew which regime was going to get the necessary foothold needed to take over the running of the country. Was the old monarchy on its way back from Holland? Or were we eyes down for a meritocracy headed by General Monck? Certainly Cromwell Junior’s chances had ebbed away. He wasn’t up to the job of Lord Protector and rumours were rife that he was losing his mind. Besides, no one was interested in replacing one system based on birth-right with another. But whilst the upper echelons of society were taking it easy in their country piles, the new middle classes were playing a proper game of musical chairs as their bosses changed allegiance, or became persona non grata. On this day, for example, all the clerks of the council (Pepys’ drinking mates) bar two, were sacked and Pepys’ name was put forward as a potential replacement. It was clear the country couldn’t go on like this and London waited for Monck's arrival with bated breath.

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