Up betimes and into Highgate Village where I met a very friendly journalist, who I must have bored into a coma with talk about the Pepys Motet. I stayed in the cafe after she’d gone and wrote some music, wearing my tragic headphones with pride. After lunch I went to the gym, where my legs nearly fell off. I’ve spent much of today with fingers crossed that my application will have fought its way through the non-snow to Manchester; or that if it hasn’t quite made it, the Arts Council will take pity on me.
I’m on my way to watch Spem In Alium, which is hugely exciting. I’m sitting in Soho waiting for my friend Sam, who’s joining me for a pre-performance bite to eat. Fortunately, I’ve remembered to shave this time, so I can parade along Compton Street with pride. Almost. I had a bit of a disaster in the kitchen at lunchtime involving Olive Oil and a considerable amount of smoke, so I smell like a council house in Rushden. Hopefully no one will get close enough to notice.
Today is one of those days when I feel proud to be a Londoner. I’ve treated myself to an orange and lemon muffin to celebrate and am drinking my third cup of tea of the day. (I shall be peeing all night.) A man was playing a ukulele on Dean Street, which was kind of magical, and words cannot express the joy I felt on exiting the tube at Tottenham Court Road to hear a busker performing a sort of Jimmy Hendrix version of Lay All Your Love on Me by ABBA. ABBA brings so much joy into my heart - no matter who's performing it. It is my dream that fate will throw me into the path of either Benny or Frida, just so that I can tell them what their music has meant to me throughout my life.
January 15th 1660 was a Sunday. Pepys had been kept up for much of the night by a barking dog. He slept in late, and woke up to a particularly cold day with a great deal of snow. He took medicine, which didn’t work, and stayed in his house with Elizabeth until bed time. The highlight of his day seems to have been reading an account of the blessing of a set of bells in Rome. Much as Pepys claimed to be a Puritan, he always maintained an interest in Catholicism; primarily in its music. This harmless fascination got him into a great deal of trouble in the late 1670s, when he was briefly imprisoned in the Tower of London; a victim of the paranoia thrown up by the Popish Plot.