Thursday, 7 January 2010

White outside but in a dark mood

I have to confess that I'm feeling enormously down about the motet project today. In fact, I'm very close to throwing in the towel because I can feel myself beginning to invest too much in it. It comes back to daring to hope again. I'm desperate to create the piece, and with every blog I write, I want to make it that little bit more. But if I continue to hope that it will happen, I run the risk of being bitterly disappointed. Should I just walk away?

I haven't heard for some time from the Pepys club members who initially said they'd help me out. It's very frustrating and upsetting. Oddly, one club member just emailed to tell me he doesn't think I'll get very far with the club. Everyone he's spoken to seems to be out of money. So maybe that's that. Such a awful shame. I thought this would be a one-off opportunity for Pepys lovers to be part of creating a real legacy; something really special. This is, after all, the one Pepys anniversary that our generation will live to see.

Should I approach the Arts Council? They funded my Oranges and Lemons project and seemed to enjoy the publicity that it garnered, but their forms take days to fill in and it's always such a lottery. The PRS foundation turned the project down based on the fact that the application we filled in didn't include enough information about the project, or its relevance; frustrating as their application form has a word limit! Do I try them again? Who knows, perhaps by then, will my project have become magically more relevant. But what does relevant mean in an arts-based community-based context? Is this blog relevant, for example? Is Pepys himself relevant? Or is he too dead to count? Are my previous works irrelevant? Sadly, I worry relevant is just a word like "journey" that people use when they can't think of anything else to say!

Still, two films have cheered me up somewhat in the last 24 hours. Avatar, was an extraordinary film. I have not been dazzled to that extent by film technology since Jurassic Park, which must have been at least fifteen years ago. I was also warmed to the cockles by a little film that you can see here. It shouldn't work, but somehow it does.

I also had an email this morning from my great friend, the even greater composer, Samuel Becker, who wondered if I'd like to join him in watching Spem In Alium being performed by candlelight at St Martin In The Fields Church on 15th January. Sounds like a plan. I've never seen the work performed live, and can think of no better place to watch it than in St Martin's Church. It was, after all, one of the churches that featured in Oranges and Lemons. Curiously, it was also the church where a clapper dropped out of one of the bells whilst we were recording them. It made the most astonishing thump as it crashed down onto the ceiling above the bell ringers. A haze of plaster fell down onto us and I wondered if the whole steeple was about to collapse! Just one of the many times when I thought my life was in danger on that project!

The hard frost continues across the country. Apparently Benson in Oxfordshire, at minus 17, was only two degrees warmer than the South Pole last night. But isn't it Summer at the South Pole at the moment? Maybe we should start comparing like with like! The fact that it's colder here than it is in Moscow is a more impressive statistic. Although maybe Moscow is having a heat wave. They keep running shots on the news of people slipping over in the streets, which is giving me more pleasure than perhaps it should. Schadenfreude.

Pepys doesn't mention the weather on January 7th. He does, however, mention a very lengthy debate he'd had about the zeal of the French compared with the zeal of the Spanish. What he doesn't mention, is what conclusion (if any) was drawn. In true mercurial fashion, he's dashing off again, this time calling in at the unfortunately named Dr Whore's, where he listens to some music which he describes as a "symphony". A symphony in those days wouldn't be anything like a symphony today. In the 17th Century, pretty much any piece of music could be described as a symphony, even vocal music. You'll also be thrilled to hear that Samuel finally got a bit of sack posset. Saved for him by Mrs Jem, who let him down so heinously the day before! So really, the entry only leaves me with the one unanswered question: who are more zealous? The French or the Spanish? Answers on a postcard...


  1. Apply to the Arts Council! Go on. Whilst you're fresh in their minds from Oranges and Lemons. Start the application tonight!

  2. I suspect the Spanish are more ardent.