Tuesday, 20 April 2010

And indeed there will be time

Today felt rather long and frustrating. We were in Hull again, auditioning musicians, or we would have been had anyone turned up! A brief investigation seemed to reveal that the man from BBC Radio Humberside who’d been put in charge of outreach for the project had spoken to the head of Hull Youth Orchestra and then called it a day. These films only work if they demonstrate the diversity of a community. I want a film which features a broad range of ages and musical backgrounds. East Yorkshire is famous for its folk music and sea shanty traditions. So why haven’t any of these people been told about the project? Hull has an adult symphony orchestra, a gospel choir... A youth orchestra is not enough. I want drag queens, hippies, people who play carrots, an old women with hair that looks like a dandelion clock, limbless whores, black people with white hair, white people with dreadlocks, freakishly tall 8 year-olds, orphans and cyborgs... but above all, I want people with a great passion for music and life in their eyes... And only some teenagers fit that particular bill!

I took the matter to the bosses of Radio Humberside and explained that York, for example had already generated a carillon player, a busker who wheels his piano around the city and a violinist who looks like Jeff Lynne. Visual viagra! The man in charge of outreach in York was last seen leaving the office with a pile of fliers as tall as a bottle of Ribena which he was going to hand out in the streets. That’s how you get good results. So Humberside agreed to put someone else on the job, and I agreed to stay an extra day in Yorkshire to see if we could find some more people in the region. Within a few hours we’d been sent an email with promises of flamenco guitarists and all sorts, so everything seems to be moving in the right direction again.

The day ended back in York in a porta-cabin listening to an astonishing brass band whilst a bleached setting sun lit up the minster like a piece of ivory in front of a blue-black sky. And suddenly I felt calm again...

When will they invent a shower that you don’t have to turn on by putting your arm through a jet of freezing cold water? I hate starting my day with a short, sharp shock. It’s the same when I go to the gym. I assume it’s because I’m not a shower person. i don't understand shower mechanics. I’m sure shower people have methods of dealing with the issue, which I’d love to hear about. Answers on the back of a postcard, please...

I had a good chat with my brother, Ted, yesterday who told me the saga of his being trapped in Amsterdam for 4 days. I’m astonished to hear that so many people were cashing in on the mayhem. The cost of his hotel literally doubled over night and then went from 300 euros per night to 1600. Apparently Edward’s voice was broadcast all over Dutch radio complaining vociferously about this outrageous situation. I’m glad to discover I’m not the only hell-raiser in the family. On the bright side, Ted got to look at the glorious Dutch tulip fields in beautiful spring sunshine and said it was a treat to be in Holland in weather that wasn’t either terrifyingly cold or a sort of muggy rain. I don’t think I’ve spent enough time in the country to know whether this is a Till generalisation!

350 years ago Pepys decided to have a bash at flexing his muscles and demanded the window and table in his cabin be altered. He confessed to being “infinitely pleased” with the result, not least because it proved “what a command I have to have everyone ready to come and go at my command”; a quote I love purely because it sounds so much like TS Elliot.

And indeed, there will be time to prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet...


  1. Love you Ben, and your writing...Merielxx

  2. Shower tip: assess the tap situation from the outside (whether it is marked by degrees or hot/cold taps or whatever), turn it on from outside the bath/cubicle, let it run a bit & test the temp with your fingers before you unrobe/immerse yourself. This prevents the hideous cold/boiling hot shock!! xx