Thursday, 15 April 2010

Those pesky fanatiques

So, it would seem that England is currently languishing underneath a cloud of volcanic dust which has floated down from Iceland. It’s a fairly surreal concept. Philippa, who’d been up all night with a jet-lagged baby wondered if she’d dreamt it, because it felt so much like the beginning of an apocalyptic screenplay. All flights have been grounded for 24 hours and the only way out of this place is by ferry or Chunnel. I was going to head to the top of Parliament Hill to watch the sun setting. I seem to remember from my childhood, a series of spectacular sunsets following the Mount St Helen’s eruption, but a quick look at of my window revealed there were no glamorous looking darkened clouds floating around, so I stayed at home and continued with my writing, sinking ever-deeper into the sofa cushion. I stood at the top of Highgate Hill earlier on and decided that London was looking particularly misty in the spring sunshine; almost autumnal, I thought. I wonder if that was smog, volcanic activity or my tired eyes...


I had to get up at 6am this morning to travel into Broadcasting House for a 45 second interview with BBC Radio York. Since then, I’ve been ploughing my way through the third movement of the motet, determined to finish it before I go to bed. Somebody fetch me the matchsticks! Tomorrow, I’m off to Leeds to start the next phase of my creative year. The madness begins on Saturday with a 10-day tour of 5 Yorkshire cities running auditions for musicians in each of them. It’s going to be absolute mayhem. I can feel it in my bones...

I very specifically turned the television on earlier expecting to see the big prime-ministerial debate. Instead, I put up with 20 minutes of the repugnant Nick Knowles weeping over a band of Down's Syndrome kids before realising I was watching the wrong channel. The debate is now on. It's rather tawdry yet polite affair. A tiny little audience are watching the proceedings impassively in a sort of silent haze. The leaders are smiling politely at one another, plainly seething with anger deep within, but trying not to be passionate about anything because passion apparently shows weakness. I think they should be kicking one another and trying to tear each others' hair out but these aren't conviction politicians. They're barbie dolls. I’m looking for a big old close-up; a really creepy one, which focuses on their eyes to see if they’re lying or sweating profusely or wearing too much makeup. I’m slightly disconcerted by Nick Clegg who is delivering everything straight to camera. The media training he’s obviously been through recently, which worked so well in his party political broadcast, seems to have gone a bit too far!

Pepys started his day 350 years ago in the hands of a barber. I still find it rather strange that there was a barber on board the ship. Could they not have waited until they got onto dry land? How fast does hair grow? Or was the barber merely trimming his facial hair? The rest of Pepys day was spent fanning Montagu’s fragile ego and being thrilled that his patron was about to become MP for most of the towns in England. The escape of Lambert from the Tower was not without its fall-out, and apparently the religious “fanatiques” (in this context, probably a set of hard-core puritans) were rushing around excitedly, plotting a counter-revolution, no doubt, before the inglorious revolution took place. I think the three men I'm currently watching on telly would learn much if they re-read their 17th Century history books...

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