Sunday, 9 May 2010

The Epicureans

I’ve been writing all day and am therefore feeling a bit light-headed and over-emotional. I demonstrated this particular fact rather comprehensibly earlier today when I burst into tears whilst watching Over The Rainbow, which for the American readers of this blog, is a TV search for an actress to play Dorothy in the West End's production of The Wizard of Oz. We’re now down to the final 5 contestants, who include a pint-sized Beyonce, a gurner from Middlesborough and a lass with a face like a tea tray.


I finally have music software that works, although the irony, which we discovered at about 4pm yesterday, is that my pervious computer wasn’t broken at all. The entire problem was caused by the downloadable upgrade of Finale, which is obviously riddled with all manner of glitches that need to be sorted out before it's offered to any more technophobic composers. It appears that I’ve spent 3 whole days, feeling like I’m losing my mind, rushing around the home counties and replacing a perfectly decent computer, for absolutely no reason. I’m furious, and feel I’m probably owed some kind of compensation, or at the very least an apology.

Last night saw us speeding through rural Essex to a quiz in Thaxted’s village hall. The average age of those taking part was 73 and the air was infused with a whiff of Worthington’s Originals. Camp quizmaster, Vince had turned the event into an occasion by dressing like Elton John, in platform boots, a dodgy wig and a sequin-bedecked suit, which we all decided was very fetching in a repulsive sort of way. Our team, The Epicureans, won comprehensively, although the prizes were a touch disappointing. I was hoping we’d win some kind of livestock, or an item of farm machinery, but we ended up with nothing but an inflated sense of pride, a couple of bottles of wine, a laminated certificate and a box of white chocolate mice. I also felt like a light narcotic might have been baked into the fruit cake, because a single mouthful made my head feel woozy. It’s amazing what these country people will do to see off the opposition!

I had a lovely chat in the car on the way home with Ellen about the pitfalls of being a free-lance writer: those feelings of loneliness coupled with being incapable of finding ways to relax. She, like me, regularly works late into the night and like me, sometimes wonders if she’s losing the plot... But what are the alternatives? A doctor may well diagnose stress, and offer to write a letter that signs you off work for a bit, but taking time out of a freelance contract means either losing the job, not being paid, or needing to work twice as hard when you return to make up for lost time.

Speaking of which, Pepys was up early on May 9th 1660, writing up a letter to the King from the generals of the fleet, promising to be dutiful, obedient and, no doubt, throw their capes over puddles and wipe the royal posterior if he clicked his lazy fingers. The rest of the morning was spent writing letters to London, which were given to Montagu’s servant, Mr Cook, who would be responsible for delivering them to the capital in person. Yet again, Pepys lost at nine-pins. 5 shillings this time. Proving, if proof were needed, that he was obsessed with the game, but ultimately really crap at it! A bit like me and rounders...

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