Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Shitney Houston

It’s been a shockingly unproductive day. I’ve got the mother of all writer’s blocks which has surely been brought on by the enormity of what I’m trying to achieve with this Yorkshire Symphony, in such a short period of time. The line-up of musicians alone, means that I’m not just out of my comfort zone, but am writing for several instruments my computer software has never even heard of! And yet the piece needs to have form and structure. It needs to be catchy and it needs to be friendly to the ear. I’m climbing the walls! There’s been much gnashing of teeth, and digging of nails into hard objects today. I pity Nathan. I've stamped my little feet and punched the piano like a recalcitrant ten-year old. I suppose the answer is to just keep pushing on through, writing absolute rubbish, until the good stuff starts to appear again.

Looking on the bright side, at least I'm not Witney Houston! Brother Edward went to see her live at the O2 last week and summed up her performance in a single word; "disgusting". She was so bad, he tells me, that she couldn't bring herself to look at the audience, probably because she knew from bitter previous experience that most of them were going to leave before she'd finished. What a terrible shame. That woman had pipes of gold. How on earth did she lose them so spectacularly? Well apart from becoming addicted to crack, which I'm sure can't be particularly good for one's God-given talent! This isn't a come back, it's a throw back!


350 years ago, Pepys was having a far more productive day, writing and proof-reading countless official letters that would spread the news of yesterday’s events far and wide. More often than not he would add his initials to official papers hoping that they'd appear in print one day. A modern-day Pepys would no doubt waste many hours googling himself and be thrilled to discover 383,000 references to his name, which I'm sure he would have categorised painstakingly! On that day, however, and for nothing but his own amusement, he proudly copied out the cover note from one of his letters and slipped it into his journal. How astonished would he be to discover that 350 years later it was still being enjoyed?

“He that can fancy a fleet (like ours) in her pride, with pendants loose, guns roaring, caps flying, and the loud ‘Vive le Roys,’ echoed from one ship’s company to another, he, and he only, can apprehend the joy this inclosed vote was received with"

Pepys also quotes a letter from Montagu to the King. A miserable, boring document. One of his sentences is 107 words long and the whole thing is peppered with a level of sycophancy that ought to have had the man sent to the tower. He signs it; "your most loyall, dutifull, faithfull and obedient subject and servant." Ghastly.

After a game of nine-pins, Pepys received a letter informing him that his wife had not been well, which troubled him so much, he immediately sent a piece of gold to her, and some money for the family she was lodging with in Buckinghamshire. Perhaps he did this out of guilt. I’m quite sure he’d almost forgotten she existed. He'd not mentioned her for days!

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