Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Grimethorpe, circa 1960

If you want to become all too aware of the speed at which time passes, you should try writing a blog! We’re about half way through the year already and I simply don’t know where the first six months have gone.

I’m knackered. We’re currently driving from York to Leeds, having rehearsed three separate groups in three separate places. We’ve seen 16 wind players today and a 30-piece brass band and everything has gone incredibly well. Alison liked the winds best, but the brass band, for me, came within an inch of delivering the sound I’d heard in my head during those long days in Costa Coffee. At one point my eyes began to prickle, very much as they’d done yesterday when the male voice choir opened their lungs and gave me an almost lethal injection of Yorkshire pride. For the first time, in my life I suppose, I realise what Arnold Wesker meant when he talked about an actress delivering her lines exactly how he’d written them. I didn’t need to tell the Shepherd’s brass band how to interpret my dots. They just seemed to know. The conductor cried; “Grimethorpe colliery circa 1960, lads” and off they went. Priceless. I don't know what the equivalent would be for the string players... Suggestions on the back of a postcard, please.

Aside from all the rehearsals, this period is about finding iconic and quirky locations for the accompanying film and trying to work out which musicians I’ll want to position where. The key thing is that the work flows visually as well as musically and that means I have to be incredibly organised and know when I’m recording music in the studio, exactly what people will be seeing on the screen. We’re location hunting in Scarborough, Bridlington and Sheffield this week. Sheffield has become particularly important as it’s here that I’m hoping to find a terraced street that we can seal off and feature as part of the film’s climax.

June 8th 1660, and Pepys was finally homeward bound. He’d been put in charge of safely delivering the King’s Guitar to London; and from the fuss he was making you’d think he’d been entrusted with the crown jewels. Sadly I doubt the King even knew he had a guitar!

Pepys made speedy progress through Kent. He dined in Canterbury, taking time out to visit the Cathedral and to see the grave of Thomas a Beckett. He then continued his journey through Sittingbourne and Rochester. At this point, the day’s entry descends into shorthand, almost as though Pepys had forgotten to write up his notes (which is how, we know, he liked to operate). Instead of the well-rounded prose we’re used to from the man, we’re offered tantalising glimpses of the latter part of his day. “Mr Hetley’s mistake about dinner.” “At Rochester the ships and bridge.” “A good handsome wench I kissed. The first that I have seen a great while”... Come on Sam, we’re missing out on the good stuff!

1 comment:

  1. I am enjoying the juxtaposition of the present day and Samuel Pepey's. Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose - becomes more true as time flies by! Thanks for an interesting romp through the world of 350 years ago - which is, more than perhaps we like to admit, much the same as it is today!