Monday, 14 June 2010


It's 11.29pm, and I've just had a frantic phonecall from Benjamin syaing, "Please write a blog entry today!" That give me precisely 31 minutes to get something down for you to read.

So here goes...

I should probably start by introducing myself.  My name is Nathan, and I am Benjamin's partner.  Regular readers of this blog will no doubt know me at least by name, if not on a more personal level.

Poor Benjamin is in a bit of bother up in Leeds at the moment, working on the Symphony for Yorkshire project.  Today has been the first full day in the recording studio, and it was scheduled to be a twelve-hour day for Benjamin, and for Hazel too.  Hazel is the producer who runs the studio, and who worked with Ben on some of the music for his Channel 4 documentary, "A1: The Road Musical."  I met Hazel myself, when I went up to help Ben with the recording of the Rossington Male-Voice Choir in the Miners section of the film.

It seems things haven't been going according to plan up there.  From the tiny text-bulletins I've been getting sporadically throughout the day, some things have been taking longer to get right than were budgetted for, and the day has been stretching beyond the fun, and into the gruelling and unpleasant.  I believe there has been a bit of bother with some stroppy strings as well, but I'll leave Benjamin to tell you more about that when he gets out of the mixing room!

Ah, these things are often thus.  I have spent many long hours in studios myself: both at the microphone as a performer, as well as conducting, or assisting as Musical Director on numerous projects.  It is one of my favourite ways to spend a day, but can also be one of the most challenging.  When performing live, there is a wonderful ephemerality about your performance.  Once it has lived in the ears of the listeners, it os gone forever, along with any little glitches, idiosyncrasies or blemishes.  Not so with recorded work.  Those magical things that help make live music so wonderful come back to haunt you every time you hear it, and anything that is even slightly imperfect can destroy your best endeavours.  So it's vital to get absolutely EVERYTHING perfect.  Benjamin is as much of a perfectionist as I am, and his passion for his work knows no bounds, so the knowledge that time is running short for him today must come with the frustrating sense of compromise, and the knowing that he might not get the results he so badly wants.  I can only sympathize from a distance.  Even if I weren't in London, and he in Leeds, there's probably very little I could have done to help, but at least I could have lent some support, and fetched the odd packet of chocolate biscuits from the shop!

My own day has been pretty full, as well.  As well as being a musical theatre performer (more of that in a mo), I also do a variety of other things, including web design, and some corporate entertainment stuff to boot.  Today has been a whirl of many bitty little pieces of projects that has really set my head in a spin.  I've been creating a new website for the theatre company that I have founded with a group of friends, for the purposes of putting together exciting new works for our associations with RAFTA (The Ryal Air Force Theatrical Association), of which I am a proud life member, I've been working on another website for a friend of mine and Ben's, who is just emerging from a three-year baby bubble, and is keen to re-enter the professional world of comedy writing, continuing some work on the artwork for a CD of music by another of my clients, as well as trying to learn a whole shedload of music for a performance I am giving this weekend, as a singing fireman, who gatecrashes a big dinner event on the pretense that there have been some fire regulation infringements, before bursting into songs including I Want To Break Free by Queen, and the Pearl Fishers Duet by Bizet.  Quite a mix of styles there!  Ah, the life of an out of work actor!  Oh yes, I'm also in the early stages of writing a short musical for my aforementioned company to perform in May next year, so it's been a bit of a busy day.  Somehow I managed to knit myself an hour to go to the gym in, but I'm not sure how!

350 years ago, and it seems there had been bother with the burning of ships in the Channel.  Pepys was sending missives left right and centre regarding what to do with various persons and their gun powder, lest there should be any more trouble. A firey day for all, it seems!
He also had good news that his friend Mr Lewes was safely as far as Royston the night before, which was a great comfort to him.

Peps dined that day with the alliterative pair, Mr Hater and Mr Hewer, where they did,"speak very sorrowfully of the posture of the times, and how people do cry out in the streets of their being bought and sold; and both they, and every body that come to me, do tell me that people make nothing of talking treason in the streets openly: as, that we are bought and sold, and governed by Papists, and that we are betrayed by people about the King, and shall be delivered up to the French, and I know not what."  A cheerier meal would be easy to imagine!

I'm afraid to say that unlike some recent entries, today's is hugely long, and there are now but five minutes before the end of the day, so I shall have to finish here, or Benjamin's endeavour to write every day be dashed completely, and that's a burden I could never carry!

It's been my pleasure to be with you tonight, and I'm sure Benjamin will carry on tomorrow, where I have left off today.

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