Friday, 11 June 2010

I always thought it was Sperm Head

We’ve just had the most fabulous day. The sun has been shining non-stop and we’ve heard extraordinary musicians and visited incredible locations. We started the day at Spurn Head; the furthest you can journey both East and South and yet still remain in Yorkshire. It’s a spit of land which sits perilously between the Humber River and the North Sea. As a location, it can only be described as epic. The long, straight road which runs down its spine is single-track and lined with dark, old-fashioned telegraph poles. It’s the American mid-West in England’s far East and it made my imagination go into overdrive. The spit is lined with the most beautiful white sandy beaches; but bizarrely the sea down there is a disconcerting shade of red-brown. North Yorkshire sits on a bed of soft clay and as a result, huge swathes of its headlands are dropping into the sea and being washed down the coast to Spurn Head. It may be where the soil wants to be, but very few people go there. A ruined light-house clings to the top of a sandy bank, another sinks into the sea. The eerie beaches are bedecked with bits of driftwood, old crab nets and discarded tractor tyres. It's kinbd of edgy and it's a location manager’s dream. I can’t wait to get some of our musicians down there.

Speaking of musicians; I was thrilled earlier on, to be able to rehearse with Circus Envy, who are joining us for the third movement of the symphony. They’re a fantastic bunch of folk musicians; some of Hull’s very finest; and a great set of lads. I'm proud to say that one of them grew up in Northamptonshire and is a contemporary of mine but this is the first time our paths have crossed. We’re listening to some of their music as we drive home to Leeds from Hull. The blinding copper-coloured sun is low in the sky and myriad poppies in the fields either side of the road are glowing bright red. Life is bloody good.

And you can hear Circus Envy here
On a less positive note, tragedy struck the project this afternoon, when our very own Jean-Michel Jarre decided his talent was too great to be supported by our symphony. He stormed into BBC Radio York this afternoon, saying he’d been booked to play solo with the BBC Symphony Orchestra but that he hadn’t had enough time to practice his music, so was going to have to pull out. The receptionist called us to let us know he was there and to pass on his message. I’m not altogether sure he was expecting us to say; “thank you very much for letting us know and all the best for the future” because later in the day he left an astonishingly rude and aggressive phone message telling us that he could wipe the floor with anyone in the BBC Symphony Orchestra and was going to tell the newspapers that we’d been foolish enough to let him go. Did we not realise that he was better than Jean Michel Jarre, Robert Miles and David Guetta? And how dare that Benjamin Till send him music written on manuscript paper, when he can’t read anything other than “key format” (??) and play with anything other than one hand. The big question, of course, is whether the entire symphony will fall apart without him.

Monday 11th June 1660, and Pepys spent much of the day riding around on Montagu’s coat tails. There were trips to a trio of taverns, a visit to Westminster Hall and chat with his cousin Mrs Turner, but it wasn’t what I’d call a particularly interesting day...

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the shout out, Benjamin, we are really looking forward to recording next week. We can't promise there won't be tears and tantrums, though!