Sunday, 13 June 2010

One-armed drumming

Today’s the first day I’ve felt a bit lonely up here in Leeds. I had a rehearsal with a very talented saxophone choir in Harrogate earlier on, but now there’s nothing for me to do until we start in the studio tomorrow. On occasions like this, it becomes fairly clear what a workaholic I’ve become. Instead of relaxing, I’m sitting here panicking that I should be using my time off to do something more contructive. If I was in London, for example, I’d be able to see Nathan’s first performance of The Day Before Spring, a “lost musical” that he’s performing at Sadler’s Wells for the next 6 Sundays. I very much wish I could be there to support him, but the criminal cost of train travel in this country precludes anything other than carefully planned trips. If I were to jump on a train right now, for example, it would cost me £142 to get back to the capital. Driving would cost me less than half of this amount – even with current extortionate petrol prices – and this is certainly not how we should be going about trying to save our environment!

Sadly, we lost a second musician from the symphony today. This time it was a wonderful drummer who was beaten up on the streets of Leeds last night and has broken his hand. Obviously it would have been inappropriate for me to remind him that Def Leppard was a Yorkshire band, and that one-armed drumming might have been in his blood, because apparently the poor guy was gutted. Those bloomin’ footballs fans! How many people went rushing down the street beating people up when we came last at Eurovision? It’s times like this that remind me how insulting it is that the government has opted for a department of culture, media and sport. Culture has nothing to do with sport. At my school you had to give one up to study the other! I think it would be much more appropriate for sport to be sent across to the department of health...

It's now raining cats and dogs in Leeds, so I'm going to sit in the tiniest apartment in the world and watch television. Tomorrow is going to be exhausting and no doubt by the end of the day I'll be feeling like a rung out old dishcloth, so today has to be about preserving my energy... I may well end up sitting on this sofa until I wake up tomorrow morning.

Another snappy entry for Pepys on 13th June 1660, which revealed he'd spent12 shillings entertaining Mr Pearce, the purser, his great rival Creed and his uncle Wright at the Mitre on Fenchurch Street. The interesting thing about the entry is that it brings to light a 17th Century tradition, namely the practice of using carpets as table cloths. Pepys was horrified when he spilt something on one of them whilst dining at Mr Crew’s house; it was apparently a new carpet, and had just been hired. He was therefore greatly relieved when he discovered that he could get rid of the stain by dabbing some clean water on it. And if you’re curious to know what a table with a carpet on top of it would look like, take a look at this contemporary painting by Vermeer:

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