Monday, 28 June 2010

Quivering wreck

This week promises to be the week from hell. I'm committed to working 16 hour days in the recording studio for the first half of the week and then have just one day to prepare before we start shooting on Friday... I’m going to be a quivering wreck by the time we've finished.

We’re recording an autoharp player at the moment. He’s come in to plug up a gap that was left by some dreadful playing that we spotted just too late to re-record. Unfortunately the process seems to be taking forever. Autoharps are notoriously difficult to tune and every time we record a new chord, the whole thing seems to have dropped in pitch! I think we asked for the instrument to be retuned on 8 separate occasions.

It’s incredibly frustrating for us to find ourselves recording instruments so late into the process. We should be mixing and yet all we're doing is mopping up; and sadly we seem to be using a dirty mop. I just want to bury my head in my hands. It’s so hard to remain upbeat when your head is thumping and you’re watching the precious minutes sliding away...

Meanwhile various musicians seem to have decided that the entire filming process needs to revolve around them. They don’t seem to want to comprehend that we have 220 other musicians, all requiring attentioin. Alison is climbing the walls, and I’m faced with the hideous prospect of filming certain musicians in totally inappropriate locations. I’m getting a very strong sense that some people actually believe they’re doing us a favour by deigning to take part in the project, which is something I’ve not experienced before in one of these projects... We’re actually being asked to structure our filming days around MOTs and trips to the dentist.

To make matters worse, we've now completely lost all records of one particular musician’s input in the project. It’s like he never came into the studio. It’s messes like this that are setting us further and further back and making me doubt that we’re actually going to succeed.

The journey back up to Leeds was uneventful. Nathan and I were both upset to be saying goodbye to one another after what seemed like too short a time together. I had so much homework to do last night that we barely spent any time watching TV and eating pizza, which is the one thing we’d promised each other we’d do. He sat at the sitting room window this morning and waved at me for my entire journey to the tube. Highgate Underground is in a dell beneath where we live, and it’s possible to follow someone’s progress all the way from leaving our back door, to the moment they disappear down the steps into the station. Every time I looked back at the house he was waving, until he was nothing but a tiny speck in an endless row of windows. There was something rather upsetting about watching him slowly vanishing in that manner.
...And so the mixing process continues and every new instrument I hear seems to want to throw spears into my ears. I feel my heart beating a little heavier.

The 28th June 1660, and Pepys met up with his brother, Tom, who brought him a set of suit patterns to look through. Tom was following in his father’s footsteps and training to be a tailor, and Pepys was taking full advantage of the fact. Tom was an unfortunate chap, with a speech impediment and a seemingly uncontrollable desire to sleep with women who occupied the lower social echelons. One suspects this was because his issues made him undesirable to ladies of higher social standing.

Pepys visited his former boss, Mr Downing. Back in February he was terrified of the man; terrified of making mistakes, of losing his job, but now that he was Clerk of the Acts, he didn’t give a damn and finally put pen to paper to write what he was no-doubt thinking all along; “he is so stingy a fellow I care not to see him.”

Pepys then pottered across Whitehall to visit Montagu who was still in bed at 11am, having partied hard with the King the night before.

He then went to the Clothworker’s Hall for dinner with Elizabeth and Mrs Pierce, the surgeon’s wife. He describes the hall as “brave” and wrote that whilst they ate they were treated to some very fine music. Pepys was particularly proud of himself to recognise the singing of a young man who he’d previously only heard behind a curtain performing in a pit orchestra. Fair dos to him. Unless this singer had a dreadful lisp, or sung like a frog, Pepys must have had a pretty good ear. I could do with him in the studio right now. I seem to have lost the ability to tell whether a particularly awful French horn player is playing sharp or flat. All I know is that it sounds awful!!

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