Wednesday, 9 June 2010


The weather up here has been ghastly all day. It's done nothing but rain. I went for a jog first thing and within minutes was soaked through. I suppose I could have turned back, but at a certain point it became quite liberating. The rain wasn’t particularly cold and when you can’t get any wetter, it’s sometimes fun just to throw caution to the wind.

I spent the afternoon with a group of Colombian drummers at the University of Leeds. It's apparently a tradition with this kind of music to drink a type of rum whilst playing; rum that kept coming my way, so I felt quite woozy by the end of the session.

The rest of the day was spent trudging around the centre of Leeds, looking for edgy locations for movement three, which is the darkest section of the symphony. I found a gloomy car park underneath a set of railway arches with tall, curved redbrick walls which were lined with moss, and strange white streaks. A few extra lights, and a bit of track, and I believe we could have something very special.

I'm now back in my bijou flat, trying to dry the bottoms of my trousers, which seem to have found their way into every puddle that I've walked past today. Wind is whistling around the building. Black clouds are drifting at high speed through a murky, smudgy sky. They've just announced on the news that there was a tornado just outside Leeds earlier on which destoyed a barn, so it could well be about time for me to batten down the hatches and have a bit of a snooze in front of the telly. In the meantime I'm attempting to cook a vegetarian kiev in a microwave oven and from the smell I'm not sure things are going particularly well.

Fiona is in the Lebanon at the moment, about to play a concert with Placebo which seems to have caused a great deal of controversy. Apparently all of the other artists have pulled out of the gig because Placebo have just performed in Israel and Israel, as we all know, is a country that us wet liberals like to criticise, particularly at the moment. Perhaps if a little bit more energy went into picketing certain African regimes for their treatment of women and gay people, there would be a great deal more harmony in the world... But that would involve criticising people masquerading as Christians, committing horrible crimes in the name of Jesus – and that would never do. I genuinely don’t think the ordinary people of Israel should be punished for the unfortunate decisions that their jittery government is making. I’m not sure I would know how to run a country whose neighbours were threatening to wipe it off the face of the earth.

June 9th 1660 was one of Pepys’ shortest ever diary entries. He returned to London by boat along the Thames and landed at The Temple, immediately heading to his father’s house, no doubt to demonstrate what a upwardly mobile gentleman looked like. The evening was spent in the company of the King strolling around St James’ Park. He may have been but a minor official, utterly reliant on the good will of his distant cousin, Montagu, but Pepys was in the company of the King... Going to sea was the best decision he'd ever made.

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