Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Who'd be a composer?

I woke up this morning feeling like I’d been smacked in the face, kicked in the stomach and then buried alive. I barely slept last night. It was hot and humid and I had a great deal of nonsense floating around in my head. I was in the studio with Simon until almost midnight and then back again at 9am. Ridiculously I woke up at 6am. Leeds seems to become a bustling metropolis at about this time; a fact I find somewhat confusing.

Hazel changed the guard with Simon at 4pm but I had to stay and now I’m so tired I’m almost hallucinating. A few minutes ago, I was looking at a wave form on the computer screen and it started to resemble some kind of horrific ant-like insect which actually started to make me feel a bit queasy! Despite all this, I'm a lot calmer this evening, knowing I behaved like some kind of wound-up plastic toy from Taiwan earlier on. Poor Simon really drew the short straw. He's been put in charge of tuning, and in the case of movement 2, not one instrument is playing in tune! The strings are all over the place, which means when the woodwind came into the studio, they all recorded their passages at slightly different pitches. It’s impossible to know which instrument, or set of instruments to tune to and I’ve been a right mardy so and so as a result! Fortunately Simon has one of my most even temperaments I've ever come across and always manages to bring me back from the brink of despair, when really he'd be well within his rights to tell me just to bugger off! This has officially become the most difficult project I've ever worked on, and this morning, when another technical crisis hit us like a piano dropping from a thrid floor flat, I hit an all time low. I've now lost all sense of whether the music I've written is any good. Who'd be a composer!?

So, yet again we’ve been forced to extend the recording deadline. Nathan has now been summoned to Leeds to take over in the studio whilst I’m prepping for the filming. With any luck at all, we should be done by Friday. Well that’s the theory in any case.

In the meantime, I have to work out how I’m going to get through the next 20 days without collapsing, offending someone unreasonably or entirely losing my mind. The weather forecast for Friday currently suggests “sunny spells”, but I'm told it’s going to tip it down on Thursday, so we’re by no means out of the woods just yet. More worryingly, Friday is our day of filming on the North Yorkshire moors, which, as we discovered recently, seems to have its own, very bizarre microclimate... No doubt if it's not chucking it down, we'll not be able to see the woods for the fog!

Friday 29th June 1660, and Pepys started his diary entry with the news that his beloved wench, Jane Birch, had been lame for the past few days. She'd been bed-ridden all this time and no one seemed to know what to do for her. Poor girl.

The rest of the day was spent rushing around Whitehall having official papers drawn up which legalised his position as Clerk of the Acts and Montagu’s status as the new Earl of Portsmouth (soon to be Sandwich). Pepys was shocked and somewhat worried to find his predecessor had appeared in town and was sniffing around his previous post, making Pepys even more keen to get things signed, sealed and delivered as soon as possible. A possible over-reaction, because it transpires there hadn't been an official Clerk of the Acts for some 20 years! Pepys' rival was ancient!

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