Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Shaking Hands

We’re driving back to Leeds in the most stunning, almost unnatural sunset. Bruised grey and maroon clouds are floating in front of strips of peachy orange and iridescent light blue. Today was all about York and started on the train station with singer, Steve Cassidy, who has a haunting voice that somehow reminds me of my Mother, perhaps because it’s reminiscent of those early 60s pop crooners she used to play to me as a child. His shot was the modern day version of our steam train thundering into Pickering station and I hope it will prove to be just as impressive.

We had a brief, slightly rainy sojourn on the York City walls before heading to the Minster to record and film the carillon. It was rather fun to see Hazel and Simon from the recording studio rubbing shoulders with my film crew and I took a picture of them all standing on the roof looking over the city.

There are few words to describe how thrilling it was to hear my music being performed by the carillon. It's such a grand, beautiful instrument, especially when played by John Ridgeway-Wood, who is an extraordinary musician. The whole experience became almost overwhelming and at the end of the first take, I had a little cry, which predictably was captured by the “making of” cameras, who by now must be rubbing their hands together with glee at my erratic and eccentric behaviour. After we'd finished recording, John, too confessed to having felt hugely emotional. There truly is something magical about all these musicians, from so many places and backgrounds, coming together and really giving it their absolute best. At the end of the day, John presented me with a beautiful book about the Minster Bells, which he’d signed with a charming message. It's the perfect momento of a perfect moment.

And the day just got better... In the middle of the afternoon, I fulfilled another one of my life’s ambitions by getting the chance to stick my hand out of an upstairs window on The Shambles and shake it with the person on the opposite side of the street. For readers who don’t know the significance of this slightly bizarre act, The Shambles is a medieval street in York, where the houses are so crooked, the two sides of the street bow towards one another and almost touch in the middle. I think I saw people shaking hands on Blue Peter or Watch as a child and always wanted to give it a go; hence my deciding to do a shot involving two trumpeters there.

In the early evening we went back to the Minster to film the Shepherd’s Brass Band and we finished with the most beautiful shot looking down on the band from the roof of the Minster, and then drifting off into a biblical looking sky.

July 7th 1660, and Pepys went to the Change and bought himself two prints of works by Rubens. The rest of the day was spent in the Navy Office, starting the lengthy process of creating an inventory of almost everything that existed in the building; goods, books, papers etc.

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