If anyone is looking to hear an amazing piece of pop music, I suggest you go immediately to You Tube and listen to this. The epic strings on the track, which is by Patrick Wolf, were arranged by my friend Fiona Brice, and she's done the most stunning job. It’s a fabulous piece of music, which is somehow simultaneously melancholic and uplifting. The album is released in a few weeks' time, and I for one, will definitely be buying myself a copy.
I’ve just returned from Ladbrooke Grove where we had yet another meeting about the American roadtrip project with the wonderful Glyn. It was one of those watershed meetings where I found myself beginning to dare to hope that something might actually happen. I try to maintain a sort of glass-half-empty attitude towards the commissioning process. The likelihood of something actually being made is so minute, that it’s best to just carry on saying yes with a big smile plastered across your face until someone eventually says no. The person who usually says no is a lovely lady at the BBC, called Jan Younghusband. I'm not sure she's a fan of my work, and I try as often as I can to save her the embarrassment of projects with my name attached dropping into her inbox!
On the way home on the tube I started to feel very uneasy. I don’t often travel in the rush hour, and by the time it came to change at King’s Cross, both the station and the tube were full to capacity. A group of squaddies were on the tube in their fatigues, loaded with huge backpacks, which struck me as a rather eccentric form of army endurance test. Instead of making their way up and down hills on Exmoor, the real test of manliness is apparently being able to make your way through rush hour London! I don’t know why, but I suddenly started wondering what might have happened if one of the backpacks were filled with explosives. Suddenly I realised what ridiculous sitting ducks we all are in London.
A horrid Chinese vase has just sold in auction for £52m! How good can a vase actually be, and why would anyone want to own something so ugly, that could potentially break so easily. The auctioneer got so excited, no doubt at the prospect of at least £10m in commission, that he broke his gavel when he brought it down at the point of sale! It was eventually bought by a Chinese buyer. No doubt in my mind where the money in the world currently lies. Bring out your nasty Chinoiserie!There’s a market for it out there!
I had some great news from Yorkshire today. The DVDs of A Symphony for Yorkshire, which are now on sale for Children in Need, have sold 3000 copies in the space of a week, raising a whopping £15,000 for the charity. I'm absolutely thrilled.
Pepys had a lie in on this day 350 years ago, and then managed to make his way around what seems like most of London, visiting Deptford, and the City, before heading to Westminster. He called in on his father, and found his sister, Pall there. After much discussion behind closed doors, it was decided that Pepys would officially invite her to live with him: "there I told her plainly what my mind was, to have her come not as a sister in any respect, but as a servant, which she promised me that she would, and with many thanks did weep for joy, which did give me and my wife some content and satisfaction." Pepys at his very worst!
He mentions at the end of the diary entry that the previous evening had found Elizabeth and himself being kept awake all night by the sound of drumming. Drumming in those days could mean all sorts of things; mostly bad news. In the morning they found that the sound was actually their neighbour, Mr Davy, who'd had a jack fitted in his chimney, a sort of engine powered by the rising heat of a fire. The heat turned a set of blades, which turned a roasting skewer, and Mr Davy was roasting meat for a party.
So strange to consider that the slightest unusual noise in those days would keep two people awake all night. 21st Century London is a cacophony of bizarre noises, which we tend to just accept. Sometimes from the sitting room I hear the sound of a horse whinnying. I can’t work out why on earth I’d hear this sound coming from the A1 – but I do - and I simply accept it!