Sunday, 21 November 2010

Gas! Gas! A ecstasy of fumbling...

I am exhausted, but jubilant. We just had a rehearsal with the full 40 singers (well, 33 of them) at St Olave's and it went wonderfully. We got quite obsessed with running the movements in a full circle with me conducting in the centre. It was such an extraordinary experience to be able to stand there, spinning round and round, looking at all the faces close up. Some of them were giving it absolutely everything. 

There are so many good things to report. The Navy choir rocked. The Magdalene Choir sounded magical. Ian, the opera tenor had been very poorly, but came straight from hospital to bellow out a series of top c's. 

The word humbling is used way too often in the media, but I felt truly humbled. I've yelled and screeched and completely melted down in front of most of those singers, but they gave me absolutely everything today.

At the end of the rehearsal, I got to sing Pepys' own composition, Beauty Retire, whilst standing on the alter underneath which the great man is buried. I found the experience overwhelming. By this point, the singers had all left the building but they'd whipped up the most incredible energy in the space which I swear at that moment, was still heavy in the air.

Last night I arrived home from my brothers to find Nathan in the dark waiting for the emergency gas man. There was obviously a leak somewhere because the whole place stank to high heaven! 

A very nice man arrived holding a strange rubber tube and something which looked like a thermometer.  He confirmed that there was indeed some kind of leak, but couldn't find any evidence of it in our kitchen. He suggested that the leak was probably in the downstairs flat. Ben, who lives below, had gone away for the weekend, but fortunately I still had a key for his flat from the days when I used to work there casting films with Shaheen. 

Just as well, because the smell was overpowering when we got in. He'd left the hob on! I asked the gas man how serious it could have been, and he scoffed and said "Manchester". I assume referring to the recent explosion which destroyed a street! Eek!!

350 years ago and Pepys spent the day shopping with his wife. They bought some posh green fabric for a waistcoat, paintings for the house and a knife with a posh handle. Back home, and he spent the evening making music, first on the violin and then on his lute. He was chuffed to report that his neighbours came into the garden to listen to him playing. Let's hope they were enjoying the experience! I assume it was something of a novelty to hear any music in those days. We're all so used to a world where music never stops! 

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