Wednesday, 24 November 2010

In the round

I'm so tired I can barely stand. Thankfully I’m sitting – on the tube – whizzing up the Northern line on my way home, where I’m going to eat porridge. I’ve been on my feet since early this morning and I’ve only managed to eat a boiled egg.

The day started on Oxford Street, where I had hoped to collect my suit for tomorrow, but it wasn’t ready, so I went to the second hand record shops on Berwick Street and stared lovingly at rare ELO vinyls. I drank a cup of tea on Old Compton Street, and by the time I’d returned to Oxford Street, the suit was there, so I went home, excitedly, to try it on. There are a few too many fiddly little collar and cuff studs for my liking, but I think I shall look very fine indeed, even if the bow tie is ready tied... Something I object to on principal, but they didn’t have any white ones that weren’t.

I left the house again in a panic. Heaven knows how, but it was suddenly almost five o’clock and I only had an hour to get to St Olave’s to do a telephone interview with Radio 3 before the rehearsal kicked off. The interview went well. I’ve no idea what I said. Burble burble, Royal Navy, burble. They played a bit of movement 4; perhaps all of it, but they cut me off, so I couldn’t hear.

When I arrived at the church, there were electricians, and ladders and bits of wire everywhere. They’re sorting out the lighting in there, and it’s going to look incredible. Unfortunately, people kept texting to say they couldn’t make the rehearsal, including poor Katherine who ended up stuck in the middle of the riots in Westminster. Many were ill. I sincerely hope they’re all better tomorrow because I’ve still not seen more than 33 singers in the space at the same time. I’m not sure what the contingency is if someone is ill...

The rehearsal went well. Movement 5 was a bit scrappy, but we have decided to perform movement 6 as I initially wanted it... in the round. Very exciting. Big up for the gospel choir today, who were there in force and absolutely on it.

350 years ago, Pepys was drinking wormwood wine at the Rhenish Winehouse in Westminster. Whether this particular substance had any of the hallucinogenic qualities of that other favourite wormwood-tinged drink, Absinthe, we can only imagine. It seemed to calm our hero down, however, for he went to see Mr de Cretz to collect the painting he’d had copied of Sandwich (paying 3l 10s for it, which he thought a very good price) before heading home, where he had a cosy fire made up in his closet and spent hours working on various papers and sorting through his books.

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