Thursday, 16 December 2010

Flying spicatto

I’m trying to knuckle down to some serious work on the Metro piece, but I keep being distracted by people who seem to think the world will come to a hideous end if we don’t manage to meet up “before Christmas”! Not that I'm complaining. I'm obviously in a place where I need to procrastinate. I saw my very old friend Tara from university today. We sat in Sable D’Or in Muswell Hill. She had soup, I had a Greek salad and we caught up on about 7 years. She got married two years ago in New York, which strikes me as very romantic. She seems very well and has barely aged since I last saw her.

I spent the afternoon looking for a songwriter’s rhyming dictionary. Fiona brought me one about 10 years ago, which has assisted me ably on countless projects, but it's on its last legs. I sat in Cafe Nero today, trying to stick all the pages that have fallen out back in again. It's a losing battle!

At the moment I’m trying to find interesting words which rhyme with Metro, but I've not yet had a break through! It’s a very difficult balance. Obviously I'd love to write witty, sparkling lyrics, but I'm neither witty nor sparkling, so have to stick to words which are as direct as possible. There’s no room for arty, winsome poetic stuff in my films, because most people will only see the piece once and it needs to have an instant appeal. I work very hard on my lyrics, but this doesn't seem to stop me being accused of writing them on the backs of a cornflakes boxes! If you look at Coventry Market: the Musical on You Tube, you'll immediately see the comment; “who wrote these lyrics? A gimp?” Pass me the rubber mask...

Speaking of which, I felt like a bit of a gimp in the gym today. One of my favourite pieces of music to listen to at the moment comes from Plan B’s extraordinary concept album, The Defamation of Strickland Banks. The song is called The Recluse, and it includes the most outrageous string writing that I've possibly ever heard; so outrageous, in fact, that I can’t work out whether it’s a sample, purely because I’m not sure anyone’s written strings like that since the days of ELO. It bristles with flying spicatto! Anyway, the song came on in the gym and I felt the need to dance. I'm a terrible dancer, but sometimes the desire to dance washes over me. Dancing fills me with joy. When I lived with Sam, we used to have regular evenings when we’d just dance. We once learnt the entire routine to Kylie Minogue’s Can’t Get You Out of My Head. How gay is that? Anyway, today’s desire to dance was so intense that I was forced to rush into a quiet corner, where none of the gym bunnies could see me. I danced on my own, like a lunatic, for 3 whole minutes. It was heavenly.

After the gym, I drove through driving snow and rush hour traffic to Hackney for Uncle Bill’s official birthday drinks at her bar in Broadway Market. It’s a funny old part of town. It seems so different to the rest of Hackney and is peopled by all sorts of crazy arty types. Walking into Rupert and Uncle Bill’s bar is like stepping back in time. There are young men everywhere dressed in rather fuddy-duddy 1950s suits. You get the impression that everyone who lives in the area is some kind of artist or musician, but you also get the impression that most of them are desperate to demonstrate the fact. It reminds me a bit of how I was at university, when I used to walk through the snow barefoot, and wear kaftans with little ethnic hats emerging from my bird’s nest of henna-tinted hair. Those were the days when people used to empty ashtrays into my lap...

Sunday December 16th 1660, and Pepys was actually doing, what I reported he was doing 2 days ago. I got my dates mixed up in Lewes. On Friday 14th December 1660, Pepys went to a coffee house where he had a very good discourse about insects “and their having a generative faculty as well as other creatures.” Before you get too excited about Pepys' burgeoning scientific mind, it’s worth remembering that he thought frogs were insects!

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