Sunday, 12 December 2010

Give me back my heart

I’m once again sitting on the enormous sofa in my brother’s appartment, staring at the reflection of The Greenwich Dome in the pitch black water outside. The Dome's bright lights make The Thames look rather like molten lead.

It’s the X Factor final tonight, and we’re eating wraps to celebrate. Apparently brother Edward and Sascha eat wraps every Sunday, and I'm a man who loves regimes. I suppose I want Matt to win the competition, although none of the acts in my opinion is that great live. Many of my singers in Newcastle knock the spots off them in the talent stakes.

We spent the day in a church crypt near the British Museum, work-shopping Jo’s new comedy drama, which is about a rather hopeless spiritual retreat. She’s written a wonderful script and assembled some brilliant performers. I put myself in charge of music, and at once point managed to encourage all the actors to do a ridiculous contemporary dance to Dollar’s excruciating Give Me Back My Heart, which I found particularly amusing. Many of the performers had worked with Jo and me in the National Student Drama Company all those years ago in Edinburgh and it was great to see Claudia and Helena again, the latter of whom I’d not seen for at least ten years. She arrived with her third child in tow, who she’s still breastfeeding. We were immediately transported back to 1994 to those sunny, carefree days, when we thought we'd be young forever, and the concept of having babies seemed about as far away as the Millennium! We sat together eating poached eggs at lunchtime, remembering the old days and catching up on all those missing years.

I have a bit of a headache, which, since last night has periodically been stinging the back of my head. It may well be time for me to pay a little visit to the doctor, to sort out this business with my singing voice cutting out and feeling constantly tired. I have a very strong suspicion that it’s some kind of acid reflux, but the hypochondriac in me is obviously assuming it’s something a great deal more sinister.

Pepys spent much of the day 350 years ago today worrying about the absence of his wife, who, we assume, was still attending Lady Batten in Woolwich. Pepys collected 100l worth of his earnings from Whitehall and took it home to store it with another bag containing the same amount; “it being the first 200l that I ever saw together of my own in my life.”

I remember seeing my first 20p piece. My mother, who was reading with the drongoes in my junior school, called into my classroom and handed me one to show to the rest of my form. I instantly became the most popular boy in school!I also felt incredibly rich for the first time in my life. I couldn't decide whether to spend it or stare at it. I'm sure Pepys felt the same - for at least an hour or two, btu later in the day, he must have become incredibly bored and lonely, for he called in on the Batten’s house and talked with their daughter for an hour or two. He went to bed, “reading myself asleep, while the wench sat mending my breeches by my bedside.” There’s something remarkably moving about that image, but I can’t think why!!

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