It was still dark when I got up this morning. I thought that opening the wipe-clean curtains in my Travelodge room would help matters, but it didn’t. I stumbled around a great deal and fell headfirst into the bath. A car arrived to take me to BBC Newcastle, where I was being interviewed on the breakfast show. I’ve no idea what I said. These things tend to fly past and I was holding my eyes open with matchsticks.
Later in the day we went back into Newcastle centre to do some more filming. People seemed a bit chirpier. The sun was shining and glinting on the snow, and everything looked absolutely glorious under the cornflower blue sky. We roamed about the Metro system looking for people who might be interested in singing a few lines of music for us. The experience was, once again, catastrophically embarrassing, but because people seemed happier to be on the trains, we got a great deal more in the can. I’ve still not seen much of that famous Geordie wit and hospitality, however, but in these temperatures, I suppose it's hardly surprising. I've been quite grumpy, too.
We ended up emerging into a charming market near the Monument. Every stall sold the most incredible looking food; each one originating from a different country. I chatted to Spanish, French, Dutch and Jamaican stallholders before the skies opened again and we were forced to run back into the Metro looking like snowmen.
We went to The Sage in Gateshead to talk to them about their involvement in the project. They are the BBC's official partners for this musical, but the meeting was distinctly underwhelming. When we first chatted to them, they seemed genuinely excited about the project, giving us lists and lists of their ensembles that they felt sure would love to get involved. Today's meeting was with a bloke who told us repeatedly how busy he was and that he couldn't promise a single one of their ensembles would want to get involved because their rehearsals might clash with ours! I do hope that our meeting at least semi-rekindled his interest in the project. The Sage is such an extraordinary building and it looked particularly wonderful today...
Back at the Radio Station, I took a call from a lady who wanted to know if she could use a photograph I’d taken of Derren Brown for a TV documentary about him, which was hugely flattering, particularly when she pointed out that Derren himself had requested the photo be used. They've also offered to pay for it, which is, of course, totally unnecessary, but a lovely bonus.
So, England will not be hosting the 2012 World Cup. It’s probably a controversial thing to say, but it would, no doubt, mean another huge chunk being taken out of Arts budgets, so I can't bring myself to feel too sad. It also means that there’s now the glimmer of hope that people might actually start producing art for other purposes than in association with sport. I’ve never understood why sport and the arts are lumped into the same governmental bracket. It strikes me they are more diametrically opposed than home and foreign affairs! Perhaps we finally have to acknowledge a) that England can’t play football, b) that the world doesn't care and c) that the England brand is at an all-time low. I long for the day when we can celebrate our beautiful country without feeling shame - or talking about football.
Sunday 2nd December 2010 was a Sunday and Pepys woke up with a crashing hangover; “My head not very well, and my body out of order by last night’s drinking, which is my great folly.” He ate a leg of mutton with his wife, but the sauce was too sweet, so he threw all of his dollies out of the pram and refused to eat anything but the bone marrow. I have no idea what bone marrow is in relation to a pig or a deer, or whatever mutton is, but it sounds absolutely disgusting.