Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Pulling garters

We’ve been in the studio this afternoon programming synthetic drums and adding synthesizers to the Metro track. The whole thing is beginning to take shape. When all the keyboard pads were down, the song suddenly started to sound like Frankie Goes to Hollywood. It was a fairly unexpected outcome, but I guess the output of Frankie is about as quintessentially 1980s as music gets!

It’s amazing to spend time really listening to some of the sounds those bands opted to use. Today we tried to recreate the fake brass noise that crops up regularly in ABBA songs, and then moved on to the jangly piano at the start of The Winner Takes it All. We were also listening to Atomic by Blondie, which features some pretty outrageous drumming.

It’s a lot of fun to be in the position where we’re not in a terrible rush all the time. We can finesse what’s going down and make it sound as good as possible. Remind me that I wrote this sentence when we head up to Newcastle next week to record the vocals. That’s potentially when all hell could break loose and I could end up eating my words!

I had an upsetting phone call midway through the afternoon, which seemed to suggest that the big project I’m desperate to work on this year, could be one step closer to collapse. The internal mechanisms of the BBC are incredibly complicated. The will being there is often not enough. There are all sorts of technicalities which can, and usually do scatter themselves in front of a project, often causing such a major blockage that diversion becomes impossible. It looks like we might just have hit that point. It’s very frustrating. I can’t begin to think how awful we’re going to feel if the whole thing slips through our fingers. I have to cling on to the wise words my brother uttered when the Symphony for Yorkshire hit a major stumbling block back in July last year. No deal is good unless it’s failed twice. There’s still nothing I can do to change the outcome, other than hope, I suppose, and keep my fingers crossed that some of my supporters at the BBC will try to steer the project back on track.

Saturday 26th January, 1661, and Pepys was, once again entertaining. On this occasion, both the Mr Pearce’s and their respective wives came for dinner and with any luck, didn’t leave with the wrong partners in tow. They were joined by Captain Cuttance and Lieutenant Lambert, whom they ragged mercilessly, pulling at his ribbons and garters and making him confess that he’d recently got married... One assumes this mirth was all part of some kind of drunken banter. I don’t think the Lieutenant had recently got married, but the business of pulling garters was an age-old tradition relating to marriage, and it was astonishing what 17th Century people got up to in the name of fun!

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