Friday, 28 January 2011


It is utterly freezing outside, but I've made a lasagne, which is now cooking in the oven. I’ve been for a jog, had a nice hot bath, QI is on the television and I’ve done an excellent day’s work in the studio. Things are good. Better still, I found out this afternoon that our wonderful project has been given a small reprieve by the BBC. We’re not out of the woods yet, but the will is most definitely there... We just don’t have enough money to make it work right now. Apparently more discussions are planned for Monday, so I guess I just have to sit with my fingers and toes firmly crossed until then.

Today’s studio session revolved around guitars and thanks to the combined magical fingers of Ivor Talbot and our producer, Julian, the song has suddenly burst into three dimensions. It’s still a bit of a wall of sound, and this will continue to be the case until we get the vocals in, and start the process of mixing, but we’re heading in a very exciting direction. We even did some experimentation with vocoders for that added 80s sheen. It’s been a proper, well-paced studio process, which I’ve enjoyed enormously. Compared with the mayhem and high stress levels of Pepys, this one’s been an absolute breeze, bordering on slightly dull, because my adrenaline levels have been so low. I’m drinking huge quantities of tea, just to get that weird caffeine buzz!

As I returned from my jog earlier on, I found a man weeing in the alleyway that leads to our house. A long trickle of pee was slowly making its way towards our garden. I suppose we all get caught short from time to time, and he was at least apologetic; "sorry mate, there was nowhere decent to go..." I shouted as I stormed past; "how about the pub opposite?" then hastened my step in case he decided to stab me or something. That's the London way.

Nathan came home late last night, and I immediately sat him down and played him his quartet. I think he was lost for words, but as the last notes rang out, he said, "I think that's the nicest thing anyone's ever done for me." We listened to it twice, and as I drifted off to sleep, I was aware that he was listening to it on headphones next to me. I was thrilled to have been able to give him something he enjoyed so much.

January 28th, 1660, and Pepys went to Fleet Street to have his sword “refreshed”. I find it not only bizarre that people carried swords in those days, but that they were obviously kept in fully working order. I suppose with religious fanatics regularly running riot in the City, no one could be too careful. This was the date that Cromwell and various luminary figures from the Interregnum period were dug up and hanged at Tyburn before being buried under the gallows there. The event was watched by huge crowds.

Pepys steered clear of the Cromwell circus and went instead to the King’s theatre to watch a production of The Lost Lady. He sat in the shadows, no doubt trying to remain incognito, and was shocked when the woman in front of him spat over her shoulder and the nasty gloop landed on his lap. Fortunately, Pepys noticed that the spitter was actually a very attractive lady, so decided not to be troubled by the event. I think I'd have vomitted down her back and told her to be grateful I wasn't calling the police.

Later in the day, Pepys went shopping, and bought a hat which cost him a rather whopping 35s. I hope it was a good hat!

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