Monday, 14 February 2011

Auto tune

It's Valentine's day and I've been ensconced in a dark recording studio all day. I'm absolutely shattered. I was up in the night, once again worrying about things. I'm sure the phase will pass, but the tendency is currently for me to fall asleep and then wake up again at about 2am, needing the loo, with half a tonne of questions darting about in my head like martians in a an elaborate game of Space Invaders. After a period of tossing and turning, I'm forced to get up, play with the rats, and make lists. Classic anxiety-driven insomnia.

Today's been very pleasant in terms of the weather, which is often the case on Valentine's Day. I remember people swimming in the sea one year. 

The studio session went well, although auto-tune has had to become our best friend! There are one or two dodgy vocals going on, which we've had to tweak a little bit. Fortunately, the vocoder sound was very in vogue in the early 1980s, so if people sound a little bit robot-like in places, more often than not it's a choice on out part. Very occasionally it's because we didn't have an alternative, but you'd have to ply me with a lot of whiskey before I admit which performers needed the most tidying up! 

Everywhere I look, I see men holding roses. What a relief romance isn't dead... But what about the other 364 days of the year? Nathan and I, great veterans of Valentine's Day, are opting for a pizza in front of the telly. 

Valentine's Day 1661 was a mirth-filled occasion. The women in Pepys' world had chosen their Valentines the previous evening, so now it was the turn of the men. 

Tradition stated that the first person a man saw of the opposite sex would immediately become the favoured one, so a great deal of planning went into manufacturing a suitable "chance" encounter. Pepys, whose wife you'll remember, had very loyally chosen him as her Valentine, was up with the lark banging on the door of Sir William Batten's house in a bid to select Sir William's daughter as his. Batten headed over to Pepys Towers and kindly chose Elizabeth. A great deal of fun, we're assured, was had by all. I'm sure Sir William's daughter didn't escape without receiving at least one harmless kiss. 

Everyone laughed particularly hard when Sir William's negro servant, Mingo, pretended to be a woman. Hilarious! Black AND camp! It probably made a welcome change from being beaten with a stick!

Lunch took place on a ship moored at Woolwich; the first which Elizabeth had ever visited. Conversation revolved around the King and rumours that he'd chosen the (un)lucky lady who was going to become his Queen. Take a 12-year old, I say... And make sure she doesn't speak a word of English! 

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