Thursday, 17 February 2011

A sonic polish

I’m exhausted and my feet smell. I stayed up incredibly late last night writing a new pitch for A Symphony for Britain. I suspect being successful in my industry is as much about tenacity; the ability to dust yourself down and work even harder to achieve your goals when things go wrong. I’ve always considered myself to be a grafter rather than a lucky person or someone with a great deal of natural talent, so my ability to work myself into the ground has proved to be very useful over the years! Anyway, the alarm clock went off this morning and I nearly jumped out of my skin. I was obviously in a very deep sleep...


I walked into BBC Newcastle to deliver the Metro song to the powers that be. It was “mastered” last night, which means it was given a sort of sonic polish by a bloke on the Isle of Sky. It’s amazing what you can send and receive digitally these days. I still can’t quite get my head around this idea. There again, I can’t get my head around a great many scientific things. I vaguely understand the principal of telephone calls, for example, yet I can’t begin to imagine how anyone could have come up with the concept in the first place. How can something tangible become virtual and then tangible again? I think it’s quite clear why I was only allowed to take single integrated science for my GCSEs!

Anyway, everyone at BBC Newcastle seemed genuinely excited by the track we’d created, particularly the fabulous Alfie and Charlie who present the radio morning show and were dancing their way around the studio as the music played. Some, who said they could only hear a few bars, listened to the entire piece, and Jeff Millburn instantly went away to create a television trail for it.

The song then went out to all the performers, and many of them have already emailed Alistair to tell him how much they’d enjoyed listening to it and felt proud to have played a part in its creation. It’s always nice to hear these comments and I’m thrilled to be bringing something a little bit different into people’s lives.

Filming starts tomorrow and there have been all sorts of meetings today to discuss various aspects of the shoot. I’ve met my team of runners, for example; all of whom are students at local universities. I think all in all, we’re a crew of about 20. There’s a gaffer, a grip and a choreographer. There’s even a floor manager, who I’m hoping will wear some sort of head set! I’ve never had so much support on a shoot before and could get quite used to it, I feel. That said, we are attempting the almost impossible; namely a night shoot in a Metro station, with two moving trains and an all-singing, all-dancing cast of close to 200! I may well have to direct through a megaphone. From now on I shall be adopting the name Benjamin DeMille!

I’m back at the Travelodge and it’s too late for me to find food anywhere else. My favourite vegetarian place stops serving at 7pm, and I can’t bring myself to chow down on chips and a bean burger. I therefore find myself forced to eat a tomato and pepper soup, whilst Usher’s OMG drones on in the background. I’ve always hated that song. It represents everything I loathe about Christian America. OMG stands for “Oh My Gosh.” In my opinion, people who say “Oh My Gosh” should also wear gingham. They should make jam and listen to Gilbert and Sullivan. They should all be virgins. And yet in this case, our “god-fearing” Usher is dressed like a gangsta and dancing provocatively surrounded by gyrating women who are wearing next to nothing. All this ungodly behaviour, and yet the words “Oh My God” will not pass his lips! A quick google-shuffle informs me that Usher is actually called Raymond. Perhaps he should be in gingham dungarees after all.

Sunday 17th February1661, and Pepys was sent into a blind rage by an Irish Doctor who delivered a sermon at St Olave’s Church, which was “most tedious, unreasonable, and impertinent... Sir Wm Batten and I very much angry with the parson.” OMG!

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