It's 10pm, and we're heading back from Baron's Court, where we've had a lovely drink with our friend, Gene. Gene is the artistic director of the Jermyn Street Theatre, and is an extremely impressive young man. We talked about "angels", not the sort with wings, but the sort who present creative types with sums of money when they need a bit of help; the sort of people who have paintings in their downstairs loos that are worth more than the average London flat. It struck me that there are very few angels floating around me and that this might be a situation that needs to change!
Speaking of the other sort of angels, I started the day, unsurprisingly, in two cemeteries. I found the first one, which belongs to the City of London, totally overwhelming. It's absolutely enormous and after an hour or so trawling along lines and lines of graves, I began to get a bit cross-eyed, and more than a little cynical. Some of the graves were ghastly. One, particularly, to a 9 year-old boy, was the largest, gaudiest, most unpleasantly showy thing that I've ever witnessed.
Mind you, watching a little old man in a mobility vehicle struggling with a watering can in an attempt to tend to his wife's grave, brought everything back to earth with a bang. It's a sight that I think might take me a while to forget.
I can feel myself ready to start writing the Requiem now. There's something sort of tingling in the pit of my stomach. It's funny how that happens. Without wishing to sound too pretentious, cause God knows, I loathe musicians who talk about music like it's some kind of magical gift, there is a moment when creativity starts to bubble to the surface. The longer you leave it, the riper it becomes. I can feel it in my finger tips. It's a sort of excitement; a sort of nostalgic feeling. Sometimes I worry what would happen if I left it for too long. Maybe that's when the writer's block happens...
After the cemeteries and before our trip to see Gene, Nathan and I met up with my dear friend Tash in Camden. She looked very well, and we sat and gossiped in a particularly nice cafe on Parkway. It suddenly struck me that I've known Tash for way over 20 years, which is way over half of my life. She still lives (and now teaches) in Northamptonshire and runs a community choir in a little village just beyond my home town. She said how strange it is to regularly drive through Higham Ferrers past the house we'd spent so many hours roaming around as teenagers. It's amazing to think how many shared memories we have.
350 years ago, Pepys finally decided that the work on his house was done. I'm sure his neighbours would have been greatly relieved. Sadly, there was no time to hang about and enjoy his newly refurbished environs. He had a very important meeting to attend with a group of Lords. He took a river taxi to The Savoy, and wore his best velvet coat, so obviously meant business. The meeting went well and he took himself off to the theatre to catch the end of a play called The Maid's Tragedy, which he'd never seen before. He found it all a bit melancholy. Umm, the clue's in the title, Sam! Also, what's all this with tipping up to a theatre to see the end of a play that you've not seen before? That's like those weirdos who insist on reading the last page of a novel first!