Friday, 13 May 2011

A tuba that blows fire...

I’ve spent the day in meetings, which started at Brock House at 10am this morning. I’d not heard of Brock House before, but it seems to belong to the empire of the BBC, and is tucked behind the fancy new Broadcasting House somewhere north of Oxford Circus. I was meeting Dippy, who is the editor of BBC London’s Inside Out. We talked about the possibility of my making a film exploring homophobia and transphobia on the streets of London. This might finally be an opportunity for me to make a hard-hitting, journalistic film, with no singing and not a 'cello in sight! All very exciting.

I now have a date for the operation on my vocal chords. June 6th. It couldn’t come at a better moment as my singing voice is now entirely shot-through. I sound like an old croaking vicar. It's incredibly distressing. Fortunately, the operation date doesn’t clash with the date that I'm in court, which bizarrely I’m now beginning to look forward to. Whether I win or lose, it’s going to be wonderful not to have it hanging over my head any more.

This afternoon I returned to Soho, met Nathan for some cheap food, and then pottered off to Brewer Street where LGBT members of the Met police had set up a stall. It was a lovely atmosphere. Andy Ricketts was there, as were members of GALOP; a charity which encourages the victims of hate crime to come forward. We talked a great deal about the trans-community, which is one of the last frontiers when it comes to the battle for universal equality. Trans-people are currently where gay people were 20 years ago, when gay bashing was simply one of those things. It wasn’t taken seriously by police, it was just viewed as something which was part and parcel of being gay. Trans-people are incredibly unlikely to report crimes against them – and there are all sorts of added issues which come from the fact that a notable percentage are immigrants or sex workers. I spoke to a bloke today who said one of his clients repeatedly has people trying to take photos up her skirt. It's humiliating and deeply unacceptable behaviour, which she doesn’t think she has the right to report.

I’m heading back to Highgate now to spend an evening doing nothing. This week has really taken it out of me, and we have a Eurovision Party to prepare for tomorrow. We need to tidy the house, find the ingredients for two massive lasagnes and buy reams of wall paper to make our giant scoreboard.

On the way home tonight, I saw the most amazing busker. He was sitting on a 1950s wireless, playing a tuba, which in itself was a fairly interesting sight, but every time he played a note, a massive cloud of fire came out of the bell of his instrument. I have no idea how he managed to do it – or why he wasn’t burning himself, but it was fabulous to watch.

Here he is... Note how the man behind looks like he's going up in smoke

Monday 13th May, 1661, was a quiet day for Pepys. He spent the morning with his workmen, as usual, and then went to an ordinary behind the Royal Exchange, which he didn’t like too much. He went back to the office after dinner, where he examined his accounts... and that's about it.

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