Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Unsufferably foolish and simple

We had a lie-in this morning, which felt marvellous, as I've been getting up rather too early of late. During breakfast, we sat and watched last night’s episode of Britain’s Got Talent. I love talent shows, but am aware that by watching them I’m feeding the devil. I'm only too aware there are always far more talented individuals (many of whom are friends) plugging away and trying to make ends meet by simply working hard, and slowly honing their skills. Take the young (probably autistic) pianist who made it through to the final last night. Everyone liked his story, and liked the fact that he was black; but by any standard, he wasn’t a particularly good pianist. The panel heaped praise on him, referring to him as a virtuoso, but frankly, I studied with countless pianists who would have knocked the socks off him at a similar age. There are five year olds in China who are better than him - and work much harder.


It took me rather a long time to get motivated. I sent countless emails begging for non-existent arts-related jobs, and had a look into the idea of a career in the police force. I probably need to sit down with someone to find out if it’s even possible for a man in his late 30s to realistically start a new career in this area.

At about 6pm, I went for a wonderful run. It had been raining all morning, the first rain I’ve seen in months, but the sun came out in the late afternoon, and everything looked beautiful. The air was clean and the shadows were long. I ran around the circumference of Hampstead Heath. It’s probably an 8 km round trip, which ends with the steepest hill in London snaking up to Highgate Village. My legs still ache. I thought I was going to pass out half way up.

I sat in my bedroom tonight, and composed music for my Requiem by candlelight. I suppose I’m just splurging at the moment; getting lots of ideas down on paper that I can develop at a later point. I’m trying to write a commercial and highly tonal work, which has the capacity to tap into the Classic FM-type audience. I want to record the work properly. It’s quite an experience to sit in a darkened room at a piano setting words about death. It's all very atmospheric, and, I suppose, more than a little spooky.

350 years ago and Pepys called in on his father, hoping to meet up with his cousin John Holcroft, who simply didn't turn up. He was very upset to find his mother and father at loggerheads with one another yet again. He described his mother as having become “so pettish” and “so unsufferably foolish and simple” of late, that he wondered how his father coped. Perhaps she was suffering from some form of dementia. She certainly wasn't long for this world.

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