Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Finding my voice

Today I started talking again. I haven’t said a great deal, but it’s felt very liberating – and a tiny bit scary. I think I sound the same, but I’m worried if I talk too loudly, I might do myself some permanent damage. I’m apparently allowed to talk for five minutes in every hour, but quite how to judge that, I’m not sure. I’ve decided only to speak when I absolutely have to, and when the room is quiet so I don’t have to push my voice. That said, I’m also very conscious of not wanting to be one of those people who talks too quietly. You know the sort. They often pipe up from the audience at conferences, and seem resolutely incapable of raising their voice loud enough for anyone to be able to hear the question they’re asking. I think it’s a form of arrogance. Everyone has an almost infinite capacity to project!


I worked at Costa this morning, went for a run after lunch, and then started writing again at the kitchen table with fragrant rainy air drifting through the open window. It’s almost 11pm, and I’ve only stopped to eat a shed load of crackers and a dippy egg. I’m presently writing the Libera Me section of the Requiem, which is one of the hell, fire and damnation sequences. The lyrics are very exciting - Biblical bullshit - but the gravestone quotes somehow lend them a truth; a reality. I’ve opted to use the passage I found on a grave in the Hoop Lane cemetery about Auschwitz. There’s obviously no such thing as hell, but there is hell on earth, and I can think of nothing that illustrates this better than that particular grave.

The music I’ve written is slightly over the top at the moment. That’s nothing new for me. Nathan uses a bastardised version of the John Lewis slogan to describe my work as “never knowingly underscored.” This is definitely the case today. I’ve never written anything so dense or so fast, and actually need to have a detailed look when everything’s down to see if what I’ve written for the strings is actually possible! At the moment, I’m simply splurging, but it’s taking forever, because there are so many blinkin’ notes. I think I have about a minutes’ worth of music to show for 12 hours’ work! 95% perspiration...

June 15th 1661, and Pepys went for dinner with Lady Jemima, who was watching the purse strings in the absence of her husband, which one assumes means they hardly ate like Kings! Pepys met up with his father who’d been commissioned to select a great deal of fabric for Sandwich to take on his journey to Portugal. Yes, they’d already left, but if Pepys’ previous trip to sea was anything to go by, they’d spend days milling about the coast of England, so it was possible, one assumes, to “send things on.” Pepys and his father selected an astonishing 300l worth of fabric in scarlet, purple and black, which one assumes were the most regal and expensive colours. I love the word scarlet. So vivid. The plan was to send the fabric with the Duke of York, who was heading to the fleet the following day and it was finally delivered to Pepys at about midnight.

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