Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Surgically attached

I’m still writing minimalism and I’m still not convinced that the journey is going to take me anywhere other than a giant echoey cul-de-sac! I’ve been at it now for 9 hours without stopping, so it’s hardly surprising I can’t see the wood for the trees. My ears are bleeding in the key of D minor, and yet I’m almost unable to stop myself from this never ending loop... Help me....


I went to the baker’s in Highgate this morning and asked for a small cottage loaf. Actually, I asked for “the little one at the end” because I don’t actually know what a cottage loaf is! The merry Polish lady behind the counter informed me that it was the first time she’d ever seen me without my mobile phone surgically attached to my ear. (She didn't say the surgically attached bit, but I knew what she meant.) I’m horrified to think that I might be the sort of person who spends a lifetime on the telephone. I’m also horrified to think that I would be rude enough to always be on the phone when asking for bread. I apologised profusely, and in response, she kept saying “busy busy” and laughing, until it got so annoying that I vowed to be on the phone every time I saw her in the future!

Ben Cohen, the rugby player, was on the television this morning talking about his charity Stand Up, which helps people who are being homophobically bullied. He’s a very good man and a great role model; a straight man with a genuine desire to see a change in the world. We need more people like him to step up to the mic.

I’ve been asked by the BBC to rewrite the third movement of A Symphony for Yorkshire. We’re going for a very different, unplugged kind of sound. It’s being performed at the O2 Media Awards in the middle of July, somewhere in York. It’s been somewhat shambolic. The award organisers had been merrily approaching various ensembles involved in the project, asking them to play, without realising that no one ensemble played enough music to be able to magically rustle up something that would sound like a complete work in isolation. To my knowledge they’re still not aware that the composer’s a) blessing and b) MUSIC would be necessary if anything worthwhile is to be performed. I think these people genuinely think I simply asked brass bands to stand in fields and improvise. When I was finally approached (via the BBC) it was too late for any of the groups they’d approached to get involved. Quite why none of these groups thought to contact me, I’m not sure. I can, after all, be contacted in a variety of ways including email, Facebook, snail mail, smoke signals and telepathy.

Anyway, because the wonderful Circus Envy were free and willing (praise be), we’ve decided to perform the third movement instead of the fourth movement - and this makes me very happy. I'm also thrilled that Ed Alleyne Johnson has also agreed to perform, alongside a number of string players for the original symphony and the lovely John, who played the church bells originally, but will be playing piano this time.

Saturday June 22nd 1661, and Pepys had lunch with Lord Crew, who made a real fuss of him, which understandably went down well! Our hero went to the theatre in the afternoon to see Jonson’s The Alchemist, which was a most “incomparable” play. I assume this is high praise - unless it was incomparably bad. After the theatre, Pepys met up with a number of friends from the days when he was a lowly clerk. They drank themselves stupid in Lincoln’s Inn Fields on Rhenish wine. One suspects the “old pain” will come a-visiting in the morning...

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