Thursday, 2 June 2011

Thank God for cake and friends

We’re heading back from Limehouse, and I'm feeling like a very lucky man. A group of 14 of us have just gathered together for a couple of hours at Julian’s studio to form an ad hoc choir to sing through a composition I wrote about a year and a half ago. It was really nice to hear it coming to life. It’s always so exciting when a work leaps off the page for the first time. We rehearsed the song for just an hour and then spent an hour recording it. It sounds wonderful. It’s just for fun, really. Composers often have unperformed music lying around in their bottom drawers, so occasionally it’s heartening to have a root around, dust a few manuscripts off and have a bit of a play.

It’s reminded me how much I want to form a 16-voice choir. The idea would be for us to go professional very speedily, and put ourselves up for work in pop music, alongside premiering new work and performing music by other composers with a documentary twist. Various works by Berio spring to mind.

The group of singers tonight were such a talented and nice bunch. There was so much good will. Ellie came up from East Sussex, Tash came down from Northamptonshire. Sam conducted. A lot of the others were involved in the Pepys project, but there were some new faces as well. We went drinking afterwards in a lovely pub by the river and one of the singers, Nigel, kept us more than entertained with various impersonations and a bluffers guide to British sign language.

This morning I had a meeting at the BBC to talk about the homophobia film, which frustratingly still hasn’t been commissioned. We’re going away to look at a few extra avenues of research. There’s no point in doing this film unless we do it properly and I’m glad that BBC London are being thorough.

I laughed a lot this morning whilst watching BBC Breakfast, when a very pregnant Kate Silverton almost vomited whilst smelling and scratch and sniff book by David Walliams. Sam suggested I might find it on You Tube, and sure enough, here it is...

350 years ago and Pepys was also in the East End of London, first in Deptford, and then in Rotherhithe, which was known as Redriffe in those days. They stopped at the Halfway House, a pub which was exactly half way between Deptford and London Bridge, where they found a room “where there was infinite of new cakes placed that are made against Whitsuntide.” Pepys, Penn and one Mr Gauden were very merry there, apparently. Come to think of it, I too have eaten nothing but cake today and have been very merry. Thank God cake never goes out of fashion!

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