Monday, 22 August 2011

This is a song of colour

I’m sitting in the kitchen, watching a very painful television programme which features wannabe stand-up comedians. They keep blanking, and many of the jokes they’re telling are dropping like stones in a wishing well. It’s one of the most uncomfortable things I’ve seen in a while. Canon and Ball are judging. I haven’t seen them since 1986, when they became the Chuckle Brothers. The whole thing reminds me of Edinburgh Festivals in my youth, when we used to go to the Bear Pit and mercilessly boo stand-up comedians off the stage. I’ve seen people throwing tomatoes and pint glasses, and performers bursting into tears. The journey towards becoming stand-up has to be one of the most horrifying that any person can ever wish to go on. It takes someone with the thickest skin, and an ego the size of a bus to succeed. Never let any comedian tell you that they’re shy and retiring.

I worked all day today on the Offertory sequence of my Requiem, which features the first of the Latin texts that I shall not be quoting in full. There are certain statements that I simply don’t agree with, others that I find dull. It’s the passage; “Oh Lord, we offer you sacrifices and prayers of praise” however, that makes me feel most uncomfortable. I refuse to imbue the word “sacrifice” with any other meaning than that which accompanied it when it was written, and I don’t want to honour a phrase I resent by taking the time to set it music. I don’t believe phrases like this should be brought to a wider audience – and I don’t feel hypocritical in any way. There’s not a single Christian who doesn’t take huge liberties when deciding which parts of the Bible to follow.
I ache all over. We went to the gym, and I ran 6km, and then Fiona and I went for the mother of all walks around the edge of Hampstead Heath. We’re told the weather is going to get really nasty tomorrow, and I guess, as the sands of summertime start to vanish into the bottom half of the hour glass, we need to take advantage of any sunlight we can find, however watery. The Heath looked lovely tonight, and was covered in very happy-looking dogs. The sunset over the A1 was astonishing; like a slab of marble with smudgy veins of pink and deeper red.

Thursday 22nd August, 1661, and Pepys went to his Uncle Fenner’s house, who was having some kind of party. Unfortunately the place was desperately over-crowded and the house became too hot for Pepys and his father to bear. They went instead to a pub to cool off a little before going to Pepys’ Auntie Wight’s house to sup upon a Westphalia ham, whatever that is. Ham is pig, right?

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