Believe it or not, I’m still coughing. But certainly not as often. I maybe have 10 or so attacks each day – often when I’m at the gym. Aside from the coughing, however, I guess I’m almost better, but it’s very strange to think that I was ill for the whole of September. I can’t remember the last time an illness wiped me out of for a whole month. As a result, I’m extremely worried about my voice. It’s in tatters from the uncontrollable coughing. The hoarseness feels almost identical to how it felt before my operation and I’m terrified the polyp has returned. Talk about one thing after another...
On the bright side, we now have our top sop for the choir. Hurrah! She’s an actress in Phantom. I can’t tell you how excited I’m getting about this concert, and the choir we’re forming for it. I really want them to go on to great things and have big plans. Because it’s a relatively small choir of 16-18 voices and we’re all music readers, we can market ourselves for all sorts of session work. My dream is to build a reputation for doing concerts and recordings in strange locations. I want the choir to feel the music they perform and really draw people in; really challenge the perceptions people have of live performance. I don’t want anyone who sees us to feel that crippling sensation that classical music fans can experience, when they feel glued to their chairs, holding their breath for fear of breaking the concert-going etiquette. In my experience, people should be able to show their appreciation at any stage in a performance, but particularly at the end of a movement, unless, of course, a conductor very specifically holds the moment because there’s a tangible sense that one movement needs to segue into the next. I want to lose that ghastly thing when you walk into a concert hall and the orchestra are all sitting on the stage practicing. It’s arrogant, it looks amateur and it wrecks the magic of the moment.
Anyway – because I’m fired up I worked solidly from 9.30am to 11pm, stopping only to watch Pointless (which I try to watch, because I know my parents also enjoy it and like to think we’re all doing the same thing at the same time) and Strictly Come Dancing. I didn’t enjoy any of the dancers tonight, and have taken against the blond-haired footie player on account of his having a head like a bucket!
And what of Pepys? Well his entry from September 30th, 1661, is possibly the longest ever!
There was a ruckus in the City of London. The French ambassador had been rowing with his Spanish counterpart; something to do with the Swedes. The King got involved (telling no English man to get involved), but it did little good, and as a result, there were soldiers and various people rushing through the streets all day. At one stage there were even barricades outside both embassies. Pepys went to Chelsea to do some business with the Privy Seal, and looked at some beautiful paintings at Danvers House that he’d previously only seen at night. They looked astonishing in daylight.
He returned to the City to hear that the Spanish had taken arms against the French and killed several people (including an Englishman who'd been caught in the cross-fire). London was in a state of jubilation at the prospect of a Spanish mini-victory. As Pepys put it; “we do naturally all love the Spanish, and hate the French.” How little things change!
Pepys recounted the story to his (French) wife, who was understandably none too happy with his summing up of the situation. A little tactless, I feel, Mr Pepys.