Saturday, 10 September 2011

Crazy world

At 4am this morning a text message arrived with a photograph attached. The same photograph was sent again at noon today. It's come from a number my phone doesn't seem to recognise, and it's a very peculiar picture...

Can anyone tell me what this is all about? Is there some message I need to be reading into this? Who are the strange people on the photograph? Who's the polar bear? And more importantly, what on earth does it all mean? I think it looks like a still from a Christopher Guest film...

Today, like most of last night, was spent at the Queen's Theatre taking photographs of Matt's last few performances playing Thernadier in Les Miserables. I had been given carte blanche to roam wherever I wanted in the building, and at one stage even crawled into the orchestra pit so that Matt could demonstrate his entrance through the trap door in "One Day More." It was terribly exciting.

I was behind the curtain just before the show went up, and was allowed to stand in the wings and photograph the action on stage. I don't think you can really claim to have lived until you've stood within 5 metres of Caroline Sheen singing I Dreamed A Dream. I got a little flutter every time the revolve stage deposited someone else on the wings next to me. It feels so wrong to be standing on the edge of a stage where a live performance is taking place. One trip, one loud sneeze, and the experience is ruined for the audience.

Everyone was, nevertheless, incredibly gracious, even when I found myself standing on their dresses during the stage-side quick changes! There weren't stage managers rushing about to tell me to watch my back every five minutes. I was trusted simply to get on with what I was doing.

I'm now heading back to Highgate to start cooking. Tanya and Raily have been staying with me this weekend and we're going to have a lovely night in. I'm cooking tagliatelle.

The savings continue, but sometimes it's hard to make judgements about how much money I would have spent under normal circumstances. Matt bought me lunch, today, for example, probably because he knew I was poor, but does this count as money saved? Would he have bought me lunch anyway?

September 10th, 1661 was a rainy day, and Elizabeth and Pepys spent the day dodging showers and walking through sticky, muddy, often impassable streets. They wanted to buy a chest, so went to Wood Street near Cheapside.

It was dark by the time that Pepys started to head home, and in the absence of any link boys - young lads who carried lanterns through the streets for pennies - he was forced to buy his own (lantern that is, rather than link boy.) Part way home he found a boy to do the job for him, and rewarded him with the lantern when they arrived home


  1. Hoping that Matt eventually shares his and your Les Mis photo shoot with his fans. Especially deprived ones like myself in Canada, who only became aware of and then got hooked on him and Alfie Boe early this year after viewing their fabulous youtube videos. Although I was unable to visit the UK to take in Les Mis, I was still absolutely cheering along wildly for both of them. FYI, I found your blog months ago after Matt posted a note on twitter about your gathering in support of Philip Sallon, and then later on as well while searching for Les Mis reviews, and have followed along since then. The wonders of the internet! :-) I'm still trying to figure out your whole Pepys Motet project. Hmm. Intriguing. Cheers and best wishes from Canada.

  2. Greetings, Kelly, in return, from London. You couldn't have chosen a nicer couple of blokes to follow than Matt and Alf. Lovely to hear from you, and I'll try and post a few more pics here at some point. Benjamin

  3. Benjamin,
    I do declare that the "polar bear" in your mystery photograph be some kind of wild boar, and the man holding the round thing in the middle is proudly displaying said wild boars mounted tusks! Go figure!
    Hope you are well...
    Debbie :-)

  4. Text them back and ask who they are & where they are from! My money is on a Scandinavian country

  5. :-) Thank you kindly. That's certainly the impression I've gotten from what I've read and seen online about both of them.