Saturday, 15 October 2011

The urge to move on

As I was leaving for the cafe this morning, I found a letter addressed to me on the door mat. The letter was from Sir Arnold and Lady Wesker. I'd recently talked to him about the court case, and sent him the song Ubuntu to listen to. Ubuntu is, of course, the only song of the four songs I wrote that The Choir Invisible actually heard, and it was the one that was rather comically rejected on the grounds that it wasn't 'soul-gospel' enough. There were countless letters from choir members saying what an "strange" piece of music it was, without structure or repetition. For those who didn't get to hear it the first time, have a listen to it at www.benjamintill.com/Ubuntu.

The letter that I received from the Weskers said the following; 

"Dear Benj. Ubuntu is great. You were obviously landed with a judge who didn't like your lip! What a dreadful, dreadful saga. Take courage.

Ps. We may not be able to come to the concert, but I'd like to buy a couple of tickets. Please find enclosed a cheque for £500, which we can just afford because I have sold the Welsh cottage." 

My heart instantly melted, and I dissolved into floods of tears. For five minutes I was a little weeping ball at the bottom of the stairs. I wept for joy and I wept because I felt the pain finally beginning to disappear. I thought of all those dreadful letters that had been read out in court; letters that said what an unpleasant man I was, that claimed I'd only wanted to write music for their choir to have my "ego massaged." Finally  the misery that they'd caused was beginning to melt. 

Arnold has been there for me at every stage of my career, supporting me and offering wise words every time that things have gone wrong. He's not well off and this is a huge sum of money for him. I immediately phoned to say it was too much, but he simply kept saying that he wished it could be more.

I have never felt as loved as I have  since this court case. My work has never felt more validated. The lyrics for the offending songs are being rewritten, and I'm reclaiming them as a work that amateur choirs across the country can enjoy. I send thanks to every single one of you who's sent messages of good will over the last month. I hope as many of you as possible will get to London to see the premier of the work on November 27th so that I can thank you all in person.

I'm even hoping that the Choir Invisible will come and stand on the steps of the church singing to you all as you enter - very much as they did as I entered the courtroom on that dark day. It was a lovely gesture then and I think it would be a lovely gesture on the 27th.

350 years ago, Pepys ventured out of the house for the first time since his unfortunate bruise appeared. He went by water to Westminster and spent the afternoon drinking with the troublesome Captain Ferrers - repeatedly toasting the Duke of York, whose birthday it was. Not that Pepys ever needed an excuse for drinking copious amounts of alcohol!

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