One of the parties you could vote for in the election yesterday was the “Christian People’s Alliance.” They go by a single, rather devastatingly pithy tag-line; “supporting traditional marriage.” This would appear to be the thing they consider to be most important in politics. What does the Christian People’s Alliance think about the economy? They think the gays shouldn’t get married. How do they propose we defend ourselves against terrorism? We stop the gays from getting married. What is the Christian People’s Alliance policy on the Arts? The Arts would be a whole lot better if the gays weren’t allowed to marry. It is difficult to sum up quite how pathetic I think the Christian People’s Alliance is. I sincerely hope they lose their deposit.
A jogger ran past me in the street today, and spat with perfect timing to land a little piece of foamy phlegm on my shoes. It was beyond nasty. I called out after him but he just kept on running. I don’t for a moment think he did it deliberately. His mouth obviously felt like a bowl of syllabub and he wanted to have a good clear out, but I was always taught that spitting in the street was one of those things you simply didn’t do. It was the height of rudeness, and, as the adverts used to tell us, it spreads diseases. I think my Mum always used to say TB. It’s certainly not a particularly pleasant experience to have a little bit of gob land on your shoe. I immediately rushed to a patch of grass to try and wipe the gip away, but sadly the grass had turned to mud, my feet started to sink in, and I ended up with more of a mess than I had when I’d started. Bloody joggers. I was in my best shoes as well cus I couldn't find any others.
What does the Christian People’s Alliance think about joggers spitting in the street?
Today has been about rescoring the Libera Me movement in my requiem; which is one of the hell, fire and damnation passages in the traditional Latin text.
Deliver me, Oh Lord, from death eternal on that fearful day, when the heavens and the earth shall be moved...
It, of course, sounds a whole lot better in Latin;
Libera me, Domine, de morte aeterna, in die illa tremenda.
As a teenager I got to sing these very lines as the baritone soloist in Faure’s extraordinary requiem. I think we performed the work in a church in Cherry Hinton near Cambridge. It was a hot summer’s day and the roads felt dusty and dry. On the coach on the way back to Northmptonshire, Liz Rowbotham had sandwiches with cheese and spring onion inside. I’d never seen or smelt anything so bizarre. The whole thing excited me hugely. This was in the days before I’d tasted hummus or pesto. It’s funny the things you remember.
Anyway, when you know and respect a setting of a lyric as well as I know and respect Faure’s Requiem, it becomes quite a trial to escape its rhythmic clutches, and with the Libera Me I was forced to almost run in the opposite direction to avoid plagiarism. I ran to the most rhythmically insane place you could ever imagine. It’s a five minute semi-quaver run, basically. It never stops. I think it’s going to make people scream. I looked through the string parts yesterday and wondered if they were even possible.
And what of Pepys 350 years ago? Well it was a Sunday and Thomas Hollier the doctor came to his house to let blood. Sixteen ounces of the stuff, we’re told. Pepys was thrilled, writing that he was “exceedingly full of blood”. How little these people knew about medicine. Perhaps unsurprisingly the letting of blood caused Pepys to feel sick (one suspects dizzy) but after lying on his back for a time he felt well again. No surprises there. His arm was then tied up with a fancy black ribbon.
In the afternoon Pepys and his wife went for a walk with their house boy Wayneman wearing his full uniform for the first time, which included a sword specifically purchased to “outdo” the two Sir Williams’ servants, who had also been kitted out with new liveries. Pepys decided his was the neatest of them all.
In the evening, after church, they went for a walk to the fashionable Greys Inn to see what the socially mobile ladies were wearing. Elizabeth was making some new clothes and wanted some tips.