Friday, 18 May 2012

Dedicated to Little George

I got to the car today to find a little dead chick on bonnet. It had obviously fallen from a nest in the tree above and had made rather a mess, poor thing. I used a plastic fork to scrape it off, and buried it under a nearby bush.

This afternoon I taught a group of corporate types how to sing Shine by Take That in 3-part harmony. The whole event took place at the Emirates Stadium, which added equal doses of glamour and surrealism to the proceedings, particularly when I was royally told off by a building porter for driving too quickly in the underground car park. He pointed at a circular sign which read “5 mph” and said “can you see that?” “yes” I replied, “well why were you driving like a maniac?” “Probably because I’ve only just seen that sign” I said. I genuinely hadn’t seen any other signs, and as I drove out of the car park at the end of the day, I couldn’t find another one. If driving at 15 mph constitutes lunatic behaviour then I'm guilty as charged.

Apart from being made to feel like a school boy by a man in grey trousers and a fancy blazer carrying a walkie-talkie, I had a great deal of fun at the gig, and more importantly, I think the conference delegates enjoyed themselves as well. It’s amazing what you can teach to a group of people who genuinely want to learn something. Corporate gigs can be absolute hell, but this one was brilliant.

The company who hired me belongs to my friends Lisa and Mark, who so tragically lost a son in childbirth just over a year ago. Today was my opportunity to tell them both that I'd decided to dedicate The London Requiem to the little lad. I think still born children are too often forgotten. Perhaps because they never opened their eyes or breathed the same breath as us, some people think their deaths are more easy to deal with, which must be almost impossible for the parents. Little George died whilst I was writing the requiem, and his death had a deeply profound effect on me. I hope  that my dedicating the work to him means his name will live on and that my tiny gesture is of some consolation to Lisa and Mark who have been to hell and back. Lisa seemed genuinely thrilled and hugely touched.

I've just returned from Smithfields where Brother Edward treated me to a glorious Italian meal in a vegetarian restaurant. The irony of the restaurant being within a stone's throw of the world famous meat market has only just struck me, but it's some of the most amazing food I've ever eaten. The place is called Amico Bio, and what is it they say in West End reviews? Walk over hot coals to get there!

May 18th, 1662 was a Sunday, and Pepys went to the pew at Whitehall reserved specifically for the clerk of the Privy Seal... which was he. He heard a wonderful sermon delivered by a Coventrian followed by a “brave anthem” sung by composer Henry Cooke. All this took place in the presence of Charles II. It was apparently a treat to see him taking the sacrament on his knees.

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