Sunday, 20 May 2012

Half way house

So, last night I had a little think about people who might be able to fill the missing tenor-shaped space in our choir. I thought about my career, and the various tenors I've worked with, and remembered a guy called Darren, who did extra chorus work at the Royal Opera House when I was working there about ten years ago. We actually went on a few dates and he'd seemed like a genuinely lovely bloke. I absentmindedly googled him last night, expecting to find that he was now some kind of major opera star, but instead discovered that he'd died of a heart attack at the end of 2009. One of his friends had put a tribute to him up on Facebook; a piece of music accompanying a set of photos...

I felt desperately sad. His death shocked me to the core. When I knew him, he was a live wire. He was always the one in the chorus who'd have a go at anything. He was in the prime of his life, handsome, and in very good shape. He learned to walk on stilts for the show. Now he's nothing but a memory. And montage of photographs from happier times.  The transient nature of life is sometimes so desperately cruel.

It was craft and cake today at Julie's house. The event was well attended by, amongst others, my very dear, old Northamptonian friend, Tash and Stephen West, a well-known knit-wear designer. We had a genuine celebrity in our midst! I have never seen anyone knit so speedily. By the time he left, he'd knitted about 3 feet of a very complicated scarf design. It must have been quite a thrill for him to be sitting in a room alongside two people knitting things from his latest book. Highlight of the day was definitely Julie's chocolate orange cake. Ridiculously good. 

This evening Nathan and I went to see Jem and Ian singing in a big band concert at the wonderful 100 Club on Oxford Street. The band in question was the London City Big Band, a group of students, mostly from Guildhall, who were absolutely brilliant.  We went to Balans on Old Compton Street after the gig, and sat in a crazy booth eating a Caprese salad. Jem and I begin our diets tomorrow. Genuinely. I don't care how busy I am. I want some more energy.

Pepys spent a sunny May day watching theatre, messing about on the Thames and walking through the fields to the famous Half Way House, a pub midway between the City of London and the village of Deptford.  His diary entry ended with the realisation that he'd never had it so good; 

This being a very pleasant life that we now lead, and have long done; the Lord be blessed, and make us thankful. But, though I am much against too much spending, yet I do think it best to enjoy some degree of pleasure now that we have health, money, and opportunity, rather than to leave pleasures to old age or poverty, when we cannot have them so properly

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