Thursday, 7 June 2012


So apparently we’re now waiting for some kind of gale to ravage the south coast. We’re doing our first day of filming for the London Requiem tomorrow, in Abney Park cemetery, and word on the town is that if the gales happen, the cemetery will be closed down because of a risk of falling trees! Can I remind Mother Nature that this is June. June! I should be picking strawberries and sunbathing in Highgate Wood but instead I'm on a text super highway to Fiona in Brighton, who will very soon be having a one-woman hurricane party.

My other news is that the most recent addition to our choir emailed today – that’ll be two days before the first rehearsal – to say that he could no longer be part of the choir. His Great Aunt has died in Australia and he needs to go home at the end of the month to sort out her estate. Surely Great Aunts are the relatives that tend to die when you need an excuse and you don’t want to tempt fate by saying it’s your Grannie or your Mum, or am I just being unkind? I was never comfortable going with death as an excuse, but God knows, my Grannie was in and out of hospital like MRSA when I used to sign on.
I think what's genuinely bugged me is that most professional musicians would find a dep if they had to pull out of a project at the last minute. I can't really blame him. He's at music college at the moment which is a bubble at the best of times, but I genuinely think the etiquette of dealing with job opportunities is something which music colleges should really try to instil in their students. There are fewer and fewer jobs floating around in the Arts at the moment, and if you get yourself a reputation for being a flake, or demanding, or grand, there's always someone who will take great delight in dancing on your grave.  

I guess we all need to remember that we're playing a game. What I always try and explain to musical theatre students is that they should be writing to living composers all the time. We're all human, and we like to know that people are enjoying what we do. If you write to a composer saying how much you'd like to sing one of his or her songs - particularly if he or she is at the start of his or her career - you instantly go up the pecking order when his or her first West End show is staged! It's a simple formula really. Get yourself known for being a hard worker. Always do a good job... and remember, if it weren't for the writers, you'd have nothing to sing!

Quite how I'm going to audition and replace a tenor at such short notice when I have a 12 hour shoot tomorrow followed by a rehearsal for the Fleet Singers, I've no idea. We’ll get there... one hurdle at a time. Next week there'll be another set of problems and this evening's problems will be but a distant memory.

350 years ago, and Pepys’ father went AWOL. No one knew whether he’d gone back to Huntingdonshire, possibly to attend to Pepys’ mother, who’d been ill, or whether he’d gone West to pay homage to the new Queen. Fascinating that someone could simply disappear in those days.

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