Monday, 11 June 2012

Now I know what 250 singers look like!

My feet ache. My arms ache. Curiously, the tops of my knees ache. I feel like the man in this picture, who I discovered in a chip shop in York.

He's having a lovely little snooze, having just done a face plant in a plate of chips! There's something a little undignified about falling asleep in chips.

I've just been to the first large-scale rehearsal for Ebor Vox. 250 singers and a brass band converged at the York Railway Museum, which was deemed one of the only spaces in the city large enough to house so many performers. Apparently there's still a hope that the final number of singers will top 800; to celebrate 800 years since York signed its charter of independence.

It's quite a thrill to hear so many people performing a piece of music that you've written; something which has previously only bounced around in your head. I remembered writing the first bars of music, humming along to a crude chord sequence in my bedroom, before heading to the gym and promptly forgetting everything I'd written. Three months later, 250 people have been humming the piece in their own bedrooms.

Some sequences sounded absolutely wonderful; a proper wall of sound, led by the unparalleled Shepherd's Brass Band, who also played on A Symphony For Yorkshire.

I'm not sure I was as inspiring as I could have been today. I've reached a level of exhaustion which I can't even begin to explain. I'm having to fight to remind myself to be cheery and full of energy. A charming little  bloke saw me walking up Micklegate just after the rehearsal and stopped his car to specifically tell me how much fun he'd had singing my music. I thanked him, of course, but I'm not sure I appeared as grateful as I actually was. Writers and creative souls are nothing without an occasional word of encouragement.

Fiona put it rather succinctly a few days ago; "people like us" she said "set up camp and drop little things off the edge of cliffs." She was quoting hyper-ballad by Bjork, but the analogy really struck me. I often feel that's all I do; throw little nuggets into the ether in the hope that someone out there will catch them and nurture them.

Every day now is a scrawl of diary entries. A gust of wind and the house of cards tumbles.

Take tomorrow, for example. I was expecting my return train from York to be at noon, but when I checked my ticket, for some ungodly reason, it's actually been booked for 9pm. I am due to start creating sound maps in PK's studio in Worthing at 4pm. There's no way the ticket will be able to be exchanged on the day for anything other than a ludicrously expensive piece of paper, but what else can I do? Turn up a day late to see PK, and the knock-on effect takes me into July!

I just ate an entire pizza and now I feel sick.

I have exciting news on the requiem front in terms of an artist who's agreed to perform on the recording who will be a very familiar name to people of my generation. I don't want to jinx it until she's signed on the dotted line, but I am so so excited!

350 years ago, and the conundrum of the disappearance of Pepys' father was solved. He'd returned to the country to tend to his wife, Pepys' mother, who he'd been told was gravely ill. He wrote a letter to tell Pepys that she wasn't actually as bad as he'd expected w,hich made Pepys angry with his sister (who'd sent the letter) for creating a scare. It didn't take much for Pepys to get angry with his sister. Let's not forget that Pepys' sister had lived with him for some of the previous year... as his servant!

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