Wednesday, 11 July 2012

40 days of rain

I sat on the seafront at Hove this morning under a deep blue sky, eating a plate of beans on toast. The Lawns Cafe is Fiona's local spoon and I got talking to its owner, predictably about the weather. 

"First bit of sun I've seen in three weeks," I said. He agreed. "Is it affecting your business?" He sighed. "Normally on a day like this, they'd be queuing all the way down to the sea front. You've been one of our first customers." I felt a twinge of sadness, not just for him, but for the pleasure boat businesses in York, the people whose houses have been destroyed by flash floods in Hebdon Bridge, and all the Brits who've had their summer cruelly torn away.  First a recession and then tourism industry gets decimated. 

Almost on cue, the sun vanished behind an ominous bubbling grey cloud and a group of people walked past with anoraks buttoned up to their necks. The sea front in Hove went from July to January in seconds. 

Sure enough, by the time I reached PK's house in Worthing, it had started to rain. A trickle became a torrent, and before long we were in the middle of a crazy storm, which we took great delight in recording for the requiem. If climate change means this is the shape of summers to come, I will have to find alternative accommodation! 

The rest of today, much like yesterday, was spent sifting through various takes from various performers on various movements of the London Requiem. The highlight of the day was almost certainly discovering what an astonishing job the Rebel Chorus had made of singing the Dies Irae. It's not the easiest piece of music in the world, but they sang it to perfection. I think we reached a sort of zen moment in the studio, around the time we recorded that movement, when the choir started to gain a sixth sense and began to breathe as one. Exciting biting, as my Dad would say... 

I'm heading back to London now. It's my friend Jim's birthday, and we're celebrating theatre style at Joe Allen's. A child got on the train with his mother at Gatwick Airport and started to talk so loudly that I was forced to move carriage. I'm incredibly hungry and frankly it was him or me! 

Tomorrow is another exciting recording studio day, so stay tuned...

Yet again Pepys was up by 4am 350 years ago, practising his multiplication tables. He was nothing if not thorough. The rest of his day was spent in Woolwich, looking at the Navy stores and generally toadying around his new favourite man in power, Mr William Coventry. History would have it that Coventry was a deeply corrupt gentleman, but Pepys thought the sun shone out of his proverbial. 

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