Friday, 6 July 2012


I woke up in Hove this morning, and ate a vegetarian breakfast outside the little cafe by the station whilst the seagulls squawked in the cornflower blue sky. Fiona has made a very good decision to move here. 

I got very excited by the prospect of cheating Network Southeast out of the ludicrous amount of money it would have cost me to travel back to London before 9.30am. A train pulled into Hove at 9.20am, so I jumped on board and spent the journey to London planning ways to wriggle out of paying an extra £20 if I was stopped by a guard. It was quite exciting.

The day's been spent at Sonica studios in Clapham recording the lovely Rachel Fryer playing piano on the requiem. It occurred to me that I've written some almost impossible piano music in the piece, which gave Rachie an astonishing work-out. Fortunately she coped admirably. We even managed a proper sit down lunch with the boys from Sonica. I had a Greek salad, and very nice it was! 

At the end of the day, after dropping in a violin solo with the deeply talented Anna de Bruin, and making my cameo appearance on the recording playing the melodica - or campaphone as I've taken to calling it - I darted across London to the Pheasantry to hear dear Carmen from the choir doing a little cabaret set. When I say little, I mean enormous. She was blasting out top Cs left, right and centre, whilst standing 3 feet away from the microphone. I was incredibly proud. 

I was also more than a little touched to hear the compere for the evening, Jamie Anderson, singing a song from my musical, Blast. He sang it with great panache and it seemed to go down very well with the audience, which was surprising, really, as it's probably the most offensive and outrageous song I've ever written!  

Speaking of offensive, I did another Benism this evening. A Benism happens when I meet someone for the first time and instantly say something which makes everyone's toes curl with embarrassment. On this occasion, I'd just been introduced to one of Carmen's friends, a charming Scottish and  vital lad called Evan. I asked if he was a performer, and he said "kind of," before revealing that he'd performed for some time before "life got in the way." "What happened?" I said, before deciding to make a joke, "did you get cancer?" "Yes" he replied, "as a matter of fact I did." 

What are the chances?!

350 years ago Pepys held a dinner party for Sir William Penn (whom he secretly hated "with all his heart") and sundry other fancy people including Sir William's son, the founder of Pennsylvania. They ate all sorts including an umble pie (the first ever mentioned in literature), which was made from the entrails of a deer -  and lent its name to the phrase "humble pie". It was said the people who ate umble pie tended to be of low rank; hence humble.  

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