Thursday, 26 July 2012

Highgate loons under the moon

One assumes that the Olympics are responsible for Kentish Town suddenly beginning to resemble a garden centre with curious potted fake aspidistra and astro turf everywhere. I sort of wish we didn't need an excuse to take pride in our streets and train stations, but when the decorations go through camp and out into space, one can only applaud. 

I was in the East End again today, and the place is spotless; all the rubbish estates have been covered in brightly-coloured 2012-branded bunting, and the flags of all the nations line churches and pubs. There are almost as many flags as there are policemen!  It does feel a little like our brothers in the east are expecting to have a 2 week party; and good luck to them. 

We were editing the second film for The Space project today. The first goes online tomorrow morning, so if anyone reading this has five minutes to make themselves a nice cup of tea, put their feet up, and find out about the best contemporary requiem since the last best contemporary requiem, go to and search for The London Requiem. Within one minute of hitting whatever you need to hit to activate the film, you'll see me wiping away a little tear. Tune in next week, and you'll see me crying like a little baby! It's very emotional!

I was back at Highgate cemetery at midnight last night, re-recording one of the audio blogs which will also be going onto The Space. Organisers have told me I'm not allowed to call it an audio blog because blogs are, apparently, interactive. Umm... Hit the red button now if you want to find out more about The Pepys Motet... Oh no, that's right, you can't! 

Anyway, it was all a bit peculiar on the street outside the cemetery last night. It's usually completely deserted but for the odd bicyclist and a few lonely cars, but, as the clock struck twelve, it seemed to fill with an assortment of bizarre people and strange sights. 

As I recorded my blog, I caught sight of an urban fox fighting a cat, whilst, in the trees above, either magpies or squirrels were making so much noise I wondered if they were cheering the fighters on!

Three people walked past, and all three stopped to chat. Two were carrying transistor radios which were playing music, one was holding sound equipment which he proceeded to use to record me recording my audio-blog before suggesting that the two of us ought to have a drink together. He was barmy, but utterly charming. There's something about nocturnal people which I really identify with. There is nothing more wonderful than staying awake until dawn on a hot summer's night. Go to the West Heath at 5am and you'll see naked dog walkers and joggers. I love living in the eccentric part of town! 

350 years ago, and Pepys had a mightily uncomfortable chat with the man he hated most in the world, Sir William Batten, who'd heard that Pepys had been royally slagging him off. He wasn't wrong. It strikes me that Batten dealt with the matter in a gentlemanly manner, and, after much discourse, told Pepys that he hoped the fact that their wives hated each other, didn't mean they had to hate each other as well. Pepys seemed pleased enough with the encounter, but I can guarantee the bitching wouldn't take long to resurface! 

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