Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Thank you, Yasi

Today has been one of the most exhausting, exhilarating, stress-filled, caffeine-fuelled, chocolate-sponsored days of my life. My brain is a mush. I am utterly wiped-out. I am too confused to be anything other than in a permanent state of being close to tears! I think I'm thrilled. I could well even be elated. 

We've been in the studio all day, finishing off the vocals on The London Requiem. The day started at 10am with a very special encounter. I finally got to meet the relatives of Yasi, the woman whose grave inspired the requiem. Such a simple inscription; "and we laughed and laughed and laughed." I remember the moment we found it. I was with Nathan and Marinella. We'd just had a picnic under a giant oak tree in Brookwood cemetery. It was a gloriously hot day.

Yasi's best friend, her father, her brother and her brother's partner came to the studio to tell me all about the woman I spent so long imagining. It was a life-stopping moment. Highly emotional. She genuinely sounds like an extraordinary person and I feel privileged to have met her gang, and had them give their blessing to the work. 

Barbara Windsor was next up, singing like only Barbara Windsor can. She was nervous to start with; "you get to my age" she said, "and you don't expect to be invited to do something you've never done before."  A few takes later, and suddenly it was there: the voice from the Carry Ons, the voice which sang "Sparrows Can't Fly." Singing my music! My heart exploded with pride. 

The afternoon into the evening was long and exacting. We had to aim for a level of perfection which has previously eluded me, and I think on more than one occasion we hit pure gold. I was so intensely proud of my people; the Rebel Chorus, Sam, PK... everyone giving it everything. Believing in the project. 

Matt Lucas arrived at 7pm to sing his solos, and took them to a place I was not expecting; a very fragile, emotional, intimate space, which was so utterly and profoundly right for the piece, it took my breath away. 

We over-ran. Of course we did: by 45 minutes. I hope no one minded too much. Actually, had we not started a little late, we'd have kept pretty much to time. 

I'm less confused now than I was when I started writing this blog entry, and have decided the two emotions I'm actually feeling are relief and pride. I feel lucky. I feel blessed. I feel 100 meters tall. Can every day be like today, please? Forever? 

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