Sunday, 19 August 2012

Em the Baptist

If yesterday wasn't the hottest day of the year so far, today certainly has been. Before heading off to Italy, for a much-needed break, I still have a thousand and one things I need to achieve. Every day, I deal with a few more. And so far, everything has gone fairly smoothly. Two days finessing Requiem mixes: tick! Approve and collect artwork for album cover: tick! Attend wedding: tick! And so the list goes on. 

At the moment, I'm crawling through the streets of South London, on my way to Bermondsey, where I'm going to pick up the photographic reproductions of the aforementioned artwork. Before bed, I have an audio blog to record and six very important emails to send. It's exhausting, but we're slowly getting there. 

Today, we went to my godson's - and his sister's - joint christening. It hadn't occurred to me that my responsibilities as a Godfather would involve speaking a load of religious mumbo-jumbo, and at times the experience made me feel a little uncomfortable. I stayed silent for much of the service, but smiled lots at the vicar, and sang the hymns nice and loudly, so I hope no one was offended. It's funny; when the baptised child is young, the church dictates that his parents and godparents are expected to do the talking on his behalf. I point blank refuse to acknowledge that a seven-year-old child can have sinned, and therefore refused to speak on Will's behalf, to say that he had, would, or even could. 

Nevertheless, the service was beautiful, in the astonishing surroundings of Oxford's Trinity College Chapel. Raily and Ian had put together a lovely running order, which included Uncle Bill singing one of my songs from Alice Through the Looking Glass and Nathan singing When a Knight Won His Spurs. Both sang exquisitely, but none of us had any time to rehearse, but as I sat down at the piano to accompany Uncle Bill, I felt so unprepared that the keys started rolling in front of my eyes. I entirely forgot what I was doing! Hopefully no one noticed. 

Hats off to young Will, who read an excerpt from David and Goliath with gusto. The service also included a Buddhist reading from Meriel, which made this old atheist feel a lot more relaxed. I often feel I should walk into Christian places of worship wearing a skull cap to avoid insulting anyone (except, perhaps, my Jewish friends!) We sat in the grounds of the college, eating a buffet, and drinking wine as the sun blasted down on us. 

The wind is up tonight and stepping outside is like walking into a fan-assisted oven! 

August 19th, 1662, and the gossip du jour concerned a duel between two noblemen, which had left one dead and the other mortally wounded. No one knew what triggered the duel and members of parliament were said to be more than a little concerned. Pepys was glad. He felt laws needed to be brought in which would restrict the practice of duelling. 

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