Thursday, 16 August 2012

Paradise

Up once again, at 7:30 in the morning, for a date with the lady who found my wallet in Regents Park yesterday. I went to the corner shop, to buy some Ferrero Rocher as a means of saying thank you. As I emerged from the shop, I could see Nathan, further up the hill, in the middle of an altercation with some kind of estate agent. The estate agent had pulled up next to Nathan's car, and there seemed to be a lot of shouting going on. Because we were heading to my friends Jo's wedding, I was carrying my suit and the chocolates in one hand, and wheeling a small suitcase in the other. Fearing that Nathan was about to get punched, I started to run up the hill, and just as I opened my mouth to start shouting, my legs gave way, and I found myself somersaulting down the street. I did a face plant on the pavement. I suspect the incident was fairly shocking, as I immediately burst into uncontrollable tears, which became tears of laughter.

When I reached Nathan, I was in a worse state than he was. For the record, Nathan would like it pointed out that he wasn't in a state at all. Come to think of it, neither was I: I think I just had something in my eye...

We reached Camden, and I telephoned the lovely wallet lady to say I was standing outside her house. A top-floor window opened, and she threw the wallet down to me. I left the Ferrero Rocher on her doorstep.

From Camden, we travelled around the Congestion Charge Zone, to Clapham in the south, where we recorded the last piece of audio for the London Requiem recording. It felt like quite an auspicious occasion: quite moving in many ways. I have been recording material for the Requiem for two months now, and it's been haunting me for more than two years. We were recording the alto solo in the last movement, the In Paradisum, and I had asked Katina Kangaris to do the honours. Katina and I were at university together - she played Mary Magdalene when I directed Jesus Christ Superstar. Some years later, she recorded Shone With the Sun, the song I wrote with playwright, Sir Arnold Wesker. We entered it for the Eurovision Song Contest, but Jonathan King, who was in charge of selecting entries in those days, deemed it too classical.

It therefore feels very appropriate, that 15 years on, Katina would be singing on my classical requiem. She sang beautifully, hauntingly, like the moon reflecting on the black sea. 

There were tears, for the second time today. 

We drove south, along the A3, to Gosport, for Jo's wedding. The reception was by the side of the marina, and standing on the wharf, looking out to sea, we stood for sometime, listening to the tinkling of a thousand bells on a thousand masts. It was a lovely do: a buffet and fairy cakes, followed by country dancing. It was held in an old victualling yard, where they baked bread and ships biscuits for sailors. I feel pretty sure Pepys would have visited this place, or somewhere nearby, on one of his many Navy business trips to Portsmouth. A wonderful opportunity to catch up with old friends, and meet some of their new arrivals. 

We're currently heading back to London, where I shall deposit Nathan, before driving back down to Hove.  

 On this day in 1662, Pepys spent much of his time examining the work the builders were doing on his home improvements. Although the roof was now on, he felt that completion would be some way off, but when he returned home at the end of the day, was surprised to find that his workmen were working busily. For lunch, he had, we're told, a pigg.

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