I was already in bed and half way to dreamland when I realised I hadn’t written a blog today. I’ve left the warm confines of the duvet and am now sitting on the sofa, my anti-teeth-grinding gum guard still in my mouth and Castor, in a cage to my left, building himself a nest for the night. A proper gale is blowing outside. The wind is rustling a fistload of newspaper stuffed up the chimney. Autumn leaves keep dancing past the window. It’s been freezing cold all day. It’s rare for me to feel the cold. Perhaps I should have put the heating on and worn more than a T-shirt, but it’s October, not January.
I spent the day painstakingly putting the individual quotes from our 100 contributors into a manuscript. Participants have all been asked to say, in no more than 12 words, why 2012 was important for them. The answers are diverse and unique and imbued with powerful emotions, from people who have experienced the absolute joy of giving birth to those who have had to endure unimaginable pain.
The saddest quote of all comes from our 87-year-old, who says, very simply, “this year I came to terms with the fact that I shall not see my beloved Dorothy again until she comes to call for me.”
I spent a good 10 minutes this morning weeping at the kitchen table over that particular quote. The idea that you can live with someone for an entire lifetime and then have them ripped away tells me that life is inherently cruel.
We had a message from iTunes today informing us that The London Requiem cannot be classed as a classical composition, and must instead be categorised as “alternative.” We’ve not been given a reason as to why. I would love to know who makes these kinds of decisions and what on earth they’re based on. Is The London Requiem not a classical work because it uses synths? If so, tell that to Steve Reich! Is it because it features Tanita Tikaram? Or Barbara Windsor? Surely if the composer says that The London Requiem is a classical work, then it’s a classical work? The Beatles probably have more in common with Bach than Webern, but Webern opted to call himself a classical composer...
It strikes me that people in charge like to put everything into neat little boxes. Politicians do it. Record execs do it. TV commissioners do it. There are rules. Playlists. Those who think, or live out of the box pose problems. They remind the execs that they’re not quite in control. Opening their minds to something new would require a huge dollop of bravery, a PR firm, a trendy logo and thousands of pounds... Surely there are simply two types of music; music we like and music we don’t? People listen to classical music alongside pop, folk, New Jack Swing, adult contemporary, new lover’s rock, boogaloo, acid jazz, trance, hip-hop, schmazz and “alternative” without stopping to think about the genre. When they get bored of Radio 3, they switch to Capital, and back again. An iPod is usually on shuffle, so Elgar is followed by Eminem! I think I may have written myself into some kind of conceptual cul-de-sac. It’s too late for logic. We categorise too much. That's what I'm saying. But in a world of over-categorisation, it's difficult when someone puts you in the wrong place!
I do sometimes feel that every possible door is being shut in The London Requiem’s face. First Classic FM decide that it occupies the wrong sound world for their playlist and then every magazine and newspaper I approach to review it opt not to return my calls. Believe me, there is nothing more insulting than silence particularly when it’s levied at a creative person by someone who makes their money out of other people’s creativity! Boo!
Perhaps this recession is merely sending us all running for cover... running back to our own little boxes, where we can seek protection from what should be, rather than what could be.
I think we could all do with broadening our horizons.