Sunday, 5 May 2013

Dawn chorus dusk chorus

I woke up in our little chalet this morning to the overwhelming sound of the most impressive of dawn choruses. Led by an assiduous little family of black birds, it sounded like the most complex work of minimalism ever written. Repeated, ornate semi-quaver patterns in the foreground darted up and down a full octave whilst harsh, percussive figures from the crows punctuated a gentle drone from a distant wood pigeon which was augmented by the gentle wind. I listened, entranced, for some minutes. I even recorded the sound on my iPhone before drifting off to sleep again.  

We had more rehearsals for Much Ado About Nothing today. I was feeling particularly pleased with myself after becoming the only person to score a full strike on the skittles alley the night before.

I've felt very well looked after by the good people of RAFTA this weekend. They're such a lovely, friendly bunch and I feel so thrilled to be working with them. 

We travelled back to London cross- country, through a series of beautiful Wiltshire villages on and around the A4. I'd travelled the same route a month before, and the banks of daffodils by the road sides had been replaced by dandelions, cowslips and carpets of bluebells which glowed like purple mist underneath the trees.

We stopped off in Avebury and wandered around the standing stones in the extraordinary spring sunshine. The aged hippies were out and about. I've seldom seen so much tie dye, cheese cloth and pony tails on men who are old enough to know better! One of them was standing next to a stone beating a djembe. I'm never really sure why people bang drums in public. It's a horrid, intrusive sound, and there really isn't a lot of skill involved. We can all bang a drum whilst flicking our dreadlocks around. If he can switch effortlessly from a djembe to a xylophone and play the Flight of the Bumblebee without skipping a beat, THEN I'll applaud. 

Talking of astonishing percussionists, I've just been to the Royal Albert Hall to see our close friend Ian singing in A Night of a Thousand Stars; a tremendous evening of show tunes. We sat next to the organ, behind the orchestra, and had a bird's eye view over the players. One of the percussionists was absolutely electrifying to watch, particularly in the Bernstein sequences and the song from Jason Robert Brown's Parade. There's something about a virtuoso percussionist which can stir... well pretty much any part of the body it's capable to stir! For the record his name is Daniel Ellis and he made the djembe-basher in Avebury look like a proper pillock! 

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