Monday, 20 May 2013

Walking the river

I've felt like Samuel Pepys throughout the day today, having walked all the way along the river from Monument to Pimlico, with a brief sojourn in Soho and Covent Garden, where I had lunch, popped my head in on Nathan at the Shaftesbury Theatre and had a hair cut. 

The day started way too early and I faffed about at home for far too long, which made me half an hour late for my first appointment. I loathe being late. I'm usually early enough to sit in a cafe with a nice cup of tea whilst preparing myself for whatever's about to happen. 

The meeting was with a wonderful charity called Thames21, who deal with clearing rubbish from London's waterways. We're very much hoping to work together on an electro-acoustic composition about the River Thames and threw some initial ideas around about how we might find funding. I'm not hugely thrilled at the idea of going cap in hand to a whole new set of people, but as Fiona pointed out, in Buddhist culture begging is considered to be an act which puts you closer to a higher state of being. I guess the process necessitates leaving one's ego at the door, which can only be good. My only consolation is that I only ever beg to pay others; so actually one could claim that I'm merely encouraging investment in the arts!

From Monument I followed the Thames path into town, passing multitudes of tourists, all of whom seemed to want the Shard of Glass to feature in their pictures. It did look rather attractive today, with its spire prodding the clouds, but it also struck me how open Londoners are to iconic and daring modern architecture. We love the Gherkin and we love the Shard (the two most potentially controversial buildings of recent years) yet could take or leave (but probably prefer to leave) any of the "safer" modern buildings. Be bold. That's what I say! 

Nathan's theatre is depressingly quiet. Burn the Floor is on. It's supposed to be magnificent, but audiences are small. They've got some suspicious-looking merchandise for sale; specifically water bottles which look like large blue dildos! 

A Spaniard with a long mane and tattoos cut my hair, and sent me into something of a stupor in the process. I love having my hair fiddled with. I could have fallen asleep in the chair. He took his time as well, which added to the experience. 

I walked down to the river and through a series of beautiful gardens on the embankment that I'd not really considered before. There were flowers (and statues) everywhere. It struck me how rude it would have been to ignore things which had been placed and grown with such love and care, so I sat down on a series of benches to take in the atmosphere. 

I ended up in Pimlico, an hour and a half early for my meeting, so sat writing in a cafe for a while, finally bringing myself up to date with work on White City. 

Pimlico's a funny old place. I always thought it was a bit posh, but it's actually got quite an edgy vibe; the curious sight of laundry hanging on rows of specially-made washing lines in a communal concrete space behind a housing block rather intrigued me.

This afternoon's meeting was with the NYMT. That's the National Youth Music Theatre. They wanted to talk to me about a potential commission, which I'd very much like to do. They were the opposition when I was a student. I belonged to the National Student Theatre Company, and these things made a big difference! The NYMT however were always a classy concern and seeing them performing Goodall's The Dreaming this year has made me very much want to get involved.

So that's it, really. I staggered home on the tube, back aching from the walking but relieved not to be panicking about work for the first time in ages! 

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