Tuesday, 25 June 2013


I rehearsed the Fleet singers again last night and we had a lot of fun. Songs About the Weather, the oratorio I wrote for the choir, was written and orchestrated in less than two months, which is undoubtedly my fastest outpouring of creativity. It's the first time in my life that the ideas have come more quickly than I could write them down. I was genuinely orchestrating at the speed of thought! 

As a direct result of this, the piece ought to be a little bit patchy in in places, yet every time the choir rehearse a new section of the piece, I feel a sense of immense pride in the piece. It's good music, and I get a strong sense that the choir have taken genuine ownership of it. I was hugely touched yesterday when a choir member ambled over to tell me that one particular sequence always filled her with absolute joy; "whenever I'm feeling a bit gloomy" she said,  "I sing it to the heavens, and it always cheers me up." And that, right there, in its purest form, is the reason why being a composer is worth the days of gloom. 

I've been at Rich Mix in Bethnal Green all day, starting the process of editing Tales of the White City. Under normal circumstances I'd have had a couple of days to do what's known as a "paper edit", where I look through all the rushes, shot by shot, and decide which ones I want to use. This process speeds up expensive time spent in an edit suite. On this project, we've gone for a slightly protracted edit period, which means we're going through the rushes in the order that we shot them, selecting the takes we want to use and putting them into a giant thirty-minute timeline. It's a painstaking and somewhat bewildering process. We have over 1000 individual shots to sift through and have so far only managed to deal with about 120 of them. I suspect it's a process which will speed up, but we really need to have selected every shot by the end of this week if we're to be on target to finish by the end of next.

I spoke to someone earlier who asked how I had the patience to spend so long working in such detail on the same piece of art. It felt like a strange question because I've genuinely always considered myself to be quite the opposite of patient, hard-grafting, yes, but I suppose anyone who sits down in front of a blank manuscript knowing he's going to be drawing 10,000 little dots all over it, could be defined as patient; optimistic at the very least! 

Editing is far less monotonous in any case, as every shot is entirely different. I find myself regularly transported into the world I was shooting, which isn't necessarily a good thing. There's a curious phenomenon that directors suffer from in the edit where they begin to feel, all over again, every emotion they were experiencing as the individual sequences were being filmed; the panics, the frustrations, the laughter, the relief. It's particularly odd, because we instinctively know that everything went okay in the end, which is why we moved on and shot something else, but there's always that fear that we might have missed something; a little glance towards the camera, or a small child in the background sticking a finger up his nose. 

Speaking of which, in one of the sequences with the school children, the camera seems to keep resting on a little girl with the biggest lump of bogey between her nose and mouth that I've ever seen! For some time I was trying to work out if it was actually a pea! It's genuinely quite remarkable that a child would be able to generate something quite so grotesque; so hideous, in fact, that a grown man would actually gag every time he saw it, prompting the question: is it better to be in a film looking stomach-churningly grim or not be seen at all? What would she prefer? What would her mother prefer?! What if it's some kind of skin tag which she's completely okay with?

To cut or not to cut? 

And for those who like a mystery, why don't you take a look at this story;


It seems that Manchester Museum has an Egyptian statue, an offering to the god Osiris, which is spinning around in its display case of its own accord, by all accounts by 360 degrees over the course of about a week. It's been caught on camera an everything. So what's going on? Gosh, I don't care. Scientists seem to  think it's being caused by vibrations but I think life is enriched hugely by unexplained phenomena; demystify at your peril!  

1 comment:

  1. Hmm. Well given that it only seems to move when people are in the building, I'd go with the vibrations theory... As to snot, mother would rather child was in it, even if it looks horrid! Ellie x