I’ve just made it to the end of Act One of the first draft of Brass! I finished it, rather eccentrically, whilst sitting on a bench at Highgate station. I’d got into a bit of a roll on my tube journey home, and wanting to remain in the moment. I’m still writing absolute rubbish, of course, but this feels like the first of many milestones. I saw Sam earlier on and wondered how I’d feel if I died and someone decided to take the project on. Obviously I’d feel nothing because I’d be dead, but the person tasked with piecing together the work might wonder why I thought it was going to be so good. That’s how I always feel about these little scraps of manuscript they find from great composers which are duly turned into epic symphonies by musicologists. Surely the composer had many more drafts planned and would be horrified that it was being heard before it was ready? Depends on the composer, I guess.
I met Sam in the most expensive tea shop in the world. It’s a fancy French place on Greek Street, or is it Dean? £15 for a pot of tea for two and a couple of mediocre cakes strikes me as a little pricey! My chocolate croissant was decidedly stale. A quid’s worth of stale is one thing but four quid’s worth is a little annoying. Still, the place had a lovely ambience, and, as Sam says, you pay a healthy mark-up for the bohemian surroundings and the feeling that you’ve time-slipped to the 1950s. We were there with Stephen West, who I last saw on holiday in Italy about a year ago. He was decked out in bright orange Vivienne Westwood; the knit-wear designing must be going very well. It’s good to know someone can make it in that particular field. He apparently tweeted a picture of Nathan’s latest scarf which got something like 500 likes. Ah! The power of fame and knitting!
I walked home via Oxford Street and was horrified to see what can only be the beginnings of the Christmas lights. Giant glowing snowballs were hovering over the street and the windows of many of the shops were bursting with winter wonderlands with many of the mannequins sporting Santa hats. It all looks very lovely, and I’m sure the lights will be a roaring success if they’re not sponsored by Tango, but I don’t know, it all makes me a little sad.
To quote Sam again, the trouble with announcing Christmas in the middle of October is that it takes away from the wonderful pagan festivals we have coming up; Hallowe’en, Bonfire Night, Harvest festival, All Souls’ Day... These are the most mysterious and potentially the most exciting of all the annual events, and denying them in the rush to start the Christmas ball rolling feels so sad. The year’s not dead yet. Let’s not kill it just off for the sake of consumerism.
I spent last night dreaming, yet again, about Roy Harper’s music. My brain was going over every corner of “Me and My Woman”, which is one of his seminal 20-minute epic tracks and one of the more challenging sequences from my perspective. I wonder if it will ever leave my brain!