Thursday, 17 October 2013


It would appear that the first task for me, in terms of the creation of the book for Brass, is to write a load of absolute nonsense! I guess I just need to get the shape of the piece, a sense of where I'm heading, before I focus on the detail. This includes lyrics. I'm turning out some shocking rubbish in that department. I console myself with the thought that ABBA's 1981 masterpiece, Like An Angel Passing Through My Room started life as a setting of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star!

Furthermore, I'm still constantly  having to remind myself that the working title of the piece is Brass and not Blast, but it seems to be working. This morning, for example, I sent an email to Roy Harper, telling him I felt sure that his gigs, which I shall be conducting next week, would be an "absolute brass!"

By the way, if anyone is interested in Roy's astonishing, seminal, masterpiece music (which has influenced everyone from Kate Bush to Led Zep) performances are next week in London (on Tuesday) at the Royal Festival Hall, in Manchester on Friday and in Bristol on Sunday. Brilliant musical arrangements curtesy of Fiona.

I was sitting on the tube today, laptop open, writing a load of absolute tosh, when I noticed a woman looking over my shoulder. I suddenly felt devastatingly self-conscious. Would she think I was actually writing the best words that came into my head? I wanted to tap her knee and say, "I know it's rubbish, I just need to make a start..."

I'm obviously much more used to writing music on the tube where the assumption is that 99.9% of the sticky beaks around you won't have a clue how the music you're writing sounds.

It's my own fault. I shouldn't expect people not to look. When I'm bored on the tube I find myself staring at anything that'll distract me; terrible cartoon adverts for portable air conditioning units, facial anomalies, other people's newspapers, children with crusty mouths and in one case a single hair louse making its way through a blonde woman's roots. Fascinating in a grotesque sort of way, as everything on the tube tends to be!

There was a terrible crisis today at the osteopath where the refusal of my card made it dawn on me that I've completely run out of money! The White City project was a wonderful experience, but I was paid the tiniest sum of money to do it, and I ended up hugely subsidising the project with my own savings. I'm about to do the same with the Pepys Motet - my choice of course - but, at 4pm this afternoon I realised that I had just £300 in my bank account... At least I'm not in debt. I've never been in debt, but I've also never had no savings. I'm sure plenty of people will recognise this feeling after the recession we've had, but it's an all-time low for me! I'm therefore thrilled, with a huge dose of sarcasm, to read that energy prices are going up again. I'm glad the energy companies are taking a hit like the rest of us! We're all in this together, after all.

Fortunately, just as I'd started looking into selling a kidney, I was contacted by the NYMT to tell me my first instalment for Brass was winging its way over. This ought to keep the wolf from the door for a few months, but it's going to be a very lean period for me. No meals out. No new shoes. Quite terrifying, really, to march towards forty being poorer than you've ever been before! The older we get, the nicer the clothes need to be!

We drove into Muswell Hill - ironically it's cheaper to do this than to take a bus - and as we reached the car, we realised it had been unlocked since Sunday night! Thank God we live in Highgate... And have a car which obviously no one wants to pinch! Thank God we still have a car, in fact! That won't last long in this climate!

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