Monday, 18 November 2013

Auspicious occasion

Nathan went off to Wakefield today and I went to King's Cross to see him off at platform 6. It's a funny old feeling to say goodbye to someone for a couple of months and I confess to shedding a number of rather subtle tears as I walked away! Touring is part and parcel of being an actor; they can't always work in London, but it's been a while since he went away for that long. In fact, it was 2005, the year we moved to Highgate. Can that really be almost ten years ago?

You become very used to a person being there every night. The knowledge that, whatever happens, there'll be someone there to give you a cuddle or do very little with, is hugely powerful.

Heaven knows how people deal with the loss of a long term partner. The idea that someone could get on that metaphorical train and simply never return is just too awful for words. My thoughts and love therefore go out to all the people reading this blog who have experienced the death of a loved one recently and are feeling low today as a result.

I went down to Victoria Station to meet Meriel for a quick coffee, and sat in a cafe whilst waiting for her, drinking the most expensive tea in a paper cup I've ever purchased. The woman behind the till annoyed me intensely. I went to the counter and very plainly said; "can I just have a tea please, to drink here." She responded "would you like muffins, cakes?" "No thanks" (I felt I'd covered this with the use of the phase "can I JUST have a cup of tea." I didn't want to feel irritated, but as though a) the tea wasn't already expensive enough and b) her asking me if I wanted a cake would suddenly make me realise the cakes in front of my were for sale!)

It was when she then said "was that a tea you wanted?" that I began to wonder if I'd actually spoken initially at all, a fact which was confirmed when she said, "drink in or take away?" I realised at this moment that my opening gamut should have been to ask the woman if she was ready to listen or not. Plainly she was not.

Meriel was well. We had an hour to natter before she got her train and I braved the horrible murky weather and disappeared north again. They say it's going to get even closer next week, which is not the most enjoyable thought.

At the moment I'm contemplating the love song in the second act of Brass. I'm finding it incredibly hard to come up with a lyric which doesn't feel hackneyed in some way. I put a post on Facebook asking people what they felt was the most romantic sentiment they could imagine, and lots have responded with ideas, all of which are very moving, but somewhat cliched. But then love is cliched! More recently someone wrote that the most romantic love songs are those which are "almost" love songs. Songs which don't mention the word love at all. I feel this is closer to the mark. Everything I've come up with so far has been entirely on the nose, and we live in a sophisticated era where we need a love song to surprise. But do I have it in me?  Lyrics really aren't my strong point. They never have been.

That said, this evening I sat down at the piano and wrote my first song from Brass.  A momentous occasion. The melody has been flying about in my head for days now, and the lyrics were the most advanced of any in the script, but even so I'm astonished to report that the song wrote itself in 25 minutes, which is an absolute record for me! Usually I have three attempts at each  song I write, but know on this occasion I've nailed it in one.

One of the positive aspects of Nathan going away is that I can sit in the attic and write music late into the night without disturbing anyone. Tomorrow I shall head up there with a candle and see what damage I can do to somewhere else in the score!

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