Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Baroness Token

I've snaked my way around many areas of London today, starting in Shoreditch, where I met dear Philippa for part two of the dramaturgy on Brass. It seems she rather likes the script, and apart from suggesting the near annihilation of one of the central characters, and expressing a desire for the piece to be considerably shorter, her suggestions were mostly cosmetic. She is, of course, right about the role needing to be smaller. In a piece like Brass, it's almost impossible to give every character a beautifully defined story path, particularly when they're not the protagonist of the story. Things just get over-complicated. And as Sir Arnold Wesker once said, "sometimes you have to kill your darlings."

The dramaturgy session lasted a couple of hours in a lovely little cafe behind Rich Mix. We then went for lunch at Kick, a cafe opposite St Leonard's Church, immortalised in the famous nursery rhyme as the "Bells of Shoreditch." I had pea and mint soup, confirming, as though confirmation were needed, that peas are my favourite vegetable. I have them at least once a day.

I went back to Philippa's to see my Goddaughter, Silver, who is, as ever, insane and fabulous in equal measure.  Very much like her mother!

From Shoreditch I travelled to Angel to do some Christmas shopping and then took the bus into Soho, where I sat in Starbucks for three hours working on one of the songs from Brass. It's in 5/4, which is an ugly-looking time signature when seen on a page. If you want a single note to fill a bar, your only option is to express it as a combination of two shorter notes. It's ugly, I say. And often swung in a way that it's almost impossible to reflect in dots alone.

I met Ellie at Broadcasting House and we went together to the City of London to see Baroness Warsi delivering a key-note speech on equality which had been arranged by the Kaleidoscope Trust. Unfortunately the building she was speaking in (which was in the unpronounceable Aldermanbury Square) was almost impossible to find: some kind of smart phone conspiracy prevented us from finding it until a man in a hi-viz jacket, who couldn't say Aldermanbury either, pointed us in the right direction.

Baroness Token was as straight-talking as she was evasive. I couldn't help but like her, but she was riddled with the contractions you might expect from a Muslim, Yorkshire-born, female Tory who genuinely doesn't seem to understand the difference between a secular law and a law with religious connotations. Despite going on record to say she'd had a u-turn on her feelings about gay marriage (citing that old "my faith has sent me on a painful journey" argument) she went on to abstain in the Lords vote on the matter. In my view, it's all too convenient to cite religious views as justifiable grounds for borderline homophobia. When I suggest there are aspects of religion which make me uncomfortable, I'm branded an Islamaphobe. I wonder, however, if she would abstain if someone, arguing that Great Britain is essentially a Christian/ atheist nation, tried to pass a law which refused to acknowledge the legality of  Mosque-based marriages on the grounds that they make Christians and atheists feel uncomfortable?

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