Wednesday, 4 December 2013


Well, after today, I can cheerfully say that the era of me going into the Snappy Snaps in Crouch End is officially over! Keen readers of this blog will remember that they printed a year's worth of photographs too dark on Saturday, and when I turned up to collect the replacements today, they were, as Sod's law would dictate, way too light! It looked like I’d spilt milk all over the pictures.

I really didn't want to create a fuss and said I dearly wished they'd simply split the difference between the two extremes, before asking if I could take away some of the darker versions of the more dramatic shots. After all, who wants a sunset which looks like it’s coated in ice. The man behind the counter begrudgingly said I could take "some" of the original batch, "as long as I didn't take too many" as I'd given him the impression that none of them were good enough.

None of them were good enough. But some of the originals were better than the recent hatchet job, and frankly, it's the least they could do after knackering up a whole second set!

It was all slightly embarrassing. The man behind the counter was nice enough, and went out of his way to help. I just think, from time to time, you simply have to acknowledge defeat. We don't share the same photographic eye. What he considers to be well-lit, I consider to be murky. That, or he's just used to dealing with photos which are such poor quality, he's become a little complacent. They work in a funny old light in there as well, horrid neon strips, which has to impair their visual judgement. 

Today's been all about a) trying to get over this blessed cold once and for all and b) working on piano arrangements for Brass. It's a horrid task, which feels upside down. The work will eventually be scored for a rather large ensemble of musicians, and a huge amount of the process of composing for me is built around orchestration. It's when the music can take off and soar, and huge tonal developments take place as a result...

At the same time, the pressing need is for me to create a piano-vocal score which can be used for rehearsals and workshops. So which ought to come first? Problem is, things will change out of recognition when I get orchestrating, but the idea of creating a piano reduction from an orchestral score is almost too painful. I don't think this problem happens very often in most musical theatre productions, because things are usually done by committee. A composer hands a melody and chords over to an orchestrator who basically deals with the rest. I'm just not sure anyone can call themselves a composer if they don't do their own orchestrations!

I’m burbling because I’m feeling a little lonely. Apart from the man in the shop, I’ve really spoken to no one today. I’ve spoken rather regularly to myself, which doesn’t count, namely because it can’t be very good for me, and I refuse to acknowledge that I do it. Nathan, up in Wakefield, is on voice rest, so we’ve waved at each other on Facetime, but not said anything.

It strikes me how absolutely horrific it must be for the many people in this world who go for weeks without speaking to anyone; the people who fall in love with radio presenters and get their only company from the television, or watching the world passing by from behind net curtains. I suppose it must have been like that for my Grannie by the end, waiting every day for her carer to arrive. I have no idea what propels people in these circumstances. The thought that today might be the day when they struggle out to the shops and find someone en route to talk to? It might be the day when the neighbour pops in for a nice cup of tea? Or the day when they’re finally reunited with a loved one who died five years before? Perhaps that’s why people begin to look forward to death. So many people simply evaporate through loneliness...
Gosh, I don’t know that there’s any reversal procedure for this blog. I apologise if anyone’s day has taken a nose dive as a result of reading this! If you’re feeling lonely yourself, go and find someone to talk to. Join a book club or a knitting circle, or write a letter to someone. And better still, if you’re passing an elderly person on the street, smile and say hello, because it might be the only human contact they’ll have today.

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