Monday, 30 December 2013


I'm back in Thaxted at the end of a long old day, the first part of which seemed to go by in a flash. I can count on the fingers of one hand the things I usefully achieved before about 6pm. I spoke on the phone to a few people and did some work on Brass. I've spent a considerable amount of time on this project immersing myself in musical styles from the turn of the last century, in order to make the musical feel as legitimate as possible. I can't imagine why anyone writing a period piece wouldn't do this, and am surprised that Lloyd Weber's new musical about Profumo doesn't tap into the rich tapestry of musical styles which the early 1960s offers any composer on a plate.

The big rage in the First World War was ragtime, which people used to foxtrot to. Unfortunately ragtime to me is about as alien as R and B, so I spent two hours this afternoon writing a single eight bar sequence! You have to get these things right. There's no point in writing half-arsed pastiche, or, for that matter, a pastiche which doesn't also feel like a decent piece of music in its own right. I am also feeling the pressure to write excellent music as the script today passed the NYMT producer test, seemingly with flying colours. Hurrah. Could it be I've finally cracked it with this piece?

I left Highgate for Thaxted at about about 8.30pm and drove like the clappers up here to meet my friend Cindy from Stansted. Cindy has come from New York via Dallas and Rome, which seems almost impossibly glamorous!

Cindy is celiac (I nearly wrote celeriac!) which means she can't eat wheat or dairy - basically anything nice! I had mentioned this to my Mum, but was truly amazed to get back to Thaxted from the airport to find she'd whipped up an entire spread of wheat and dairy free food. Cindy was thrilled, of course.

Top marks also to my mother for showing me bits of the quilt she's been working on for my 40th birthday, which is genuinely one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen - lovingly filled with all sorts of quilted scenes from my life, mostly to do with the films I've made and the music I've written. I immediately burst into tears, of course. I can't wait to see what it looks like when it's all put together and am determined to forget what I've seen so that the surprise can be all the better in August when it's unveiled.

Anyway. I must go to sleep as I have a long day tomorrow, taking Cindy on a tour of the spiritual, pagan and ghostly world of Northern Essex and Cambridgeshire. Sometimes it's rather good to recharge those particular batteries, but you need to take a believer with you... And Cindy is most definitely a believer!

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