Monday, 24 March 2014

To beard or not to beard

So it would appear that the powers-that-be are not altogether convinced I made the right decision to shave off my beard. I know my mother will be happy I've done it. And Nathan's mother. Jon Snow will surely similarly be glad I no longer look ten years older than my (older) partner. But others, well, perhaps mostly those who have met me more recently, must have become rather used to the hairy-polar-beary look and decided they rather like it. Perhaps a beard gave me gravitas. Or a sort of bloke-next-door charm. I for one thought it merely made me look even more like Captain Caveman. Or a hedgehog in snow.

Beards are "in" right now, however. Even my long-legged, model-esque Tai Kwando-fighting osteopath is sporting a beard. Beards remain the one physical attribute, apart from tattoos, that straight men feel okay to comment on. You'd never hear a straight boy complimenting a bloke on his hair or eyes, but his beard? That's a different matter.

Today was manic... Again! I had osteopathy first thing and then we went into Muswell Hill to buy card onto which I printed all our musical scores. I went for a cream colour. It's less reflective and looks classic and classy on camera. It took about three hours to glue them all together down at Archie's office, whilst around us the office buzzed with wedding activity. It's not just Nathan and me who are working flat out. The wingspanners are knee-deep in spread-sheets, edit suites, press releases and guest lists. It's an absolute hive of activity down there. They're an incredibly hard-working bunch. It just seems rather surreal that it's all for our wedding.

I think everything was rather put into perspective today by the emergence of a very well-written two-page spread about the wedding in The London Standard today. I think it reminded us all that we're doing something rather remarkable. And, more to the point, something remarkable which is happening in five days!

We went from Achie's to Camden where Sharon D Clarke was rehearsing with the London Gay Men's Chorus at Cecil Sharp House, that glorious ode to Arts and Crafts architecture just next to Regent's Park. We're lucky enough to have both of these acts singing at our wedding. Sharon D Clarke, in my view, is a living legend. She won't remember it, but our history goes back to 1998, when she gave a private audience to Julie Clare singing songs from my show, Letter to a Daughter. I remember watching her nodding her head to the groove of one of the numbers and feeling proud as punch. Sharon D Clarke was nodding her head to my music! It was the ultimate accolade, even then.

Those London Gay Men's Chorus boys really know how to raise the proverbial roof. The wall of sound that comes off them catches you in the pit of your stomach, like only a decent-quality male voice choir has the ability to do.

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