Wednesday, 14 May 2014


I wrote most of the day, finished the seventh draft of the script of Brass in the morning, worked on orchestrations in the evenings, and in the afternoon, I disappeared into the loft and took my first tentative steps into the crazy world of Invisible Voices, which I’m not ashamed to say is freaking me out somewhat. I’m not sure I’ve written anything useful for it as of yet, but at least pen has been applied to manuscript paper and one or two little musical dots have appeared.

In the late afternoon, frustrated by my inability to write anything meaningful, and hot and bothered and aching on account of having been in the loft for a little too long, I took myself to the gym for the first time in like sixty years and went for a swim. My osteopath has banned me from running this week, and suggested swimming instead, so I thought I’d give it a whirl. I decided not to cane it (my usual approach to anything remotely health and fitness-like) and did about 40 lengths staring at a poster on the wall which said “Butterfly? I dare you!” Every time I looked at the picture I became a little more angry. As if anyone would be allowed to do the butterfly in that tiny pool. It would be a health and safety catastrophe. There’d be some kind of tidal wave, and a small child having a swimming lesson would drown.

As I dried myself off in the changing room, I became aware of an enormously fat, but very cool black man strutting about. There was something incredibly filmic about the scene and it was only when I tuned into the music on the radio that I realised why. They were playing an obscure track by Barry White!

On the way back from the gym I called Nathan, and asked him to come down with a few snacks to take onto the Heath. The weather was so glorious, it seemed a shame to waste it. In England I think you have to make the most of good weather when it comes, and the joy of being freelance is that you can do just that. The heath looked glorious, bathed in extraordinary early evening sunshine. We ate the remnants of Saturday’s party; cheese and bread, a few little treats. Hampstead Heath has become the favoured spot of one of the rare British colonies of parakeets. It’s such a strange sight to see the curious bright green birds squawking and flitting around in the blue sky. We actually saw more parakeets than all the other birds put together! I was reminded of a time in a lazy San Francisco Square, some 15 years ago, when I lay on my back and looked up to see a flock of brightly coloured parrots roosting in the trees above me. I remember thinking what an astonishing sight it was, and how I rather wished we had native parrots in the UK. I’m not sure I could ever have predicted that they’d arrive in my local park!

It felt rather good to make use of the last bits of party food, particularly after a huge disaster at lunchtime when I decided to make a soup out of a plate of withered salad vegetables. I think my big mistake was throwing the last burnt portion of vegetable lasagne into the pot, thereby creating a caramelized, stodgy, mushy mess which looked like diarrhoea and tasted a little like sick! Needless to say it all went in the dustbin.

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