Thursday, 26 June 2014

Rain, creepers and Mormons

It's siling it down outside. Thick, heavy drops of rain throwing themselves at the road below us. I can see them glinting under the street lights. I've just finished work for the day and am watching a documentary about British Mormons, who seem a rather peculiar bunch. The film focusses on a young lad from Sussex who is going through his "missionary training." He appears to be slowly losing his mind, or at least his identity, as he becomes more and more brainwashed by his religion. It's incredibly upsetting. It's like the light has been switched off behind his eyes. Religion has so much to answer for.

I feel entirely washed out today; the product of my having finished a big chunk of work on Brass last night and my body screaming for me to stop. I have no option but to plough on, however. On and on I go.

Today, I decided to map out all four of the remaining songs in broad inaccurate strokes on manuscript. My plan is to work on all four simultaneously without letting any one run away faster than the others. This gives me a very clear sense of what remains to be done and means I don't end up getting all excited about finishing one before immediately feeling sick again because I have to start the next. Orchestrating Brass is an absolute triumph of will power if nothing else.

When I go to the gym, the bus drops me off in Tufnell Park on the Fortess Road, which is a street I know incredibly well. I know it because I lived there for eight years. It's all rather fancy these days; filled with cafés, and organic butchers and stores which sell sorbet, but when I lived there, it was something of a dump, with shops boarded over and a slightly down-at-heel vibe, which suited me just fine!

The road behind our old house is called Lady Somerset Road. It's an attractive tree-lined affair full of ramshackle, Virginia creeper-bedecked Edwardian houses which I used to stare at in awe when I lived there, imaging how it might feel to have a house which looked so beautiful.

Once a year, the good folk of Lady Somerset Road stage a street party. They put huge trestle tables out in the street and eat and drink until late. It's all rather Italian. There are bands, and probably a fire engine... There's always a fire engine.

As I walked down the road today I noticed a sign on a street light reminding residents that the next party was on its way. What I found astonishing was that they were advertising it proudly as the 15th annual street party. Fifteen years seemed like such a long time, until I realised I'd actually moved into the area two years before the first one!

It would seem that many things are conspiring to make me feel old at the moment. The revival of The Wier in the West End, for example, which is a show which I worked on as an usher in its very first guise at the Royal Court Theatre before it went into the West End for its first run almost 20 years ago. I remember the show well. It had an enormous impact on us ushers (all of whom were wannabe theatricals.) I remember the first preview, and one of the ushers actually having to be carried out of the theatre by audience members because the play had upset her so thoroughly! I'm sure it's meant to be the other way round!

The tubes have been in disarray today, and I ended up getting stuck at Archway on a highly-crowded train which was randomly terminated at the station. About 400 people ended up on the platform, all cursing and swearing and trying to speak to a slightly autistic LU staff member who didn't want to look anyone in the eye. We were all astonished by the announcement which came over the tannoy as we waited; "ladies and gentlemen there is a good service running on all London Underground lines." You can't make this shit up!

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