Monday, 29 September 2014

Santa who?

It was back to the proverbial grindstone again this morning. I was up in the loft at 9am, writing the first bars of music for the Fleet Singers commission, which is based on the poems of Betjeman.

I always get in a bit of a bad mood when staring at a blank page of manuscript at the very start of a composition. You'd think it would be exciting, but it's terrifying. Nathan tells me knitters have something similar which they call COA or cast-on anxiety. The weather hasn't exactly helped my mood. Hot. Sticky. Wet. The tube into town this evening was unbearable; so hot in fact that Nathan had to stop knitting because his hands had become too sticky to deal with the yarn.

So for most of the day I sat in the loft listening to the rain pouring down outside, making my way through copious cups of tea whilst flinging notes crudely at a page. It's a noisy process. I sing and shout a lot, and thump chords out on the piano. Periodically I write something down; a little verse of something, a little riff, then turn to another part of the lyric to see if something else inspires. Over the next few weeks I will add layer upon layer, as Sir Arnold Wesker would say, "worrying at it. Honing it."

Composing is awful for the back. Hunching over a piano and then scratching words on perilously balanced scraps of paper is no good for anyone, and after a single day of writing my mid-back is in spasms. Thank God I'm off to see an osteopath tomorrow.

This evening we came into town to meet Ellie for tea at Pizza Express. Ellie had buy-one-get-one-free tokens which she said she wasn't afraid to use, so we stuffed our faces, whilst talking about everything, including Ellie's prodigiously intelligent 8-year old, whose propensity to read adult books badly backfired when she read an account of the myth of Santa Claus. Ellie is at a loss as to how to respond. Should she say that the book was wrong or cynical, or should she simply accept that the game is up? "I just want one more Christmas" she said mournfully. I sympathise enormously and still remember where I was standing when I was told the dreadful news that Father Christmas was dead. Still, I've never believed in Jesus and I love the nativity story, so it's possible to have a great time even when the Gods have gone!

We have another friend, who shall remain nameless, who refuses to engage her child in any story based in myth. Unicorns, fairies, dragons and ghosts are all rationalised and poo-pood, which I think is tantamount to child abuse. How on earth can there be happiness in the world without at least the potential for magic?

No comments:

Post a Comment