Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Brown rice

I'm cooking brown rice. It doesn't look very nice. There's a grey sort of film on the surface of the water. I love rice but rarely cook it because I don't really know how to! Today's attempt is all part of my new healthy eating regime, which starts and ends with proper ingredients. Silly really; I wildly prefer eating stuff which doesn't taste processed, but it's been a while since I last made a salad. So much so, in fact, that when I came to clear out the fridge, I found a cucumber which had literally turned to water. All that was helping it to keep its form was its plastic wrapping. As I removed it from the shelf, it burst open and a shocking gloopy substance went all over the floor and my trousers. I didn't dare to smell it. It was all too horrendous.

I worked through the morning sitting at the kitchen table, and then, after lunch, went to the gym, before heading up to a cafe in Highgate Village to work again. I'd forgotten how posh people are up there. I sat opposite a pair of school girls, who I thought were taking the mickey out of Sloanne Rangers until it became clear they actually spoke that way!

I'm pleased to say that the appeal for funding for the cast recording of Brass has passed it's first milestone of £1000. It seems like a huge amount, but, of course, we need another eleven of those. When Nathan and I launched a crowd-funding initiative for our Four Colours charity recording, it took four weeks to get to £1000, so at least we're well-ahead of that! That particular project felt like pulling teeth.

I received an email from one of my benefactors today who has pledged a hugely generous amount. I'm not going to announce it until I see the cheque, as I somehow feel like I might jinx it. The donation will still leave us with a huge hill to climb, but it will certainly give the coffers a boost.

The cast and musicians are currently writing letters to Cameron Mackintosh in the hope that he might like to pledge a little something to the cause. I am collating the letters, and will put them all in some kind of basket with some lovely photographs of the show. One of the cast sent me a draft of the letter he's sending, which is written from the perspective of the character he plays in Brass. It made me cry. It's so heart-felt and beautifully written.

It made me realise that I have managed to achieve exactly what I set out to achieve with Brass, which was to bring the First World War to a generation of young actors and allow it to get under their skin in the same way that Oh What A Lovely War had got under mine when I was at school. I genuinely think my life was improved by an awareness of the First World War. I think it was the first time true empathy crept into my soul.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Ben. Try rinsing your brown rice in a sieve under cold water for a minute before you cook it - might get less scum on top of the cooking water. Basmati rice has a low GI, making it as healthy as brown rice, so try that if you don't like brown. I ate basmati rice on the advice of the doctors, when I had gestational diabetes. Hope that helps! Can't help you with the cucumber, though... Tara Paulsson. X