I woke up this morning and looked out the window to see epic blue mists swirling around the trees above the tube. The street lights were still on. Everything looked a little surreal and somewhat magical. But after a few minutes I started to feel sad. I'm not sure I like the winter very much.
My mood was lifted when I went downstairs to find two letters on the doormat, one with a generous "Brass for Brass" cheque inside from Llio's Mum, Silvia, and the other with a cheque in it which will basically pay for the mixing of "Oranges and Lemons," which the Rebel Chorus are going to record on January 11th. The latter came from Michael Smith, whose generosity to the Rebel Chorus has been beyond extraordinary. This particular cheque means I can relax, and we're now just one fundraising event short of being able to release our Pepys Motet CD! Hurrah! How lucky do I feel to have people like Silvia and Michael in my life? And how lucky do I feel to be recording two albums in January?!
...I dunno, you wait years for a recording and then two come along at the same time!
I worked through the morning, before heading to Paddington to meet Fiona off a train from Bristol. I know, right? Paddington! Old School! It's a horrible place as well. We had to leave the station to find anything to decent to eat, heading out onto whichever high street Paddington Station is on, finding a lovely little cafe where the staff did their best to make us feel like complete and utter freaks. By the time we left, we'd decided a lot of stuff was getting lost in translation, because when you ask for the bill in a cafe, you don't necessarily expect them to look at you like you've just asked them to remove all their clothes!
I met Nathan for a second lunch in Soho. I've decided to experiment with eating four small meals a day to try and ride my tendency to go up and down like a yoyo depending on the levels of sugar in my system, so I had two salads... (And a cheeky bowl of chips with Fiona.)
I had my hair cut on Old Compton Street by an Italian bear. Having one's hair cut is a bizarre experience because it gives you the opportunity to really examine yourself. What else are you going to do when faced with an enormous mirror, even if you're someone like me who tends to avoid mirrors whenever possible? Anyway, I had a good gander at myself, and deduced that my skin looked alright but that I wasn't too impressed by the double chin, or the grey streaks of hair in my fringe, which I initially mistook for dandruff! Ageing is a funny old process. I watched another hairdresser, an Italian, I think, and thought how my hair used to look like his; all thick, black, lustrous and curly. These days my hair is almost entirely straight and thin. What I wouldn't have given to have straight hair as a teenager. What I wouldn't give right now to have my curls back! At one point, my Spanish bear stuck a brush into my scalp and started blowing it with a hot hairdryer. It suddenly struck me what he was doing... Trying to get some volume into my hair! I died a quiet death!
Nathan returned from work armed with an amusing anecdote. They have a new front of house staff member at the theatre who works on the merchandise stall. She happens to be of South East Asian extraction and is, by all accounts, charming. So charming, in fact, that a member of the public went up to the theatre manager to say what wonderful service she'd had from "that lovely girl, Foh." The theatre manager was perplexed. "Foh?" "Yes," said the woman "Foh. The little Asian girl on the merchandise stall. Her surname is Staff... Foh Staff. It says so on her badge." The name badge was actually the same one that all the other ushers were wearing. FOH Staff. Front of house staff!