Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Little boxes

I seem to have developed some sort of allergy or mild cold. I'm coughing, sneezing, blowing my nose and making all sorts of strange spluttering noises. It's bizarre. It came on after a little swim in the gym. I blame the hundreds of children who were rushing about around the pool edge. I'm not sure children should be learning to swim in a gym, weeing in the water and screaming like banshees. They should be somewhere with a wave machine.

I went to Pimlico this morning to deliver a Brass for Brass cheque to Jeremy from The NYMT. The cheque, for a hugely generous amount, came from the Richard Carne Foundation, who do marvellous work giving financial assistance to young people training for careers in music and drama. It's helped us enormously, so much, in fact, that I'm hoping by the end of the week, we might be halfway towards our target.

I got to Pimlico an hour early. I'm always am hour early, so that I can sit and do some work in a cafe whilst I wait. I opted to sit in a Starbucks this morning which made me smell of fried cheese. At one stage a song by (I think) Eméli Sande came on the radio. Whoever it was was going large in the vocal department. And when I say large, I mean large in a mildly hysterical, "aren't I a fabulous singer" sort of way. I'd just started tuning into the indulgent noise when an elderly gentleman sitting opposite me, tapped my table with his stick and said; "who's that singing? She's in agony is she?" It made me laugh.

I had an early lunch on Old Compton Street. A girl walked up to the counter of the cafe I'd chosen for my salad and said, "I'm looking for a job." The cafe owner asked for a CV and she duly took one out of a plastic wallet. I turned around to take a peek at the girl to see if I thought she would make a good waitress. She was wearing the largest sunglasses I've ever seen, which almost completely covered her face. It made me rather angry. She'd come into a cafe looking for a job which involves being friendly and personable, and yet she couldn't be bothered to show the cafe owner the whites of her eyes. There is so much that young people need to learn about presentation. It's terrifying...

I walked for miles around Central London in the early afternoon, passing scores of those charity people who stand on street corners with their hi-viz jackets, clip boards and flirtatious "resting actor" smiles. I hate having to avoid eye contact with anyone, but sadly, it's all too clear with these people that if you catch their eye, they'll instantly pounce like cheetahs. They were everywhere today. Smiling like moronic Mormons.

The post office have now introduced Sainsbury's-esque automated tills which have weighing scales and little machines which spew out stamps. They're almost impossible to use and, worse still, it appears that they've been designed to make you pay beyond the odds for anything you might want. "Would you like this letter to arrive tomorrow?" It asks. Well of course you would, so you say yes, but it turns out that guaranteed next-day delivery will set you back £8 instead of £1.20... All these little surcharges get added, and by the end, you have to start all over again. It's all a bit theoretical anyway, because the machines break down at the drop of a hat. Mine switched itself off because I pressed the button by mistake that said I was paying with a credit card rather than a debit card...

I met Nathan for a second lunch (soup), and we took our little decoupaged box filled with letters to Cameron Mackintosh's offices. We lucked out because Cameron's PA was sitting with the receptionist. Unfortunately Cameron is away from his offices for a month, but I know his PA will make sure the letters are read by someone. I opened the box and he looked visibly moved to see the letters inside, with poppy petals sprinkled everywhere. We all need to keep our fingers crossed that he responds positively, so that we can get this recording done. It's a very exciting prospect and I'm desperate to get my teeth sunk into it.

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