Tuesday, 11 November 2014


I sat in my favourite cafe in Borough this morning, staring at the clouds, trying to find inspiration. A plane was flying very low in the sky. One assumes it was heading towards City Airport, which my brother informs me has one of the most picturesque approaches, involving a change of direction right over The Shard.

I found the sight of a low-flying plane somewhat chilling and it caused a few nervous glances from other customers, who probably saw me staring and decided I had a point! There's nothing like a little dose of group hysteria! The fact of the matter is that it's 11th November today, and it was approaching 11am as the plane flew past, and, frankly, I wouldn't put it past a terrorist to have a pop at this country as it marked this important occasion. Armistice Day seems to have traditionally attracted displays of terrorism. Who can forget the IRA attack on Enniskillen? I suppose it's traditionally been an occasion where the armed forces are on parade, but I've always seen the date as a celebration of pacifism. A warning to all generations of the danger of war.

I was in the waiting room at the osteopath when the clock stuck eleven. I sat there for about five minutes prior to the event wondering if I ought to make a little announcement to remind people, but fortunately, the receptionist did the honours, and as the clock hit the hour, he simply said "eleven am" and stood with his head bowed in a deeply dignified way, the poppy on his jacket creating a powerful statement with the AIDS ribbon next to it.

I, of course, immediately started crying, which confused my osteopath when he came bounding into the reception half way through the two-minute silence and called my name. It turns out that the reception clock was running a minute slow, so he'd done the silence with the other osteopaths elsewhere in the building and then come to find me.

I was fairly horrified by the behaviour of others in the waiting room. One person started texting, another woman refused to look up from her magazine. In fact, as I looked around, I could see no-one who seemed remotely like they wanted to mark the occasion. They behaved more like people on a tube when a beggar asks for money. Dreadful really.

I found myself in a tragic state of red alert for the rest of the day. Could I smell gas at Bank Station? Why did the train grind to a halt in the tunnel? Why had an entire building of people been evacuated onto Soho Square?

If anyone reading this blog is feeling particularly flush at the moment, you might like to think about becoming a Brass Angel. The NYMT have decided to make a fully professional original cast recording of Brass. I can't tell you what an astonishing opportunity it will be for the young people. Recording a cast album is something which is like gold dust on an actor's CV.  It also means that Brass lives on, and makes it a great deal easier for me to take the necessary baby steps towards a professional production of the piece. So anyone who has been moved by the story of Brass, or by the young people, who have been so fabulous, please get in touch.

You can directly donate by going to www.nymt.org.uk/support-brass.html

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