Monday, 10 November 2014

That haunting smile

I delivered the first part of the Fleet Singers composition to the choir this afternoon. The rest will follow at regular intervals this week, as and when I feel each bit is fully finessed. When that commission is done and dusted, it's out into the unknown again for me. In the interests of keeping busy, I have two personal projects to be getting on with; a re-write of the script of Brass, and a brand new musical, which I'm going to tentatively begin. Baby steps, obviously: starting anything is terrifying. I just wish I was being paid something to do it!!

Ben Holder came over this afternoon, and we had a lovely chat about a potential original cast recording of Brass, thrashing out the dates which might work for the various necessary sessions. It's not going to be cheap, however, so the fundraising effort will need to be effective and intense! We're hoping to record at the very start of January!

I've been watching the Children In Need Choir programme, which strikes me as a rather ghastly gimmick and an even ghastlier song. For those who are out of the loop, a series of non-singing celebrities like John Craven, Alison Steadman, (insert name) Blue Peter presenters and Craig Revel-Horwood have got together to form a choir.  The song they "performed" and subsequently released was recorded at Abbey Road and features the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, which strikes me as a pair of rather expensive indulgences.

I shouldn't be cruel, because, of course, anything for charity is obviously important. But it's such a terrible-sounding choir, that all they've been able to do to make it sound remotely decent is stick a load of reverb on everything. It sounds like it was recorded in a train station, bizarrely with the announcements going on at the same time!

I suppose I'm a little bit tired of the BBC's Children In Need charity. It gets trotted out to justify all sorts of BBC projects which might have been expensive enough to raise eyebrows without the excuse of being for charity, like the recent trailer for BBC music which ripped off Our Gay Wedding and probably cost six times the amount. And where the performers and writers give their time and expertise often for nothing, other people cream in the profits.

We sold A Symphony for Yorkshire DVDs for Children In Need. They sold really well, about ten thousand of them in total. I waived any potential fee, as did all the performers, but then we discovered that only £5 from every £10 DVD was actually going to the charity. As usual, the BBC had to farm out the task of reproducing DVDs to an external company, whose eyes must have lit up at the thought of making about £4 profit on every single sale. I think they could have netted as much as £40k, which would have paid for a second community film. I should have offered to do the repros myself!

Nathan's been singing at the Ivy tonight, dressed as a First World War Tommy. He sent me a picture of himself smiling proudly in his uniform which made me feel incredibly sad. I thought about the smiling faces of thousands of missing men on the giant display at the Thiepval monument. I thought about the spouses and lovers of those who simply disappeared. Just like the Cheshire Cat, all that remained of them was that haunting smile. I hope my husband never has to go to war.

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