Wednesday, 31 December 2014


We've just finished a 12-hour mammoth recording session for the Brass soundtrack and I am exhausted beyond words. We all are. I watched the musicians trekking out of the studio one by one, all pale-faced and under-nourished, having worked ludicrously hard.

Today was the turn of the string players. Two violins, two 'cellos and a double bassist, aged from about 14 to 19. None had ever recorded in a professional studio before, or, for that matter ever recorded music whilst wearing headphones.

They did a brilliant job. We managed 15 of the 16 songs on the album, which is beyond amazing, and they were patient and hugely well-behaved. There were, of course, the obligatory few moments when we found ourselves recording bars of absolute rubbish, but so much of what we did was inspired and I'm thrilled (and more than a little relieved.) I actually didn't know some of those players were capable of performing so beautifully. They recorded a sequence in I Make the Shells which is bordering on the sublime. It's astonishing what a recording studio will pull out of someone.

I think I have drunk 10 cups of tea today. We have a fabulous studio assistant who keeps throwing cups of tea in my direction. Tea calms me down. Then it makes me all jittery. Then I can't sleep...

A 1960s ventriloquist's doll has been watching me all day today. I don't know what it's doing in the studio, but people have obviously been moving it around because I keep seeing it staring at me from a variety of shelves and sofas. It's a creepy little fella. I'm told his name is Phil Jupiter...

We drove home in freezing temperatures. Our car's thermometer informs me that it's -0.5 degrees here in Willesden. It'll be colder yet at Highgate. Highgate is always 2 degrees colder than the rest of London.

We keep driving past curious towers of mist, which our headlights are lighting up like eerie cyphers. They appear to be coming from the man hole covers in the middle of the road. I've never seen that in tins country before. The sewers are obviously warmer than the air above them and the hot air is freezing like it does above the subways in New York.

The ponds in Hampstead have frozen solid. We got out to take a look as we drove past. I've only ever seen them freeze like this once before. I have to say, I'm rather loving this weather. I hope it snows.

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