Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Peppercorns and horns

Peppercorns don't half travel when they get dropped. We sat down for a plate of baked beans on toast last night and as I tried to grind some pepper on top, the unthinkable happened, the bottom of the mill dropped out, and hundreds of peppercorns exploded across the kitchen. I immediately pretended it hadn't happened. Sometimes you've got to just close a door and deal with a problem as and when you have the head space! I went into the kitchen this morning and saw them all rolling about like tiny rabbit poos. I had a quick sweep, but they're still there. Tormenting me.

We did another 12-hour day in the studio and I am, as ever, knackered, dehydrated, hungry and buzzing like a caffeine-addicted bee.

Today was perhaps the maddest day yet on the Brass soundtrack. It started calmly enough, with two of our keyboard players coming in to do sessions on the wonderful Hammond organ which is resident at Livingstone studios. It's the first time I've ever recorded a real Hammond and it was a treat to do so. Those organs were built to last in the 1960s, and they still work as well today as they ever did.

We pottered our way through the morning, recording pianos,  xylophones and glockenspiels.  They say that you learn something new every day, and I learned today that a castanet has a male and a female half. That's quite cool isn't it? One has a lower pitch than the other. I've no idea which. I wouldn't be sexist enough to assume that the lower-pitched one was the male.

I had lunch in a cafe: a mushroom omelette with a salad, which turned out to be just what the doctor ordered...

The afternoon saw a return of the Brass boys, and at that point, predictably, all hell broke loose! For the next nine hours those poor lads toiled, grafted and sweated in the name of music... And they did a remarkable job. I sent them away safe in the knowledge that they would never again experience such a gruelling session, but that we've infinitely well prepared them for anything a future professional recording might throw at them!

Fiona popped into the studio at some point in the afternoon, which was great fun, because I was able to introduce her to our keyboard player, Archie, who is currently studying on the same university course that Fiona did some years ago. I think it's really important, when studying an arts degree, to meet people who went out into the big wide world and made decent vocational careers for themselves.

We came home and caught a late-night repeat of the Graham Norton show which featured Conchita singing Rise Like A Phoenix, which won this year's Eurovision Song Contest. It made me a little tearful, mostly because I'm tired, but a little because it's a wonderful song, beautifully sung, and it somehow feels inextricably bound to our wedding. Conchita is a bearded lady and a proud member of the LGBT community whose Eurovision win was every bit as important to British gay people as our being given the collective right to marry each other but a few months earlier.

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