Saturday, 17 January 2015

The Barnbow Lassies

Another extraordinary long day in the studio. 10 til 10. Dry lips. Weirdly buzzing. We're driving home through Shoreditch where everyone is so cool I don't know what gender they are.

We worked with the girls today. I think there were thirteen of them. Plus Ben Holder and Nick Barstow, who did vocal coaching.

The morning was remarkably calm. There was a bit of faffing. A bit of warning up. A bit of setting up of mics and then we got stuck into some seriously beautiful harmony-creation. Some of the stuff we recorded sounded epic. Some of it made me tearful. There were one or two winces along the way; one or two moments of temporary loss of focus and one or two voices which got a little tight, and needed to be gently massaged into a more relaxed timbre.

Robyn, whose been so poorly over the last few days, was an absolute trooper and managed to record all her sequences with serious aplomb, nearly collapsing for her art on numerous occasions.

Everyone had their special moment, from Erika's sweet trumpet playing last thing tonight, to lovely Emily Keston, arriving with her crazy and jaunty internal harmonies so note-perfect that they seemed to make perfect sense. Emma B made the hairs on my neck stand up, simply by singing the word William three times, and Ruby sang one sequence so like Kate Bush I wanted to run up and hug her!

Abbie very kindly came along to bolster the vocal sound in the afternoon, and it was rather lovely to occasionally hear her voice poking through the dense harmonies; an sunny immigrant from another one of my worlds!

We were visited by a few old friends. Four of the male cast popped in. Uncle Jeremy was there after lunch. Philip Carne, who made a ludicrously generous donation to the project, spent the morning in the control room with me. He showed me one of the letters that the cast had sent him to thank him for his kindness, and I instantly felt proud of them all. As he put it, "you sometimes find yourself worrying about the younger generation, and then you find a fabulous bunch of kids like this..." What's the gay male equivalent of a mother hen? Father cock? Christ, that sounds so wrong! Joan Littlewood used to describe the actors in her company as "her little fragile eggs" or words to that effect, and I can quite see what she meant. I end up feeling highly protective over all the people I work with.

Can't string another sentence together. Must sleep. Night night all.

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