Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Buzzing like a bee

I managed to drop one of Nathan's darning needles down the side of the sofa today. In an attempt to retrieve it, we turned the whole thing upside down and were amazed to hear the rattle of coins cascading through the internal cavities. We unstitched a part of the upholstery and were astonished to fish out £11.54 in coins! And then, much against the odds, we found the needle! To celebrate we took ourselves for lunch at the greasy spoon. Little treats like this obviously have to be kept to a minimum for a while, but it's not often you come into a sofa windfall!

I had a can of coke, three mugs of tea and two cold and 'flu tablets, so by the time I got on the tube, I was buzzing like a bee.

Uncle Archie and I had a meeting at the BBC about a potentially very exciting project. With all these things, it's a waiting game which involves various commissioners talking to various other commissioners. Sadly, the more people who are consulted about ideas on the quirky/innovative spectrum, the less likely they are to be made! It takes just one commissioner to say that they don't like documentary musicals and the entire process is derailed. Nevertheless, I'm pleased that we've at least got this far. I'm a big fan of the woman we met with, so I'm glad to have touched base with her, whatever the outcome.

I emerged from the meeting and was immediately attacked by rush hour on Oxford Street, which is like nothing on earth! Huge static crowds of people hang about on street level waiting to get into the tube station. You have to fight your way through them simply to cross the road. Imagine that agony being part of your daily grind? I guess all you can do is go a bit zen and try to block it all out!

I retreated to the tourist-free streets of Soho. On my way through the backstreets behind Carnaby Street I happened upon the Marshall Street Leisure Centre, which would appear to be a glorious swimming pool, in a stunning 1920s building. You can see right through the front doors into the pool itself with its tall rounded atrium-like ceilings and decadent fixtures and fittings. Quite how I've managed to miss that place on the many occasions I've been in the area, I've no idea. London never ceases to surprise and delight.

I walked to the Strand where I met up with Ian at the Savoy Theatre. Ian was one of the vocalists on the Pepys Motet. Over the coming weeks I shall be taking 20 portraits of the vocalists who performed on the album. Each of them will be holding one of the placards Little Welsh Nathalie and I made, which display shorthand symbols from the first page of Pepys' Diary. Nathalie finished painting them over the weekend and they look absolutely stunning. I want to take pictures of everyone in spectacular and quirky London locations which either have meaning for them, or for dear Mr Pepys.

I was thrilled when Ian suggested I took his portrait on the actual stage of the theatre. That auditorium, with its gold and red velvet upholstered chairs and huge Art Deco arches, is one of the most beautiful in the world.

A very old friend of mine, someone I directed in a production thirteen years ago, was propped up against a piano just under the stage, learning a new song with a musical director. He didn't spot me, or if he did, he didn't recognise me. He was just eighteen when we worked together and now he must be over thirty.

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