Thursday, 19 February 2015

Photograph 2

I barely slept last night, which is something I'm getting quite used to at the moment. Insomnia did, however, mean I was awake when the most surreal noises started occurring outside at about 3am.

At first the sound was barely audible and I assumed I was merely listening to a screech owl. We get rather a lot of owls in Highgate, and they make all sorts of tweets, coos and screams. Later still, as the sound began to take on a kind of rhythm, I convinced myself that it was merely a product of Nathan's sleepy breathing, which was heavy at the time, bordering on a snore!

I went to the loo, aware that the sound was becoming louder and louder. I opened the bathroom window and heard the full force of the noise: a grunting, screaming, clicking, weird guttural barking. I deduced after a tiny panic that that sound wasn't human, and then worked out that I was actually listening to foxes mating. Or, let's not mince words, a male fox brutally raping his chosen mate. It was the most unnerving, terrifying sound. I actually decided to record the sound and caught, much to my great delight, the sound of one of my neighbours opening a window and clapping as loudly as possible to move the foxes on. I listened back to the recording this morning and you can hear me cackling to myself at that point!

Eventually the sound subsided and all that was left was a periodic, lonely bark, and the sonic adventure was complete.

I decided to take the 43 bus to Bank today. It turns out that this was a bad idea. It took an hour and twenty minutes. I used the time productively and got lots of work on the brass band arrangements for A Symphony for Yorkshire done, making a brave decision to put the whole piece down another key. I have a tendency to write music which is a little high and have recently discovered that the E flat cornet, the "highest" instrument in the brass band, doesn't have as big a top range as I think an instrument like that ought to have. In fact, I think a good ordinary cornet player could probably play higher, which makes me wonder if the instrument actually has a point, particularly as the instrument tends to sound a little like an old-fashioned car horn!

I went into the city to meet Abbie at Monument Station. Abbie's was the second portrait I've taken for the cover of the Pepys Motet album. The initial plan was to go to St Magnus the Martyr church where there's a scale model of the old London bridge, but sadly, on a hideous grey day, the light in the church was dreadful, so we shuffled through the rain to see if St Olave's church was any lighter.

St Olave's is the church where Pepys and his beloved wife, Elizabeth, are buried. After his wife died, Pepys commissioned an artist to make a statue which he positioned on the wall above the alter. Now there's a man who had an inflated sense of his own position in life! He was a navel clerk at the time and obviously had no idea that he was going to become a world-renowned diarist!

Anyway, the church was beautifully lit and I photographed Abbie holding the symbol for "blessed" with the statue of Elizabeth in the background. I'm very pleased with the result. Abbie's watery green eyes look stunning, peering over the top of Little Welsh Nathalie's beautifully painted placard.

The bus journey home was a joke. Two hours after leaving Moorgate, we finally crawled into Highgate. For the record, that's 4.9 miles. If London bus travel is always like this, it should be free. There's got to be some kind of incentive for putting up with that degree of nonsense. The only positive was that I got two hours' work done whilst in transit. I got very thirsty in the process, though.

I came home and watched the live episodes of Eastenders and was somewhat disappointed and a little amused by the denouement. It all seemed a bit far-fetched, which was a shame because I was hooked all evening until the very last shot! I have hugely enjoyed the whole concept of the show dipping in and out of live footage and was brilliantly charmed by Jo Joyner's live gaff when she referred to the character of Ian Beale by the actor's name.



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