I took the eleventh portrait for the Pepys Motet album cover today. This one was with the lovely Nigel Pilkington, who sang tenor on all movements of the piece. Nigel is almost the dictionary definition of a polymath. He works as a voice over artist, but is also a trained lawyer, a sign language specialist and a speaker of an abnormal number of languages, the latest of which is Swedish. I keep meaning to introduce him to Brother Edward and Sascha. I'm sure they'd find a million things to talk about.
Nigel lives in the Barbican, and initially I thought I might take advantage of the location by taking his picture at the London Wall car park which is notable for one thing; deep underground, amongst the concrete pillars, a section of the original Roman London wall still stands. It's the most curious anomaly. It's a sizeable chunk of wall, about ten feet high and twenty feet long, and very obviously Roman with its line of red tiles half way up the stone work. It's so surreal to see it nestling down there entirely surrounded by 1960s concrete!
We actually decided not to photograph Nigel in front if it. I tried a few sample shots and couldn't get an angle which adequately displayed the bizarre juxtaposition of wall and car park.
We met Nigel on the street outside instead. It was a beautiful sunny day, but as we stood waiting for him, there was a light rain shower, which astounded us because there wasn't a cloud in the sky. We simply couldn't work out where the rain was coming from.
Nigel suggested we went to a public roof terrace with astonishing views over St Paul's Cathedral. It amazed me that the place existed. The city is full of all kinds of crazy nooks and crannies. You could live or work there for years and still be surprised.
We went from the city to Julie and Sam's house for Craft and Cake, which was remarkably well attended with about twelve crafters doing everything from double-knitted hearts, to Abbie, who was was knitting a three-dimensional fox's head! I did hair! That's going to be my craft from now on. I'm absolutely awful at it, but I'm willing to learn. I put Michelle's hair up in a beehive and Tina's into a neat little chignon. It strikes me that this could well be the gayest sentence I've ever written. I told everyone I was going to open up a salon. "What sort?" They asked. "A literary salon?" Yeah, yeah. Very funny...
We stayed behind afterwards and watched a film called Big Eyes whilst Tina knitted socks aggressively and Nathan continued to teach Julie how to double knit. Double knitting, for the uninitiated, is a form of knitting where two sides of a garment are created simultaneously. Most knitting has a "wrong side"; a side which the knitter doesn't want the world to see. Double knitting is reversible, which opens up all sorts of possibilities. It's also something of a science. Double knit patterns have to be incredibly carefully worked-out; which is one of the reason I suspect why Nathan is drawn to it.