Wednesday, 18 March 2015


I ended up in Farringdon today, which is a part of London completely off my radar. It's not an unpleasant corner of the world. It's a little overfilled with advertising execs for my liking, but it's quiet and interesting-looking, with quite a lot of early Victorian buildings clinging to winding roads. The tall concrete tower at Barbican, by contrast, looms large in the distance, like something from A Clockwork Orange or 1984, reminding us never to get too complacent!

The last time I came here was in 2010. I was meeting a solicitor from the MU to talk about a hideous court case I got myself embroiled in. The memory of it still makes me shudder. Sadly, it's one of those ghastly life-events, the memory of which gets triggered periodically by women with mad eyes, or anything to do with the city of Leicester. I met the MU solicitor in the Starbucks in Farringdon and she talked me through some of the things I could expect to happen in the courtroom. She'd never have been able to predict the madness that actually occurred! When I arrived at the courtroom for the hearing, I was greeted by an entire choir, who stood on the steps, hissing music at me as a show of solidarity with the conductor I'd been forced to take to court for telling me the music I'd written wasn't soulful enough for her choir to sing! Funny old world, isn't it?

This evening we came to the RTS awards. We were in the same ballroom as the last awards ceremony we'd attended, in an almost identical spot, eating an almost identical menu.

We were up for the best arts programme and were seated on a table with our rivals in the category, none other than Grayson Perry, who rather deservedly beat us with his extraordinary Who Are You series.

There were about sixty thousand awards to sit through. Ours was up really early in the evening, so for the rest of the night we sat back, ate chocolates and counted as the huge glut of awards on the table disappeared one by one.

It was a proper star-studded occasion. As we entered, there was a huge press scrum going on with people like Sheridan Smith, Russell Tovey and Claudia Winklemen standing in front of an enormous board covered in the RTS logo.

Afterwards we met the other losers in the category, namely the makers of the BBC's Messiah at the Foundry, who proved how small the arts commissioning world is by being 1) The lovely Tom Service, whom I was at university was and 2) the equally charming Ben Weston, who was brought in to mentor me for a period when I made A1: The Road Musical. It was genuinely lovely to see them both again. They were similarly gracious losers. We were all gracious losers. That's what happens when the right programme wins! Bravo Grayson... Or that should be Clare, as she was dressed in a beautiful swishy frock tonight.

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