It was overcast and chilly in Hove this morning, and the sea, which yesterday had been a sparkling shade of indigo, was suddenly elephant grey. I guess coast-dwelling folk must become fairly immune to the myriad changes the sea makes over the seasons. It never ceases to amaze me.
We spent a whopping eight solid hours simply working on one number, Letters, today. Eight hours! It's by far the most complicated number vocally, and one which it was vital to get right... but, eight hours!
Whilst PK did his thing, and between the moments when my ears were needed, I was able to catch up on some admin. I had to register all the songs with PPL, and then decided to clear out some of the 4000+ emails which have accumulated in my inbox over the last manic period, most of which is spam. I found some fairly interesting ways of locating large pools of spam emails in my inbox by searching for key words like "protection" "diet" "warranty" and "loans." The latter netted me about four hundred spam emails which I was able to delete with a rather satisfying click of a single button!
The word "woodwork" was also fairy lucrative, for some reason. Perhaps spam is trying to tell me to be more butch!!
It's midnight and we're still going. Nathan has offered to drive down from London to pick me up because I have filming first thing which I can't miss. I'm going to look like an addict on screen; all dark eyes and a puffy face. Right now, my feet feel all itchy and my heart is pounding. There's so much jeopardy here: will we finish before PK's ears die? Will we fall asleep before delivering the files? They're due in at 10am.
At 1.45am, Nathan arrived. Sadly, he walked in at the most stressful moment in the week so far. PK had hit a brick wall, having worked on the album without pausing since 7am, almost twenty four hours ago. Neither of us could hear anything but swirling, swishing sounds.
At 2.15am, we reached something of a crisis point, and I went for a walk through the darkened streets of West Worthing. The rain on the roads was reflecting traffic lights and shop window displays, and everything was silent but for the odd passing car, and a person in a white van wearing Hi-viz, who seemed to be emptying the council rubbish bins.
I don't think anyone will ever have any concept of how difficult this week has been, trapped in a loft, deconstructing and reconstructing song after song; burying dodgy performances, sloppy tuning and trying to make up for hastily recorded music which is lacking certain frequencies. I can safely say this is the most devastatingly punishing and gruelling schedule I've ever endured.
2.54am. I smell. Really badly. My back is killing me. My shoulder ache. My eyes are stinging. There's a funny taste in my mouth and I have a headache. PK is dead to the world. We've nearly finished the mix of the last number, but then starts the process of checking everything through and getting it ready for mastering...
3.45am. My ears have given up on me and all the sounds are swimming from one ear to another. Thank God Nathan is here with his fresher ears. We're listening to On The Shelf, and the bass line seems to be effecting my ear drums in ever-more peculiar ways. It's like they keep popping or something. I feel like I've been at a rave.
4.20am and things are improving, largely because we can see a chink of light at the end of the corridor. And I don't just think it's the arrival of dawn. Nathan is listening to I Miss the Music on headphones, whilst it's formatted for the mastering process. It's the ninth song we've completed.
5am. We've sent the Prologue on its way and are about to listen to You'll Always Have a Friend. Panic has set in a little, not least because dawn has broken, I'm feeling very hungry, my eyes are closing and I know Barnbow Lassies is on its way, which is the song which has traditionally given us the most grief.
5.30am. We're midway through Barnbow and I officially like the song again. Mania has set in and I'm dancing the Charleston. PK did some work on the song before I arrived this morning/yesterday, and seems to have saved it in a genius-like way. My dread was misplaced!
6.25am. Nathan and PK are putting final touches to No Man's Land, the last number in the show, and the last to be mixed and sent off to the masterers. They're actually working on the show's button - the very last note - and have been doing so for the last ten minutes. That's attention to detail for you. Thank God, really. All my functions have packed in. In less than three hours I'm expected to be in London and making sense in a television interview. No chance. None whatsoever. I haven't done an all nighter for years.