Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Muggy discrimination

It's so ludicrously muggy today that I'm currently looking at a giant rainbow hovering over Oxford Street, which doesn't seem to have been triggered by actual rain! The air is plainly laden with moisture. Surely we're due the mother of all storms? The sky is every colour from white and cornflower blue to brown, yellow, grey and black.

Quite a lot of people I'm passing are wearing suits and not looking like they need to be rinsed out. How does that happen?

I've just been to a focus group with PRS, a society which collects royalties on behalf of songwriters and composers. As you might expect, it's the songwriters who work in the pop industry who do the best out of PRS. The rest of us are rather over-looked, particularly theatre writers, because the cabaret venues where our songs are most often performed, aren't expected to submit lists of the music played, so we tend to not get paid. I was a bit of a whinging old nelly at the meeting and I'm sure the woman running the session got bored of my chipping in, saying "and another thing..." I was like a pull-string doll!

I learned today that there's actually a classical music representative at PRS. One of the girls sitting around the table today said that this particular representative had followed her burgeoning career and been to every single one of her premieres. I should point out that nothing of the sort has ever happened to me! The composer at today's meeting also said that the PRS Foundation, (who've turned me down for everything I've ever applied for) had been "very kind to her." The elephant in the room was the fact that the composer was female... and black. Now, I'm sure she's absolutely brilliant at her job and that she writes wonderful, wonderful music, but one has to wonder whether there would have been quite so much vociferous support for her had she been male and white, like... Well, like me. I hate myself for even thinking these thoughts and I know a lot of people reading this will be screeching at the computer, accusing me of being a bigot and saying that positive discrimination has to happen if minority communities are ever going to feel accepted. All of this, of course, is true, and it might have been just one of those things that I've been overlooked, so you'll have to decide for yourselves whether what I'm writing has any validity. What I would say is that it doesn't feel very nice to feel discriminated against... for whatever reason.

I spent the rest of the day starting an application for a bursary from the Arts Council. The irony of the fact that one of the first questions you're asked on the form is whether the project is beneficial to people from minority backgrounds was retrospectively not lost on me. I wanted to scrawl "it's musical theatre, it'll make the gays happy" but sexually is not one of the boxes you get to tick. I dunno, eighteen years of homophobic bullying in a Midlands Town and still I don't get to tick a box!

We've started work on the Pepys Motet album again, which is due for release at the end of August, way over two years since the first sessions on the piece took place. By the end of next week, it will be theoretically ready to go off to the masterer, so I'm off to see PK in Worthing on Monday. I'm desperately hoping the experience will be less horrifying than the final week on Brass, but just in case it's not, I'm going to spend the next few days preparing myself mentally!

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