Tuesday, 2 June 2015


I woke up this morning and immediately dived into the set of notes which Nathan had given me after reading Brass last night. I'll confess to having panicked initially that the notes might throw a massive spanner in the works and put me into something of a paddy of indecision, but they were universally concise and very well thought-through, so they slipped into the show in a manner not dissimilar to the way that I used to consume Malteesers!

I went for a run at lunchtime in the driving rain and gale force winds. Yes, I know... What June? I never mind running in inclement weather, however, particularly when I get to run through moisture-laden fir trees, which always provide a much-needed refreshing blast, like something from a Tango advert. Although I would say that when people get showered in thirst-quenching drinks in the adverts, I'm always left worrying about the sticky residue they'll be left with when the moisture dries. Whilst working as a bar man, 100 or so years ago, I once spilt an entire bottle of Pernod over myself. Going home on the tube was the stickiest experience of my life! (And not in a good way!)

This afternoon was all about a central London mission to drop the Brass CDs off to various key players, or at least various individuals, theatres and companies I like to think might like to become key players in the show!

I had twelve CDs to deliver and meticulously planned a snaking route from Oxford Circus, where I alighted from the tube, to Waterloo, where I dropped a CD off at the Old Vic. The journey took me to Cameron Mackintosh's offices, and various producers and publishers. I felt a little like an old school hawker, or perhaps one of those First World War veterans who returned from France, jobless and penniless, and was forced to wander about in silly costumes selling penny trinkets from an usherette's tray. That said, people were far nicer to me than they perhaps might have been to a veteran. I had some lovely chats and was offered some delicious-looking chocolate which I was virtuous enough to turn down!

On my way across Waterloo bridge, the wind very nearly took me off my feet on several occasions. The railings on that particular bridge feel excessively low, so I was worried my phone was going to be blown out of my hand! I was reminded of an entry in Samuel Pepys' Diary, where he talks about crossing the old London Bridge during a very blustery storm;

"It was dangerous to walk the streets, the bricks and tiles falling from the houses that the whole street were covered with them; and whole chimneys, nay, whole houses in two or three places, blowed down. But, above all, the pales on London-bridge on both sides were blown away, so that we were fain to stoop very low for fear of being blown off of the bridge."

By the time I'd reached the Old Vic, my feet felt like stumps of wood, which I took to mean I'd lost some weight! Bonus. Walking back to the Shaftesbury Theatre was a trial though and I stopped off at a cafe Nero near Covent Garden to stretch my back, rest my weary legs and give my eyes a chance to rid themselves of the accumulation of grit which had been blown into them!

As I sat in the cafe, I stared up at a union flag on the top of one of the buildings over-looking the Thames. It was almost being blown off by the force of the wind. I remembered the day Nathan and I got married, and the fact that all public buildings in England and Wales flew the rainbow flag to signify the special day. What a moving and welcoming sight that was. It suddenly struck me how astonishingly significant that particular flag is, and how it's one of the few flags which unifies people in all countries of the world. It tells people that they're safe. How special is that? I wonder how many other flags can claim to do that?

This evening we met lovely Matt Lucas, had some food in Wagamama's, and took Nathan on a busman's holiday to see Memphis at the theatre where he works in the box office. We had wonderful seats, right in the middle of the stalls, and it struck me what a proper treat it is to see a big old show. I'd been excited about going all day.

The show is great. Let me rephrase that: the cast are great and it feels like a well-financed, glitzy West End show. Killian Donnelly is a remarkable performer; brave, extreme, effortless, cool... And in the eleven o'clock number, he opens up his pipes and whips out a top D. Boom.

Beverley Knight is quite simply one of the world's greatest vocalists. I ended up feeling rather sorry for her, because my expectations were so high, I slightly took for granted the extraordinary vocal tricks she was pulling off effortlessly. I kept having to remind myself how I would feel if I'd turned up to the show without knowing her voice and heard someone singing like she did. I concluded that I might have wet myself! She is divine.

The plot's a bit meh. The songs hit all the right buttons, but remain a bit meh, but it's s brilliant night out, which I heartily recommend!

I'll sleep well tonight!

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