Friday, 31 July 2015


Every time I take a blinkin' 134 bus into town, there's a driver change near the Archway bus depot. I'm not sure it's something which routinely happens on this particular route, so I do think I've been unlucky to encounter it as often as I have. The process is a faffy one, and, if the new driver isn't ready and waiting for the bus to arrive with his little tin money box, then it can take forever. As it did today. There was also a little flash of road rage as the bus pulled away from the stop in the form of a rather aggressive exchange between the bus driver and a trucker who'd inadvertently broken some sort of Highway Code.

I went to the dental hygienist today. It struck me what a peculiar blend of unique sounds and tastes one experiences at the dentists. There are high-pitched whines and scraping noises whilst vaguely aniseedy tastes drip down the back of one's throat. Apparently my dental hygiene is good, but I need to wear my special disabled person's gum guard more regularly at night. "I can tell you've been stressed" she said, through her paper face mask and thick Greek accent, "I can see the imprint of your teeth on your tongue..." She's not wrong but I instantly felt like a failure. Still, my teeth now feel smooth and delicious and I was loathe to eat anything for the rest of the day.

I worked the rest of the morning in the cafe opposite the dentist and there experienced a rather lovely moment when I glanced around and saw nothing but a sea of people with relaxed, smiling faces. A rare treat in London. A pair of very old men were talking about the Labour Party leadership, a Dutch family had just tucked into some delicious-looking croissants, a pair of female academics were deciding which type of herbal tea to sample. Everything felt calm and balanced. I suppose a cafe is a good place for witnessing people at their best. We go to cafes with friends as a treat, and use them as little stress-free refuges from the frantic pace of the towns and cities in the outside world.

From the best of society, I happened upon evidence of the worst in the form of graffiti scrawled inside one of the lockers at my gym. "Israelis are Nazis" it said. A bloke was shovelling his belongings into the locker seemingly entirely unaware of what the great big letters said. I could not have used that locker. By using it passively, in my view, you're agreeing with the ghastly sentiment it expresses.

I immediately went upstairs to the manager and reported it. By the time I'd finished my work-out, the locker was open again and the graffiti was still there. I went back to the manager and showed him a photo of the words. "Oh" he said, (I thought he was going to say how shocked he was) "if it's in marker pen, we have to get specialist cleaners in." "Obviously in the meantime you'll be closing the locker down so that no one else has to be offended by the wording?" He started to um and ah. "Let me put it another way" I said, "if you don't immediately shut that locker down, LA Fitness are passively agreeing with the sentiment expressed within and I will immediately print this photo." I held the picture up so he could see that I wasn't joking, and sailed out of the gym feeling angry yet somehow slightly righteous. 

For the rest of the day I've bounced up and down like an emotional yoyo. I worked like the clappers and finished formatting another score from Brass. Hurrah. I then read a review of our wonderful cast recording which is currently appearing in programmes in West End theatres. It describes Brass as a "haunting and evocative" musical. The review goes on to say that the cast's "astounding performances are immortalised forever in this beautiful cast recording" and that the show now has "the opportunity to reach an even wider audience." Hurrah.

The cast of Brass then went a bit loopy searching for reviews of the album elsewhere and found one lurking in a public forum which was a little less than favourable. It pottered along in a vaguely positive way until the following paragraph was dropped like a stink bomb in a 1970s subway;

"The music from Brass is not going to be the next big thing in musical theatre and it might leave you singing more well-known songs that it reminds you of rather than the songs from Brass itself... From listening to the music alone it is difficult to find one stand out, show stopping number. However, all of the tracks are pleasant to listen to; you will tap your toes along to We’re Forming a Band, feel haunted by I Make the Shells, and Billy Whistle is a hugely catchy tune that you will be whistling for days."

I mean, it doesn't even make sense. No stand out number, but one song which you'll be whistling for days! A little bit of digging reveals it was written by a peculiar-looking creature from Wales who's an amateur performer of musical theatre who likes to post videos of herself singing dreadful songs on YouTube. The problem with the Internet is that no-one knows whether the critics are legit or not! We write what we like when we like... (Hence why I'm allowed to publish this lousy blog on a daily basis!) Boo!

...Then I got turned down for some funding from the Arts Council. Triple Boo!

I went to see Llio tonight. Hurrah. And listened to some of the demos for her next album which were sensational. Double Hurrah. She excels as a creator of electronica. At this stage she's just used the samples and sounds she can find on logic, but she's making brave, sometimes breathtaking choices. I'd love her to have the opportunity to work with a really decent engineer to see what magic she comes up with.

We then listened to the Pepys Motet album in its entirety. We sat with our headphones plugged into a splitter and experienced the full sonic ride as PK intended. Llio was incredibly effusive with her praise afterwards, describing the work as a masterpiece, which was very kind and made me feel very happy. She wept, got shivers, laughed, smiled, wept again. I would love to have filmed her reaction, if for no other reason than to give me something to look at when I'm feeling low about all things creative! The day ends on a triple hurrah!

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