Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Woodpeckers and Mongolians

I woke up this morning, a bit peeved at the idea of being up so early, and desperately wishing that I could have had another hour in bed. As I sat, in a partial coma, eating my cornflakes, staring out of the kitchen window, I was rewarded with the sight of a beautiful woodpecker bouncing about within the branches of the enormous tree in our back garden. I'm used to woodpeckers round these parts being green and yellow, but this one was black and white, almost as though his little body (or was it his wings?) was a tiny chess board. He had a bright red head, which I think must mean he was a juvenile greater spotted woodpecker. (I looked that up on google!) We're certainly doing alright at the moment for birds in our garden. Beyond the nesting robins, magpies, black birds, wood pigeons and great tits, we've had wagtails and now woodpeckers. I'm holding out for a pair of flamingos...

It's a good job the view out of the kitchen window was so inspiring, as, baring a quick trip to the gym, I've done nothing but sit at the kitchen table from 8.30am this morning til 9pm tonight. I've been working on Brass again, developing the score so that it matches the rewrite of the script I finished in June. There's a hell of a lot to do. I've blithely re-written the whole of the Prologue and decided that the piece needs to start with an epic, virtuoso overture played by a brass band, which of course I now have to write! There comes a time when you long to stop working on a show... and that moment has arrived with Brass. I've pampered this dark beast for two years now and I need it to stop demanding food from me! That said, I'm sure there's at least another month's work in the score, so I have to take lots of deep breaths and complete this final stage a bar at a time.

It was nice to get back to the gym, although some of the blokes there are somewhat cliched. I reckon all that grunting and sparring can't be good for anyone, and I would question any man's sexuality who feels the need to be so brutally masculine. The way they talk to one another is insane. They call each other "cuz" and "bro" and communicate in little bursts of nervy chatter which explodes from their mouths like the last remnants of ketchup from a plastic squeezy bottle.

We sat down to watch some telly at the end of the night, but some kind of atmospherics (I assume) meant that none of the channels were working properly. The screen kept freezing and breaking up. It got so frustrating that we were forced to switch the telly off. I even considered reading a book (I don't read*) until I realised there was a blog to be written.

*Of course I know HOW to read and I fairly regularly end up with my nose in a non-fiction book when I'm doing research, but novels have never really been my thing. My brother is not a reader either. Perhaps it's in the genes. Perhaps it's more to do with my being slightly ADHD. I certainly don't think I have the mental stamina and calmness for reading novels. I'd constantly want to be doing something else.

I reckon I've read no more than thirty novels in my life, which sounds like rather a lot, but that includes periods when I've actively tried to read a book a week, like the time I worked on the stage door of the New Ambassadors Theatre, which had to be one of the most boring jobs in the world. I once did a 40-hour shift and slept in an area no larger than my curled up body! I'm somewhat proud to say that, back then, I read everything by George Orwell and a whole host of other dystopian novels by like likes of Huxley and Henry Miller. I've also read Joyce's Ulysses... But before you start accusing me of being all high-brow and intelligent, other novels that I've consumed and enjoyed include Death on the Nile, How Green Was My Valley, Murder She Wrote: The Novel, Duty Free: The Novel and Mrs Tiggywinkle.


...Please don't bombard me with ideas for good reads! I feel obliged to point out that I simply don't have time to read. By the time my days are in their twilight, I'm so spent that the best I can manage is a TV show with no plot line.

That's said, we've just watched Joanna Lumley's Trans-Siberian Express documentary on ITV player, which does offer food for thought. It's a stunning series which I would urge you all to watch. She's such an unbelievably engaging woman and she's travelling through parts of the world which I can't even begin to comprehend. Mongolia. Siberia. Parts of rural China.

It's actually made me want to go to Mongolia. It's rather mystical, and they have a good track record of dealing with LGBT people. Being gay was decriminalised in 1961!

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