Monday, 31 August 2015

Old Friends

I have done a lot of work this weekend, and seen a lot of old friends. I would call that a pretty perfect way to spend my time! Saturday started at the kitchen table formatting another two scores from Brass. I’d love to say that I could see the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel, but I still have to return to a piano to write (from scratch) two new numbers. I’m procrastinating. I know I am. I am doing everything else that needs to be done, because the idea of sitting down to re-write the show’s prologue is profoundly distressing, especially as Tuesday really marks the start of our going hell for leather on the documentary project. 

Anyway, at about 6pm, I jumped in the car, and drove down to a tiny village in deepest, darkest Kent. I must say, I’ve usually only ever driven through Kent on my way to the Cinque Ports. For me, Kent is nothing but a rather green-looking place with alluring Oast houses poking out from behind dark trees, brown estuaries and grey power stations wrapped in early morning mists. These are the snapshots one views from a car speeding along the M2. Kent means holidays are getting closer. 

I actually felt a little freaked out when I left the motorway and started driving into the somewhat dimpsy Kentish countryside. Perhaps it was the blueish evening light, or the fact that the fields were covered in a light layer of whitish haze, which made me feel a little like an extra from the Midwich Cuckoos.

I was in Kent for my old mate, Tom’s wedding party. Tom was in a show I did at the Edinburgh festival exactly twenty years ago. Twenty years! What happens to time? It was a 1920s-style girl’s school romp called Big Book for Girls, and I was the show’s musical director. The piece was described as being “camper than a bottle of coffee with chicory essence,” a description I rather liked. We’d probably just done one of our last performances this time twenty years ago. I think we left the city in very early September. Those last few days at the Festival, the ones after the mega-busy August Bank holiday weekend, always made performers feel a bit like they were the hangers on at a party which has been ruined by gate-crashers. The magic has gone. The audiences have dwindled. These days I don’t think the festival goes into the first week of September. 

Anyway, Tom had invited a big group of people from the show, and we had a riotous evening, catching up, taking silly photos, dancing like lunatics, and, for about twenty minutes, searching for my wallet (which I subsequently found underneath the seat of my car!) I feel genuinely privileged to have met, and stayed in touch with that particular group of people. The highlight of the evening was almost certainly dancing to Wuthering Heights in the style of Kate Bush. 

It was actually Nathan and my thirteenth anniversary yesterday, which means it’s exactly a year since I was at the Kate Bush concert… one of my most treasured memories…

Should yesterday not be known as Notoday?

The former Big Bookers...
Emily on the dance floor

Today, I worked again through the morning, before driving (with Nathan) to Hackney to meet an old, dear university friend, Waidehi, whom I haven’t seen since 2008. She came over from the States at the start of the week, and has spent the last few days hooking up with old friends. A group of us, mostly former students from York University, sat in a beautiful pub on the edge of Victoria Park called The People’s Park Tavern. It’s a great place to go with kids with an enormous garden backing onto the park itself. The kids with us had an amazing time searching for slugs, rushing around and drawing pictures with giant crayons. Poor Philippa, who’d organised the event on Waidehi’s behalf was too poorly to attend, and was greatly missed. It was wonderful to see Waidehi. She looks so well; utterly at peace and radiant. I hereby make a pledge to see more of her in the future. And Philippa, if you’re reading this, thank you for organising such a wonderful event. 

Waidehi and Ellen

I came home and worked more; polishing off another song from Brass. On and on it goes…

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