Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Thaxted fields

I did a morning-and-a-half of work on the two songs from Em today and then sent all the parts off to Jeremy. Both songs are being performed at St James' Theatre on Sunday October 2nd as part of an evening of music by contemporary musical theatre composers from both sides of the Atlantic. I genuinely urge you all to come along. It's really important for the future of the industry that we all get behind new writing - particularly British writing. There's some wonderful talent out there, and Jeremy tells me it's going to be a brilliant concert. Come, please! My two songs are being sung by Laura Barnard and Ben Jones who played the two lead characters in Brass. You loved them in Brass. Come and see what else they can do!

I have to say, after the success of Brass, I find myself a little reticent when it comes to offering new songs to the world. The Brass songs have all had the time to become ear-worms. There's a recording and several films which enable people to get to know the music, so anything else I throw out into the world goes in at the start of a long journey which inevitably begins with people saying the songs won't stand the test of time - largely because they're not yet familiar.

After a late lunch we took ourselves off to Thaxted. Today has been boiling hot and because Nathan is working tomorrow I felt we needed to get out there and see the last rays of this summer's sun.

We went for an early evening walk across the fields and down to the magic place where I had a little word with the universe to sort me out with a commission as soon as possible. The light was beautiful. Thistle down and backlit midges floated and darted about in the sky like the first flurry of winter snow. The shadows were dark and long, and turned the furrows of the freshly-ploughed fields a dark shade of mauve. The yellow sun made the trees literally glow. Fir trees looked like they'd just burst into majestic lime green flames. The whole walk felt like we'd drifted into a dream.

We watched Bake Off and talked furiously about its anticipated commute to Channel 4. Now, I'm a huge fan of Channel 4, but Bake Off doesn't feel like a Channel 4 show. The fact that the BBC has lost it, to me, rather sums up the sheer arrogance of that particular broadcaster. They have rested on their laurels for far too long and really need to start realising that, if they're not able to make shows in-house any more, they need to get a lot better at pitching to keep their most successful programmes. Working for the BBC is fast loosing its status as a badge of honour. Shows spend too long in development and quality dips as a result of producers and commissioners feeling the need to interfere and have their twopence worth to justify their roles within the institution. The opening episode of Bake Off got higher ratings than the Olympics and the Olympics are sure to have cost the BBC hundreds of times more than the figure they refused to pay to keep Britain's favourite cookery show. Actually, Britain's favourite show. Full stop. The final of Bake Off last year was actually the highest rating show of the year.

Tradition dictated that we made biscuits and we finally had success! They were crumbly - very crumbly - but, smeared in chocolate and lemon icing, everything tasted delicious... and they went like ice creams in the sun!

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