Friday, 18 November 2016

Walking the Nene

Don't listen to me today. It's been one of those days when I wish hibernation was a human prerogative. It's been grey and miserable, but for a very brief moment when it pissed it down with rain before the sun started shining, making the slate roofs outside shimmer like liquid metal.

Despite feeling shitty, I managed to write two songs for Em... or at least I made a start on them. I'm always slightly suspicious when people talk about writing a song in ten minutes. The Bee Gees claim to have written most of Saturday Night Fever in one night. That first little shot of inspiration always comes quickly, but the crafting of a song - its shaping, its development, its refinement and the creation of an accompaniment - takes a huge amount of time. If you're the Bee Gees, then you have talented minions to do this... but let's be under no illusion: they're the people who are actually writing your songs! Theatre music takes more time than most because you have to think all the time about character, drama and the constant musical variation which makes a theatre song worthy of the stage. It can take me months to take a song from that first shot of inspiration through to something which is worth performing. There's choral harmonies to think about, vocal ranges, orchestrations - and don't even get me started on dance breaks!! Today I was obsessing about the lyrics needing to feel like they're the words of the characters who are singing them.

I have decided to walk the length of the River Nene on five consecutive days starting on the 1st December. I shall walk about twenty miles every day and stay in travel lodges. As I walk, I shall make field recordings of the river, and hope to be inspired for the big composition. The river is exactly 100 miles long.

Now obviously I'm expecting to walk alone. I'm sure the weather will be ghastly beyond words, and I'll probably fall in and smell a lot, but if anyone, particularly Northamptonian friends, fancies joining me for a section, I shall be working out a schedule over the next couple of days. The 3rd and 4th December is a weekend, and I guess I'll be somewhere between Higham Ferrers and Peterborough in that leg of the trip.

Anyway. That's me! I need sleep.

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