Monday, 12 December 2016

Writers night

So, this morning I woke up with the distinct sensation that my sinuses were, once again, blocked. And so the cold continues to chug away in a really low-grade manner. Very shortly I'm simply going to declare it over. I'm planning that glorious announcement for the point at which my legs cease to cause me bother. The general swelling in the ankles has gone down and the hell zone cut on my shin is healing over nicely. All that remains is for the pain on the back of my calf to dissipate. The misty, murky, rainy, slightly-too-hot-for-December weather doesn't help. I've felt like I've been wrapped in dirty clingfilm all day.

I know it's not a very cool thing to say, but I've very much enjoyed watching X Factor this year. Readers relax: There'll be no spoilers here about who won, but I was more than happy to discover that the charming Saara Aalto is engaged to a woman. The way it was dealt with on the show was, in my view, exactly how these things ought to be dealt with. There was no grand "coming out", no weeping interview where we were told how difficult it was for her to grow up gay. We merely learned, in one package, that she lived with "her fiancé" and, in another, that her fiancé was a woman. This is all very much in keeping with the "normal visibility" for LGBT people which Nathan and I both crave.

This evening I met Llio for a tea on Denmark Street and then we went together to the Phoenix Artists' Club to see Nathan, Abbie, Laura, Rosie and our new friend, Chris performing the last number from Em. In typical me style, I set my phone to record it, but it ran out of storage before anyone had opened their mouths. I think they performed beautifully and I think the song went down well with the crowd. I was at the back of the room panicking about the backing track, trying to make sure it didn't get to loud (or too quiet) so I didn't have the luxury of sitting back and enjoying it, which was the very point of my using a backing track and not playing the piano!

The evening was joyous, however. Those writers' cabarets are such an important resource for my community. All the regulars have started to feel like a proper family. We support one another. Learn from each other. Buoy each other up. And ultimately compete with one another to write better music. All of these things are vital.

A number of the songs being performed tonight had a Christmassy feel and the organisers had laid on mince pies and mulled wine, so there was a really festive spirit. Tim Sutton played jazz versions of Christmas carols on the piano as we came in and left the space, and we all joined in with increasingly outrageous harmonies.

I didn't really want the night to end. I was surrounded by friends and I'd have been happy listening to more songs and drinking cups of tea late into the night.

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