Saturday, 14 January 2017

La la Land

I booked myself in for a speed awareness course this morning. Unfortunately, I got flashed on my way back from a quiz in Milton Keynes a few weeks before Christmas. Doing the course means I won't end up with 3 more points on my driving license, however, and bizarrely that I also won't have to pay a fine - although, cleverly, the course costs exactly the same as a speeding ticket! I'm actually quite keen to go. I was driving too quickly because I hadn't noticed the speed limit dropping to 50mph on the section of the dual carriageway I was driving along. If the chap running the course can give me a sense of why these roads suddenly change tempo, seemingly so randomly, I might learn what to look out for in the future! The course is next Wednesday.

There was a light dusting of snow on the rooftops of Highgate when I woke up this morning, but, despite a secondary flurry later on, the whole lot had cleared by mid day. So much for this so-called thunder snow!

Far more interesting was Nathan's experience, whilst at work yesterday, when he witnessed an underground explosion beneath High Holborn! Apparently the lights in the theatre went out for five seconds, accompanied by the strangest sound, which he said could only be described as "loud white noise." At the same time, he saw a burst of flames coming from a drain! Underground electrical fires and explosions are apparently not that unusual in central London. There was a massive one back in April in the same sort of area which lead to hundreds of people being evacuated.

I finished my song Delusion today, and Nathan has given me a set of notes which I shall implement after putting the song away for a few days. These things need a bit of down time. In other composing news, I put pen to paper for the first time last night on the Nene piece, which feels like an exciting milestone. I'm obsessed with the idea of the babbling source of the river being represented by laughter, because I feel rivers in their early stages have a sort of child-like innocence. I'm just not altogether sure how practical laughter is for performers. Once you start, it's quite hard to stop. String players go all floppy and Brass players lose their embouchures!

We visited the shrine outside George Michael's house in Highgate Village on our way back from the gym this evening. It's much larger than I'd originally thought. There are literally thousands of bouquets of flowers and hundreds of heartfelt messages. He was very obviously a much-loved man. A camera crew was there. I think the size of the shrine has surprised many people.

We went to the cinema to watch La La Land this evening. With one or two caveats I would say it was a very wonderful piece. I found it transporting, engaging, atmospheric, inspiring and really rather moving in places. The central performances were excellent. Ryan Gosling is a very lovely and charismatic actor. The singing was a bit ropey all round, with some horrible breathy noises coming from Emma Stone. They also made a bit of a weird choice to turn ensemble vocals down really low in the mix. The songs themselves were lovely, however, and I can almost guarantee that this year's Oscar for Best Song will go to City Lights, which instantly pulled me in with its simplicity and mournfulness. As my good friend Abbie said of the film, "its well worth a watch."

Happy Friday 13th to you all.

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