Friday, 3 February 2017

I can feel it coming in the air tonight

I was out and about all day today, which was plainly not the best idea because, frustratingly, my cold feels a little like it's returning. Boo!

The day started in Greenwich with a search for Extra Strong Mints. You'd have thought there might have been a little newsagent somewhere near Cutty Sark, but it seems Greenwich is rather too posh for that! What do people buy their Guardians? The best it could offer was a fancy "ye olde sweetie shoppe" establishment. I went in and asked the lady behind the counter if she had a packet of Extra Strong Mints. She looked across the jars keenly. "I've got Everton Mints!" She said, proudly, "and Mint Imperials... and Humbugs... and Glacé Mints and Toffee Mints... And chocolate-coated Peppermint creams." Poor woman. I could see the hopelessness of the situation reflected in her dark, doe-like eyes. I walked away feeling a little sad for us both.

The purpose of my visit to Greenwich was to mentor a young music student at Trinity College who has written a musical. He seems a hugely capable young man, but I guess I've collected a few pearls of wisdom over the years, which it will be a privilege to pass on. I actually think it speaks incredibly well of the college that they would think to pair up one of their composers with a working professional. So many music departments (including my own) refuse to acknowledge musical theatre and there are very few composition lecturers who know their Steins from their Sondheims.

I took the DLR back to Bank and sat in a cafe writing for a few hours. I had a very strange sense of foreboding at about 4pm, which was quite overwhelming. I can't pinpoint its cause, but I felt deeply vulnerable, somehow. Perhaps it had its roots in the Brexit vote in Parliament which I didn't realise had happened until slightly later. I'm embarrassed to say that my ex-partner, the hitherto-deeply-Europhile, Stephen Twigg voted for triggering article 50, but proud of my own MP Catherine West for being brave enough to stand against the Labour Party whip.

It's quite interesting. Obviously one of the theories as to the cause of Brexit is the fact that there's a great hatred of London within the rest of the country. It's a very tangible thing. People think Londoners are snobby, brusque and aloof and they think that news organisations favour stories about the capital. But I heard a really interesting (and accurate) analogy today. Voting for Brexit is a little like living on a farm where you know one of the chickens lays golden eggs, but instead of selling the golden eggs and making the farm even more profitable, you kill the golden chicken and hope the other eggs will prove to be as valuable. London will be utterly shafted by Brexit. And if you're reading this, and you voted Brexit, I hope you're never able to afford to go on holiday to Europe again.

The very fact that the white paper which has been so hastily thrown out includes a ludicrous typo suggesting that British people should have fourteen weeks holiday a year, demonstrates just how ill-conceived and shambolic the whole situation is. There's probably a lot of Brexit voters who think we could run a county on fourteen weeks of holiday a year. Let the immigrants do all the hard work whilst we relax. Oh, no, wait...

I worked on a quiz in the City of London this evening - or what we might need to start calling the former City of London post Brexit. Don't expect any loyalty from any of those companies. They're already opening offices in Dublin. The Irish are rubbing their hands together with glee. It was a fun, but enormous quiz, with 32 teams. Marking the papers was an immense adrenaline rush.

I had a charming email today from the good folk at Alexandra Palace who were offering me and Nathan a tour of the old theatre where we got married, which is currently being done up. I was incredibly touched to learn that our wedding is considered an important part of the "eclectic and wonderful history of the building." When I first moved to London, I lived in a Crouch End bedsit which had a view of Ali Pali. I used to sit and watch the busses driving along the top of the hill in front of it. I have always felt that it was the most beautiful building in London and to be told I will always be known as part of its history - which includes the invention of television - is one of the biggest honours anyone could ever bestow on me. Such a thrilling email to receive.

Good night friends. Something's in the air.

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