Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Strange dreams

I woke up this morning after a series of somewhat cataclysmic dreams, one of which was about the World Trade Centre. The other involved my mother picking me up from school and taking me back to our old family home where she promptly went to bed and fell asleep. At that moment a huge storm brewed up which started rattling the windows so violently that I thought the house was going to fall down. Very strange.

I walked up to Highgate in really crisp air and was at the cafe working by 9am. The views across London were simply stunning today. I could see right across to the Olympic Park and the hills behind, which Google tells me are a good ten miles away.

I read an article in the Guardian this morning about the need to get more women into composing. Sound and Music, the national organisation for new music, are determined to make sure "at least" fifty percent of the composers they work with "identify" as women. To illustrate their point, the article ran a picture of a young girl playing the flute. No gender stereotyping there then!

If the young people's composition competition I judged recently was representative of what's actually going on in schools right now, I'd say that it's actually young male composers who need to be attracted into the industry. To me, it feels like Sound and Music have blithely missed the far larger looming crisis: namely that it's the lottery of social background and the area where you're brought up which is actually denoting whether or not you're allowed to participate in music. Viewing anything in polar terms is fraught with issues these days.

I personally feel that equality needs to shift in both directions. I understand the view that sexism is about power and that men are the ones in power, but worry that if we take this to an extreme, we'll end up neglecting groups of men who don't want to behave in the way that the heterosexual masculine great order of things deems acceptable. Surely these men are held back from achieving their dreams as much as many women?

...But then you get the hard core feminists who argue that a gay man could never understand what it's like to be a woman. Jenny Murray, from Women's Hour, has apparently recently talked about trans women having the "privilege" of a male upbringing and therefore never understanding how it feels to be a "proper" woman. It's the sort of talk which makes my blood boil. Whatever you think about the issue, that kind of talk is the unacceptable face of feminism.

It may be awful to be a female composer at the moment, but imagine being a member of 5 to 5, the band which was chosen on BBC TV's Let It Shine? Rumours are now circulating that the lads will merely be backing vocalists in the show, and the producers have hardly quashed the chat by "refusing to comment" on whether the boys would be speaking any lines! "When asked whether or not the group would ever be singing or dancing completely on their own in the show, the team behind the show didn't comment," says the BBC, who might well be feeling somewhat bruised right now after promoting the show on prime time telly for five weeks.

It's raining tonight. I can hear the water coming through the roof and splashing onto the step ladder into our loft.

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