Sunday, 30 April 2017

Go slow

Yesterday was all about work. I sat in my favourite cafe on the seafront and hammered my way through the vocal piano score of the last song in Em. It felt like quite an achievement when I reached the end, although I have to keep reminding myself that an entire number remains unwritten! I shall take the day off today and get myself stuck into it on Monday. Hopefully I'll have a decent framework for the piece by the end of the day. It feels daunting. I don't really have much of a sense of what the piece needs to be. I worry that it might bring on a writers' block. That it might somehow become the straw that breaks this particular camel's back. I could really do with some help from someone at the moment because there's a whole sea of work which needs to be done formatting scores and things. It's funny: in theatre there are often all sorts of assistants knocking about. I don't think I've ever worked on a show without an assistant director or an assistant stage manager. I have never been offered an assistant composer. Perhaps it's because I've always been a one-man band. I do my own orchestrations where many other composers immediately expect their MDs or an independently paid orchestrator to take care of that side of things. There's usually a separate book writer and lyricist as well who can focus on rewrites in their specialist areas. On this show it's just me. Fortunately I've always been very lucky with MDs in the past who have been willing to muck in when things get a bit hairy...

It's been so nice to be by the sea. It's been dry and sunny every day, but with a strong sea breeze. Walking along the seafront this morning was a bracing experience to say the least. The kite surfer who was impressively leaping and twisting high above the yellow waves had exactly the right idea. 

Brighton Station has one of those "play me" public pianos. They're often in spaces like train stations and there's usually either some snotty kid bashing the shite out of it, or a wannabe hipster Harry sitting at it, playing some form of bad jazz on an endless loop. You know the one? He learned a piece by ear when he was fifteen and he plays it every time he gets near a piano because it impresses the ladies? That's the fella. Any way. No such luck in Brighton Station. The "play me" piano, which has "play me" written in giant letters all over it, has its lid very firmly padlocked shut. It's actually a "don't play me" piano. One assumes it just became that little bit too much for the people who have to work in the station. An inescapable noise.

Arriving back in London was unnecessarily stressful. Victoria Station on a bank holiday Sunday was filled with tourists in "go slow" mode. I just wanted to scream at them to make a blinkin' decision. I get that the London transport network is intimidatingly confusing, but stopping dead at ticket barriers to fish for a ticket at the bottom of one's handbag is unacceptable wherever you are in the world. I'm fairly used to London emptying out on Bank Holidays, but maybe that's in residential areas. The residents head out of the city, and the tourists arrive in droves to see Buckingham Palace. I shudder.

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