Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Albert Hall Premiere

I had a fall this morning. I was at Central School trying to take a bag full of costumes down a flight of concrete stairs. My shoe slipped and I went down about eight steps. Because I was holding things in both hands, it was my elbows which took the hit. I smashed them into the ground with such force that it took me a few minutes to work out if I was okay. After the adrenaline had cleared from my body I realised I was in considerable pain. I knew this because I started giggling like a lunatic. I always giggle when I’m in pain. It’s a thing. I don’t think anything is broken or chipped, but I do think I can expect some cracking bruises. I’m beginning to wonder if there’s something in this Nene composition which is trying to kill me!

I needed to collect a prop from Wimbledon this afternoon and, coming down another flight of stairs at the train station, managed to bash my injured elbow on a bannister. It hurt like hell. I could hear a women shouting across at me, asking if I was okay. I laughed manically and explained that I’d already injured myself in the very same spot. “I do things like that” she said, cackling with laughter. She was sitting in a wheel chair and only had one arm. I deduced that she probably wasn’t joking! She then told me how nice I looked, which was nice because I was in my glad rags, wearing the scarf that one of Nathan’s knitting ladies had sent me through the post. Lesley, if you’re reading this. Many many thanks.

This evening was a very special evening. It saw the premiere of my Nene composition at the Albert Hall. I was very nervous and it all went by in a bit of a flash, so my memories are fleeting and impressionistic. I remember falling over (again) in the box I was sitting in in the Albert Hall in a rush to get to the loo. I remember my mate Tash sending all sorts of crazy close-up pictures of the orchestra from the promenading pit where she was standing. I remember the presenter asking everyone to cheer if they were from the Midlands and the entire room erupting into cheers, and feeling a sense of deep belonging and pride. I remember the presenter mentioning Higham Ferrers and the kids from Higham Junior School going nuts. I remember the sense of deep injustice and anger I felt when the presenter said the ensemble came from North-Hampshire. I remember the sound of the junior oboe players in the roof representing the sound of geese and getting a strong sense that the audience really liked what they were hearing. I remember feeling proud that all 700 musicians were being conducted by a woman and then feeling sad that so few of the string players in the whole evening were lads. I remember thinking the strings needed to give it more welly.

...And then it was all over. And I was surrounded by people saying kind things about the piece. I went down to the floor of the Albert Hall and congratulated the choir on a job brilliantly done. Then I was interviewed by the BBC. And then we went to a pub. I felt touched that so many of my friends were there to support me. Abbie, Ian, Ben, Little Michelle, Brother Edward and Sascha, Nathan, Julie, Michael, Philippa, Tina, M and Pa, Kate, Sam, Tash... I felt very loved. And very proud. I go to bed with big bruises on my arms but joy in my heart!

And to cap it all, I’ve just learned that Australia have voted overwhelmingly to support gay marriage.

Good on you, Australia. And bloody good on you, Northamptonshire, Rutland and Peterborough. You’ve done me, the Nene and our little corner of the world proud.

1 comment:

  1. Nene was brilliant - lovely music and took us on a journey down the Nene wonderfully! My daughter (in the orchestra) loves playing it - even though she being driven round the bend trying to pin down the folk tunes you use as motifs! We're looking forward to hearing the full finished work in Northampton and at Peterborough Cathedral.
    Absolutely stunning - well done to all the performers and thank you for writing a brilliant musical portrait of the Nene!