Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Low bassy rumbles

I walked along Parkland Walk yesterday to Julian’s studio. I’m told it was the second hottest day of the year and it certainly had that glorious, dusty, 1970s vibe. The last few weeks have been perfect growing conditions for flowers and plants. We had a shock of hot weather after all the snow, and then some serious rain, followed by this patch of sunshine. Everything, from nettles to cow parsley, is therefore incredibly tall.

I went to see my parents in Thaxted on Saturday and the oil seed rape was head high. We had the most delightful stroll around the fields behind the village, amazed that it was still light at 8pm. There’s a sudden tipping point at this time of year where you realise that the days are endless. It always makes me panic a little. It forces me to look back on the year and wonder what I’ve achieved and whether it’s enough. Enough by my standards? Anyone else’s standards? Welcome to the world of the freelancer. 

We went to Julie’s on Sunday, to help her plant strawberries and tomatoes in her allotment. There’s something incredibly therapeutic about digging earth. It not only gives your muscles a work out, but, whilst creating life for plants, you become incredibly aware of other life. Worms. Butterflies. Spiders. Woodlice. Centipedes. Snails. Insects I didn’t know the name of and haven’t seen since my childhood. All playing their important role in the fragile ecosystem. I refused gloves in favour of getting my hands truly mucky. At one with the earth which will eventually swallow me up.

It was a joy to see Parkland Walk being used by so many people yesterday. Old people in canvas hats, striped T-shirts and ill-fitting canvas shorts, joggers wearing luminous running gear, which glowed violently under the sun, families with kids on bikes, the fathers barking orders about not going out of sight on the long path. All the while, the birds whistled and chirped down on us all. They knew it was an idyllic scene and wanted in!

I can’t think of many journeys to friends’ houses which are this nice. I didn’t see or hear a car for 40 minutes.

I was recording low bassy rumbles on Fiona’s new album, which I’m predicting will be a hypnotic masterpiece full of drones, chants, loops, mantras and suspended 9ths. It was an honour to be part of it.

I was thrilled to discover that Julian’s wife, Carla is Preggers Plays Pop, and, if the old wives’ tales are correct, I’d say she was carrying a girl. We had a picnic of cheese and bread in the garden with Vic Matthews, who arrived in the afternoon to record some ‘cello.

After Fiona had finished in the studio, Nathan and I went back to Crouch End to meet up with the gang, and James Fortune, of whom, it strikes me, I don’t see nearly enough. He’s working on a musical at the moment at the National, a place I’m resigned to never working! When all the reviews came in for Brass, suggesting that the show ought to be done by the National, I duly sent the CD in to Rufus Norris, who said he’d pass it on. I was fairly embarrassed, therefore, a few months later to receive an email thanking me for the “script” of my “play” and saying that they couldn’t give me feedback, but that the “play” didn’t quite work for the National and had I thought about sending it to the Royal Court or the Bush Theatre instead? For those who don’t know the ins and outs of British Theatre, the Bush and the Royal Court are exponents of new British theatre rather than musical theatre! I give up!

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