Friday, May 04, 2007

York 1 London 0

Current amount of conviction in own genius: 10, but thwarted by workload
Amount of creative activity achieved in last 24 hours: a juicy 4
Hair day: Lack of hair straighteners at Mum’s house perturbing. But in good shape following discovery of terrifying edgy Brick Lane cutters (eg, grubby, distinct lack of hair mags, owner’s dog lounging around etc).

Juice had an ace gig last night in our collective home town: it’s always so nice to be back in York’s music department, wowing our olds friends with our tuning and ensemble even more than the last time. Our version of ‘Go to sleep you little baby’ was the most electrifying yet, our visuals were slick and my ‘winkblink’ from my big music-theatre piece ‘sedna stories’, was eerie and kick-ass. Orlando Bryars came up to say hi from her dad, who apparently thinks we rock. Gavin Bryars! Nice to hear from my old tutor and composer Roger that our close-mic and closer-harmony things were the most successful, and that we are generally utter genius, hurrah. I have to say that I want to shed a tear now every time I come to York, as I reminisce on my 16-month tenure of bliss when I finished off my PhD up here, living on my own in a mini-palace in Fossgate by the river, doing yoga every morning to Radio 4, schlepping around town buying goat’s cheese and bread from the market, and having that incredibly fortunate freedom to think, wander, feel and create such big pieces. I feel terribly trapped by work and money-making in grubby, cramped London at the moment, and know that my mammoth creative prowess is smouldering deep below the surface of my fraught teacher’s mind, waiting to burst out with some new visual-music-theatre epic extravaganza based on the life of a bunch of mythological tree nymphs or something.

In brief other juice news, we’ve heard that our fight to make the Park Lane Group series at the Purcell Rooms not just about piano trio after piano trio has been successful, meaning we’ll have our South Bank debut in January. We’re going to Tampere in Finland in a month for the a cappella vocal competition (hoping some prize money will pay for our flights….) and our recording debut is now available via aforementioned Roger Marsh’s ‘Pierrot Lunaire’ on NMC, on which we feature fairly heavily. In scant composition news, I’m going to have two pieces published in OUP’s new easy anthem series. Which reminds me, I’d better write the second one…

Last weekend was a bookish one, gracing Cambridge Wordfest in support of Andy’s involvement in it. We heard Nigel Calder waffle on sweatily about his anti-greenhouse gas theory of ‘The Chilling Stars’, the rather vulpine Graham Swift read in part-sonorous, part-sinister tones from his new book ‘Tomorrow’ and the human rights lawyer Clive Stafford Smith (whom we also took tea with) speak charismatically and entertainingly about the laughable-if-it-wasn’t-so-outrageously-criminal Guantanamo Bay farce. Finally we enjoyed the sandpaperingly dry A.L. Kennedy and my current personal literary heroine, the pixie-ish Sarah Waters chatting about their WWII-set latest novels. We rounded off the weekend with an extremely competitive literary quiz, in which I proved myself surprisingly knowledgeable (reading Time Out’s Books section every week clearly of benefit) about the printed word; we had to dash off before the end but heard that our team missed out on first prize (and in a town full of nerdy nose-in-book types, this is impressive) by a mere half a point. Never again will I forget that ‘Beelzebub’ and not ‘Mephistopheles’ means ‘Lord of the Flies’, dammit.