Thursday, January 20, 2011

Extreme Assault Course in Creative Insanity

Hours of creative activity achieved in last 24: 4.5
Reading: Helen Castor 's non-fiction book on the women who 'ruled' England before Elizabeth I, She-Wolves
Hair Day: newly chopped by motorbike-riding Greek alpha male in Mayfair
Things I Can See From My Flat Window No. 5: The Shard, a proper beanstalk right there

2011 has begun as an Extreme Assault Course in Creative Insanity! First off I had to clamber over my choral commission for the ABCD 25th anniversary conference, knocking it out in a week. Having called it 'SHOUTsong' for ages, I struggled with trying to get right the balance of shouty/body percussion messiness with the expectations of the commissioners, but once I changed the title to 'The Earth Hath Voice' it all fell into place. Having next trampled a couple of ineffectual carols underfoot, I now look ahead to the spiky edges of a new juice piece (the clever way of making myself write music: put the title in a programme before you've written it!) and a looming choral commission I won for City Chorus (beating 107 others, oh yes!), which will be all about the noise of London, so I expect I'll be wafting flaneur-like about the city, taking in all clamour soon enough.

At the weekend I rugby-tackled (hhm, think I'll leave this theme now) some ABCD-ers over prosecco and gnocchi at their South East dinner, where I met impish 80-year-old composer Betty Roe (who I overheard saying to her daughter drily, 'I just come here to let people know I'm not dead') amongst others. It's the sort of occasion where I forget that I agonise over my emerging wrinkles every morning, as everyone thinks I'm ten years younger. We had to double-take when Andy, after explaining his profession, basically got an 'and is that what you want to do when you grow up?' in return. Ho ho.

I took Sarah-juicette to 'War Horse' for her birthday this week, to see our friend Eammon O'Dwyer do an excellent turn as the Songman, singing lovely folk songs in a strident, slightly giggle-making Devonshire accent. On the way back to South London we bumped into the male three-fifths of the Camberwell Composers' Collective, so joined them for hot ciders in The Hermit's Cave, Camberwell's artily scruffy pub. I'm missing Bethnal Green's edge-of-everything scenester-vibe, but it was at least gratifying to enjoy a villagey end-of-evening in SE5, albeit a quite high-art one including mentions of Berio's 'Folksongs' and unpronounceable Austrian composers I'd never heard of...

Anna has now become the Northern Contingent of juice, having moved to York, but that certainly doesn't mean the fun stops! We're up to our ears in preparation for our visit to Austin, Texas in March, hopefully stopping by New York for a gig first if we can get it together. Our album should come out on Nonclassical in May, so there's lots of mixing/remixing/artwork to be done there. I've also now started at Handel House properly (and have started another blog for it!!!), am preparing to run an experimental folk choir for half a term, am keeping Wigmore Hall's Young Producers going, and am looking forward to seeing both DOLLYman's EP and Metamorphic's album out there. Oh yeah, and listen again here to You Are Wolf, on Late Junction this week, at 1 hour 30 mins! 

Phew. Methinks that my fingers are getting a wee bit messy in these here pies...

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