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Monday, January 12

Looking back, yesterday was a strange exploration of the various lives I seem to be living concurrently.

Who am I?

  • Computer programmer
  • Journalist/writer (computer magazine)
  • Performer - musicals
  • Stand-up comedian
  • Song writer
  • Musician
  • Writer of musicals
  • Writer of comedy
I know there's overlap between a number of these... indeed, I go around using much the same set of skills for each. I don't know where my heart lies, hence having such a wide range of interests. I know that all of these intrigue me in difference ways. For the time being, I can play with them all. At some point, perhaps I'll have to choose.

Yesterday, I wandered from my hotel to the west end of London where I bought the biography of Don Black, alongside a book by Jonathan Maitland. Both books are about people working in the music business. In Mr Maitland's case, it involved a large amount of information about his failed attempt to get his band to represent the United Kingdom at the Eurovision Song Contest 2002. In Don Black's case, it's the story of a stand-up comedian, turned Oscar winning song writer, author of some of the worlds most favourite song lyrics, including some I personally cherish.

After leaving the bookshop, I wandered onto the adjecent street - Denmark Street - to wander around some guitar shops, looking at Bass guitars. I'm thinking of buying a bass and I wanted to see what was on the market.

You know some of this already if you have read my previous blog entry. I shall complete the story of the day. I then went along to see The Reduced Shakespeare Company, whom I'd wanted to see for a very long time. I saw them in March of last year and yesterday's show was pretty much the same cast doing the same thing. However, it still felt fresh and they'd clearly updated some of the gags to keep it that way.

After a coffee, during which I scribbled some lyrics for a musical I'm writing, I headed back to King's Cross to collect my bag and wait for the train. Over a bite to eat at the station, which also gave me somewhere better to sit than the outskirts of the main hall, I completed the last lyric and last bit of dialogue in the musical I've been writing. Admittedly, it's all only a first draft, but it's a finished first draft. I even threw in a gag which I'd conceived of while walking back from the theatre to the hotel to pick up my stuff - fresh or what!?

Then in the eatery, my stand-up career came into focus. I chatted on my mobile to a stand-up chum and agreed to help him with a song idea. So, I wrote lyrics to an existing tune, both spoofing the original song and making the comment that he wanted to make. I'm pleased with that little bit of writing.

After that it was time to read. I started reading the Jonathan Maitland book first. I interrupted this reading when, after returning to the main hall to wait for the train to arrive, I got chatting to a random chap who sat down next to me. After we'd put the world to rights he confessed that he was, in fact, a session musician. A bass player (his advice confirmed my feelings about which bass I want to buy). Not only that, but he's played bass on some music I already own. Now I get the chance to listen to a track I've taken for granted, listen out for the bass and say to myself - "I've met him". Nice chap! Good bass playing!

On the train, Mr Maitland's story brought him into contact with Clive Black, Don Black's son. Linking the two books I'd bought.

Much later on the train, after finishing the first book, Don Black's book defined the exact location of the nurturing of his music business career. The somewhat notorious "Tin Pan Alley", a.k.a. Denmark Street - a discreet side street off Charing Cross Road... the same side street, I'd been mooching around looking at guitars in earlier on.

So, as a Eurovision wannabee, aspiring Bass owner and musicals writer with stand-up comedy influences... well, I managed to get it all well and truly mixed up into a confusing melee of experiences yesterday. Perhaps there's a message in there somewhere. Perhaps not.


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