Sunday, April 30, 2006

LGMC's First Fifteen

Today has a certain idyllic quality to it. There is a sense of release, of a weight being lifted. It’s a long weekend (for me at least) so there is not the rush to get things done.

We slept until 10am and then shambled our way up to Café Rouge for brunch. As we walked home an hour or so later, spring was definitely in the air; the sun was out and the trees are coming alive again with blossom and new leaf. I have to say though, that I think the self-indulgence was deserved for once; we put a lot of effort into a very good show last night.

Yesterday was a long one. It also started with a pleasant brunch at Café Rouge, but that one was with Rosie & the parents. As soon as it was over though, I was on the Tube up to the venue with a bag full of costume and sandwiches. We actually did two ‘runs’ of the show in the afternoon, although not so much singing; Firstly there was the tech-run, where we are basically just props on stage for the lighting guys to illuminate. There are the sound checks for the comperes and soloists. There are entrances and exits, sightlines so we can all see the conductor and a dozen other little things that we have to endure before we go on. It’s an awful lot of waiting around.

The second run was the musical polishing which was more interesting, but still involved lots of standing about.

Eventually the show itself rolls around and it all went superbly. I was fairly relaxed going into it but by the end of the first number, I was trembling with the adrenalin (although some of that could have been the exertions of the choreography!) I’d worried that there was an awful lot of talk in between numbers, but people seemed to enjoy it – especially as we inevitably manage to weave a certain amount of humour in too. (In the section about Chorus statistics the quote ‘If you laid all the Baritones end-to-end… no one would think it unusual’ was my personal favourite!)

The feedback was very positive. I was particularly pleased by Tom C from work, who was most enthusiastic; more entertaining than the last one he saw (You’ll Do For Now) which had a more serious theme.

For all the positive feedback though, I felt rather hollow last night after the show was over. We’d done a good job; given the audience a good time, but it was just another show. After four months hard work it was not even anti-climactic, rather it just didn’t really register. It felt routine. It was a strange feeling.

Anyway, on a lighter note, in all the boredom of hanging around yesterday, I put my cameraphone to good use capturing the moment(s) for my photoblog. Click here to see the results.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Drowning in the Car Pool of life...

A fairly mundane day at work today. This evening was the final musical rehearsal before the show and it went well; we are very tight but, as the Musical Director pointed out, tending towards complacency which diminishes the energy of the performance. My throat felt a little strained after it was all over (I have the last gasp of a lingering throat infection from last week!) so I’m going to be cosseting it tomorrow. Stayed for a few (soft) drinks with the boys after the rehearsal but nothing worth reporting happened.

We’re due to have brunch with the parents tomorrow morning before Brett and I head into town for the technical rehearsal and then the show. And that’s it really.

Oh, though I did pop a new entry onto my photoblog this morning…

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

A Wash-Out

Well, as expected, I was pretty washed-out all day. Even the walk to and from the train left me tired. By 3pm I was ready for a nap but alas there are no dormitories at work, so I fumbled my way through the rest of the day and was pathetically grateful when 6:30 rolled around and I could get into a cab to the rehearsal..

I decided this morning that I wasn’t actually going to join in the rehearsal tonight; three hours of singing and dancing would probably kill me. Instead I just sat at the front and filmed bits of it for the video diary. (Now that there’s no real chance of getting it finished before the show, I can relax a bit and make sure I’ve got all the shots and audio I want.)

It was actually quite inspiring to hear the chorus from the audience’s perspective for once; normally you only really hear and concentrate on your own voice-part but to hear the whole Chorus in full voice was really impressive and gave me a great positive feel for Saturday… although I now feel I need Friday’s rehearsal all the more because I’ve missed two of the key rehearsals for the show.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Nearly Human Again

Well, I woke with a clear head and increasingly large gulps of water didn’t seem to affect things. By lunchtime I was ready to try some soup and by teatime I was gulping down left-over pasta. Still a bit lacking in stamina though, so I’m perfectly placed to over-exert myself tomorrow and be back in bed on Thursday.

Ah, no, wait! That’s where intelligence is supposed to kick-in and make me take it easy tomorrow. Hmm… Need to do work (no doubt lots of stuff to catch up on after two days unplanned leave!) then go on to Chorus (for the Dress Rehearsal – need to get costumes sorted tomorrow morning) where I also have to film the video diary (which I was planning to do on Monday and use Wednesday for any shots I missed then.) Hah! A mere trifle for a man of my intelligence stupidity commitment.

… Found myself looking at the cost of camcorders and digital video editing software in a quiet moment today. (No, stop it! You need to save money!)

Monday, April 24, 2006

Cabin Fever Again

Bah. Sick as a pig.

OK, not as bad as yesterday, but still hardly on top form.

The doctor reckons it’s “some kind of virus” (which I recall someone, probably Bruce, telling me that’s what medicos say when they don’t know what it is) and so I just have to wait it out; get plenty of rest, try to keep sipping fresh water to stop me dehydrating and wait for my appetite and energy to come back.

I took the day off work and watched TV and surfed the net in between naps. Already I’m getting cabin fever; while I’m weak and feeble and tired a lot of the time, I’m quite alert, if not terribly active, the rest of the time and daytime TV sucks badly. Tivo only helps so much – I’ve already watched everything on it that I’m likely to watch. I’m not really up to watching a whole movie and there is only so much episodic TV I can watch on DVD in one go.

I was glad when Brett got home for a bit of human contact, although he immediately cooked some pasta which had me simultaneously salivating and nauseous. I really wasn’t up to going to Chorus tonight, so I started watching some of the shows Brett has downloaded, then switched to Sky Travel to watch ‘Cruise Ship’ and then back to E4 for a bit of ‘Cruel Intentions’.

I can’t believe I’m listing the TV shows I’ve watched. That’s how boring the day has been. And now the internet has packed-up too!

Just not my day.

Let’s hope tomorrow gets better.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Up Again - Down Again

Well; quite a weekend. It wasn’t Thursday’s sore throat that got me in the end; it was that possibly-migraine nausea/headache/fatigue that killed me off. Saturday was a good, if relatively lazy day. We booked flights to Dallas for Thanksgiving, planned our break in Turin with the Chorus in September, and I spent a few hours working on my video-narrating skills for the Video Nation diary I’m making about the Chorus. We finished up by going to XXL (a gay club) near London Bridge. It was a regular haunt of Brett’s in the days before he met me but this was my first time there. As gay clubs go (in my admittedly limited experience) XXL is pretty decent though and I could see myself going back there.

We were really there to give Owen a bit of moral support; his new boyfriend is quite the clubber and it’s a bit of shock to his system I think. That said, my initial impressions of Jonathan (the b/f) are good and there definitely seems to be a connection between the two of them.

Anyway, in the end we didn’t really stay late; catching the 01:06 train home again after a pleasant evening.

This morning though, I was rather disturbed to find that I had a hangover! I know my alcohol tolerance is low, but I’d only had a cocktail and two cans of Red Stripe all evening! As the day progressed though, the hangover got worse instead of better and I finally deduced that it was probably the nameless ailment I’ve suffered from periodically for the last year. I took one of the migraine pills that the doctor had prescribed last time but I think by then it was too late for it to take any effect. (In fact unless it is absorbed through the stomach lining fairly quickly, I doubt it had a chance as I threw-up about half-an-hour after taking it…)

So it’s nil-by-mouth for me tonight and lots of rest. I’ll try and get a doctor’s appointment tomorrow and see if she has any more ideas. I just hope it is short-lived this time around though because, apart from feeling like death-warmed-up, there’s an important Chorus rehearsal tomorrow night and also supposed to be filming my video diary there…

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Murphy's Law

I’m really tired tonight. I’ve been tired all week but now I think it’s not just because I got some late nights at the weekend. My throat has been swollen and sore since Monday and now I’m sneezing as well. Just what I need the week before a big show; I think I’m coming down with a cold.

Well, I’ve done the vitamin C. I’ve drunk lots of water tonight. Now I’m going to get an early night. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Not Pining for the Fjords!

Last night I was accused (light-heartedly) of ‘pining’ for Brett now that he’s back in parts foreign. For some reason that conversation was running through my head this morning and I was trying to pin down exactly how I do feel when he’s away.

It’s certainly not a dramatic thing; I am not sitting forlorn at home every night, sniffling for the absence of my beloved. It’s a far more subtle loss than that.

We are not a very talkative couple when he’s at home (or perhaps I should say that I am not a very talkative person and he doesn’t seem to mind, or at least hasn’t complained yet) but we are a very tactile couple. If any previous boyfriends happen to be reading this, they will probably find that surprising, as I have never been very touchy-feely in the past. But with Brett I am.

When he’s not there, it’s not a big thing in itself; I don’t feel a huge pang when I get home and he’s not about. Getting into bed on my own isn’t a major trauma.

It’s more an accumulation of the little things; missing the good-morning kiss, saying goodbye when he leaves for work, giving his shoulders a quick rub when he’s working at his desk, the casual touches as we move around the flat, the hugs, the quick kisses, watching TV with him in my arms, our strangely predictable routine for falling asleep together. It all adds up into a nagging absence at the back of my mind, in the pit of my stomach; a slowly building tension which is only released when he comes home on a Friday night and I can hold him again.

So maybe I am pining after all.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

A Tired Little Teddy Bear

Not much to report today. After a late night last night (because I was reading until 1am) and then Brett having to get up 4:30am, I didn’t really get much sleep and was pretty useless at work.

I did get an email from Nic C, the Chorus’ Marketing and PR guy letting me know that my offer to do a video diary project for the BBC had been taken up. I should be hearing from them tomorrow about getting hold of the kit and then I just have to film lots of footage relevant to me, joining the chorus, meeting Brett and what I/we get out of it. It gets professionally edited and published on their website and may be broadcast on BBC London. My grandiose plans were somewhat throttled back though when I discovered that the final piece will only be about four minutes long…

Had a Chorus rehearsal tonight (because Monday (yesterday) was a Bank Holiday) and it all went fairly well, although there’s suddenly more movement being introduced into a couple of songs for no apparent reason. Actually no, I think I can see the reason; I can imagine the Artistic Director listening to the rehearsal tape of one song and thinking; “That’s an awfully long and dull piece, what can we do to break it up…? I know, let’s have everyone suddenly turn sideways to the audience halfway through!”

No reason for it. No follow-through into anything. Just halfway through, we all turn slightly. And that’s to say nothing of endless head-nodding suddenly included in Teddy Bears’ Picnic! I sure hope it looks good from the front because it feels bloody daft to be doing it.

Bah, humbug! Off to bed.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Lazy Days

Okay, so I’m a little bit late with this thought, but Brokeback Mountain was totally robbed not getting the Best Picture Oscar this year. This afternoon after a very pleasant lunch, we sat down to watch the DVD of Crash. Yes, it was good, but it reminded me of similar films before it and it wasn’t really that great. So maybe I’m invested in the whole gay thing, but then again, if I’m going to sit down to watch 90 minutes of people dealing with difficult issues I’d rather it at least had some kind of a storyline and nice scenery…

Apart from that it’s been a good day; I got to do the good housewife thing again and enjoyed cooking lunch for us, Rosie and Andy. They brought a couple of Easter Eggs for us, so we are now loaded down with chocolate, and after dinner we watched movies; Nanny McPhee, Crash and then the extra features on the Rent DVD.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Some Stuff

Had a bit of a perfect moment this morning; I was walking down to town in the sunshine, listening to the rehearsal MP3 of ‘Our Time’, which is upbeat and inspiring, and feeling good in the warmth. All was well with the world.

I was on my way to Marks & Spencer to buy lunch for tomorrow. It’s a great place when you’re doing your own catering. (We’re having a fairly traditional menu; tomato soup with Mediterranean bread, roast beef with veg and potatoes and finishing off with a tropical fruit cocktail and cream.) Town was wonderfully quiet, probably due to the Bank Holiday.

Tonight we drove up to the Lyric Theatre in Hammersmith to watch ‘Wolves in the Walls’, a musical based on a Neil Gaiman book, that Brett wanted to see. I wasn’t at all sure what to expect, but was very pleasantly surprised. It’s a surreal musical trip into a young girl’s imagination but wonderfully conceived and executed. It’s on until the 29th if you want to go see it.

Friday, April 14, 2006

A Good Friday

I’m glad it’s a long weekend. All is well in the world; I’ve got my man and time to ourselves and I want to enjoy that feeling as much as possible.

The last few days have been busy at work, some of the issues we’ve been having with our file archive really do tend to the farcical in how many times Murphy’s Law has snuck up to bite us on the ass. That said, today things did take a positive step forward, even though I spent a couple of hours in work to make it happen, so it isn’t all bad.

Last night Sid took most of the team bowling in Finsbury Park by way of celebrating his elevation to an Associate of the company. I ate way too much deep-fried food, drank shandy and proved once again that in some things (ten-pin bowling, for example) my hand-eye co-ordination still sucks big time. Even so, unlike many nights out with work, I had a really good time and didn’t wake up with a hangover!

Tomorrow night we’re off to see a musical that Brett has heard of called ‘Wolves in the Walls’. He tells me the clue is in the title, but I’ve no idea how you could make a young girl’s nightmares into a musical. I’ll let you know on Sunday, I suppose.

We’re having Rosie and Andy over for Sunday lunch; I get to practice my cooking again and eat my first decent hot meal in over a week (I’ve had something going on every night this week and so have been dining on sandwiches from ‘Eat’ at my desk each evening!) plus we get to see them both, which we’re not doing much of at the moment.

And that’s probably because we’re so busy rehearsing with the Chorus right now – and it doesn’t look like it’s going to get any better; I’ve just been putting the rehearsal schedule for the next six months in my diary and there are no less than seven distinct gigs we’re doing between now and September so there are a lot of extra rehearsals to get all the relevant new material learnt in time.

No rest for the wicked, so they say...

A Do-Over, Mr Darcy?

For many years, both my mother and my sister have been fans of ‘Historical Romances’. I think they’ve read every one of Georgette Heyer’s novels. If you are not sure what I mean, think of variations on the themes, situations and characters of Pride and Prejudice and you’re probably in the right area; the Regency era, men and women of different station, or different outlook, drawn together and overcoming great adversity as ultimately love triumphs over all.

I must admit that while I am happy they enjoy the books, I’ve always looked down on the genre somewhat as ‘not quite real’ writing; fairly standard plots which don’t exercise the brain too much and which always have a happy ending. Nothing like the grittier science fiction which I’ve always preferred, exploring paradoxes and obscure physics and where a happy-ending is by no-means guaranteed or, when one does happen, may not be as happy as you might expect.

Well, my dear mother and sister, should you be reading this, you may be interested to know that I have recently fallen from my high horse.

Not through the undoubted joys of the crinolined ladies and red-coated soldiers of the historical romance genre, but I have found my own equivalent online. Do Over’ is an online novel about a gay guy, pretty much down on his luck, who tries to raise some money by volunteering for a pseudo-scientific experiment which results in his adult mind being sent back through time into his teenage body. (I know, I know! Already I can hear you cringing at the premise.) It’s fairly well written though and seems very well researched historically. The story deals with how the narrator/protagonist tries to improve the lot of both his family and the world in general, in the process finding friendship and love in the most unexpected places and ultimately goes on to do both great and terrible things. Anyone who’s ever thought much about the practical issues of time-travel will know of the quandaries that would be encountered and the possibilities that could be realised in such a situation. While there is beauty and love in abundance, it is also a cautionary tale!

While it’s a little bit wordy in places (but then who am I to complain about wordy writing!?) I found it absolutely captivating and must admit to several very late nights over the last few weeks, because I just had to find out what happened next.

What’s more, after the first story arc, there’s a follow up, ‘Do Over Redux’ which is just as fascinating. If you have time, read them – but keep in mind that each one is pretty much a full-length novel.

If you could go back and re-live your life from your high school years onwards, would you change anything about your life? Would you want to change history? If you did, how can you be sure that, on balance, it would work out for the best?

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Who Shall We Nuke Today?

Okay, so I haven’t posted for a while, but to be honest, I’ve had nothing much to say; lunch with John on Thursday was pleasant, Brett came home on Friday and we snuggled lots, Saturday was an all-day rehearsal with the Chorus, which went very well, on Sunday we lazed the day away, Monday was back to work (Boo!) but was otherwise okay and ended with another good rehearsal. Then today was Tuesday!

Had a chuckle yesterday though; listening to the news on the radio about George Bush dismissing as ‘wild speculation’ reports that he is planning a nuclear attack on Iran. It just struck me that calling something ‘wild speculation’ doesn’t actually say anything about the truth of the claim. While I imagine that the tacticians at the Pentagon have got some kind of a plan for just about any eventuality, no matter how unlikely, filed away somewhere ready for a President to ask for it, I still find it rather worrying that President Bush couldn’t just come out and say “No, I’m not planning to nuke Iran.” It isn’t really that hard to say, even if you do like to ‘keep all the options on the table’, because surely only a madman would do such a thing. Surely! No?

Also been browsing some of my bookmarked blogs in search of some excitement and, sure enough, Mark Maness managed to provide some in his own inimitable style. If you have problems with your blood-pressure or any stress issues, I recommend you do not read his posting here about the causes of homosexuality…

Wednesday, April 05, 2006


More domestrivia today. Didn’t do much; planned lunch with John W for tomorrow then went down to Wimbledon. Today's lunch was at Quiznos (the place in town that advertises a US free-phone number on its napkins for customer service – but then as Brett said; they probably don’t really care what we think anyway) where they do a rather tasty toasted club sandwich. Put my wristwatch in to get a new battery fitted and went and had a coffee and read while that was happening. (After a brief diversion with The Cuckoo’s Egg, I’m back working my way through my teenage library; at the moment it’s Neuromancer, the William Gibson cyberpunk classic)

This afternoon was more housework and some blog surfing. I added a couple of entries (1, 2) to my photoblog. I also had an entertaining diversion courtesy of Zefrog who introduced me to a new blog written by another member of the Chorus and then made me try and guess the identity of the writer. After a careful reading of said blog and some deductive reasoning, I attributed it to completely the wrong person. Ah well,

Tonight I’ve been feeling a bit under the weather, with a persistent headache so have watched some TV and done some more reading. I think I’m getting tired of the ‘doing nothing all day’ holiday and will probably plan my remaining days a bit more thoroughly.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Eternal Flame

Oh dear; Tuesday already. Doesn’t time fly when you’re not paying attention!

Did a bit of everything yesterday; some housework, some Chorus stuff, some geeky stuff. The Chorus stuff started in the morning with two of our longer-standing members continuing a bitch-slapping session they had started online over the weekend. As they were doing it on a forum which is deliberately ‘un-moderated’ I let them go at it and, sure enough, over the course of the day the number of emails from ordinary members telling them to ‘get over it’ mounted up. I found it all rather entertaining to be honest. Today hasn’t seen a resumption of hostilities though so I can only assume that they are either going to pursue it more formally through the Chorus’ Code of Conduct, or perhaps this morning they have woken up to the remembrance that they are adults, rather than children in a playground. Who knows?

The Chorus rehearsal in the evening was great fun. Because I wasn’t at work, I got to Camden early enough to have dinner with John W, Rich C, David S & Paul L – a thing which was a regular occurrence before my hours changed. Tonight we were doing choreography for ‘Back in Business’ and it all went fairly smoothly; we got the whole thing in the bag before break. After break there was a twenty-minute discussion about the Choir of the Year competition. This resulted in the decision that we wouldn’t participate after all. Lots of people felt we should do it, but not nearly enough actually could/would do it. We rounded-off the night revising the choreography for the other two numbers; Keep it Gay and All Girl Band, both of which polished-up fairly quickly.

Today is the anniversary of Simon’s death, so I’ll be lighting a candle for him somewhere later on, but today is mostly going to be a continuation of yesterday’s geeky stuff; I’ve set up a virtual server on my desktop machine so that I can muck around with Release 2 of Windows Server 2003. I’ve been meaning to get around to evaluating it for weeks at work, but now I can spend all day at it (and all night if I wish!) After that I might try some of the security tools I picked up following the course I was on in January.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

A Week To Come

Well, after a busy few days clearing my desk, I’m finally on leave for a week. Time to decompress a bit. Time to do stuff I want to do. No deadlines. No pressure.

Went to see Inside Man with Brett last night which was quite good. Today we had brunch with Ping at the Four Seasons in Canary Wharf, which has a marvellous buffet. Tonight we watched the Rent DVD that Brett bought me(?) for my birthday.

Tomorrow? Who knows.

Preparation is Everything

The Choir of the Year competition looks likes it’s going to be troublesome; I attended the polishing rehearsal on Thursday night along with only twenty others. It had to be one of the more productive rehearsals I’ve been to recently, but we really needed more people. The issue seems to be the topic of conversation in the Chorus at the moment; whether enough people will commit, whether there’s been enough notice for everyone, whether we should book a bus to get to the venue, whether we can be ready in time…

Well, there certainly hasn’t been enough notice or preparation for us to take part in a major competition. Two rehearsals, squeezed in separately from the main Monday night rehearsals? People have other commitments in their lives. An out of town venue, with no organised transport or expenses paid? Not everyone has a car or the means to travel. It’s a last-minute rushed job that certainly shouldn’t be.

I hope we can get a decent-sized group together. I hope we can get the sound together in time. But it shouldn’t be such a last-minute, burning-the-midnight-oil venture. There’s only so much you should have to give to your ‘hobby’!