Sunday, July 27, 2008

Chris' 40th and Batman

It’s been a sticky weekend. The flat seems to be a heat trap. It will be a bonus in the winter when it’s cold, but now it just means the house is stiflingly hot all day long.

Yesterday we slept late and did house stuff; still trying to organise all the square-pegs into round holes. In the evening we had been invited to Chris P’s 40th birthday party, so we went in to the City early to catch some dinner at Smiths of Smithfield. We ate in their top floor restaurant and had an excellent meal. I had probably the tenderest steak I’ve ever eaten; truly delicious. The bill was a stupendous £150 for the two of us though, so it’s not something we’ll do too often – although we rationalised it a bit because we hadn’t done nearly as much top table dining in Spain as we have in previous years at Sitges.

Chris’ bash was very pleasant as we spent the evening outdoors. Admittedly it was mostly chatting with people with whom we’d spent last week, but there were also a few faces we hadn’t seen in a while; Stuart B, Marc D & Roddy, Russell E, Paul L & Martin K were all there too which added to the enjoyment.

Today I spent sorting out the photographs from the Spain trip; putting the last tranche on Facebook and uploading the lot of them to a collection on Flickr. This evening we went into Beckenham for (unremarkable) Tex-Mex at Dos Amigos before going to see the new Batman movie, The Dark Knight.

The cinema was stifling hot; no air conditioning and pretty much no ventilation. It was like watching a movie in a sauna. The movie was too long and had too many villains in it; the Joker would have been big enough and kept the movie to time. Adding Two-Face just dragged it out when really it didn’t need it. I have to say also that some of the stunts/plot devices the Joker pulled were just too implausible for me. [Spoilers follow!] Wiring a hospital for complete demolition in the space of sixty minutes whilst avoiding notice with a face like that? Yeah, right! And the business with the ferries at the end; all those barrels and detonators – and nobody noticed? And such an immaculate moral dilemma to go with it! If you haven’t seen it, wait for the DVD.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Art and Work

Well, it was a short week at work, but it was certainly eventful.

The course I had been on for the first half of the week finished around 4pm on Wednesday and I had a couple of hours to kill before the company’s Summer Party so I took myself off to the nearby Tate Modern to see what was new in art. I must be getting old because pretty much everything I saw was dreadful (in my humble opinion, at least.) And they didn’t even have any big installations to marvel at in the turbine hall!

The company party itself was quite pleasant; free drink in quantity, free food of reasonable quality and a chance for lots of informal chatting with people I don’t see so often around the office. I left early though (which was probably no bad thing given how much I’d drunk) because we had tickets to see the ‘Shitty Deal Puppet Theatre’ show at the Battersea Arts Centre Comedy Festival. In the end, the name turned out not to be ironic and the show was totally unremarkable. Maybe, as with modern art, I’m not in the avant garde, so I wish them well at the Fringe.

Thursday was my first day back at work and was inevitably busy with ten days worth of mail and other catching up to do. One of my team handed in his resignation which, while not wholly unexpected, felt a little surreal in the moment and added to the business of the day.

Today was consequently also a busy day. I needed to get the recruiting cycle underway but also think this may be a good opportunity to re-jig the team slightly, so needed to consult with various people to make sure that (1) I had my head screwed on right and, (2) that the powers-that-be would buy-in. My concentration wasn’t helped by a failure of our external telephone lines in the London Office in the early afternoon (a major BT outage, apparently affecting roughly ten-thousand of their customers in the SE London area!) which classed as a potential major incident for us and so needed managing. In the end though I got the first draft of a Job Specification written and off for review. Hopefully we can advertise on Monday.

Tonight we had a lazy night. Brett cooked lamb (yum!) and I discovered a mini-mart on the way home from the station that does a big selection of Greek desserts (more yum!!)

And so to the weekend…

Monday, July 21, 2008

Naked in the Leaves

The Thursday night in La Garriga will stay with me for a long time. It’s a small provincial town with some lovely architecture and a small, neat auditorium where the chorus sang with a local male-voice choir who I swear did not have a member younger than 50. They were more tuneful than the ladies had been the previous night, despite clearly lacking any true top tenors. The memorable thing about the night though was just how lovely the people were.

They gave us a tremendous standing ovation, bought all the CDs we had on sale (even our stock of Christmas ones!) and then hosted us to a delicious open-air buffet of local pastries and sangria. As the post-show party got underway, the choirs came together to sing the Catalonian favourite Les Flors de Maig, then they sang us a welcoming song in Catalonian and we returned the favour with a stirring a cappella rendition of Jerusalem. The atmosphere was warm and convivial and my heart really caught in my throat as I listened to them sing; this is what we are about.

The Friday concert was a successful night, although less so, and also very late – a three-hour trip to and from the venue meant we didn’t get to bed until 3am! Even so, on Saturday after packing and checking out, we felt we had to do something other than sit around the hotel, so we spent a few hours in the nearby Blanes; a seaside resort which had the good sense not to run a railway line between the hotels and the beach.

When we finally left for home a chaotic check-in process left me in a grump for the evening but a couple of tunes kept running through my head and tempered my bad mood somewhat; one was the climax of the duet Naked in the Leaves; where the chorus comes almost out of nowhere to a great crescendo in a sequence of beautiful chords, “Impassioned lovers, unafraid, lying naked in the leaves…” The other tune was the trill that seems to have stuck in everyone’s head from Les Flors. All the locals recognised it and, despite the song being a real trial for the boys to learn, they kept bursting into the “Tra la la’s” – even as a group of them were disembarking at Heathrow.

So anyway, I’m almost back to normality (on a course for three days rather than straight back into the office) but am suffering somewhat from the post-holiday blues; missing the camaraderie and the music of the tour.

On the upside we went up to Angel tonight to hear Far From Kansas do the show they are taking up to the Edinburgh Fringe; There’s No Place Like Homo. It was both funny and well sung and, while I do have a few notes to offer to the performers, I shall do it in private having learned from the storm that developed the last time I reviewed an FFK show!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

More Laziness, Less Drinking

Wednesday was another slow starting day. Nothing noteworthy until we got to our evening venue, Castellar del Vallés. There we were met by representatives of the ladies choir with whom we were sharing the show; a lovely bunch of ladies wearing shocking pink blouses which perfectly matched the pink polo shirts worn by a portion of our boys. A photo-frenzy developed once this was noticed.

The venue was an open air stage outside the local town hall. It was a bit worrying when we arrived to see only about forty chairs laid out, but in the typically relaxed Catalonian fashion that I rather like, as the audience strolled in they each went and took another of the folding chairs from the pile by the wall and found themselves a space. I reckon we had over a hundred by the time we started to sing.

The Catalan ladies, lovely though they were, needed a bit of work on their tuning. They also had some interesting accents while they sang Edelweiss and O Happy Day, but I can’t be too disparaging about their pronunciation without wondering what they made of our Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien.

The audience was very appreciative though and our set was roundly applauded: Even the numbers that felt a bit more risqué, for what I suspect was a fairly conservative, older audience. The grand finale (My Way) went down a storm and brought a tear to a few eyes. The encore (the Piaf) brought the same sigh of appreciation from the audience as in Barcelona when we started, but I think failed to build to a proper climax and left me, at least, feeling underwhelmed.

After the show Simon was presented with another souvenir of our trip (we really ought to have something to give in return on these occasions!) and then there were nibbles and drinks with the ladies choir. The merchandising guys took €250 in CD and t-shirt sales, which was very good (and probably better than we did on those lines at Cadogan Hall!)

The trip back to the hotel was marked by lots of singing on the coach; for the most part the front of the bus seemed to be trying to outdo the back of the bus, although at times there were probably as many as five different songs being sung at once…

Caroline (our fly-on-the-wall documentary maker) took advantage of the ride to do some interviews, although I suspect the noise eventually forced her to give it up.

Back at the hotel we made the best of the ‘cold dinner’ that the hotel had laid out for us again before retiring to the terrace for a couple of beers before bed.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Laziness and Drinking

Monday and Tuesday were ‘free’ days; there was nothing scheduled as a group so people did their own thing. Brett and I had a long lie-in on the Monday morning, and then he sunbathed by the pool while I uploaded the previous day’s photographs to Facebook.

Late afternoon we took a walk along the promenade towards town with a few of the other Chorus guys. We were trying to find an old town for a bit of authentic Spanish culture but there wasn’t one. What the locals call the old town all looks to be twentieth century construction. In the end we had a few beers at a community centre/park and discussed Chorus stuff – most of our companions being relative newcomers, it was interesting to hear there perspectives on how we treat newbies and how they think the Chorus could do its stuff better.

Back to the hotel for another dismal dinner and then out onto the terrace by the pool for drinks. It was a very pleasant evening; pretty much everyone was there at some point and returners from Barcelona would join us as they got off the train (which stops across the road from the hotel.)

The bar staff at the hotel seem to resent the fact that we drink so much. The impression I get is that they normally have a much quieter time of it; most of the other guests drift off after the evening entertainment finishes, with just a few die-hards staying later. So by about 11pm they can start clearing up and slowing down. With a gay men’s chorus in residence though, the drinking continues in quantity until the small hours, which means the staff have to work through until closing time. Anyway, after the bar shut twenty or so of us made our way up to one of the hotel rooms where a few bottles of spirits and cartons of sangria had been collected and we carried the party on there.

I had been drinking Spanish brandy all evening which has a lovely flavour and didn’t seem that terribly strong. As a result I’d had five or six of them (continental ‘measures’!) by the time the bar shut but wasn’t feeling much the worse for wear. After we retired upstairs though there was only gin, vodka and sangria to choose from. I had a gin and tonic (in about a 50:50 ratio, it turned out!) and I think my second was a mix of gin and sangria. Within half an hour I was pretty smashed, but still having a good time. Much fun was had by all I think as the atmosphere was very convivial.

Brett and I left the party around 2:45 (but I hear it continued until they got closed down by Hotel Security at 3:30ish). My head was still swimming though when I tried to sleep which always makes me nauseous, so I ended up throwing up a couple of times before I could doze off. It seems to have been for the best though because I woke up clear-headed, if a little sluggish, on Tuesday morning.

It was a late awakening though, so we had breakfast at the café on the promenade. Shortly after getting back to our room Theo and Dennis called by to see if we were still up for a trip to Barcelona. We decided we were and headed out to the train with them.

We had an enjoyable, if tiring, day which can pretty much be summed up as; lunch, Sagrada Familia, bus tour of city, a bit of shopping and then home again. We were up for the bus tour as it had come recommended and we hadn’t done it before. For €20 it turned out to be reasonable value – although most of the things that I would have liked to have photographed were hidden by trees – it gave us a good idea of where we would want to explore more the next time we are back.

When we got back to the hotel Brett, who had been feeling increasingly like he was catching a cold, went up to bed while I went out for a late dinner with Theo D, Dennis M, Martin B & Nicola L. Ended up in a place just being vacated by another Chorus crowd who recommended the tapas and arroz negra. We took their advice and had a lovely meal.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Show in Barcelona

This morning was a welcome meeting for the group followed by a couple of rehearsals for the singers. I attended the welcome meeting to pick up my information pack, but ducked-out of the rehearsal; I was happy to wait until they performed it on stage to hear the Festival Anthem. Having some time on my hands also allowed me to upload yesterday’s blog entry and photos. After the rehearsal we went in for a late lunch of standard resort-hotel buffet cuisine and an hour or so later met up to board our buses into Barcelona.

When our guide on the coach told us some of the superlatives that had been used about the venue for the show, the Palau de la Musica Catalana in Barcelona, I was rather sceptical. When we got into the auditorium though, I changed my mind. I don’t know if I have the architectural background to describe it properly, but my impression was of a fusion of Catalan/Basque, Gaudi and Classical styling. There were ceramic fragment mosaics everywhere, the ceiling had a huge stained glass skylight which came down to a pendant central sun motif, there were full-size, full-relief winged horses flying out of the pillars on the upper balcony and the proscenium arch, such as it was, formed the meeting of sculpted riders and soldiers(?) on one side and a forest filled with the flowers of May on the other.

The stage itself was decorated with part-painted and part-relief sculptures of musicians looking down on the performers; all surmounted by a large organ and curtained galleries.

As there were four other choirs with numbers to rehearse, plus the combined choruses to rehearse the Anthem, ‘Les Flors de Maig’, stage-time was strictly limited and almost as soon as the rehearsal was over, we had to clear to let the public in.

The show went fairly well. Personally I think a couple of the earlier choirs were a little samey; a couple of long programs of similar music. The Bulgarian Boys Choir though had a fairly short repertoire which they performed beautifully – with a vocal precision that should make us weep! Our own slot went off fairly well; the audience seemed to like both the classical numbers and the more modern ones; they started applauding as soon as we started singing ‘Non, je ne regrette rien’! They were a bit bemused by ‘I Feel Pretty’ though (probably not a song with which they are that familiar) and given that the choreography for the number was so ragged, I would rate it the low-point of the set.

After the show, it was a fairly swift turnaround; we were out of the Palau in short order and after a bit of socialising in the forecourt we snaked our way back towards the coach, pausing only to rush into a small shop on the way and buy them out of cheap (and nasty!) baguettes for the journey home. Applause and congratulations from audience stragglers as we walked away from the venue!

Most of the chorus (those who hadn’t bought baguettes) hurried down to the dining room as soon as we hit the hotel as we had been promised a cold dinner. Having seen that ilk before I wasn’t surprised when it turned out to be plates of cold luncheon meat and processed cheese (turning a slightly funny colour for having been left out so long.) I supplemented my gin-and-tonic with a quarter of one of the sliced melons they had laid out for dessert. Afterwards there was a bit of a gathering around the pool as beer and cocktails were consumed by all.

It was all fairly tame stuff until Soon N arrived in the bar. Soon likes costumes; every week at rehearsal he comes as a different character, typically a uniform of some sort. This evening he was in full Leather Master drag. I didn’t see his entrance into the bar myself, but I know there were plenty of non-chorus guests left over from the earlier flamenco show. I am told that the expressions on some of their faces were priceless.

The show didn’t stop there though; he had brought a studded leather dog collar and lead which he attached to Stephen B (one of our newer Baritones) for a while. Due to a defunct battery though, I was on my way up to our room to pick up my other camera when the evening’s highlight took place. After letting Stephen off the lead, he then took Alisdair L, our illustrious Vice-Chair, for a walk around the hotel pool on all fours! It seems everyone in the hotel – except me – got photos of that…

After that things petered out; people hung around a while but after they closed the bar around 1am the remainder drifted off to bed.

The Journey

Holiday mode kicked-in as we were sitting on the car park courtesy bus. We’d arrived exactly on schedule and as we waited to be bussed to our terminal, my body finally gave in, started manufacturing endorphins again and I relaxed.

From there on in the trip was a breeze; we met up with the guys, checked-in (securing exit seats with lots of legroom), had an enjoyable flight (lots of chatting, some singing (uh-oh!)) and got to the hotel in good time. Our room is as expected and as far as I can tell is away from noise (bars, roads, service-areas) so it’s good. The hotel even has free wi-fi – although the signal doesn’t quite reach our room, so I’m going to have to lurk in the lobby to upload this post.

I’m taking lots of photos and, while it has it’s drawbacks, the little Canon point-and-shoot I brought is still able to take some good candid shots of the boys at play.

Highlight of the day: Sitting on the plane, sipping my second gin-and-tonic, resisting the urge to read, blog, listen to music, etc. in favour of just sitting there and enjoying having nothing to do and so, doing nothing.

Saturday, July 12, 2008


The waiting is always the worst of most things.

I woke up this morning not feeling terribly well rested and somewhat irritable and negative, which made the usual packing hassles even more of a trial for both of us. Now that we are packed and ready to go, there’s nothing really to do until the appointed hour, which I’m finding frustrating too.

Hopefully this is not prophetic of how the rest of the week will go; I am not sure I will be good company for anyone if it is. With any luck though, I will click into Holiday Mode when we meet up with the guys at the airport and none of us will look back.

Friday, July 11, 2008


I had a fairly therapeutic day at work today; things were quiet enough that I spent most of the day organising and managed to spend pretty much the whole afternoon clearing and tidying my desk. I feel I’ve left everything in order and under control and hopefully won’t have any nasty surprises waiting for me when I get back. It’s a good feeling to be going away on!

I ran into Damian F this afternoon; he got back from the Antipodes last night and had snuck in to organise his own desk in advance of his official return on Monday. We chatted a while but he had a fixed smile on his face throughout, and I had visions of him greeting an endless line of well-wishers that he really didn’t want to face, so I left him alone shortly, feeling like I’d intruded.

This evening was getting ourselves sorted for Spain; we leave for Barcelona tomorrow and are spending a week on the Catalan coast. Actually, so far we’re just doing a bit of ironing; we’re not due at LHR until 4pm tomorrow, so most of the actual packing is being put off…

I am really looking forward to it. Chorus trips are usually great social events. As well as the four shows the boys are singing for, we have two whole days and various half-days at leisure to do what we want. I’m going to photograph stuff – some of which will be the Chorus at work and play, but some of which will be for me: It’s a while since I’ve indulged my muse.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

I Made It Through the Rain

Tolerable day at work. The learning curve of some aspects remains steep.

Brett called me up late afternoon though; he was going to a marketing meeting for Various Voices and wondered if I wanted to come along and have a dinner out with him afterwards. I wasn’t feeling muchly sociable, but the meeting was in a pub so I figured I could sit quietly and read during the meeting and then head out with my man afterwards.

After leaving work roughly on time I walked up through Soho to find the place. The weather has been poor these last few days, with sunshine and showers alternating every few minutes, but today was just unresolved grey wetness. The air is pregnant with moisture and a fine mist blows on the wind, so it’s hard to tell sometimes whether carrying your umbrella is helping keep you dry at all.

I had trouble finding the bar where the meeting was being held and, given my already fairly tired and grumpy mindset, was pretty miserable by the time I got there. It was quieter than I’d hoped, so there wasn’t really any hope of me sitting inconspicuously in a corner and reading. Instead I was introduced to the lady leading the meeting (the only other people there when I arrived were Brett and German Martin B from the Chorus, although others arrived about an hour later) and I sat down and started quaffing the proffered red wine.

Actually the red wine was a bad idea; I had had an early lunch and no dinner and, despite snacking on some humus and pitta bread, the wine settled into my bones so I was feeble and sleepy throughout the rest of the evening and spent a fair portion of it dozing against Brett (which the other attendees claimed to find adorable…)

A curious coincidence though; a little way into the evening John Mc turned up at the bar with his friend Richard for dinner. It’s a small gay world.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Unpalatable Issues

An unsatisfying day at work. Didn’t really have that much to do, but having time on my hands underlined my natural tendency to shy away from issues which I know need addressing but which I don’t feel confident in handling. A long coffee break with Rob S, while partly very pleasant and sociable, also covered some of those issues and reminded me of my own inadequacies.

Work worries of a different sort too; Damian F came to mind again this afternoon when I had cause to deal with his project (one of our company’s largest). He was abruptly called home to New Zealand two weeks ago when his mother died of a sudden heart attack. Following the advice of the good Zinnia Cyclamen, I avoided the typical British response of saying nothing when you don’t know quite what to say and also exchanged emails with him last week. But email is a soulless medium and it is difficult to judge the worth of your words at such a distance, knowing virtually nothing of the situation at the far end. He is a good guy though and I hope he is coping with his loss, for he surely doesn’t deserve suffering.

On the (personal) up-side, while taking another break and enjoying a coffee outside our local branch of Eat, who should walk by but Him J from the Chorus. He sat with me and we chatted a while, which was pleasant and helped distract me from work worries. I think I knew he was a student, but hadn’t realised he was based so close by.

I am also beginning to really look forward to the Chorus’ trip to Spain which begins this coming weekend. As I am not singing this season I think I get the best of both worlds; I get the social enjoyment of a chorus tour without having to put in the work to rehearse and sing. I am not going as a total hanger-on though; having volunteered to be the ‘official’ chorus photographer I have some duties to perform, but as photography is really a hobby I don’t mind it so much.

I wonder though if I am looking forward to the trip so much because I am genuinely weary and need a break, or because it means I can avoid facing those unpalatable issues a little longer…

Sunday, July 06, 2008

View Across the Void

Okay, so it’s exactly five months since last I posted an entry here.

Shit happens.

Life has been busy; lots happening and various minor stresses. That seems to be lifting, or at least I seem to be coming back into a blogging frame of mind; I’ve been catching up on my various Bloglines subscriptions – even commenting on a couple.

No promises offered about continuity of service at this address yet though.

Let’s do a one-post catch-up on the life since February, shall we?

At work, February and March were very busy with work; I was managing the project to replace the telephone systems in our UK offices, which had all kinds of ancillary network requirements that needed to be met. I did some prodigious amount of travelling up and down the country and in the end it all came together quite nicely. Now that that’s over though, I need to get my teeth properly into being ‘A Manager.’ It’s a quite a steep learning curve for me; my people skills have never been the best, so that’s what I’m focussing on right now. It certainly isn’t easy, but I keep telling myself that nothing worth doing ever is and if I can reach a passable level of competence it will be a real feather in the cap of my CV.

Owen got a new job at one of our competitors. Luckily we’re both in support roles (he’s finally doing the Knowledge Management he loves) so there doesn’t look like there’ll too many conflicts of interest in us bitching about work over lunch!

Socially, I went to see the Little Women musical at RADA in February which I enjoyed a lot more than I expected. I shall have to keep up with their performance schedules in future.

In February we did some serious planning for our wedding, picking up catalogues and visiting a spot or two. It quickly became apparent that we could spend a lot of money very quickly and we scaled back our ideas somewhat.

In the end though the wedding got put on hold by force majeure; at Easter, our landlord wrote to advise that he wouldn’t be renewing our lease when the current one ran out at the end of May (it turns out he was selling the property.) We had to decide fairly quickly whether we wanted to go for another cheap rental property for six-to-twelve months to keep on building up our deposit, or to take a risk and stretch ourselves financially to buy now. In the end we decided to try to buy; the cost and hassle of moving to another rental for another short period of time were not attractive.

So Brett extended his contract in Stratford-upon-Avon to make sure we had a good cash-flow over the moving period and I dropped out of the Chorus’ show to have more time to spend organising. On the whole everything went smoothly and, in early June, we moved into a lovely first-floor flat in Catford. As I write we are all unpacked, but still in need of a few square pegs fitted into round holes and some general organising of stuff. Very happy with the place though and so glad to be owning our own at last.

The weekend after we moved in we had an invite to a wedding down in Canterbury. Paul C and Sue G, both former colleagues from my Folkestone days, were finally getting married and had invited me along to their reception afterwards. Paul, for all that he puts himself across as a clown, actually has one of the most sensible heads on his shoulders of anyone I’ve ever met. I have a lot of time for Paul and Sue both, so I was quite touched to be invited to their wedding. They also made a bit of a fuss of us for coming down to see them, which was sweet. We had a fine evening listening to the brief, but funny, speeches and then me drinking good cognac and Brett trying to work out the strange dancing customs of British weddings.

In other news, our friends Mark G & Chris Mc have moved to Sri Lanka; Mark works for the Foreign Office and it was time for his next overseas posting. It sounds like they’ve found themselves a lovely spot though and their friends (including us!) are queuing up to take advantage of their hospitality as a base to explore the tropical paradise. Before they went though, they had a leaving party which started respectably enough in a wine bar on Trafalgar Square but then went on to a Karaoke venue in Leicester Square. I had initially balked at the idea of karaoke but in the end thoroughly enjoyed myself – not sure that I convinced anyone that I am Britain’s next pop-sensation, but no-one seemed to mind my singing and everyone had a thoroughly good time.

Actually the general trend amongst my friends does seem to be ‘moving away’ at the moment! Mark & Chris have gone ex-pat-for-pay, Joe R has gone into tax-exile in Eastern Europe, Ping is spending more time in Malaysia and John Mc has gone on sabbatical from his job (so I’ve lost him as an occasional lunchtime companion.) It seems to be all change. That said, we are now living closer to Rod & Jess in Forest Hill, and we hope to see more of them… before they sell-up and move down to Wimbledon.

Ah, well, such is life. I’ll have to make a few new friends to spend time with.

On the plus side, Chris C has been down a couple of times and we have found an agreeable routine of margaritas and Brazilian food at a South Bank restaurant to do our catching up. The last I heard, he was interviewing for an interesting-sounding new job which would have meant him spending more time in London.

Curtis also dropped me a line to say he was hoping to organise a trip to London in October; a couple of the great bands of his teenage years are doing gigs here over the same weekend and it sounds like an opportunity just too good to pass up.

After a fairly hectic few months, we are going to be spending a few weeks in Austria come September. My parents have rented a chalet there near Salzburg and Brett and I will be using one of their spare bedrooms as a base for a bit of rest and recuperation and then some serious sight-seeing.

Before that though we’re going to be spending a week in Catalonia with the Chorus. As I’m not singing, I’m going to spend my time documenting the trip photographically. (Partly because Michael C who is the Chorus’ usual photographer isn’t on the trip and partly because it’s so long since I did any serious photography myself!)

The parents came to visit last weekend to see the new flat and we had a pleasant time around Catford and the West End, caught a couple of shows (That Face & Avenue Q) and generally ate well.

Coming back to the present; last night was the second of the two concerts the Chorus are doing on the theme of Innocence & Experience, mostly based around William Black. Friday night was an okay show, but last night was really quite impressive – and fortunately was being recorded for the archive. Again, I wasn’t singing, so I volunteered to help with the front-of-house merchandising and spent a pleasant couple of evenings chatting to Geoff F, one of our latest new intake who couldn’t sing this concert and so, like me, made himself useful selling programmes and CDs.

So that’s the quick update. Let’s see what happens next.