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Days 79: Christmas Shopping

Hey all! The last few days have been pretty uneventful and have mainly involved travelling back to France. I’m here now, and the snow is really deep. I’m totally looking forward to some skiing and everything will be back on track probably tomorrow!

Either way, I have drifted a bit from my purpose. Granted, it’s difficult while you’re travelling and saying goodbye to friends and enjoying the treats of Yorkshire Ales. I’m pretty sure I put on some weight while I’m away but I’m ready to start again. It’s good to have a break (although luckily not a total break) so that I can come back refreshed and ready to start again.

I spent most of today meeting friends for coffee and then walking around York’s great set of shops looking for Christmas presents. In the evening I attended a concert up at the University of interesting works for actress and bass clarinet, including a premiere of a really interesting piece by the composer William Brooks based on a study of W.B. Yeats’ experiments with “Chaunting”, a kind of reading technique that is pitched to the strings of a psaltery but not sung. I had seen Bill’s seminar on the piece on Tuesday and was really interested, and I found the piece very moving. I was so impressed in fact that I bought a kindle copy of the book that his research was chiefly derived from (“The Last Minstrels: Yeats and the revival of the Bardic Arts” by Ronald Schuchard) to read on the long car journey home the next day.

After that I had a nice evening with composer friend TwoBlueNotes and two writer friends who I shall call TheDeadPoets. Much gayety was had and, because it was the last night in York, I just had to go for a curry. I had been missing curry ever since the day I left – York has some of the best curry houses in England, and drinking, eating curry and talking crap about music used to be pretty much my life.

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Days 63-66: York Again!

Sorry everyone, I’ve not found it easy to update the blog, or indeed to exercise, so far since I’ve been in York.

I have had an amazing time though. I visited the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival on day 63 to see a friend’s premiere as part of the Professional Composers’ Developmental Scheme, something that I was involved with a couple of years ago, writing for the dutch group Nieuw Ensemble. The concert went really well and I have a good catch up with my friend. In general sine I have been back I’ve also had the luxury of being around musicians and talking about musical things which has been great.

On day 64 I had a supervisor meeting and lots of coffee and lunch etc. with friends again. My supervisor is very sanguine about the length of time it’s taking me to finish the orchestral piece and has advised me not to rush it. It apparantly doesn’t make too much difference if I spend a couple more months than expected on it, and a lot of his students have all submitted at the same time, which means he could do with more time. No problem there. I don’t want it to drag out myself, but equally it would be nice to free myself up a bit and spend some time over detail without always feeling that I’m getting nowhere fast.

On day 65 I got a much needed haircut and spent some time with some of my sillier and lovelier friends, crashing a Gilbert and Sullivan Pirates of Penzance rehearsal. It’s fun to just have a bit of a sing sometimes and I did. Drinks were also had and much hilarity ensued.

Day 66 was the day of the wedding, which was absolutely brilliant and involved spending time with some very lovely people, who I miss a lot. Much food was eaten and drink imbibed, opinions expressed, gossip passed, shapes thrown, in a breugelian fantasy of fun. The bride looked absolutely beautiful and everyone was on great form. Extremely happy for my two friends and so glad to have been there for their wedding!

And here I am on day 67, which has yet to unfold. I might go for a walk along the walls to start to pick things up again. It’s much harder here to keep up with exercise. It’s so easy when you have a mountain on your doorstep and less jerky weather. I have been, unfortunately, very indulgent this week and am feeling bad about it, however it has been fun. I’ve also drunk a lot more than I have in the last 62 days, which will make a big difference.

It’s probably time to cut down a bit and I probably will. Let’s see how it goes.

À bientot dear readers, or as we’re in York, Later dudes.

Day 58: Work/Admin Day + Choir

Well today I ad to get on with work, as is becoming an annoyingly frequent occurance and won’t stop until I’ve got this damned monkey off my back. What prevented me exercising today was spending about 3 hours organising my complex UK trip and buying al the tickets and accomodation.

I’m at least getting near to the end of inputing this section into Sibelius, which is progress, but frustratingly not enough. Writing an orchestral piece is hard work.

One thing did happen – BF had arranged for me to meet the organisers of a local choir that meets in briançon to find out about it and whether I could get involved. I’ve been trying to get something like this because it’s becoming increasingly lonely with just the three of us and nobody of my own interests, or musical activities.

The couple we met were extremely welcoming to their house, where we met, and I instantly warmed to them. My French however deserted me completely during this liaison and I ws frequently in the dark. What I gleened was that it was a choir for anyone to come to, with no pressure to attend all the rehearsals, that the repertoire was very easy and they’d be happy to have me along. In fact it seems the equivalent of a choir that I conducted for 6 years, a fact I didn’t mention because I didn’t want to appear above it all really.

It sounded charming and I’m going to attend when I get back from the UK. If nothing else, it’s a great opportunity to make friends and to improve my French, which, judging by that meeting is in dire need of improving!