Saturday was another of those days which included a whole pile of work on my composition, but without putting a single note down onto paper. I spent most of my working day firing off emails and seeking out a new text to substitute for the one I have failed to attain permission to use. I also finally got around to uploading the new version of my website, a facelift rather than a redesign, but that also entailed a fair amount of time sorting out the small things which were not quite right. I will be working a little more on it over the next couple of weeks or so, without a doubt, but it is slightly leaner and easier to navigate, and now has those buttons at the foot of the page that everybody seems to have nowadays.
My “last day of the holidays” feeling hit me hard, and I shall miss my lazy evenings once work gets back into full swing, although it is never as bad as I imagine it to be, and at least I will not have to fight through the wind and the rain at stupid o’clock any more. On the occasions I am awoken and I can hear the elements lashing at the bedroom window in the pitch dark I am torn between relief that I no long have to get up, and disbelief that I ever did it. I cannot quite believe what I put myself through only four or five years ago. No wonder I was tired all the time and concerned that I had no spare moments, and maybe that is why I am so protective of my free time these days. I should really relax a bit more when I am off the clock, though.
I had two great performances on Sunday, the Blackheath Mass at St. Mary Abbots in the morning and Sweet Was The Song at All Saints, Margaret Street in the evening. Hearing the latter, conducted brilliantly – what else? – by Paul Brough felt a little like putting the Christmas decorations away. This little and unassuming carol has garnered a following over the past couple of months, but now it must go into hiding until the end of this year. I shall certainly be pushing it harder and earlier in 2012. As for the Blackheath Mass, it was superbly performed under the trusty direction of Mark Uglow. I know that I bang on about how fortunate I am, but I am genuinely grateful to have so many great musicians onside when it comes to my music.
Having pushed my compositions as much as possible post-service, with some leads to be followed, I arrived home to find that two of my not-quite-there commissions had been confirmed, one of them the piece for which I had been text-hunting. This nearly made up for having entirely forgotten about submitting an application for a post. Maybe I really was on holiday! Two lessons have been learned – firstly that I should be more organised, secondly that I probably wasn’t too fussed about it in the first place. I like to think that I’ll be too busy this year to have been able to do the job anyway. We shall see.
As the new week begins, and with it the working year proper for me, I now have two commissions ready to start. The first, with the new text, is for a service in March – I’ll write more once I know more – and the other is for a carol service in December, so quite a long lead time on the latter. Add to that We Three Kings and there is enough to keep me ticking along at the moment. To have three commissions on the go at any one time is great news for me, and yet I still want more.
On Saturday afternoon the wind whistled though my email folders, rustling the one entitled ‘JEBO’. For those who have only just happened on this blog, JEBO is the band in which I play, and we aren’t too shabby. Go hunting on Amazon. Why, I wondered, did I have four new messages? Well, the monster stirs. It looks at last as though we will be recording a third album, as some very basic versions of some very unbasic songs have begun to appear in my inbox. The good news is that they continue where the second album left off. I still think that Settle Up Or Settle Down is a great album, and the fact that it is judged alongside other stuff in Classic Rock magazine just shows who we are being compared to. Our technical team is second to none, and I still defy anyone to find a better drum sound than Jeff’s on Settle. As Johnny Burns, our producer, said to me when I mentioned the drum sound to him – “What do you expect? I did record Phil Collins’ drums for three years…”
The new year has begun nicely, all the more so for the JEBOnaut having stirred once again. I have commissions lined up, performances too, and this weekend has been positive in terms of future work. I go back to work light in step and mind and ready to tackle the twelve months ahead. Sweet Was The Song sits in my pocket for the end of the year like a Get Out Of Jail Free card, but, in the meantime, there is plenty to be getting on with. Please do tag along for the ride.