For all the big things that happen in the world, much of change occurs quietly and incrementally, and usually when I am looking the other way. Yesterday, though, I heard the clear alarm of a gentle but fundamental shift as I attempted to buy lunch for me and my brother and was told politely that, no, they did not accept cash.

I know that this is entirely legal, but it did still trigger a desire in me to get down (see, 70s jargon) to the local charity shop, don some flares and pay for a bundle of Rick Wakeman 8-track cassettes with my Green Shield stamps. The cynic or realist in me – delete as appropriate – says that card payments are a pretty nifty way of tracking where we are and what we are buying, so cash will remain my preferred option, at least until Green Shield stamps come back into fashion.

It is probably a tenuous link, but I often feel that my composing is a little like that, a few notes here and a few notes there until an idea comes into shape that suddenly changes and recasts what has come before. Just like yesterday’s unexpected fumble for plastic, one never knows quite when that moment will arrive.

Until then I plough on, and I spent a couple of sessions of yesterday adding notes to the cantata, getting more text allied to some kind of music or other. I am still at the stage of hacking large blocks off the edges of my raw material, but I know that the finished piece lies hidden there in the fabric of the paper, in the pixels on the screen, and I just have to keep working at finding it.

I am back home now for a few days, and will continue with the cantata as well as the Anghiari introductions. There are also one or two other musical engagements to be getting on with, some of them rather left-field, but I shall leave those for another time.

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