I wrote a post yesterday about how busy I was and, in a wonderful stroke of irony, ended up being too busy to post it, but the positive side is that I made very good progress indeed on the current piece by sacrificing my editorial duties to you, dear reader. If I can keep this rate of work up today than I can use tomorrow to do some polishing and refining before the piece goes off to its competition’s inbox, but the blog comes first this time around.

In the likely event that this composition does not win then I can always use it next year for a similar endeavour, although I would be very happy indeed to have this work do well and then have to write something new down the line. Alongside this were various other bits and pieces yesterday, all sorts of demands and stresses that are pulling me in all directions, physically and mentally.

I was out rehearsing with RetroChic last night, a really productive session in which the new keyboard stand was used in anger, a decent investment but one well made. I also spent part of the day dealing with a few bumps in the road regarding another band, bumps not of my own making but which I might be able to smooth over.

It was sad to read that both Jonathan Miller and Clive James are no longer with us, both distinctly powerful intellects, and both fascinating, erudite and witty people with that verve and desire for knowledge that seems so distinctly unfashionable of late. James I admired especially from a young age because of his love for Formula One and the commentaries on the official videos (as they were then) of the early eighties, which were as insightful as they were funny, acerbic and touching at the same time.

I met James twice, fleetingly and en passant, but in the past few years I have been reading his late poetry with a mixture of astonishment and pleasure, for it is powerful stuff, the writing of a man who knows his end is near and inevitable and who is facing regrets and thoughts in a manner that betrays personal turmoil but also a deep knowledge of and love for the craft of words. Oh, and there’s also that breath-stealing translation of Dante, not something one might have seen mentioned in the obituaries that, in this day and age, tend to focus so sharply on the televisual. Do yourself a favour today and broaden your conception of the man.