I must admit that by the end of yesterday I was completely exhausted, which was not a feeling I had been expecting to encounter during my time off, which is, after all time off. However, the combination of various appointments around and about over the past few days, the emotional trauma of finally sitting through The Rise Of Skywalker, putting to bed an epic which has entranced and betrayed me in equal measure for over forty years, and an intensive and late-finishing RetroChic rehearsal pretty much did me in.

I did also spend a goodly portion of yesterday tidying up and sending out some bits of administrative fodder for the Cantata Of Saint Dunstan, and doing some arrangement work for Southbank Sinfonia. This last bit of work involves four horns which begin “in E” (so a written C is an E) but then two of them change to be “in F” (so now a written C for two horns is an E but for the other two is an F – keeping up?), and three trombones, for whom a C is always a C but each of which uses a different clef. Throw in also that horns traditionally have no key signature and that I was trying to condense all seven parts into four and you can imagine that I was tired in mind as well as body by the end of the day.

In fact, I only made it home with enough time to heat up and eat some soup and to extract my keyboards before I headed out again, so you will hopefully forgive the late posting of this blog, but today’s morning appointment has been cancelled so I am only now settling down to the day’s work. Lest one get the wrong impression, though, please rest assured that this is all good stuff, that this is exactly the kind of thing that I aspire to be doing, so all is sunshine and roses.

As for Star Wars, well, I am of that precise age to have been fully hooked from all the way back when it first emerged, to have lived through the chasmic disappointment of the prequels and then to have had my hopes revived by the final act, a bit like the Jedi themselves. J. J. Abrams can overegg the pudding when trying to be referential and nudge-nudge-wink-wink to those who saw the original films of whatever franchise he happens to be working on, but I felt that he trod the fine line pretty deftly here, and I maintain that the whole nine-film series (ten if you include Rogue One) is an epic achievement of a saga playing out for most of its story in real time, the final trilogy occurring forty years after the central act with actors who are actually forty years older than they were then.

Like the gent in front and to the right of me I blubbed at the death of Leia, the unexpected and brief return of Solo, and at the final extinction of the Skywalker line, but I also rejoiced in the return of the Falcon to its first owner, the sound of Yoda’s single line far off in one of the right speakers, and the epilogue on Tatooine, where it all began. I have always maintained, because I believe it to be true, that Star Wars is really the Ring Cycle in space, but, then again, the Ring Cycle was just the Saga of the Volsungs, and on and on, proving that a good story is a good story. For one moment, as Luke raised his sodden X-Wing from the depths of the ocean, the music was so Wagnerian that I actually thought a Valkyrie might appear or that we would trip straight into Parsifal, but the near fifty year old me was to be disappointed and a little grateful, if truth be told. The eight year old hiding inside me still cannot quite believe that it is all finished.