I am not quite sure where all the time went yesterday, but I know that I did pretty much no composing at all. It was instead a day of chores and duties, trips to the tip with the car full of cardboard, treks to the Post Office with parcels, those kinds of errands. By the time the evening rolled around we opted for a takeaway and an evening in front of The Thing.
I read that the film was a critical failure when it was first released, but it sits right at the top of my favourite science fiction films, dealing with the same question that runs through Alien – what if you don’t lock it out but lock it in? The Thing also has on its side that it is set in the early eighties, when it was made, so it neatly bypasses that whole thing of the future looking like, well, the early eighties that you get in so many other films of the genre.
I love, for example, that in Aliens or Planet Of The Apes they are all sitting around puffing merrily on cigarettes in the future because, of course, that is very much the safest thing that you could possibly do on a space station. At least The Expanse gives a credible version of the future, with its swipe screens and constant arguments between the various factions of humankind who still focus on what makes them different rather than what keeps them the same.
Morricone’s score contributes greatly to the success of The Thing, of course, a neat blend of orchestra and synthesizer with that pulsing bass rhythm evoking a heartbeat, clever stuff. He knows that less is more, unlike in so many more modern productions where the omnipresence of music telling you exactly what to think is about as welcome as ketchup on a salad.
This morning, having rejigged my working day slightly, I have begun work on a new piece, a submission for a competition that I intend to put together over the next month alongside work on orchestrating the symphony. When days are full of other duties the writing can slip away, so getting that particular work in before everything else gets in the way is definitely The Thing to do.