23. March 2014

Hello there! It has been a while … but guess what!? I’ve been busy … no really!? I’m currently in Ipswich and half-way through a touring production of “Threepenny Opera” (Brecht/Weill) and playing Maisie a bassoon & clarinet playing prostitute … no really!? The learning curve on this latest Sonia adventure has been incredibly huge and won’t stop until the tour does mid-May I imagine. My biggest challenge has been 1. staying awake, 2. remembering everything and 3. trying to tame Beryl (bassoon) and Fred (clarinet) on a daily basis. The cast & crew have been marvellous and the whole ruddy experience has been life-changing. I have been away from home since 19th January and really miss my dog every so much … (oh and Doodles of course!?).

So I’m planning some changes on this here blog thingie … appearance, organisation … everything really. This will happen very s-l-o-w-l-y … x

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22. Autumn : all change!

It is already creeping towards the end of November and I find myself living in Grantown-on-Spey … What a strange and unexpected year 2013 has turned out to be and mostly for the good I hasten to add. I’ve travelled, made music of all sorts and found a new peace and resolve at my lot in life. Not too shabby x

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21. Oh dear …..

Short post from London ! Apologies for being (as ever!) a completely rubbish blogger! Summer went past in a flash and after a sleepy August (literally sleepy for I was mostly asleep!?) September has brought more musical madness. Glasgow Studio Orchestra is back in full swing, I’m joining Edinburgh Film Music Orchestra in October and am currently in London again for Paraorchestra rehearsals and concert later tonight. ‘Tis all completely marvellous and unexpected. I keep expecting to wake up on my former place on the sofa in the living room watching Buffy DVDs for the zillionth to find it is all just a very nice dream! But not actually a dream as did
E currently in a London black cab avec le very grumpy driver. He looked at the wheelchair, frowned deeply. I smiled sweetly and suggested “ramp?!” ……. “Mutter, mutter … (

Something no doubt very rude)” x

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20. Pondering life and happenings …

Oh my giddy aunt I seem to have been a completely rubbish blogger again! No excuses, just a bit of a health blip followed by lots and lots of happenings. Best just to get stuck right in!

Won’t bore you with details of health gubbins. Much more interesting is the Edinburgh International Film Festival (#Edfilmfest) Composer Lab I attended last week with 7 other (frankly rather marvellous) unique composing persons. The “Lab” (seems to be a term often used for gatherings of this nature) involved a whole week of industry events, talks and film screenings. A wide range of industry persons involved in different aspects of writing film music pondered the art of composing music from varying perspectives. Advice ranged from wise, jaded to Hollywood via cynical but all words imparted were real and this was valued more than a fairy tale imagining of how a career in this industry might be carved. I loved the advice and hearing about how each successful film music professional had each created their individual path into this fascinating field. I also adored meeting the other 7 lab participants who each write music in a genuine and personal way. And best of all is news that we get to do it all again in October but this time in Ghent ….. tee hee!

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately. Quite a usual occupation for me. I like to think over things that have happened and things that are coming up and make sense of it all in relation to the present. A kind of mindfulness of your own life journey if you like. Since becoming disabled (physically impaired … differently-abled and whatnot) it’s probably quite common to ponder life a bit more !? And so comes another transition I reckon. One where I start to believe I can do things and be useful, wheelchair or not …

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19. Mid-year review, taking stock and planning a mental tidy!

Being a few days into June it occurred to me that we are roughly at the mid-point of 2013. Firstly, how the hilly hillocks did that happen !? And secondly, aaaaaaarrrrrgggghhhhh I’m a whole 6 months older. Oh well, onwards and if not upwards exactly then forwards most definitely!

2013 has so far been a year of constant change, challenge and rallying against a tendency towards hiding in the cupboard with flower-pot on head. Together with the usual catalogue of disasters have come delights in equal measure. That is the most surprising thing for to be frank (or Norbert) there are usually a whole heap of unfortunate happenings (usually involving one injury or another) followed by lengthy periods of hiding. The difficulty in continuing to hide when you’ve made a conscious decision to embrace life has been both joyous and excruciating. I still relish my hermit tendencies but in a more controlled environment !? x

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18. A very eventful journey …..

Hello on this delightful final day in May. I thought it was about time I polluted your minds with more of my nonsensical whitterings …

Yesterday afternoon saw one of my most convoluted attempts to travel ever. How so? I have been trying for over a month to attend rehearsals for my beloved Glasgow Studio Orchestra without success due to continuing battles with my own body (hips popping out of sockets and other jolly happenings … !?). The journey had been managed most smoothly the previous evening and I had anticipated another seamless repeat version yesterday. This was not to be as the following list of unfolding disasters will explain …

1. Midlothian council decide to fix the collapsed drain at the foot of my drive-way (where a vehicle such as perhaps a disabled taxi may wish to pull into) 5 minutes before the aforementioned disabled taxi was due to arrive. This unscheduled repair involved 2 trucks completely blocking exit, 4 charming builders and a lot of whistling (on a happier note the sun was shining!). I was at this moment flailing at the top of my drive seated in Vince wheelchair of delights.

2. The blasted disabled taxi forgot to turn up (!?). I am slightly perturbed. This is a specialist wheelie taxi company which allows the travelling wheelie to cover greater distances door-to-door for far less British pounds (£6) than an average taxi (£26) with the bonus feature of a lot less man-handling.

3. Now slightly irritated I phone local taxi companies to take me from my house to the nearest bus stop so I can travel into Edinburgh to catch Mr Choo-choo train to Glasgow. I can hardly hear myself think over the blasted chirpy whistling builders (I have also viewed more unexpected male bum cleavage than is healthy for one late May afternoon). I am slightly more irritated. There is not one taxi to be had as it’s 2.45pm and all cabs are engaged on school runs apparently until after 4pm. I say a swear word which makes the chirpy whistling cease momentarily ….. “What’sa matter hen?” .

4. Decision time ….. do I attempt climbing the hill in wheelie to the bus stop myself or do I wait 2 hours for Doodles to finish work and arrive home with lovely car. Hmmmm ….. I thought of the previous rehearsals I’d been unable to attend …… Hmmmm. Right! It’s up the blasted hill I go!

5. Bad decision! I’m more than a little grumpy now and poised halfway up the hill. I can go no further, my arm muscles are screaming in protest and have strength to neither go up nor down ….. “Bugger! “….”Pardon dear” …. a nice old lady has appeared and proceeds to push me with her grandson round the bend (literally and not out of my mind!?) and up the hill a little further. Lovely! Slightly less perturbed and with renewed conviction I push upwards once more ….

6. “Bugger! ” …… I’m stuck again a few yards further. And what’s more I’m being stared at intensely by a very nervous staffie. “Sorry hen, he’s never seen a wheelchair before …. Come here and say hello Leonard” …… “Arf …. grrrrrr ….. woof …… slurp” (I’m now being licked to death !). This nice Midlothian lady helps me up the rest of the hill and along the main road a little bit to the bus stop. I thank her profusely, get another slobbery kiss from Leonard and she’s off.

7. I’m at the bus stop, the bus is coming and I realise I’ve forgotten my bus pass ……. “Bugger”. In another moment I’m on the bus and Mr nice driver person has waived the fare. A calm 10 minutes follows. 30 seconds later comes the horrible realisation that the bus (which has fast become my haven of rest and recovery) is GOING THE WRONG WAY! “FECK!”.

8. A further 10 minutes later and with head in hands I’m at the big local supermarket waiting for Doodles to collect me and take me to Glasgow in the car as it’s now almost 5pm.

9. In the end I completely missed the pre-concert rehearsal (although not through a lack of trying!?) but did actually make the concert! The concert was exhilarating and the audience very effusive in their appreciation!

10. Later that night and when nearing home Don stopped suddenly and we noted a large plastic cone placed over the still-wet tarmac at the end of the drive blocking the entrance. “Botheration!” …… x

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17. May mutterings!

Hello! It’s me again! Being a rubbish blogger as usual! Oh well …. less is more perhaps!? Tis Sunday evening and I’m scribbling on here and goggling the Baftas on telly. There are some Spring flowers (at last!) in the garden and I have changed the header image (at last!)…

So what has been happening? Not as much fun as hoped as have mostly been a bit ill but not to worry …. that’s just how it goes. Musical meanderings have come in the form of writing some music for a Welsh dancer based in Edinburgh (yay!) and gaining a place at the EIFF Composer lab in June.

I enjoyed writing the music for Angharad. She wanted something around 5 minutes long and I took the opportunity to play around with some sound editing software (the free one – Audacity) to create a “stringy soundscape thing”. It still needs a final edit but is almost there. The best part was heading to a dance studio and watching A fitting her choreography to my sounds. Completely captivating and brilliant process and now looking forward more than ever to continuing with the 4 Seasons work again in July with Sheron and to the performance of A’s work in June. Love music and dance so I do!

I’m off again now. Just a quick whittering tonight! Ciao for now x

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