There’s nothing to sharpen the morning senses like a car crash. I wake get ready and leave the apartment and then call into the town hall to get an I love Hackney badge, cause I do. As I am walking towards the town hall. I hears a blood curdling massive SCREECH. A bus is cut up by a car. There’s a woman on the bus who clearly fell over. The car moved on and I made a conscious decision to remember its number plate. The car did slow down and wait for a minute. But realising that there was no damage to the bus it simply continued. I popped in to the town hall got me badges and came out. The bus was still there – only two people on it plus the driver. As I neared the open door I heard him calling an ambulance . I stepped onto the bus and gave the driver the number of the car, swapped numbers and legged it to the train station.I was going to be late for my first meeting of the day.
And I’m evaluating the tour of Something Dark a piece of theatre I did a while ago. The evaluation period is from August 2005 until now. It a prerequisite of The Arts Council of England who helped fund Something Dark. And evaluation is important. How can one chart development if there is no chart. Think of evaluation as cash flow projections matched to the actual cash flow. Once the two are put together one can see if the projection matches the actuality. Evaluation asks does the projection match the actuality. It’s a fascinating process. The producer of Something Dark is Geraldine Collinge, head of Britain’s number one performance poetry organisation Apples and Snakes based at Battersea Arts Centre where I spend the morning pouring over detail and figures, drinking coffee and discussing what was a wonderful, wonderful tour. But as we discover, lessons are learned. This is development.
Then it’s off to The South Bank for a photo shoot with The Guardian page in G2 called “Portrait of An Artist” . It shall be in the paper on either the following Tuesday 28th or 5thNovember. The photographer is Sarah Lee and coincidentally shot Rankin a few weeks past. She’s ace and is a favourite photographer of someone I knwo at the guardian – always a good sign. We have coffee and then it’s scooting off to The Royal Academy to meet Pete Moser who is down from Morcambe to London for his fathers Birthday. Pete is meeting with the designer of Poetry international whom I have suggested as the designer for the Morcambe events. We meet, all three of us. Then me and Pete find an Irish bar in Piccadilly, to shoot the breeze and wind down after a crazy day.
Finally I get a call from Andy Scott, composer and saxophonist from The Apollo Sax Quartet whom I made an album with some years ago. He is coming to London tonight to an awards ceremony for classical music – the listener awards for BBC Radio three at The Hayward Gallery at The South Bank. Pete leaves and I decide to go. Turns out to be the same awards that Fraser Trainer is on. Fraser Trainer wrote a concerto performed by internationally reknown violinist Viktoria Mullova. His concerto was inspired by a poem of mine called Advice For The Living. I realised that these two were going to one and the same event. Perfect. I haven’t got tickets but figure on calling Jude Kelly the Artistic Director and Producer of The South Bank. Jude is cool and suggests I get over to her and we can go together and set up some time to meet to talk about next years residency.
It is absolutely perfect and a wonderful event. The Champagne and a ridiculously good line in nibbles goes down a treat. Andy Scott won an award for a piece he had written – BRILLIANT. Fraser trainer though one of three did not win. But it was still wonderful. It was good enough for me that his concerto was performed at The BBC Proms at The Royal Albert Hall last year. I still haven’t’t met him, so I hope I haven’t got me facts wrong. I’m not as much blowing my own trumpet as playing his violin. Met Roger Wright, head of Radio Three and likewise David Gallagher who produced me in a documentary about Edgar Allan Poe earlier this year. David, it turns out, is producing this show live. After the awards ceremony in The Hayward Gallery there is the accompanying concert at The Queen Elizabeth Hall.
I attend the first part of the concert which follows: “Steve Martland’s Crossing The Border (1990-1). It is absolutely beautiful. And then, as it has been a long day, I leave. Warm with Champagne. Filled with fish Pie, dainty nibbles right. I slip into the south bank night. I cross the Thames and at night I could almost see the orchestra moving inside it. A flock of elbows as they push the boys. That movement multiplied in an orchestra dressed in black and white is in the choppy black waves under the scattered moon light. It’s all movements. I think about one of the questions that the Guardian asked me for the article “what music would describe your life” it asked. And my answer was not reggae nor was it funk, nor was it rap – all of which Icould have chosen beautiful work. I chose “Swan of Tuonela by jean Sibelius.
At 11.30pm I do a telephone interview with BBC London Radio and the wonderful presenter that is Tessa Dunlop. Tessa came to see Something Dark at Battersea Arts Centre a year or so ago. This interview is about The John Llewellyn Rhys Prize of which I am a judge. We have chosen the winner and the prize will be given out on December 6th at City Inn in Westminster. We end up talking about The Madonna situation. The adoption and the subject distracts our entire interview. It was, as it happens, a fully rounded interview and ended on my suggesting a favourite on the shortlist from the prize. Big mistake? No. I don’t think so. I didn’t say which the winner was. Simply “a” favourite. There are six other favourites that are on the shortlist. The interview ends at the end of the day.