Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Busy Busy

This weeks has already been a whirlwind roller coaster and it is only Wednesday. Oi.

1. Julia Stephenson came to visit! She's living in Italy right now and as part of her visa had to leave and come back into the country- so she took the opportunity to come to London. I put her up in our living room/guest room and we had a great time chatting the night away and crafting things.

2. The Salomon Orchestra concert was on Tuesday night! We've had bunches of rehearsals (including a six hour long slog on Sunday) and I've been moaning about carrying the bass on public transport constantly. We played in St. John Smith Square which is this concert hall converted from a Church in Westminster. Very pretty. We played an as yet unperformed suite from a ballet by John McCabe and also an hour long version of Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet. I was standing as I don't have a stool any longer and about halfway through the Prokofiev realized just how out of shape my shoulders are. Good thing it is such a fun piece to play otherwise I might have toppled over.

I met a woman named Jill during one of the tea breaks during one of the rehearsals and we ended up having a great chat about how sometimes you don't end up playing your instrument. She started out as a violist and was thinking of quiting because she was getting so bored with the viola parts when people started asking her if she played the violin because they desperately needed a violinist. This is totally against the conventional wisdom- usually you would expect people to desperately need she switched and she's having so much more fun now and refuses to play the viola any longer. Usually she won't play the second violin parts either because that is too much like the viola parts... Anyhow- she was a hoot and I enjoyed talking to her very much. After the concert she slipped me her email address and said that if I could bear to play the bass one more time she needed a bassist for another concert. We'll see about that one.

In other news- (in spite of the irony) I'm thinking maybe flute?

3. Aerial/Marimba- We've got our first night of our gig today! Super exciting. We're playing in Shunt- which is an arts fartsy night club in London Bridge. We're part of a whole series of seemingly circus related events. I'm not sure exactly how it is going to work but I gather there are a number of acts placed throughout the venue (which is a series of vaults and tunnels underneath the station. Kind of creepy- really cool) which will have spotlights on them while they do their bit. Like "drink some at the bar...oh hey! look over there! Drink some more at the bar... oh hey! look over there!" etc. I'll let you know more after the show actually starts happening. We are on through Saturday.

The piece has come together very quickly- and I think we're getting to the point where we finally know what the story is. That is something to remember for the next time that I work with these two- know the story! I have been struggling with the intent of the piece and what it is trying to say. We definitely have the potential to do some very good work together and I'm excited about what we're showing already- but it is also still very much a work in progress. A polished first draft.

4. Teaching- The tykes are on mid term break this week, but the kids are still around. I had eight of them yesterday and it was...a challenge. I need to learn how to do classroom management. I'm more than happy to have the kids go a little nuts- but it is getting to the point where I'm losing even the kids that *are* paying attention because the nutso ones are being so disruptive. Anyone have any advice for reigning in crazy six year olds? I don't really have much to threaten them with- and sitting in the corner hasn't really worked because they end up sliding all over the place. Fortunately I *do* have two weeks of their half term break to figure out how to come in strong for the next half term.

5. Game night! Jo found out about this giant social games event down at the Battersea Arts Centre (a mission to get to- it took about an hour and a half, but it was totally worth it.) Julia was here so I dragged her along and Oh! it was so much fun. I love giant games involving lots of people being very silly and giving me the opportunity for much subterfuge. I'm not sure how often the organization does one of these (it might only be once a year!) but I'm on the mailing list now and I will *so* be at the next one.

At Buck Creek when we used to go there for summer camp they would have these MASSIVE games. Like full camp capture the flag where we would play in the woods and the flag was inevitable up at the top of a tree. I don't think they were really paying that much attention to camper safety...We also played some game called Diamond Smugglers that also worked it's way into the camp dance and involved (Again) tromping through the woods and eating frozen pudding. I loved diamond smugglers because I had just shot my finger with an arrow in archery class (I'm beginning to think I've never paid that much attention to safety...) and had a big bandage on my finger that I was able to slip the diamonds into the base of. It was a very clever hiding spot. I'm still proud of myself 15 years later...

Anyhow- fun/busy times. I have to go teach now and at some point write up my bass ballet paper before tomorrow...

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