Behind the Times
Finally, I am in a position to update myself.
Wednesday night I dragged my husband to London and the Royal Festival Hall, where I was anticipating a night completely unlike the one I ended up with. For those of you who aren’t aware of who Neil Hannon is, I’d suggest ten minutes on Wikipedia and then the understanding that his music has been a part of my life since the mid 1990’s. Once you grasp that you’d understand why I was so keen to see him in concert: the night was, frankly, mind blowing. Tom Chaplin (lead vocalists of alternative rockers Keane) did a version of ‘Love What You Do’ which will stay with me forever and then (gasp!) Alison Moyet appeared to run through not only Don’t Go (Hannon on piano was inspired) but another personal favourite, The Certainty of Chance. After that we got the ENTIRE second album Hannon produced, Promenade (coz we don’t count the really early ones) with just Neil and a string quartet ( the album is very heavily influenced by Michael Nyman, so this worked brilliantly) Hearing this live brought two distinct issues to the forefront: Hannon may be a genius, but he’s also a bit self indulgent when it comes down to it, and I could sense my husband getting frustrated at certain points. On the way home in the car he distilled the problem perfectly (as he often does): Hannon is Heston Blumenthal. He makes some cracking dishes, is clearly a technical master, but there’ll be a moment when what you fancy is bread and cheese yet he’ll present you with a Wheat and Camembert Soufflé. Sometimes, it really doesn’t need to be excessively clever to work.
Having said all that, songs like At the Indy Disco and National Express demonstrate the man is clearly capable of composing a cracking pop song if the mood takes him. I’ve downloaded a copy of Promenade (and am listening to it now, the last copy I had was on tape) so he’s done his job there. His support (Pugwash) are also inspired and well worth a listen. It was so worth the trip down just to be able to watch Hannon play, it could have been Justin Bieber songs if I’m honest, just to be in the same place as him was enough. Like my brief meeting with Douglas Adams, this is one I will not forget for a very long time to come.
It does mean however that I am woefully behind on NaNo (and indeed everything else) but with the kids being taken care of by my parents this weekend I have a fighting chance of getting myself back on an even keel. Those red rectangles will inspire me to get back on the word count trail, that’s for certain…