Yesterday we had band rehearsal for the first time with Douglas and Romano, both of whom are incredible instrumentalists. I’m so excited to have them on the team. They are both extraordinary players and despite my vastly inadequate scores, they managed to make things sound very exciting indeed.
We rehearsed this morning, once more with our wonderful cast who continued to impress us with their growing mastery of the Yorkshire accent and then obviously we went to the pub. Where we argued about lyrics for about 3/4 of an hour. All in a very happy, friendly fashion of course. We all remain the best of friends. And it turns out that arguments are about lyrics are extremely important. I’m not sure if you all realise this, but when someone questions one of my lyrics, Jasper Mountbatten III jumps out from the cocaine hole he’s been partying in and shouts a massive emphatic “NOOOOO!!!!” in everyone’s face. I’m afraid I have no control over Jasper. But after a couple of hours of him shouting “No!” at everything, he eventually gets bored and wanders off to find a high roller poker game, at which point I can have a reasonable response. I will share my reasonable response with my colleagues on Monday. I’m sure they’ll be relieved.
Charlie left for Connecticut and Rhys and I went to see A Star is Born at a cinema on 42nd street, but we are both so utterly New York that we had to leave halfway through the film in order to attend the NAMT writers cocktail drinks. We basically figured out what the end would be anyway… After the alien abduction of Bradley Cooper, Lady Gaga goes on a wild bender and hooks up with Lee Scoresby from His Dark Materials. Whereupon they get married but have an open relationship involving Christian Slater and a mischievous sheep named Kevin Bacon. The sheep then disappears in mysterious circumstances after an intense scene in an Icelandic sauna house. The film ends with a duet between a singing towel and a flannel named Petunia Grapefruit. Sorry for spoiling it all for you guys.
The drinks were totally worth it. Because we got to meet all of these other fantastic writers, of seven other fantastic shows. So many lovely people together in a room. I obviously made sure that if anyone comes to London then they must get in touch so that they can be introduced to the new Musical Theatre crew over here. Obviously Rhys and I were the last ones left and were kindly offered plastic bags in which to insert the remainder of the food on offer. We promptly filled four bags with leftovers, grabbed a handful of chocolate and a donut for the road and said goodbye to our erstwhile hosts before they could stop us. We LOVE the NAMT folks.
Tonight, I discovered a fellow lover of Love Island this evening in Karin Nilo (NAMT producer extraordinaire). I very kindly ruined her future free time by introducing her to the wonders of Made in Chelsea. My apologies to all of her other friendship groups which I assume will come to hate her shortly after she becomes obsessed with those posh fools from England. It turns out Ciera (NAMT God) is a massive bake off fan.
Incidentally one of the folks I met was a lovely fellow called Rob Rockiki, who will have a show on at The Other Palace (called Monster Songs) in November. Please everybody go and see it. I’ll be there with bells on. It looks great.
Then Rhys and I tried to find somewhere to have a drink. We found a place and then proceeded to have a profound conversation. The conversation veered one way then another. Like a drunk careering down a midnight highway in deepest Kentucky. We talked about everything from the nature of talent and whether it can be taught. The result of this particular conversation was that we thought that talent in musical theatre writing came down to a combination of two particular factors. Empathy and Obsession. Or in other words you have to feel and you have to not give up. Everything else we figured could be taught. Song perspective, lyric and melodic craft. These can be learned.
We may be and probably are completely wrong.
Then we talked about relationships and how actually things really come down to how invested we are in another persons narrative. Rhys told me how excited he was about his husband’s life story. He wanted to know what was going to happen, he felt the pain and joy and excitement on the way. It made me think about relationships in a different way. We talked about how we become invested in the narrative of our friends life stories. Their successes and failures, their triumphs, their joys and sadnesses. We commit to them and we feel them like they were our own.
I hadn’t thought about relationships like that and it made me think once again that Rhys is a unique individual with a peculiar and wonderful outlook on life.
All of this comes with the caveat that I am writing this blog post while slightly inebriated on the A train on my way home. I’m fricking tired but I’m happy.
And I’ve got a two bags full of chicken skewers, satay, steak and tiny vegetarian pizzas to prove it.
I have also got no money.
Oh the life of a writer!