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Lonely in Poughkeepsie

6 October, 2013

Today’s blog is brought to you by a love-lorn Jim…

“Every so often, a day lasts a peculiar length of time; Saturday 5th October, for example, began twenty-seven hours ago and has still two to run. Touring musicians must learn to take this oddity resultant of crossing longitudinal lines in their strides, forcing themselves to stay awake whilst their bodies fall asleep (which is challenging when it happens during a concert!) and, rather more pleasantly, forcing themselves to stay in bed when their bodies are wide awake, in order to acclimatise to the time zone in which they find themselves.

“The longer days afford the opportunity to do rather more than usually possible and today, following an early start, my colleagues and I have journeyed into central London; negotiated disruptions to the tube service; found much-needed coffee at Heathrow airport; flown for seven hours to JFK airport, New York; charmed delightful immigration officials; collected rental cars; and driven to Poughkeepsie, which is where we shall perform the first concert of our tour tomorrow, in Vassar College. In total, we have travelled a distance of about 3427 miles (as a crow with long-range fuel tanks flies), plus a few hundred metres to find Caffe Pazzo, an Italian eatery just around the corner from our accommodation, for much-needed sustenance. Not bad for a day’s work!

“Just to make the day a little more hectic, I finished packing my suitcase only shortly after midnight this morning, but with good reason! I have just returned from honeymoon in Whitby (which is where Dracula came ashore in Bram Stoker’s eponymous Gothic novel, set in the Northeast of England – a truly romantic location!), so I had to unpack before I could repack. And, to give myself even fewer hours to get ready for this tour, my wife and I decided to visit the Royal Opera House to take in a new show on Friday evening.

“Helen Bailey and I were married on Friday 27th September (which, I guess, is 09/27/13 on this side of the pond) in a lovely old house in the Kentish countryside. At the ceremony, we had a choir of friends, directed by Stile’s own Andrew Griffiths, who sang three unaccompanied pieces (two by an obscure composer called Jim Clements and one arranged by ex-King’s Singer Bill Ives) and the amazing David Butt Philip singing Jim’s favourite aria, La Fleur from Bizet’s Carmen – not an bar of Renaissance polyphony in sight! As is obligatory for a Brit, I’ll mention the weather, which was gloriously sunny for a day in late September.

Sorry, Helen, for abandoning you after only a week of married life, but rest assured that I’ll be home to annoy you in ten days’ time.” [this sentence originally omitted by the Editor – apologies!]