Monday, 23 January 2006

Big Brother and Other Madness

Background to this post:
Big Brother, Rula Lenska and Me
Big Brother, Rula Lenska and Me - Update 1

I was feeling a bit (and quite stupidly) smug on Friday evening riding the 171 bus on my way home when I got another call from a forth BBLB researcher, surrounded by those people who were probably fans of the show. This call however mark the start of a rather stressful twenty-four hours. It was to confirm that they wanted us on Sunday to sing six or seven ten second segments during Rula's interview.

From there I had to liase with the musical director to sort out the details, including repertoire. There was also an issue with who would take part in the gig. Because BBLB is shot in a small studio, they could not accomodate more than ten people. For quality reason, Charlie (our Musical Director) had said that he wanted to have eight singers (that's two per voice part or section). When we asked for volunteers during the week, we got about ten people responded to the call. Unfortunately most of the were from the lowere sections. This meant a problem of balance. By the time we were on on sunday, I was the only tenor left out of the four there should have been in the group. Charlie and I decided to then ask the Chorus' Small Group to step in and do the gig. Most of the original volunteers were part of the Small Group anyway.

The Small Group is a selection of Chorus members who have been auditioned (the Chorus is an open access organisation and members are only voices tested when they join) and have extra rehearsals to be able to do gigs at the last minute (as a "rapid response task force") but also to do paid fundraising gigs for the Chorus.

After liasing with several people during the whole of Saturday, leaving messages and generally trying to get responses from people who didn't seem to want to respond, I made my way to a performance the Chorus was taking part in with the Pink Singers and Rainbow Voices at the Royal Academy of Music. The RAM should, of course, not be mixed up with the Royal College of Music: different organisations, different purposes and, crucially, different locations. Something I did not quite realised at the time; I ended up in the wrong place, not sure where the other one was or how to get there.

After some walking, waiting for a bus, more walking, a descent in entrails of the tube system (something I only do in cases of emergency these days: I find buses much cheaper and roughly as fast) and some walking again, I ended up where I should have gone in the first place about an hour late. I had by then missed warm up and rehearsal as well as the will to go on stage. I was a bit flustered to be honest, what with kicking myself for being so stupid, making two phone calls regarding the BBLB business on the way and trying to be as quick as possible. I must have looked the part too: Charlie, who only really knows me by sight, actually gave me a hug, saying that I looked like I needed one!

While the show started (with Rainbow Voices), I had a quick meeting with Charlie and Simon (our accompanist) to decide on a possible repertoire before reporting to the researcher. Charlie and Simon had just left the green room when the researcher rang me back, saying the producers of the show felt it was now too late and they would not be able to clear the rights for the song we had suggested. That was it for us. Rula and her agent had ealier agreed enthusiastically as ever to her performing Mad About the Boy with us.

I joined the Chorus where they were waiting to go on stage and broke the news to Simon and then Charlie, who in turn broke it (rather cheerfully) to the chorines.

After that, I felt I had not much else to do or contribute and since (this is my guilty secret) I don't particularly like listening to choral music, I decided to leave. I texted Slightly who informed me his plans for the evening had fallen through too. We decided to meet and the rest is (almost) history.

The decision to use the Small Group sparked some reactions from some of the volunteers. More on this in a later post...


Rula's Secret (aluded to in the previews post) was that she managed to smuggle a phone in the house (apparently in her shoes). If you thought she was spending an inordinate amount of time under her duvet, this is because she was spending that time texting...

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