Monday, 14 May: I usually wake up between 6.30 and 7.00 and just lie in bed thinking for at least an hour or sometimes I read (advantage of working for yourself: time is flexible). If I got up earlier I could get this diary done each day before work. Today I stayed at home, wrote up the week’s diary and wrote this letter. It is an open letter to Lambeth Council but the main reason I include it is the point that if government would recognize climate change as the major priority then policy would also prioritize human values, leading to a sounder economy.
Tuesday, 15 May: Yoga class, then to work. By the time I’d had lunch and Tizer (our PA) had gone through stuff – you know, invitations, appointments, etc. it was 3.30. But I was able to work at last – I’d been promising myself for months – on my favourite shop, “World’s End” (opened in 1970). Going through, making sure everything is happening and building ideas for more to happen.
In the evening, Andreas and I went again to the Barbican (I told you he books tickets at the beginning of the season – but it’s so large you can always get tickets on the night, starting at £10. Sometimes we go to the Festival Hall). “Rites of spring”, perhaps the most famous musical event ever staged (It’s a ballet but tonight it was the music alone.) due to the furore which erupted in the audience on the opening night. People had never heard or seen anything like it before – original – it’s a great driving cacophony of strange rhythms and beats and overwhelmingly beautiful strains. The tribes surge around the Chosen Maiden who must dance herself to death; they lead the pounding rhythms along with their heads leaning to one side on their shoulder. Amidst the row somebody called out “A doctor!” someone else, “A dentist!”
During the interval I met Mary Greenwell, a very fabulous make-up artist, a friend whom I’ve often worked with and who I bump into sometimes at the theatre. She was raving! She talked of how an orchestra is at a pinnacle of evolution in music, a highly complex unity. I said I thought that’s what Plato had meant when he said, “Man is a political animal”, political referring to polis or city – that he moves towards more complex social structures which culminate in the city and that the hierarchy of different functions provides the means for humans to express and develop more and more the human genius, to evolve into more perfect humans. Mary thought African music was not so evolved as our orchestra. I said it might seem so to us but let us be aware that man has forgotten more than he knows.
The second half was music from his opera “Oedipus Rex”. You know, it’s one of the great stories which obviously has its source in primitive ritual: Thebes is afflicted with plague because the King, Oedipus, had unwittingly killed his father and married his mother. Gergiev was great; he had once told me that the most important thing for a conductor was to listen to the audience; a member of the orchestra had told me that it’s different every time they play, they never know what to expect.
At the end, Andreas said, “I love the mess! Wasn’t that so Oedipus Rex? So meaningless, so tragic, so great!”
Wednesday, 16 May: Did my roots with henna. Work: “World’s End”.
Afternoon: Photos of me by Craig MacDean and stylist, Vanessa Reid for “Interview” magazine. Amazing how clothes can help and give you such a feeling of adventure – powerful, important, funny, heroic. The photos seemed very nice on the monitor (Juergen doesn’t seem to use one; he says it’s important to look at the subject and, I guess, look for the subject). Craig gave quite a deal of direction to me and to his lighting assistants – the light was on wheels. I enjoyed myself.
I do publicity and interviews so I can talk about climate change. I’ll be doing the interview later.
Thursday, 17 May: Morning: Interview with Francine Lacqua on the London Eye for Bloomberg TV’s Eye2Eye series. I was so concentrated on what I wanted to say that I didn’t look at the view and though we were back on the ground in the “blink of an eye”, she was very nice and I made some good points.
Work: Two hours on “World’s End”.
Late afternoon: Interview – i.e. filmed conversation – with opera star, Joyce DiDonato for the Arte TV network (French/German). I met Joyce because she noticed me in the audience at one of her concerts and sent me a CD. Since then, we have designed for her stage wardrobe.
I had never really talked to her before and I didn’t know what to expect. She has a beautiful warmth and sincerity of manner. She grew up in a small town in Kansas but her voice and intellectual curiosity have taken her far from home. She is proud of her hometown and brought me some chocolates which are a local speciality.
She has thought a lot and is intellectual and artistic. Joyce is so kind and we had a really inspiring talk. I am looking forward to seeing her in a dramatic red gown we are preparing.
Friday, 18 May: Juergen came to help decide which photos from the shoot to use for our publicity. Stella Tennant has such total class. Andreas enthused, “She is just the most perfect representative of the human race; she is everything: young or old, child, woman, man! The mouth alone! Beauty incarnate.
I had told Craig MacDean that Juergen thinks there are only a few good photographers and Craig replied, “I think he thinks there’s really only one.” I told Juergen and he grinned and put his hand to his forehead, acknowledging the point that he has strong opinions. Juergen admires the work of William Eggleston – not a fashion photographer. Because he inherited a private income he photographed according to his own lights and never compromised himself for commercial success.
Saturday, 19 May: Morning yoga class. At home with Andreas. Instead of reading I spent all day doing one killer Sudoku. Of course I would be quicker next time but it’s a terrible investment of time and I only want to do the extra hard ones. So many hypothetical factors to mark and hold in mind before you can advance one square. I shall really have to limit this. I won’t do any more this month. However, it really is stimulating. I didn’t even feel hungry; I only had breakfast – two bananas and a pear. Please, no comments about Sudoku. I don’t recommend it because I think it’s addictive – but it is an exercise in pure reason.
Sunday, 20 May: Reading.