Sunday, 13 May 2007

Lift off

T Minus not-very-long. And on Tuesday the canopy will be lifted into first position from where it will be slowly tensioned at a rate the new fabric can cope with. Underneath will be all a-buzz with more construction; first the mezzanine, then the seating and millions of other things that need doing. I can't wait...Errm...

So the podcasts got done. Three in a day and terrifically enjoyable it was too. The Leader of the council, Cllr Cockell was first and spoke very eloquently about his philosophy towards the public arts and why The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea is so supportive of OHP. We even learned he had sung Leporello in a school production years ago (a school doing Don Giovanni?!). It was then the turn of Jim Naughtie of Radio 4's 'Today' programme and presenter of opera and music on BBC TV. I had to keep pushing from my mind the thought that this man spends most of his time behind a microphone interviewing the great and good of world politics. I needn't have worried though; Jim possesses a great passion for opera and makes a great commentator on the subject. We just set him off and he filled the time with some lovely anecdote and interest. The best tribute I can pay to his craft is that he made James and I sound interesting too. Brian Sewell was the final visitor to the studio. I remain convinced that Brian is a treasure of British life and culture. The conversation traversed, of course, his love of opera, but art (naturally), cricket, dogs, the blitz, Hitler, angioplasty and countless other topics. All were delivered with that great, measured thought and humour. And only Brian could say "We owe Hitler a great debt' and get everyone listening nodding in agreement! (You'll have to listen to it to understand the context which is not as controversial as it may sound!)

You can hear the Naughtie and Sewell podcasts here
They will soon be up on the official OHP website but this is my site and they are also available on iTunes.

The rain hasn't stopped falling for several days but no phone call from the site to say things have been held up or diverted. That could just be because they can't bear the thought of a rant and rave but I am hopeful it is just because everything is fine.

Tuesday is the annual 'Prelude', a lovely evening we have held for several years at Leighton House Museum. About 130 Friends come for an evening of music delivered by singers appearing in the forthcoming season. They get to mix with all of us too and it is a nice curtain raiser which brings in some much needed funds to the Friends' coffers. I always enjoy it and I suspect this year, the patrons in attendance will have many more opinions and questions than is usual.