This is such a lovely gig. Bunch of ridiculous humans. Incredible text. Solid well established company. Here’s some of them.


I’ve got my T-Shirt from back in the day, when The Factory built The Odyssey whilst doing Hamlet in the evening in Oxford funded by Creation. It all happened before I started writing stuff down every day. But for that gig I kind of wish I had been doing it. The Odyssey was a hugely changing show for me. James Oxley was a big part of the squad and he helped me understand that I had a useful singing voice, which had gone for utterly nothing at Guildhall, to the extent that I honestly thought I was no good because I wasn’t a tenor. I was cast as non singing Seymour Fleming in the third year Musical despite being one of the more musically adept members of the year.

James and The Odyssey helped me learn to be the tench in group singing – the bottom of the bottom, providing a solid base. And over the course of the run I had a number of musicians come up afterwards and privately acknowledge a skill that I would hitherto have never understood. I was told I was an “untrained profundo,” and if I had the money, time or inclination I might pursue it. As it is, fuck it. I can keep a harmony without worry or thought, and I can hit the lowest note loud if you need it. No not that one, an octave down.

I’d love to have had some better singing training at Guildhall, as I think about wasted time and money, but it was all done through part time tutors and mine could make no sense of my voice at all but that’s ok as the faculty and the school in general were amazing. She, though, just got me singing “Luck be a Lady”. Badly. Rather then “Old Man River” properly. Catastrophically unhelpful. Helen something, but a singer not yet wide enough on her own craft to be able to help people so different from her. Learning is so dependent on the teacher. James Oxley’s imagination was fired up by witnessing me announce that I couldn’t sing and wanting to show me how wrong I was. He helped me overcome an unnecessary insecurity given to me by my otherwise remarkably nurturing drama school about my musicality.

Now I’m trying to learn to read music on the Accordion, and – being entirely self taught – have been given some very positive feedback from someone who knows how the fucking thing works. Up until that I’ve just been banging the thing around until it makes the right noise, and then remembering the pattern. Simon occasionally shouts out letters of the alphabet. Some of them actually mean something to me now at last. The bulk of my left hand playing is pattern dependent. But why not. I’ve been noodling this instrument for over a decade. Let’s make sense of it…

Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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