whatever the Chelsea Pensioner effect is

6:00 – As the alarm rings I half get up and stop for a few seconds. Twenty-five minutes later I actually get up.

Breakfast, H leaves, preparation for the day, then off to Walker. I buy a sandwich on the way in.

Completing the work of this week in two sessions, working at the direction of the Art Director. The computer I’m working on is slow, and the files are large, so everything takes a v-e-r-y l-o-n-g t-i-m-e.

Lunch: eat sandwich, lie on floor. I’m awake enough to feel myself snoring. When I wake up, there’s no one in the room. Have I driven them away?

6:00 – leave Walker, catch bus to Royal Albert Hall. At Chelsea, a group of Chelsea Pensioners get on the bus. A number of people, me included, immediately rise to give them their seats. The bus suddenly becomes more cheerful. I don’t know why, but whatever the Chelsea Pensioner effect is, it seems to be independent of knowing who they are – a young Brazilian woman was immediately affected, and she had to ask why they were wearing those jackets, and aren’t they a bit hot? Apparantly they don’t have to wear them all the time, only on special occasions (I was disappointed to hear this) and yes, they do get quite hot.

They also get off at the Royal Albert Hall.

Get tickets, meet up with H, go up to our seats (in one of the second-tier boxes, so a nice gentleman, also in a red jacket, unlocks if for us), then to the bar for a pres-show drink. Back to our seats. The Chelsea Pensioners are in a box at the back of the hall.

The show is Janacek –Sinfonietta, Cappriccio and Glagolitic Mass, conducted by Pierre Boulez. I’m surprised again by the way that an orchestra sounds in real life (as opposed to in recordings), and the detail that becomes available – I’m hearing completely new things in the Sinfonietta and it’s one of my favourite pieces of music. Once, I realise, I would have considered the performance’s not sounding like my favourite recording to be a failure, but now it’s just interesting.

It all rocks, anyway. Glagolitic Mass needs three tympanists (and other percussionist), two harpists, a celeste player and an organ soloist. All three pieces were written in 1926, when Janacek was 71, which is really pretty impressive.

Go to bus stop, wait for and eventually catch bus home. I get junk food from the corner shop.