Frozen wastes and expanding waists!

I've recently been working on a project that could become a TV documentary series, covering the exploits of a bunch of admirable chaps who are setting out for Antarctica in December to reclaim a speed record from the Norwegians for reaching the South Pole via Scott's infamous Beardmore Glacier route. These guys will be hoping to do the trip in three weeks, pulling pulks behind them over ice. They are spending this year training for the event. For more information see

All of this is very inspiring to me, as I've been interested in the stories of Scott and Shackleton for some time. I wrote some themes and put them together in an overture to get a feel for the task. I've just added this to my player, so please take a listen and let me know if you like it!

This was my first experience of a really tight deadline, as I began on Tuesday and had to have it ready by Friday. It taught me a few things about how important it is for composers undertaking such work to look after their health. I was doing a day job each day, and staying up until 3am writing music. On one of the nights I got to bed at 6am and got up at 7am. How I managed to get through the next day, I'm not sure. All I know is that I kept going. This weekend I am paying for it with general tiredness and headaches. It has really woken me up to the importance of diet and exercise - two things that I used to treat with great respect before I became a composer. They seem to have moved down the priority list, but last week was an ominous reminder that these things should not be neglected if one is going to be working under extreme pressure.

Do you agree? Do you have your own stories of ridiculous all-nighters and impossible deadlines? I'd like to hear about them!
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  • Ha! Well maybe you're right, Ray. Oddly enough, I have a bit of a history of attracting nurses for some mysterious reason. Perhaps I should ask the next one who comes along to stay long-term :-|

    Seriously though, I do think this is largely a case of not looking after myself properly. I mean, I'm 44, but three years ago I was so healthy and fit I may as well have been 30.
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