Living the Dream
It’s 2am on the M4 approaching London, it’s been a long night... I look at my colleague in the car and say “No one told us about this in college!" We had just done a great concert in Swansea, Wales with a fabulous piano soloist (Alice Sara Ott) and conductor (Jun Markl), performing amazing music with a first-class orchestra (BBCNOW) but it’s nearly 2am and we are still on the motorway, not yet home. The hours classical musicians in the UK spend on the road is phenomenal and we are not being chauffeured like rock stars or staying in swanky hotels, we are in the budget hotel or on a friend’s couch, getting home at 2 or 3 in the morning - it’s not quite the glamorous life one might imagine!
Half way through our journey back to London, after 2 sets of road works and slow traffic, we stopped off at a motorway services for a coffee before the first of 2 road closures. The place was deserted except for another musician who was doing the same concert as us. We said hello and had a small discussion before getting our Costa express machine coffee and necessary amount of sugar in the form of chocolate to get us through the next couple of hours of road works and detours. On the way to the car we run into another musician from the concert, laughed and said "Hello, fancy seeing you here!”, of course the place is deserted except for a bunch of musicians. Once in the car my colleague says to me, “Ah, we are all living the dream”! Yes, living the dream, sitting in a car in the wee early hours driving slowly along a motorway through endless road works and detours through small obscure towns we would never otherwise visit and when the 'shipping forecast' starts to play you know it is the kiss of death with it's dulcet, monotonous tones and 'sailing by' theme tune encouraging you to drift softly into a deep, deep sleep; a sure sign you've been driving for far too long – this is the life, living the dream.
For all the wonderful concerts, venues and places I get to see as a classical musician, no one ever told me that I’d probably spend more hours in my car or hotel lobbies than in the concert hall. It’s no wonder my car insurance is tripled when I state my profession as a classical musician! I wouldn’t change much (except all the late night detours and road works!) and I guess this is the reality of “Living the Dream”!