BBC Proms 2014

Throughout the summer I'm using this blog like a diary, mixing my experience of the BBC Proms with everyday banality and occasional weirdness. It's what comes easy.

1 hour 14 minutes

This post refers to the La Valse from Prom 14, and bits of Proms 16.

I would have listened to last night’s Daphnis and Chloë after I finished day one of the training course. Only I couldn’t, could I? No Barclays, I couldn’t. Because your dumb ‘make transferring money to your friends and family a whole lot easier with our PingIt app’ messed up a transfer of £185 and despite repeated calls, complaints and balling down the phone, not only did you fail to repay me the money which shouldn’t have left my account in the first place, but you also gave me a customer reference number for a complaint record which never got placed. I also ended up on the phone for an hour and a quarter explaining my problem to four equally bemused customer service people. Oh, and I missed out on an opportunity of listening to the bits from last night’s Prom I didn’t hear, and failed to pick up any of tonight’s concert live too. Yeah, thanks. And yes, I’m being passive aggressive. And yeah, I’m OK with that. Read more →

To Salford

This post refers to Proms 5, 12, and 15.

Sort of back to work today, only not because it was still a day off. Travelled up to Salford in readiness for a hard core training course running over the next two days. Its the third module of a fairly demanding suite of courses which has been the most fulfilling thing I’ve ever done at the BBC and in my career to date. Really proud to be doing it.

Before leaving London, swung by Broadcasting House (with Brompton, naturally) to catch up with a member of the team. I’ll be picking up the baton from her on Thursday when I’m back in the office. Great to see her. Mentioned we and the other team member should get along to a Prom concert. I have a long list of people I would like to take along to the Royal Albert Hall as though the entire season is my equivalent of an extremely talented offspring going to Cambridge to study medicine a year ahead of his classmates. A nice feeling. Read more →


We sat down to listen to Elgar’s Enigma last night via a shaky cable connecting the laptop to the Marantz. (Last year we were listening to Proms stuff via the PS3, not so radio came out of iPlayer – no iPlayer Radio for PS3. Annoying.)

Was hoping for something mind-blowing from the Elgar. Truth is, I still can’t quite work out what to make of Enigma. The relationship is complicated. First we start of best pals (around the time I played it in Suffolk Youth Orchestra). Twenty-five years later it’s familiarity has bred contempt. A pleasant romp and a clever accomplishment, but there isn’t enough of it for any performance to make a lasting impact. Each variation is over too quickly. The entire thing could be 15 minutes longer for my liking. Read more →


We’re back from Cornwall after a 7 hour car journey. It started off well but ended in a rather unpleasant and (as far as I could see from the back seat) largely unnecessary traffic jam on the M25. Much tension in the car. I couldn’t wait to get home.

Given the extended time I had in the car, I could (probably) have listened to all of my Proms backlog. There are some holes in my homework. Read more →