Thursday 3 September

The big news for me today is the release of the Lyre of Ur video on YouTube. This has been a while in the making and we had hoped to have a more spectacular launch, but in present circumstances, it will be an online debut, like so many other things. It is a very short extract from the epic of Gilgamesh, where he laments the death of his friend Enkidu. We are proud to say that it is the first version in the original Akkadian, and all credit to Tim Suffolk for learning the lines. There is also an English version, so you don’t need a translator!

Looking back on it, I cannot believe how long it took to distil this down to just over 4 minutes of film. Different locations, different times, lots of editing, music added. Endless discussions about appropriateness. But it was great fun to do, and would be lovely to make another film, but who knows? Our project has suffered like so many other arts projects. No live audience for starters. Please forward the link to as many people as possible. And do give me some feedback.

The day passed otherwise in a haze of domestic chores, which sometimes have to be done. I was even too tired to attempt the blog writing. But I had a couple of interesting lockdown conversations. Following the endless one-way systems round shops, and masks and sanitiser, I have taken to asking some people how many deaths they think are occurring daily from Covid, the reason for all these stringent measures. I have only just started this mini survey, two shop assistants so far. One said 1000 per day, the other 500. It worries me that people are so needlessly terrified. The reality is single figures: the normal daily death rate is between 1400 and 1600. Somehow we need to retain a sense of proportion I think.

More children returning to school, in their bright shiny uniforms. I feel for the teachers, coping with all the new regulations, as well as delivering the usual curriculum. I retired at the right moment I think.

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