15 seconds of fame
While Oxford Prison is being turned into a luxury hotel
it is also undergoing some archaeological investigation. Apparently a film unit has been sent by the BBC to make a documentary about the site and its history.
Among the historical figures associated with the Prison were the Wesleys, who used to visit the prisoners and sing hymns with those facing execution. So on Wednesday, going in search of a Methodist choir to provide some music, the team was sent in the direction of the assistant minister (and musician) at Wesley Memorial
, who in turn sent a circular to choir members to find out if enough people were able to turn up at fairly short notice (and having been disappointed to learn that we don't wear robes during Sunday services, the film crew suggested that we wear academic gowns).
And so we did: yesterday at 8pm. We sang "Jesus, lover of my soul" to the tune Aberystwyth (which is anachronistic, but never mind) about eight times while they moved the camera around to different angles (how many camera angles can there be?), carted them upstairs for a long shot, did some evocative shots of shadows from inside one of the cells, and so on. It all went on till not much short of 9.30pm.
So watch out possibly towards the beginning of next year, assuming we don't end up on the cutting-room floor. :-) Also watch out for the disappearing choir member, who rushed out at about 9.07pm to catch a 9.15 train to Dundee via Edinburgh (though in fact we only did one more take after that).