Sins of a Tour Guide no 2

St Pauls from the Whispering Gallery, Photo by K Flude.

I was in St Pauls yesterday on an exploration of London’s History. My group had headsets so they can hear me talking into my mic without disturbing others. We went in, sat down in the nave to find an orchestra set up in the crossing with a grey haired man, informally dressed, at the podium. I hate talking through music so wondered whether I would continue.

I began my introduction to St Pauls with a piece about Londinium and Christianity. A tremendous universe shattering cord erupted from the Orchestra deafening me. Then a pause, so I continued. I ascertained that my group could hear me, and I continued. I paused during crescendos and to some extent improvised what I was saying to the amazing drama of the atonal music. It was quite an experience and the music was amazing

This morning I had a chance to check it out and it turns out that I spoke through rehearsals of Olivier Messiaen’s Et Exspecto Resurrectionem Mortuorum. (

And the grey-haired man was none other than Sir Simon Rattle conducting the LSO.

I think I have the right piece of music. They are performing in St Pauls on 23rd June

I’m slightly shamefaced about it but on the other hand the group really enjoyed both the music and the explanation.

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