Saturday, 28 February 2009
Swan Lake and cultural roulette
Just back from the Royal Opera House after seeing Swan Lake. I accidentally got tickets for a performance on Family Day, which is not my idea of a good time - children sniffling and making annoying noises, parents making even more annoying noises shushing noisy children. But it wasn't that bad actually - in some ways it was seriously cooler than it normally is. A few dancers wandered about in full make-up and costume before the performance started, chatting to the kids. There were members of the orchestra as well, but by far the best bit was during second intermission they left the stage curtain open so you could watch the scene change. Amazing. Apart from shows I've been in, it was the first time I've ever seen anyone do that, and I've been to a lot of shows. Good fun and the kids seemed to like it. They clapped at everything though, which was sweet, but a little bit tiresome. Having only seen modern ballet at the ROH before, I also now understand why the tickets cost so much. The costumes and set are ridiculously extravagant, but very beautiful and the spend is clearly worth it. The Tchaikovsky score is brilliant and I do like the traditional ballet, but I saw Matthew Bourne's all male corps version a few years ago in Glasgow and since then, I don't know if a very traditional ballet corps of women can compare. Still, a nice way to pass as afternoon.
I popped into FOPP in Seven Dials before going to the ROH to get some music. I have a favourite game in book and music shops, which is pick something completely random - a band I've never heard of or a book I've never seen. It's a little bit like cultural Russian roulette, but you'd be surprised at how good you get at buying really interesting music just by the band name and the album jacket. I got two: Jonquil's Whistle Low EP and Finn's The Best Low-Priced Heartbreakers You Can Own. They're totally different and listening to them now for the first time, I think I didn't do too bad. The book I'm reading at the minute, G.K. Chesterton's The Napoleon of Notting Hill was another random roulette buy, saw it on the shop table and thought it looked interesting. It's a good laugh - a very fun game. If it didn't sound so wanky, I'd ask if anybody else does this and if so, what their best discoveries were?