Saturday, 18 May 2013

Sodding exercise

I went for a walk today.

The idea is that exercise, fresh air, change of scene would ease the stress and - yes I will say it - chronic depression I've been feeling.

Part of my route took me past the playground on the village green.  The playground where I used to take my girls when they were small.  I'd sit on the bench watching them, or stand at the bottom of the slide with my arms spread.  I'm not sure if the latter was for their benefit or mine.

As I walked past, I found myself hearing the laughter, the squeals of pleasure, the "just one more Daddy, pleeeeeease"es.  I found myself wondering how, where those years had gone.

My girls are adults now.  Approaching the end of their studies.  They need me less and less and that is as it should be.

However nobody told me that as they need you less and less, you need them more and more.  You need the simplicity, the unconditional love, the unadulterated and uncomplicated fun.  You need the cuddles, the kisses, the 'I love you's that come not as a reply, a conditioned reflex, but just come because they do.  I'm not saying they don't.

But it's not the same.

I walked past the playground and found my walk wasn't as theraputic as I'd hoped. But then I realised something.

Sadness is not the same as depression.

In the end, I will take consolation in the fact that the memories of those days will carry me forward and, I hope, carry them forward too.  I hope they will be able to look back at them and smile.

As I am trying SO hard to do right now.

Friday, 1 March 2013

Trulee Misérables

So, I finally got to see the movie version of Les Miserables and I find myself in an ‘Emperor’s New Clothes’ position.  Am I really alone in thinking this was truly awful? Whilst freely admitting that I love the stage version, I have to say that this was one of the most abysmal adaptions since the cartoon version of Lord of the Rings.

Possibly worse.
One of the greatest strengths of the stage show is the power of the voices and the music, something that was completely lost from this production. OK, I fully understand the relationship that exists between the money men and their need for box office ‘names’ to pull in the audiences, but what on earth possessed them to cast such a group of untalented performers?  Not since Lee Marvin and Clint Eastwood croaked their way through Paint Your Wagon have people been so mis-cast.  And at least Marvin and Eastwood could get away with it as they weren’t MEANT to be singers.

Wolverine can just about work his way through a song, although it must be said some of the notes eluded him and you can see why Catwoman got the Oscar for best performance by hair, but Gladiator couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket and was about as plausible in his role as a toy Meer cat would be as an Insurance broker.  The debate before his suicide was hardly Hamlet’s soliloquy – “To be or not to be.  Oh what the heck, not to be. Arghhhhhhh-splat”.  All delivered with the sincerity of a politician on the hustings.

When you see the stage show, you are stunned by the sound and vision.  The music, the singers, the harmonies and the imaginative use of scenery and lighting conjure up an image of a street battle that totally transcends the confines and restrictions of a small stage.  So how I wonder, can a wide screen multi-million pound production with multiple cameras, shot on location, conjure up a SMALLER vision of revolution?  Yet it succeeds in doing just that, reducing the power and emotions of the revolution to little more than a student demo. 
“What do we want? Bread for all. When do we want it……”.  All that was lacking were some ironically-spelled placards and Peter Tatchell.

And as for Ali G, how on earth did he come up with the idea of doing a parody of a character that is already a parody?  Particularly interesting was the way that, as soon as he started his song – one of the seminal songs and probably the only light relief in what is an intense and emotional production (on stage at least) – he adopted an ‘Allo Allo’ mock French accent.  However, I can only assume he had little time to practice this, as it would submerge and re-surface with the regularity of an asthmatic dolphin.
“ Leesten veree carefulleeee, ‘ee vill say zeese from teem to teem”.

When in the theatre, one is immersed in the power and emotion of the music, in a way that playing it through a set of home-stereo speakers either side of the screen simply didn’t recreate. Yet at the end, for the Finale, they invoke the power of surround-sound.  Why on earth they waited until the end escapes me, but it reduced the music that should have been stirring your emotions to the effect of tunes over-spilling from someone’s ipod on the tube.

At the denouement, one is left caring little who (with the exception of little Gavroche, probably the one performance worthy of note) lived and who died.  Indeed, one finds oneself wishing rather more of the population of Paris had descended into the sewers for Helena Bonham Carter, delivering her standard performance, to rob.  Nice to see you can count on the dependable Ms BC to deliver a consistent performance.  So consistent in fact that it’s hard to tell one character she plays from another.

I was warned to take tissues, as I would cry throughout.  Cry?  No, but I am in mourning.  Mourning the brutal corruption of a show I love.  I only hope that, when I see the show again (which I shall), it has not ruined it for me.
Thank goodness I only paid half-price for my tickets, so at least I didn’t have that to cry about.