Thursday 29 March 2012

The Most Incredible Thing

I love the arrogance of the young.

This week there's been a work experience lad in the office.  He's a confident lad.  Very confident indeed.  Which is a good thing.  He's quick too, and that's a quality to be admired.  But he's so quick that the number keys on the door keypad entry lock can't keep up, so the door remains stubbornly closed when he wants to come in.  Eventually he has to ring the bell for someone to let him in.  Of course he's not sheepish about that, he rants that the door lock is rubbish, it doesn't work and it's stupid.  The fact that he is the ONLY person in the office that can't use the keyboard doesn't matter to him.  He's right, the world is wrong.  We shouldn't snigger should we?

You can't knock the Pet Shop Boys can you?  From West End Girls onwards they've knocked out some pretty impressive and memorable tunes which have kept me and many others listening for I guess thirty years.  So it was with a degree of curiosity that The Cat's Mother and I decided to go and see their ballet at Sadlers Wells this week.  It's based on a Hans Christian Anderson tale about a king who offers half his kingdom and his daughter's hand in marriage to the creator of The Most Incredible Thing.  As ever, this isn't a full review, just my musings.  We both quite enjoyed it, but couldn't quite see why it has won awards.  Although a dance piece, which meant the story is pretty straight forward, they decided that we needed sub-titles...I guess they recognised that they had to appeal to a non-Sadlers Well type audience.  The interval was in the wrong place, by about ten minutes - it came right slap bang in the middle of a scene, and would have worked slightly later when there was so obviously a natural pause.  The music was generally Pet Shop Boys ish, which worked well in places, but got a bit tedious in others.  The music that didn't work well was  the pieces that were very unPet Shop Boyish.  The only thing was set in a Stalinist style society, which when I think about it was slightly odd given that it was ruled by a kindly fairytale king.  There were some great scenes - the opening one for example, the wedding, and when the Princess was dancing to a song by her favourite popstar who's image - we watched from the outside with the idol's image being projected onto the walls, and some overly-long ones (the magical clock lost some of its magic after a while).  If you're in town, it's probably worth seeing, and there are plenty of tickets available.  If you want to know more, this is a seriously long documentary You Tube clip, so only watch it if you've poured yourself a large Gin and Tonic...I've not managed to get through it myself

Our celebrity spotting included Janet Street Porter who followed us to the bar on the second floor after we'd been papped together and Chris and Neil who sat four seats in front of us.  They seemed to be enjoying themselves...and lets face it if they didn't who else would?  The rest of the audience was made up of alternately the usual Sadlers Wells crowd (why is it that each theatre has a sort of rentacrowd?) and Pet Shop Boys fans.  I would say groupies, but as they were girls, I'm not sure the boys would be too interested...some were planning to see it several times during its very short run this year.

There's a couple of ship-related anniversaries at the moment - one is the raid on St Nazaire during WW2.  It was not something I was not aware of until my girlfriend at University took me home to meet her parents.  Her father was a veteran, and was very proud of his exploits - he maintained close links with the veterans association.  I was at an age when the war seemed like ancient history, and I never really showed the sort of interest that I should.  If I'd not been quite so self-absorbed, I'd have looked it up so I could talk to him about it.  But in those days there was no Google and research was not the thirty second thing it is now.   I guess the same must be true of today's youths when confronted with the numerous wars that we've been involved in in recent years.  Essentially Operation Chariot involved ramming a ship, the Cambelltown into the dock gates at St Nazaire and then blowing it up to make the docks unusable by the great German warship the Tirpitz. It was the sort of madcap thing that is the story of legends, but wouldn't happen now.  The objective was achieved, but inevitably at great loss.  As I read today, one of those that died shared my family name. It has provided an interesting and thought provoking link back to the bravery of the past.

The other anniversary is that of the sinking of the Titanic on which comes up on the14th April 2012.  No wonder Titanic 3D has been released at the cinemas.  I still haven't managed to see it, and I can't imagine I will this time round., but there's always profit to be made out of tragedy.  That is also the case of the trustees and debenture holders of the Albert Hall who have been touting their allocation of tickets for the Teenage Cancer Trust.  Some people have no conscience.