Diary of Lisa Taylor, reluctantly 42 (and a half)

Or.. 'f.ck me I'm forty.. two.. and a half', though can look 38 on a - not so deluded - good day. Or 'How to reconcile a well experienced mind trapped in a still - but for how long? – youthful body.' Don't have the 30somethings angst/problems, neither have the resigned (?) ageing baby-boomers in safe family territory outlook yet. Here's how I cope, one day all sexy women will get old... but never invisible. © Lisa Taylor 2005/6/7/8/9. Jeez.. so much for the 42 and-a-half delusion

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

28 December - Foreskin's Lament & Billy Elliott

The bookclub has decreed on Shalom Auslander book 'Foreskin's Lament' which at least is making me laugh. A lot. He talks about being abused by religion at the hands of his parents. I have been going round for the last two years at least telling anyone who would listen at dinner parties that if it weren't for religion, we'd have a marvellous life, bit like the Romans who at Pompeii had brothels selling or giving away sex like it was loaves of bread (men and women could help themselves equally. Can you imagine, me/any woman walking in there and saying 'You, young man, lick this for however long it takes) by which I mean you just went and had sex everyday with whoever and no guilt, no you shall go to hell, no you will have to be a martyr and wait for your 36 virgins type scenarios complicating your sorry life on earth.

I retain very little of the customs/traditions etc of the catholic religion though the imprint is well deep and I do remember stuff you're not supposed to do like fish on a Friday or is it meat on a Friday and did it not all rather depend on availability/regionality rather than dogma? But I count myself lucky not to have grown up in other religions, the Jewish one being a mad one with all its rules and regulations and this novel acts as reminder of how bonkers it all is (anything that seems to force you to just live amongst a small sample of humans who want to keep you restricted to that small sample of humans is a recipe for both disaster and many dreams of escape). He's very funny indeed. The rabbi's spelling bee contest which is about guessing which of 4 (or is it 5?) categories each food and its combinations can be assigned to in order to be correctly blessed is a perfect example. Who spent the time to dream up these rituals and why? Did they have so much free time? I guess if you entered the kabbalah of priests to be idle ie not to have to build stuff or bake bread or work in a field, you had to to justify what you did all day and so you had to say that the sages said in the Torah this or Torah that , that this is how you have to do it. And who amongst the inferior classes is going to bother to read it to find out that it says no such thing but they're all codicills added at a later date by you.

It's as if I woke up today, had some power over a few people say in my office, walked in and said 'You must twirl three times whilst touching your head and say 'Stilettoes' before you open any door. But if you open it before lunchtime (before 12 you also say 'granny' and between 12 and 1pm you say 'granny' backwards) you have to add a curtsy and if you open it on a Wed and Friday you have to also wiggle your toes but if the Wed or Friday falls on the 12th or 14th of that month then you must also find another person of the same sex to do the same thing by the same door'. Failure to do any of this will make you rot in hell and one member of your family will die before he's 20 years old and the rest of the family will be raped by aliens from another religion.

I mean WTF?

So I would like to carry on reading my novel but no, I have to go see Billy Elliott because it's Xmas and Toph's family is all together. 8 of us are giving Billy Elliott's backers/producers and so on, the money my return ticket to Thailand cost. Granted it only works at £25 per hour each for each of the 3 hour too long production. Here's my review.

The show is largely unintelligible due to the fact it’s set in Newcastle and everyone has to speak in that accent. It’s one thing saying ‘naught’ instead of ‘nothing’ but there was lots more impossible dialogue. Felt super sorry for all the foreigners there (I swear, the audience was 80% French/Italian/tourists) and S’s American daughters didn't get much out of it. There was also an awful lot of swearing which jars a lot when the audience is children and some of the swearing is out of the mouth of children. Then of course the backdrop is the miners strike of ‘83/’84 and boy do they go on about it. Ok so if you go to Les Mis (never again , I’d rather die, see what happens when you agree to go see someting twenty years ago with a colleague you didn't much like at the time but you capitulated as well, she seemed a lonely soul with a nerdy passion for musicals) you possibly don’t remember much about French revolution and it sort of works anyway, but here it was just too much. But the absolutely worst part was… NO SONGS! I mean Elton John came up with the tunes???? There is one song that may be memorable. One. Out of a nearly 3 hour show. And I can't remember the chorus to it. It beggars belief. Oh and a good sequence is when Billy dances with a real ballet dancer to a goregous tune.. oh wait, I recognise this one, it's .. SWAN LAKE. Yeah, we know that one. And when the show ends, on a downer (Billy leaves to go to London, bye bye miners), you think oh finally. So the entire cast then comes on stage a propos nothing and do a ten min Busby Berkeley sort of dance medley all cheery and fun and tap dancing, perhaps in realisation that up till then you’d have gone home saying what the f…?

Toph's mum enjoyed it (the part about the boy not having a mum etc I guess was kind of right for a 70 year old lady) and we had to underplay how much we hated it so as not to embarrass her (was her choice out of the various shows proffered, not that there was much better, Mama Mia anyone?. Jeesus.
Got home and checked on Wikipedia and it’s won dozens of awards blah blah. What do I know? But surely it can’t be performed in that accent on Broadway? To add to the misery I decided to watch a few clips on Youtube of the salient songs. There you go, the Electricity sequence performed a few times here and there. Nope, still didn't seem that amazing. As for the dancing, sorry... those X Factor kids last year surely have proved that it's not that difficult.

This show at least serves to give me the get out clause forever hereafter. I do not do musicals. End of.
They’re crap. Unless of course they may have ten songs to remember like that old chestnut Jesus Christ Superstar. But I was a kid then and saw the movie not the musical and movies are ... better. Plus I did fancy Jesus of course.


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