Last night I went to the Royal Festival Hall to listen to the incessant jabbering of my stream-of-semi-consciousness against a background of the Philharmonia Orchestra playing Berlioz’s ‘Symphonie Fantastique’ : look at the people- two and half thousand of them- all sitting in this one box, nobody coughing, everybody successfully containing themselves; visualise body surfing over the silver-haired appreciators or shouting out a manifesto that is filmed by a co-conspirator and broadcast on youtube; imagine this happening in venues all over London, executed in synchronicity; salivate over the publicity but conclude that everybody would hate whatever you had to say coz you said it rudely in the middle of their night out so you would have shot your own campaign in the foot; look at the musicians, having individually fought their way through streets of crime on an innocent mission, smugly lugging their instruments, converging on this time and place, enjoying their black clothes and dangly earrings and smart socks, knowing the notes, feeling confident they won’t do a bum one; think of all the flacid cocks in the slacks of the men and the frozen shepherd pie portions in the freezers of the pea-green and coral-sweatered women; wonder when a Royal last sat in their box in their eponymous Hall; wonder if they felt like Glenn Close in Dangerous Liaisons, when everyone turns to look at her with scorn; wonder if there is an energy in that empty box and if there is what it feels like; look at the conductor, with a body language all his own, the jerks and smooth trajectory of his arms; imagine him putting on his shirt, his fears, his investments for retirement; wonder what his wife thinks of him, what she’s doing now; marvel that people can be bothered to go out, that old people aren’t scared of Embankment tube, that some people aren’t old at all but young and dismissive of X-factor; acknowledge my out-dated ageism; consider the difference between the way classical and popular music is engaged with- one private and serious-minded, one provocative and vivid; think of the irony of quiet souls absorbing the creation of a composer brimful of opium, elsewhere e’d-up dancers freaking out to the tunes of a sober club d.j; question if classical composers used samples of each other’s music; imagine them writing it in cliched, candle-lit rooms, with leeches on their backs; imagine this performance sampling contemporary songs hidden in the symphony; wonder if this might be funny for an ad or a comedy; consider branches of this idea- rap artists in symphony seats, behaving themselves, a symphony of conductors directing a sole musician on the podium; picture Mark Zuckerberg; wonder if the violinists enjoy the plucking bits; hear a theme in the music that’s beautiful, that makes sense; feel proud of myself that I can enjoy the culture of intellects; realise I’m not concentrating; feel shallow; notice a swell in the music; feel moved; allow emotions; well up with tears about Sad Things; want some more wine; contemplate carnal pleasures in Festival bathrooms; try to come up with something interesting to think about the Central Bar Area; make a game-plan for returning chewing gum quietly to its wrapper; consider if other people would find it distasteful if I tapped notes into my phone, how much hatred they would summon, even if I held the handset low, because clearly I was a heathen and had no manners and was a bit common; worry about my new tooth and if it will continue to feel it’s not welcome, like my mouth is The Other; wonder if the person behind me has an opinion about the back of my head; try to make one about the person’s in front of me; ask if the people in the black and white boxes have season tickets, if they are thinking other things, if they are leaning forward because they’re so engrossed or because their seats encourage them to do so, either by the way they are designed or by the way they are overlooked or by both but not necessarily in equal measures, even if you could quantify such a thing and whether there would be any advantage in doing this anyway; and why we’re all benefiting from looking at musicians when its the sounds they are creating by instructing their arms to make movements, that we want to hear; feel happy for the musicians that they haven’t lost their arms; wonder if they hate the lead violinist or if they want him and who’s winking at whom over a Rich Tea biscuit after the performance; wonder if the violinist thinks he’s special, wants extra biscuits, wants his tea just so; wish I could see his features; remember my lost specs are why I can’t; enjoy looking at the harps, seeing angels at them; run through mental archives of Elbow playing here, so much admiration in the space, for the lead singer, the clear acoustic quality of his voice; start to clap and hear someone do that appreciative shouting thing at the end and feel glad to be a part of that whoop.
Tag Archives: Royal
William and Kate tied the knot yesterday and we thanked their national-bank-holiday arses for it.
Because Kate’s pleas for a quickie Elvis wedding in Vegas fell on deaf ears (God bless Wills, but he can be so bloody traditional) Westminster Abbey it was, where it seemed as if it was always meant to be.
But it was a long 10 years ago they first met- the tabloids didn’t dub her ‘Waity Katie’ for nothing (spelt, by the way, with an ‘ai’- something she wished she’d discovered sooner).
It happened completely by accident, the pair having enrolled on exactly the same course at the University of we-all-marry-each-other St. Andrews.
Wills had heard that all the fit, dizzy girls study History of Art and Kate had heard that Wills had heard that all the fit, dizzy girls study History of Art.
When they were introduced at Fresher’s week, it was fondness at first sight but the music was loud and neither of them had any idea who the other was.
After their first date over a deep-fried mars-bar, each sought the company of others…
Kate called her sister.
‘Good fun?’ asked Pip.
‘Um, he’s really into history.’
‘He can’t remember.’
‘Well, I think he was groping for my coat of arms.’
‘Dysfunctional. Unpopular. Power-hungry. Attention-seeking. German.’
Pip was losing faith. ‘Does he like pets?’
‘Not all bad then,’ she concluded. ‘Passable surname?’
‘Wales,’ said Kate. ‘I’d be Mrs. Willy Wales.’
That night, Kate went back to her digs and Googled her date.
When she finally stopped punching the air, all she could think to do was reach for her phone, to send Pip the following text message:
‘OMG. I’d be, like, the FUCKING QUEEN!!!!!’
The next day, both girls went for professional blow-dries.
Meanwhile, on the other side of Fife, Wills was confiding too.
‘I say, thanks for taking the night orf,’ he said to his bodyguard.
‘Good legs?’ enquired his aide.
‘Is she worldly, like you?’
‘No. She didn’t do a gap yar.’
‘Did she put out?’
‘Emphatically, no. She’s from Berkshire.’
‘Tell me more, tell me more, like does she have a car?’
‘Ya, Fiat Punto,’ replied Wills, possibly not getting the reference.
That night, the young Royal thumbed through a copy of Debrett’s Who’s Who and the 2001 British Airways Staff Yearbook.
Michael Middleton was only in one of them.
‘OMG,’ he yelled through the adjoining door. ‘She’s as common as muck! She’s not even honorable!’
‘Wahay!’ shouted his aide, possibly not getting the point.
But love conquered all and the couple met in the Middleton.
When William told the Queen of his engagement, she had only kind words:
‘Given that she’s not a whore like your late mother or a gold-digger or a bore, like your aunts, I approve,’ she sort of said.
When Kate told her parents they both wet themselves- Carole because she knew she would deer stalk into a comfortable dotage, Michael because he feared his ISA would not have matured enough to fund his daughter’s nuptials.
‘Don’t be a silly sausage, Daddy,’ his daughter reassured him. ‘The nation will pay.’
Pillow talk soon turned to the wedding arrangements.
Kate lost on John Lewis holding the gift list but drew the line at having Candle in the Wind as the first dance.
Guests were another matter. ‘To be honest, I don’t give a shit if the Syrian ambassador is there or not,’ exploded Kate.
‘Well, one could do without your pissed uncle doing his flight exit routine as well,’ replied Wills.
But compromises were reached because if there’s one thing Widdleton knows, it’s not to let private passions interfere with civic duty and for that we thank them.
And for uniting the nation in Marxist sentiment; for knocking Peter Andre off the front of Hello; for rescuing Jenny Bond from Cash in the Attic.
But above all, for reassuring us that within the bosom of the British Establishment, beats the heart of the American Dream.