Saturday, January 12, 2008

Do you hear the people sing?

I've had a mad Saturday. It all began at 6am when I first hit the snooze button. That didn't last long, and before I knew it I was on my way to Heathrow airport to meet a German colleague flying in from Stuttgart for the week. His flight was to land at the painfully early time of 8.15am. So after a long Piccadilly line ride to Heathrow and back I found myself at the Merlyn Court Hotel in Earls Court explaining the tube system. After a short breakfast and a quick introduction to Knightsbridge, we were off to Fulham Broadway for the Chelsea vs Spurs game at Stamford Bridge. Now, I'm a West Ham fan by rule, but not an avid fan. I couldn't name the team off by heart or anything but nevertheless in family tradition I support the hammers. The last game I had seen was back when Julian Dicks played for West Ham in 94 or 95, so I wasn't going to pass on the chance to see a Premiership Football match. We sat with the Chelsea fans, so any feelings for the underdogs had to be firmly masked. The game ended favorably for Chelsea with a 2 - 0 victory, continuing their unbeaten home run of over two years.

Jumping on a District line train to Sloane Square the second part of my day began, and I started to get into character for a culture clash performance of Les Miserables. Part of me was still with the football crowd, cheering and jeering at Tottenham fans, so the fear was setting in, what if I were to start chanting in a lout-esque way as Enjolas and the Students led the revolution against the brutal French police? Ruling this out I headed home, and after a quick meal, wrapped an arty scarf around my neck and jumped in a cab to Shaftsbury Avenue. What followed was three hours of revolt, romance, revenge & tragedy, accompanied by Schonbergs' recurring compositions and themes typical of a Cameron Mackintosh production. I’ve grown up with the songs of Les Mis, from car journeys, dinner tables & home visits, the songs have provided a soundtrack to me, and it came to great surprise to see it all finally fit together, and discover the songs that don’t feature on the soundtrack I own.

I guess what I love about this musical is its revolutionary themes and the feeling of great change in the air. Melanie and I spotted a few elements that felt a little dated so it’ll be great to see if anyone will update it in years to come. Who knows maybe it’ll be me. And as my day ends with the chants of masses ringing in my ears, I can reflect on two very different events and draw similarities with a football match and the story of Les Miserables. How the characters wanted change and freedom, and the football patrons wanting victory, an expression of freedom. And this leads me back to this very blog, and how in writing this, I am in fact flexing my own muscles of freedom. It all fits together…

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