Monday, 11 April 2011

Donna Donna

We've just been to see The Umbrellas of Cherbourg and I don't mind admitting that it damned-well nearly broke my heart. Sure, there were some lumpy moments, and some dreadful performances by a couple of the featured male ensemble members, but it was a magical, magical show. It snowed onto the audience at the end, an image that will live with me forever, the sound of that wonderful song I Will Wait For You drifting through the blizzard.


Joanna Riding gave a lovely performance as the mother, but the stand out performance definitely belonged to the oddly named cabaret performer, Meow Meow. I'd previously thought she was simply an illegal substance but now I realise she's a deeply gifted and highly charismatic performer.

The first half of the piece was strangely spoilt by a woman behind us who seemed to want to laugh like someone on the special bus at deeply inappropriate moments. In the end Nathan span round and gave her a right mouthful, which was almost met with a standing ovation from the weary audience sitting around her. Fortunately, she didn't come back for the second half. I should point out that she wasn't special needs in any way; just a moronic teenager.

...So, it seems to have fallen upon me to organise a sort of vigil-cum-rally on the streets of Soho on Friday night. I have no real idea of what to expect; how many people might show up and what we're going to do when, and if they turn up. All I know is that we're going to sing Donna Donna, which is one of Philip's favourite songs, and has an extraordinary message. You can hear the goddess Joan Baez singing it here.

I think, if you're an opinionated bastard like me, there are going to be one or two moments in life when you're expected to step up to the proverbial mic; put your money where your mouth is, and other cliches. I keep looking over my shoulder to see if there's someone more qualified who can lead the troops into battle, but it would seem that everyone else is looking right back at me... So lead I must. Now I hope at least twenty people show their solidarity, else I'm gonna be a bit of a tragic figure this coming Friday!

Pepys woke up in his lodgings at 7am, and spent the morning singing songs with Captain Allen, the father of the young girl Pepys had been sleazing after on the previous evening. Pepys’ favourite song of the session was “Goe and bee hanged, that’s good-bye” which sounds like a typically up-beat 17th Century ditty. They left Rochester just after lunch, Pepys feeling guilty about how sad he was to be leaving the object of his brief affections. The journey back to London, however, was described as the merriest ever, Pepys being in “a strange mood for mirth”

Pepys’ journey back to London is worth recounting in full, as it seems to somehow burst off the page;

I met two little schoolboys going with pitchers of ale to their schoolmaster to break up against Easter, and I did drink of some of one of them and give him two pence. By and by we come to two little girls keeping cows, and I saw one of them very pretty, so I had a mind to make her ask my blessing, and telling her that I was her godfather, she asked me innocently whether I was not Ned Wooding, and I said that I was, so she kneeled down and very simply called, “Pray, godfather, pray to God to bless me,” which made us very merry, and I gave her twopence. In several places, I asked women whether they would sell me their children, but they denied me all, but said they would give me one to keep for them, if I would. Mrs. Anne and I rode under the man that hangs upon Shooter’s Hill, and a filthy sight it was to see how his flesh is shrunk to his bones

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