Friday, 9 March 2012

Wiped out by lethargy

I switched on the television this evening to hear more ridiculous reporting on the case of the six soldiers killed in Afghanistan. This came from ITN, whose closing line in the early evening news reported that the child of one of the dead men had said, “Daddy is now a star,” like this was the most important news of the day.This is not news, it’s weird emotional propaganda. It's the sort of thing you'd expect from tabloid newspapers. Perhaps I’m being unpatriotic or really hard-line, but when you stop to actually listen to the news, you sometimes realise what you’re hearing is merely an opinion.

I woke up this morning and realised why I felt so uptight yesterday. I have the mother of all colds. I can’t stop sneezing or blowing my nose, my glands are up, and I’ve come out in three blind spots like a tragic, lumpy adolescent. The computer screen is spinning and every bone in my body aches. Boo!

I went to see Nathan singing in a cabaret last night; the songs of a new trans-Atlantic writing partnership, who show a great deal of promise. I was pleased to see a room full of people - no mean feat for show that started at 11pm - and there was much whooping and cheering. There are a growing number of new and young musical theatre writers cropping up in the UK at the moment, which can only be a good thing. They have a fan base, they support one another, they share cabaret slots and compete against each other. Before any of us can say “Wicked”, one of them will have a hit musical, which could well revitalise the industry.

When I was fresh on the scene in the late 90s, there didn’t seem to be any other musical theatre writers around. There was no one to talk to, no one to whinge with, and worse still, no one seemed to be interested in looking for new writers. Musicals were considered purely commercial enterprises, lacking in any form of creativity, and probably at the time, they were. I went to a meeting of musical theatre composers in the year 2000 and they were all sandal-wearing middle-aged married couples with wiry hair who’d written “rock” musicals with biblical themes. I think, when people look back on musical theatre in this country, there will be a complete dearth of writers born between about 1965 and 1985, which is a rather peculiar thought. A generation completely wiped out by lethargy.

Not a great deal to say about Pepys 350 years ago. It was a Sunday, so he did Sunday things. Church (twice), a brief constitutional in the garden, supper, prayers and bed.

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