Friday, 1 August 2014

Can't smell, can't taste...

Today's charming coldy symptoms include a complete loss of both my sense of taste and smell. I was forced to walk through a trail of cigarette smoke earlier on and braced myself for a skinful of the hideous stench of nicotine, but could smell absolutely nothing. Nothing whatsoever. We went to the cafe for lunch and mouthful after mouthful became about the texture rather than the taste of the food. Some mouthfuls seemed saltier than others. That was about all I could discern.

Going back on the tube again was a somewhat daunting experience after the peace and quiet of Derbyshire. I took myself into town to have a pre-Brass hair cut, wishing I had another couple of days to beat the cold before the intensity of rehearsals kick in, which are bound to prolong recovery by at least a week.

I saw adverts today for a new daytime Channel 4 show which advertised itself as "a cooking show with a twist." I wondered if any TV show could be more lacking in twist than a daytime cookery show? Sometimes I wonder how TV execs end up being so riskily risk-averse! Surely it's far more risky to commission show after show which slog the same dead format, than it is to go for something which genuinely breaks new ground; new ground which might actually stand a chance of capturing the zeitgeist!

I think the same about musical theatre. A formulaic juke box musical is never going to be the next Les Miserables. No one would ever have been able to predict that a four-and-a-half hour long show about a nineteenth century French student uprising (performed by the RSC) would break all world box office records... and yet it did, because it was something different.

Isn't it time we all learned to take a few more risks?

And so we've slowly rolled into the period when, each day, another 100th anniversary of the First World War passes. 100 years ago today, Britain was within three days of declaring war on Germany, and Germany (already at war with Serbia) was about to declare war on France and Russia in a tit-for-tat, he-said-she-said, deadly playground game which is so profoundly reminiscent of what is happening right now in the Middle East.

It is, of course, almost impossible to think of a solution to this particular issue, but I do think we're wrong to make it as black and white as saying that Israel is bad, and Palestine is good... And I really feel this is how the British media would have it. Yes, Israel has a powerful ally in the form of the United States, and our natural instinct is to side with the underdog, but I reckon I'd get a bit defensive if my neighbours had gone on record as saying they won't rest until I'm blasted off the face of the earth.

To make matters worse, certain born-again Christians are tragically frothing at the mouth at the thought of Armageddon happening in their life times.  Some non-sensical religious school of thought suggests that the process of the end of the world will begin when the Middle East goes into meltdown, and because they can't wait for the rapture, some American Christians are actually going over to Israel specifically to stir up ill-feeling. There are few words...

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