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The male gaze: Turning the screw

It's been a while since trips to the theatre. I've been busy. But it's nice to see that it's the creative process that is at the heart of Kevin Kelly's Turning the Screw. And what gives rise to it. It's a dramatisation of the creative process leading up to composer Benjamin Britten's premiere of his opera, The Turning of the Screw. With deadlines approaching, Britten seems stuck over melodies and unsure about completing the piece for its summer premiere. But the selection of twelve-year-old choirboy David Hemmings in the leading role of Miles within the opera is the spark that motivates him to complete the piece. And his presence may stir other feelings, too. It's currently playing at the Kings Head Theatre .  Britten's fascination with young boys has been the subject of a detailed book, Britten's Children. The book suggests that Britten saw himself as a young boy of 13. It's almost as if he saw himself as Peter Pan, albeit if Peter Pan was a
The rain in spain stays mainly on the pla-in...

It had to happen. Last night I saw my first West End musical to mark a week in London. It was the thouroughly Londern musical My Fair Lady. Henry Higgins was played by Anthony Andrews which gave me some amusement since ten or so years back I had seen him again and again and again in the TV movie The Scarlett Pimpernel. As my favourite sister was a bit of a fan I sort of became a fan by default.

The show last night was sensational. I had only ever seen that dreadful still-born movie of it starring the lip-syncing Audrey Hepburn and directed by the near death George Cukor. He was good in his day but his day was thirty years before and I found the movie was as slow and decrepit as he probably was. The songs I could have danced all night and On the street where you live just simply stopped the show. There was spectacle and excitement in this production and it never dragged.

It is quite a unique show. And of course it was fun to see a show in the area in which it was actually set. Such a pity however that in less than 100 years Covent Garden markets area have gone from a hobo slum to being a tourist slum. But one can't have everything I suppose!

But I digress... I thought My Fair Lady was a sensible show to see for my first week in London. I have found that diction and pronounciation is quite important. Even though we all share the same language, whether ordering a hamburger in an all-black Macdonalds or buying a railway ticket from a disinterested ticket seller, lazy Austraaaaylianisms just don't quite cut it. I have found enunciation has been enough to get me by for now.

Hot tips:
* When walking around being a tourist it comes in handy to note the day's particle count along with the temperature.
* Drinking 3litres of water a day means that having intimate knowledge of where the W.Cs are is quite advantageous. Sometimes it really is a privilege to pee!
* The words London and airconditioning don't really go together. I did let some people in on a secret that last summer Brisbane and airconditioning didn't really happen either.
* The theatre can be a hot and sweaty place too. Last night it was hotter inside the theatre than out as temperatures dropped for the first time in over a week to make for a mild summer's night.

Purchasing Power Parity
A Big Mac here may cost over A$7, but some things aren't too bad.
* Evian is 50p
* A cheeseburger and sprite is about the same
* Theatre tix cost the same or cheaper if you know where to go.
* A half pint of beer for under £2 gets me looking butch for over half an hour in a gay bar. Actually that might just be because I take forever to drink beer...

The Accidental Tourist
It has been a couple of days since postings so important things I have learned since last posting:

* The Theatre Musuem is a great free exhibit. I was expecting it to be cheesy and full of old stage props but instead found Noel Cowards bath robe, WS Gilbert's top hat, and a fantastic exhibition on the Redgrave family. The ghosts of theatre seemed to be lurking about in the dimly lit museum but in amongst Rudolf Nureyev's black cap and the rest it was a great place to learn about theatre in its historical context.
*Trafalgar Square isn't so shitty anymore... well it has lost its pidgeons and it looks a lot cleaner and brighter with a redevelopment that has closed off the road directly in front of the National Gallery. A concert is coming up to mark the grand occasion which isn't my cup of tea but apparently will attract loads of punters. I have spent a fair amount of time around the Trafalgar Square area in the past two days and am updating the blog from the easyInternet cafe nearby. Live webcam from Trafalgar Square
* Since I was in the neighbourhood, I thought I would pop in to the National Gallery. You could spend a good deal of time there, but I just drifted from crashing a tour group getting an explanation on a 16th century work of art to standing transfixed at Bathers at Asnires by Georges Seurat. I kept thinking "dot-dot-dot-dot" and "well there never was a hat!"

Limerance with London
I keep wondering when the honeymoon is over. It has been fun so far. I even enjoy the stuff like
* Saying no to hobos when they ask for money
* Riding the tube when its crowded
* Tripping over the silly woman's foot at the theatre who refused to move. Some people in London think London revolves around them so when she refused to move I just pressed on. She moaned and complained (which Skye mainly heard and not I) but it amused me as I thought how else was I to get by after exhausting the polite niceties and non verbals? If London really revolved around her the silly bitch would have been in a box seat anyway and not the dress circle.
* Community spirit. You are expected to help people when they need it and they will help you in return. Yesterday I had to help a lady with a stroller down the stairs at a tube station. The stroller was surprisingly heavy. Perhaps she was carrying a bowling ball.
* Walking everywhere is my substitute for gym for now.

Coming up on the schedule...

Re-entering the world of work for four days next week. I will be an office dogsbody but I think I can take a few days off from touristing.

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