Steve's Blog of the Bizarre

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Strange thoughts

I randomly happened across a ballet on TV this evening - La Fille Mal Gardée (details below). It's an English ballet - you can tell because there is a maypole dance in the sun, suddenly interrupted by pouring rain. And there is something suspiciously like morris dancing at one point with sticks (but without the bells on the legs) - interestingly this is less scary than the version you generally see in small villages with beardy men. Which reminds me: a while ago I saw morris dancers in the town centre (remember the 'town' where I live is trying to pretend it's not a village because it has a market) - they were all dressed in black with weird feather-covered hats and black face paints. Perhaps these are the extra scary satanic version. Worrying.

Anyway, that's not the strange thought that I was actually going to post about. Watching this ballet, I started thinking about how lot's of people don't like musicals, opera, ballet, etc because they can't imagine people just starting singing and dancing (though aliens, talking animals and flying, indestructible super-heroes are not too much of a stretch for the imagination. This is possibly some fascinating insight into the human psyche, but I'm not sure what it might mean.) I then started imagining a bizarre concept for a screen-play or something (I was half-asleep, exhausted by my late-night mouse-chasing exertions which may explain it) - in some strange parallel universe everyone sings and dances all the time ("What am I going to eat for my tea? // I'll just think about it while I drink my coffee..."; 'The Ballet of the School Gate', including complicated car manouvers as well as dancing children at going home time; "Ensure seat-backs and tray-tables / are in the upright position. // We're crashing in the sea: / prepare to go fishin'!") and there are only a few strange films and plays where everyone speaks in prose. Much hilarity ensues, though I'm not sure how this scenario would have ended: I decided that I really ought to go and make a coffee and do something useful. How boring.

Programme details from


Music and Arts - Highlight
La Fille Mal Gardée
7:05pm - 9:00pm

It's not often that ballet lands in the primetime schedules, but dance fans will be jeté-ing with delight across their living rooms tonight. Their treat is a recording of the recent Covent Garden revival of Frederick Ashton's 1960 ballet, revered as an English classic. This is a long way from Swan Lake: it's a lively rustic romp, set in a picture-book English countryside complete with dancing chickens, a ribbon-strewn maypole, a Shetland pony (see below) and a clog dance. The romance revolves around pretty young Lise (danced by pretty young Argentinian ballerina Marianela Nuñez), who finds herself about to be married off to the idiot son of a wealthy farmer, when her real affections are for poor farmer Colas (Cuban heart-throb Carlos Acosta). Through cunning, and some comedic skill, true love triumphs in the end.

Widow Simone-William Tuckett
Lise-Marianela Nuñez
Colas-Carlos Acosta
Thomas-David Drew
Alain-Jonathan Howells

notes Now Playing: What's Up by 4 Non Blondes ("I said hey-ey-ay-eu-ay-ay... What's goin' on?" - that one.); then Gorecki by Lamb, then Blurry by Puddle of Mudd; The Sea by Morcheeba; among others - you know you've written a long post when you start measuring it by the number of songs you've listened to while writing it...


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