Wednesday, 27 January 2010

What Can I Say?

There are so many things I'd rather like to write about. So many things I could, or could at least attempt. When I started to write, there did exist a thin veil of anonymity. Sort of. A few people had to know, of course. And I wanted people to stop by, read and perhaps learn a little more about me. The cheapest format for this is to recruit friends and family, but therein lies my problem.

I cannot now, write about certain things. I have noticed a similar thread amongst some other writers, and a certain Irish Daily Mail article springs to mind. How truly free is one to write and to express himself? Naturally, I am privileged to live in a democracy, privileged to live a life free of the traumas so many others endure in their vies quotidiennes. Particularly today, Holocaust Memorial Day, we reflect on the many, many things that make us so lucky. The most obvious: I am alive, and I assume you must be as well if you are reading this, so therefore - no moaning. But, I find there are so many underlying constraints to writing. I would love to write about the previous weekend in full. However, I cannot, because too much is too revealing. Perhaps it's the middle-class morality again.
One thing I am pleased to write freely about is the ballet. An incredibly lucky (and kind) connection offered me tickets to Giselle, a production by the English National Ballet. It was the first time in several years I had made it to the ballet, something I really must do so much more often. It was quite lovely, and I had forgotten how moving it can be. I would moan about how I wish I could dance, had done ballet myself as a child, but moaning is banished for the day. I often find the universe so funny. It was only the previous day I was reading the production's review in the Evening Standard, thinking I really must try to go. And lo and behold, the call came minutes later with the offer of tickets. Marvellous!

The prelude to Giselle is Men y Men, which is somehow a most annoying name. I do get it, but it sounds cheap. I suppose then I was most surprised by how good it was. The effect was of a great many floating male torsos, it was entirely mesmeric. Again, I might moan about my torso not looking quite like that, but I mustn't. Though I do feel this is slightly cheating. It was bold and powerful, but very harmonious. Quite stunning. I often prefer contemporary dance to some of the older stuff. Then Giselle started and drove this from my mind. The two pieces contrast well; the strongly masculine with the quaintly feminine. The very nature of Giselle's death is quaint and dainty, and it actually rather bothers me. Naturally, she is distressed, maddened by the identity of her lover, but actual death seems so pathetic. I mentioned this to a friend, and feel much validated by her response. Apparently Giselle kills herself by Albrecht's sword in the original. This makes so much sense, especially as she picks the thing up and threatens to do the deed anyway. Why the change? I sense some Victorian censorship.

Nevertheless, both were thoroughly enjoyable and another reminder of how lucky I am. If you have wanted to do something cultural for sometime, make it this. A glass of champagne upstairs is also thoroughly recommended. Incidentally, so is a Flirtini at Green Carnation, which I happily enjoyed when I met fan of Lambert, Smack, Crumple, Bang. Much of what occurred after this I feel too constrained to make properly public. Definitely stems from the middle-classédness. Such fun.


  1. very envious of Giselle - it was the second ballet I ever saw (though I was seven and the idea of the Wilies made me laugh (is that what they're called?)
    A Flirtini is a cocktail of the utmost deliciousness. I made several for Waffle just after Christmas and they were appallingly morish.

  2. Haha yes, Wilis. Female spirits of spurned brides-to-be.
    Yes, I think I may have to sample a few more, just to make sure I DO in fact, like them.

  3. In the states we have green carnations mostly on St. Patrick's Day, along with green donuts--ugh. But in London, there is the Green Carnation and a Flirtini. Here's a bit from the novel, "The Green Carnation":

    "I think it is a mercy something stands still nowadays," said Lady Locke, lying down easily on the sofa, and leaning her dark head against the cushions. "If all the old-fashioned operas and pictures and books were swept away, like the old-fashioned people, we should have no landmarks at all. London is not the same London it was ten years ago."
    Mrs. Windsor lifted her eyebrows.

    "The same London! I should hope not.

    Why, Aubrey Beardsley and Mr. Amarinth had not been invented then, and 'The Second Mrs. Tanqueray' had never been written, and women hardly ever smoked, and----"

    "And men did not wear green carnations," Lady Locke said.

  4. Green doughnuts, that sounds intriguing.

    I think the Green Carnation in London has tried hard to emulate the protagonist from the novel. You should visit and take a look.

    Thank you very much for the quote, very apt!

  5. Lovely tip, I've never seen Giselle so will try to go. Re blog honesty - It probably depends how much you want to share with the world and is one of the reasons people choose to write under an alias. I always feel that anything you write can come back to haunt you one day; but on the other hand too pc is just dead boring...

  6. I adore a trip to the ballet- there is something quite moving about the melodrama- and also the fact that people still spend so many years learning this slightly torturous and old- fashioned but wonderful art.

    On the writing I empathasise- I have managed to keep quite anonymous so far but sometimes I feel deceitful about that- Before blogging I never understood why people wrote under pen names but now I do- because it is hard to totally let your voice go.

    Still some of my best posts have been when I've just let go so maybe share some of your decadence in Soho with us- just a watered down version and see how you go.

  7. -Sabine
    You really must, it is a very easy production to enjoy. And I know, exactly. I have never thought myself PC.. Such a dilemma!

    I have some friends who are still honing their craft, they have such ceaseless determination and are so dedicated.

    I have no problem sharing any details with complete strangers through the ether, but it's the people who are not strangers that keep my openness in check! For you, I will consider a watered down version.