To take my mind off the money whooshing out of my account, and the water eddying round the foundations of our house, we had a bit of a cultural weekend. First up was my Christmas treat – Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake.
Now I knew this was special because the dainty, floaty swans are all played by men. Unfortunately, I thought that ALL of the parts in the whole ballet were male, so I spent the first half-hour or so marvelling at the wonderful, uncanny womanliness of the queen and the girlfriend character. Finally the penny dropped and I realised that they were actually women. By the time the male swans came on, they were a bit of an anticlimax, but their obvious strength and power made them quite a menacing flock – a distinct contrast to the usual tutu-clad birdies.
The great triumph of the ballet for me wasn’t the cross dressing (or even the lack thereof) but the incredibly ingenious way Bourne has fitted his plot – a lot more complex than the original – so beautifully into Tchaikovsky’s wonderful music. Stunning.
Our next outing is probably stretching the word ‘cultural’ to its limits, unless you classify a Nandos and a trip to the local Odeon as mind-expanding. But I love it. We saw American Hustle, which, after the first five minutes, reminded me very strongly of the Godfather. I won’t be giving too much away if I say that both films show scenes of terrible suffering inflicted on animals. In the Godfather, it’s a horse which loses its head. In American Hustle, it’s a hamster which is tortured in ways no small rodent should have to endure. There was a slight difference in effect – with the Godfather, I was in shock for the rest of the film. For the Hustle, I marvelled, yet again, at the equal fragility and relentlessness of the male ego, as I sniggered helplessly into my bag of Munchies. Good times.