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Friday, May 18

Lovely Ladies?

The rule of three states that there will be three items in the list and the last will be the surprise. For example "My wife, is thin, blonde and a racist". The third is a kicker because you weren't expecting it. By the way, I'm not suggesting that that line is funny, or that I have a wife, or that I'd marry a racist.

So it was that I had three different experiences with female members of the opposite sex last night.

Women On A Train
I noticed, as I got onto the train, headed for London, so I could see Evita, which I'd been looking forward to seeing, that the two women at the back of the train were painted up to look like cheap hookers. They weren't quite dressed as provocatively as that, but they looked really ghastly. Why do women dress themselves like that? Is there no such thing as self-respect?

I had my mp3 player and I tried to focus on Michael Bublé. The smell of their perfume and occasional bits of yakkety yak filtered from their seats to mine, but generally I managed to stay out of their way. I was slightly depressed by them, but I was much more miserable in general, so I barely noticed it.

In fact, I was so miserable that I deliberately tried to push the misery buttons on myself by building a mini playlist on my mp3 player of miserable songs, which I thought would really allow me to indulge in misery. As it happens, the songs were so good and so miserable that I sort of became less miserable as a result. I'm beginning to understand Goths.

Arriving at the far end, I hastened to the theatre and realised I was early. So, I hung about a bit, got something to eat, got to my seat, in a good stalls location, and hung around until the show started.

The Three Witches
People filtered into the theatre. Eventually, running quite late, three women came into the row behind. One of them was huge. The other two were gaily painted. As the overture began, their rustling of sweet wrappers and their murmurs, along with those of some of the rest of the audience, didn't subside.

Now I know I've said this before, but I'm going to fucking well say it again. If you want to go and see a musical, don't make noise over any part of it. The musical is a combination of sights AND SOUNDS! The overture isn't the boring bit before stuff happens - it's an essential element of the show, a series of textures and flavours that are being played, live, by a fucking ORCHESTRA. It's not like going to see a live band, with a couple of people who are there to make you excited and make some noise. It's a thing of beauty and subtlety; it's included in the ticket price, and if you disrupt it, then you're stealing from my enjoyment of something I paid to see.

I realise that this isn't helping much.

Still, the show got going and I think my particularly raw mood meant that I was really enthralled and much more likely to be emotionally affected by what was happening on stage. Whether it was an emotional moment, or just something I thought was well executed, I could feel my heart straining in all sorts of directions, influenced by the performance. Metaphorically, of course. This is part of what live theatre is supposed to be about.

There were still some disruptions around me, but I did my best to ignore them.

Interval arose and the three harpies went out for a bit. I relaxed. I didn't move. They returned towards the end of the interval and we had a bit of banter. They were in good spirits, had had a couple of drinks. I thought that perhaps, having spoken to them, that I'd maybe be able to tolerate them more, or maybe be able to influence them to be quiet more.

As Act 2 started, it was clear that they were still going to rustle and crinkle their way through the show. Bitches. What's the point!? I turned round a couple of times to wave them to be quiet. It didn't help.

The point is that the emotive music and the performance can heighten one's senses. I was trying very hard to immerse myself in the show and sometimes I was so hyper-aware (as I am when I'm on the stage) that I could hear everything going on around me, from the twat next to me biting his nails to the three witches behind me, whispering and giggling every so often.

To be honest, if you can't behave in a theatre, then I say you shouldn't bloody go.

I was incensed.

After the show had finished. I asked the three witches whether they were listed in the programme? Where are you in here? Where does it say "director's commentary provided" by you? Are you on the CD?

They didn't take it well. They suggested I was a miserable bastard. A sad wanker who should get out more. I explained that I'd not paid to hear them chat over the show, that I'd had a bad day and had looked forward to enjoying a musical. The chief witch said that "if I was paying attention enough, I'd not have noticed anything but the show". Oh, how I wanted to lay into the three of them. Oh how I wanted to reduce them to tears, by insulting them, rather than attacking their behaviour... but I couldn't. It's not what I do. I may appear to them to be someone who needs to "chill out and get a life", but maybe they left the theatre pissed off. Maybe they left with some of the irritation that I'd gotten from them. If so, then good.

To be honest, making an arse of myself with other theatre patrons wasn't enjoyable. I'm not really into confrontations. I hate it. I realised that when I started. I was just annoyed and slightly miserable and taking it out on the protagonists wasn't helping. It wasn't just them to blame and I didn't see the point.

In the tube station, there was a woman talking about emailing another woman - she pretended to be typing in mid-air. I copied her gesture back at her and it made her laugh. That's me.

I took the emotional baggage of the argument I'd sort of lost in the theatre with me. I fumed my way to the railway station. On the train were a couple of women who'd seen The Drowsy Chaperone and they were more than happy to tell me that I must go to see it. They also had seen Evita, so we had a bit of a chat about that.

I also had a chat with another woman on the train - because I like chatting. I even managed to contain my irritation at the guy who sat pissing about with his electric fan for a few stops. Only just. Why do people have to be irritating!?

I'm not particularly thrilled with people at the moment.

A Comedy Chum
Then I drove home chatting to a comedy chum, who happens to be female. She wasn't dressed as a tart. Her every word didn't annoy me. In fact, far from it. She was sympathetic, entertaining and a racist. Not the last one. That's a callback. Rules of three aren't enough in comedy.

Anyway, I actually ended the evening with some positive conversation with women, rather than ending the night feeling the whole "aren't women overpainted harridans?" vibe.

Thank goodness for that.

Lovely Ladies?
A bit of musicals geekery in the title. The song "Lovely Ladies" in Les Miserables is sung by a bunch of overpainted tarts, who are anything but lovely. I think the absolute truth is that some women are lovely. And some aren't. Why did the ones that weren't have to spoil my last chance to see Evita while it was still on the West End. I bought the CD today. I'm pretty sure they won't be on it.

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