Opera is cool, I am going to go again – how much is a season ticket? (smirk). Gaddafi – A Living Myth, by Asian Dub Foundation/English National Opera, was terrific, a spectacle, and Ramon Tikaram was great. The piece had a (very) few crap rhymes at some points (juice/loose – Shan Khan wrote the libretto) but impressively for the venue, the genre, the time, there were plenty of sharp significant words said about nefarious covert ops by CIA/USA/RayGun/Thatcher types, which of course everyone will have updated in their heads to read as a critique of Bush/Bliar’s anti-Islam/Oil-terror war. No glorification of “Gaddafi Superstar”, there was some even handed internal critique of both the Libyan leader’s paranoia and expediency (tactical move on the Lockerbie etc) and of compromised moderate Arab puppet governments. At the end a deserved great cheer for the virgin soldier ‘Amazonian Guard’ defence squad that protects the Colonel. And congrats to the ENO and ADF for finding a new angle on the kung-fu/hip-hop nexus that so often appears in this sort of soundscape – those guards had some good moves. But a shame we could not dance in the aisles as the Colisevm is a pretty venue for a drum and bass gig. The music was fine – if politely quiet compared to other ADF fare. Generally a good time was had by all.
– this post is a place holder for a longer discussion that will appear soon. Unfortunately Gaddafi’s last night was last night. Triumphant end, but sadly no foot stomping encore as we could see the orchestra was already packing up their cello’s in the pit. But season tickets for the ENO are worth considering = they did Nixon in China a few months back – I am sorry to say I missed Mao in that one. I’d always thought Opera was for the infirm – oops, I guess I am getting aged and dotty and my pop cult tastes are moving upmarket. OR – as I know it was – is this a total aberration for Opera, and its only the declining economies of such elite forms that force the pace. As evidence, the plethora of snotty negative reviews of this production in the right wing press… Whatever they may moan about, I think its a publicity, artistic, political coup – of gaddafi superstar proportions – its wild adn wacky that ADF have got this up at all. Another addition to their great routines and unending fame – as good as those on Battle of Algiers and La Haine.
Anyway, come back soon for a more coherent response. A bit bleary eyed today after waking up early because John G was catching a flight to Malta – though I am so sorry I failed to make him a coffee before he left… have a good flight … more soon.