The Tale of a Country Bumpkin

I came, and saw (Les Miserables at West End with John Owen-Jones a.k.a. God) and fell into raptures. Bought the Les Miz ticket at Queen’s Theatre Box Office and got a restricted view but first-row seat, with some of the set reaching past the few rows. Call it a true experience when you get to see the much more than the going-on in the foreground.

I was close enough to claw him into erotic submission each time “God” sang, but decided to restrain myself at the last minute for fear of losing some dignity.

I think the compelling force of the Les Miserables story (besides John Owen Jones who actually made Valjean almost desirable) lies in the thorough exploration of what redemption really constitutes: the fullness of the liberal offering of forgiveness is never realised and can never be embraced when the self still attempts means and ways to unconsciously justify what it perceives as undeserved.

Does it not already sound so…biblical?

I went back to the hostel thinking about the tiny details I have missed, and how several motifs surrounded the characters so strongly – for Javert, the unfailingly stars strengthen and reflect (pun fully intended) his resolve to capture Valjean – the Javert Leitmotif in the score also weaves itself in the scenes where he draws back to question himself; for Valjean, the silver candlesticks that the priest gave to him reappeared a couple more times as he sought to find his redemption, not knowing he had found it and not quite accepted it long ago. He dies in his adopted daughter’s arms at the end of the show, and believes finally that paradise is his to enter.

I had the lousiest shower of my life no thanks to the little space in the bathroom – thought once more about the hallowed way Valjean kept the candlesticks on his deathbed scene as a stinging reminder of his final crime – no, I suddenly stood corrected – as a sobering reminder of the underserved action of grace and forgiveness that the priest showed to him when he most deserved punishment.

And it came to me in the midst all that water and soap, that we never forget the incidents in which you have been shown the fullness of grace.

On a side note, the criteria for playing Marius are simply – look good and be a bit hyper. Singing well may or may not be a pre-requisite.

In any case, the vibrancy of London makes me feel like a country bumpkin but I think in the space of the few hours that I’ve plonked myself – it has all been very agreeable.

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The chunnel crossing from Calais was the greatest disappointment of the Eurostar; those who wished to see sharks and other fish will catch naught but the blackness of a tunnel for about 20 minutes or so. The cheap thrill lies really, in the rather short-lived experience of the train’s acceleration up to its full speed of 300km/hr along the Belgian countryside.

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A whole new world opens after I emerged from London Waterloo International – a world where everyone speaks English (though some of it can be incomprehensible), where there are grumpy faces and not-quite-up-to-par service, where 3-pin plugs rule, where cars drive on the right side, where the weather is dreary despite the summer…

I love it all.

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I’ve just blown a ridiculous amount of money to see Les Miserables, Othello, and Equus. The Equus ticket was decided on a whim, but now I have an appointment with a naked Daniel Radcliffe on Wednesday afternoon.

With the crazed speed I suddenly found myself covering many places on foot and iconic sights just passed me by – Trafalgar Square, the Westminster bridge, Parliament, Fish & Chip shops, great supermarkets, Marks & Spencers, Tower of London, Tate Modern, 10 Downing St, the Big Ben, the cute London Cabs, Red Doubledeckers, and Covent Garden (stepping into at least 2 Whittard of Chelsea stores for personal, orgasmic bliss).

And there are the bookshops at Charing Cross – Blackwells, second-books, bargain books – probably cheap by English standards but not mine.

There is just so much to see, and so much to do. 4 days as I have determined, cannot contain London.

 

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