Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Thursday in three parts

Of course, we're talking about the Thursday that happened two weeks ago, because I don't like to rush these things, as you know.

1) I was quite taken with this arrangement of rubbish outside the Barbican, which I observed on my way to see South Pacific with my pals from choir. My favourite thing about it is that it looks exactly like the wrapped up body of a giant-headed man with no arms or legs.

There are many reasons why a man may have an abnormally large head. Illness, an unfortunate accident of genes... OK, there are two reasons. Or, in fact, three, since I imagine this man's head – the head of a disgraced Barbican employee, I believe – was so gigantic because it was bursting with ideas.

Ideas such as: 'Wouldn't it be an amazing idea to have more ladies' toilets near the Barbican's main theatre auditorium, so that people could do more during the interval than locate the toilets, queue, use them, then sprint, sweaty and flustered, back to their seats just as the curtain goes up again?'

The enterprising Barbican employee's plan must have been rejected because it would interfere with the precious bloody architecture of the building. Presumably people urinated less in the '70s.

Another idea: 'Wouldn't it be good if the dedicated email account for Barbican lost property actually responded to emails regarding lost property*?'

The response was clearly to cut off his arms and legs for insubordination and throw him out with the rubbish.

Arts administration is a cut-throat world. If, by throat, you mean legs. And also arms. Which I do.

2) When I was sitting in Starbucks, killing some time before I went to the Barbican, a woman spent several minutes eyeing me nervously, before walked across the room towards me. 'Are you waiting to interview someone for a job?' she said to me. 'Erm... no,' I said. 'Oh...' she said, 'it's just you look like someone who might be.'

Now I wish I'd said yes. I feel quite confident that I could have conducted a searching 30-minute interrogation without having any idea what the job was. People believe anything when you wear glasses and have a notebook out on the table.

3) When you are sitting in the highest, cheapest seats of the theatre, you have a great view down into the orchestra pit. The massive square in me (most of me is a massive square, apart from the bit that sometimes eats a Marks & Spencer's sandwich in Starbucks) was a little shocked to see the clarinettist flicking through a magazine during the idle moments when she wasn't playing. I wonder what is the most elaborate extra-curricular activity you could get away with doing in an orchestra pit during the performance, while still technically meeting the demands of your job. Yoga? Your ironing? Building a matchstick scale model of the Barbican inside the Barbican?

Pottery would be a good one, of course. Imagine attempting to keep your wheel turning with the foot pedals while simultaneously negotiating the tricky rhythms of Happy Talk.

Metal detecting is a popular hobby, but I would not recommend carrying this out in an orchestra pit during a performance.

*First world problems: I have lost a beautiful blue leopard-print Whistles scarf. First world solutions: It's either in the Barbican, Starbucks or cute cupcake-vending cafe Bea's Of Bloomsbury.


Anonymous said...

Leopard print? Blue?

Miss Jones said...

It's a particularly rare species of leopard.

Alison Cross said...

I do hope you get your scarf back - but if it's beautiful, I'd think probably not.

I once abandoned a hand-painted silk scarf in a restaurant for FIVE minutes before rushing back to claim it. It was GONE and no-one could tell me what happened to it. I was furious, but then, perhaps this is the way scarves get through life.....silkily sliding off chair-backs or mutinously falling out of handbags when you aren't looking.

Someone will be loving it.

But check the Barbican again, just in case.

Ali x

Chris Addison said...

Mrs. A and I once stood in the slips at the very top of an opera house. The thing we could see best was the orchestra pit. At the end the conductor left the podium to take his bow on the stage. As his foot hit the floor, an arm was thrust from the side - comedy style - holding a can of Guinness which he swiped as he passed by. It was perfect. If they can run they should make up the new core of the British relay team. Even if they can't run, actually.

David said...

i have a very large head too. i look very silly in hats. and i like hats. thats is all.

Anonymous said...

I have a friend who plays the French horn, and thus often has a bit of time to spare in the orchestra pit. He tells me a pack of cards is absolutely essential.

Persephone said...

The ladies' washroom problem in theatres is a universal one. In fact, I'm trying to think of an exception, and I can't. At the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, we have perfected the routine: daughter and I dash to secure a place in the ladies' line-up, while my husband makes a similar dash to procure snacks and drinks. We meet at the appointed place where we have approximately three minutes to gobble and slurp, before ditching our food (not allowed in the theatre), and taking our seats.

Usual orchestra pit view: the conductor graciously acknowledging applause from his nearly empty pit as the last of the musicians hastily pack up and leave. They all seem to be coffee-drinkers down there.

(WV: "readre" -- I am a readre who faithfully lis votre blog, cherie...)