In my bid to sample all the wonderful opportunities London makes available,
I went to the English National Opera. This is an organisation dedicated to producing
the great operas of the world, translated into English. They are also strapped for cash,
so it was no surprise to find the Capture of Troy tansferred to a bleak urban landscape, one that
required no set at all. All the cast members were also able to appear dressed in their
bleak urban tracksuit bottoms and runners. I suspected the costumes were
designed by Oxfam. I expect to see Aida, and Tristan und Isolde soon, all re-interpreted for
a bleak, urban landscape.
They were wrong to locate the bleak part of the city on the surface. The surface, at least that's somewhere. Beneath
the surface, in the Underground, in the Tube, that's nowhere at all. You cease to exist when you enter the Tube. Your life
pauses at the entrance, and forty or sixty or one hundred minutes later it starts again as you leave the destination. In between,
you are simply in between, neither alive nor dead. Life is up there, rushing over your head, Parliament, the park, the palaces,
the pub, above you, a hundred meters up is where life happens. Down here, we wait for it to start again, and like
the rats of the dark tunnels, time gnaws at us, time scurries past, time rushes away in dripping herds from the peering lights
to the vortex beyond. We press on, we press on, and never look back.