Sunday, 13 November 2011
Dance To the Music Of Time
Shuffling my way back in after the first interval with a lot of others there was this big bloke by my side. It was worrying; if he trod on one of my best trainers he could get an earful that might spoil his family occasion. My trainers are expensive footwear. Because of my feet I need to have those designed for athletes and such.
Then I realised who he was. So now I may claim to be a source close to George Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer and indeed might have had his ear. For a fleeting moment the thought came to say something. It would on the lines of the Soothsayer in Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar”. “Beware the endogenous growth theory!”
Then I remembered it is probably written in the blood of a Special Adviser on the walls of his office at The Treasury, left from the time of the last Chancellor, Alastair Darling. Perhaps it had been written by his predecessor, Gordon Brown, as a change from throwing hardware about and left by Darling as a dreadful reminder of hubris.
That might have spoiled the occasion even more. George was escaping from the fantasy world of Europe of the last few days and all the strange and improbable stories he had been told by other ministers and experts there. It would have been good to be away from all the posturing and demands for attention and approval and craving for an audience.
We too found it refreshing to be at a performance which mingled expert attention to detail with comparatively social realism and an appreciation of the true moral imperatives that should underlie human conduct. Where the Good might be paramount and the squalid selfishness and greed of others denied.
It was The Royal Ballet “Sleeping Beauty” at Covent Garden. It was clear that they had been doing a bit of quantitative easing of their own in that the costumes were new, more highly coloured and with subtle changes. The last time the costumes for this signature production were renewed was when the Royal Ballet went to the Kennedy Arts Centre at Washington DC and did a gala for President Clinton.
Famously, back stage when being introduced to the Principal who had danced the Lilac Fairy, the character who sorts it all out and puts both things and people right, he said that “We need a Lilac Fairy at the White House.” Unluckily, the US Media being short on humour and ballet plots and long on speculation came to some very strange conclusions over the meaning of this. It went down badly in Texas.
But the meanings of it all, what were the signs and portents? Red Riding Hood’s coat was much redder. Does this mean more EU regulation and control of credit such as those of the mid 20th Century? The wolf was clearly of a more Russian, even Siberian type and not one of the previous Yellowstone breeds. Is Europe going to be forsaken by the US and needing to turn to Russia?
The Lilac of the Fairy I am expertly advised had a costume that was magenta rather than Lilac. Whereas the colour lilac was associated with Empress Eugenie of France who popularised silks made with the new synthetic chemical dyes, magenta was the prime colour of the banner of the old Holy Roman Empire that finally ended with World War 1 after its major decline in the 19th Century.
So republican France may be forced to give way to the German inheritors of the old authoritarian imperial tradition? There was worse. The four suitors for the hand of the Princess Aurora in the Rose Adagio showed those of the East being more stylish and strikingly attired than the overdressed and out of date clothing for the period of those of the West.
However, Princess Florine and the Bluebird were much the same. Was this to assure the Chancellor that the Royal Ballet is on his side? There are other mysteries difficult to unfold. At least the happy ending was the same. But George will go away with much to discuss and to consider in his dealings with Europe.
Let us hope that he doesn’t get caught in a “Nutcracker”.