I think I ate something. Something I ought not to have done, that is.
My relationship with food is strong and healthy – not to mention downright erotic at times. But there’s nothing like a gyppy tummy to make you think “Why would anyone in their right mind want to eat?” At the moment, the smell of fish pie wafting up from the kitchens downstairs is nauseating; on a normal day it would have had me doing Homer Simpson impressions. So somewhere, sometime, in the last few days, I have had some bad food...
I’ve sweated out most of the day at work. I’ve chugged through all the jobs I needed to get done. I’m wondering whether to ask if I can go home a bit early, as I am now feeling decidedly ropey. It’s not the worst stomach upset I’ve ever had (not by a long pole - don’t worry, I won’t bother you with any more details!) but I am shaky and headache-y and queasy, and I just want to lie down.
I had a horrible dream last night, what’s more. I was attending an interview with an unbelievably rude and aggressive interview panel who all tried to bully me, and who argued with one another in front of me about everything I said and did. It was like a conflation of all the worst interviews, worst auditions and worst meetings with management I have ever had in my life; to wake up from that and think “also my insides are up the creek” was an altogether miserable start to the day.
The weekend had gone so well, too. I shopped, I cleaned, I ran the washing machine. I wrote. I went for a walk (Kew is looking lovely). I cooked some good food (a classic tortilla española with a parmesan-and-asparagus twist, and some very garlicky pea soup). I watched a good movie. I watched Britain’s athletes and other sportsmen and women continued to distinguish themselves at the Olympics, as well as the great Serena Williams beating the shrieking beansprout Maria Sharapova comprehensively, which was almost as pleasing (Williams is a joy to watch, and Sharapova is a poseuse). I bought some new sandals in a sale, and I went to see the English National Ballet’s “Swan Lake” at the Coliseum.
I had booked to see the lovely Daria Klimentová and Vadim Muntagirov; one or the other is out of action, it seems, so I got Anaïs Chalendard, who was good but not great (technically polished, so far as I could tell, but her acting is decidedly one-note – Odette total misery, Odile total bitch is slightly too simplistic for my tastes) and, an unexpected treat, Junor Souza stepping up to make his role debut, and seizing the chance with both hands, as the Prince. Tall, quirkily handsome, lovely clean lines, partners beautifully, gorgeous jump, and he can act. Go, Mr Souza!
I’m not too sure about the production in places, though. We don’t need to see Rothbart enchant Odette to the sound of the overture, so the beginning irritated me straight off. It doesn’t clarify matters particularly, since one still hasn’t got a clue why he does it (is he after her? Is he after Siegfried? Is he after the throne? Is he just a mean b*stard?). It’s just a silly fad, pandering to the kind of audience members who won’t stop talking until there are dancers of stage, and so chatter like rude kids through each of Tchaikovsky’s beautiful orchestral preludes. I’m sorry to say we did have rather a lot of that kind of audience yesterday. May they go to the special hell, the one reserved for people who talk at the theatre...
Then there’s too much posturing and gurning generally from Rothbart, and there are one or two other moments when the cheese factor gets a little strong (just think “A Bullet in the Ballet” and you will have an idea what I mean). But the sets and costumes are good, ENB field a fine corps and some excellent national dances for Act 3, and there’s a strong emphasis on making the blossoming of the relationship between the protagonists really clear. Odette and Siegfried don’t fall in love because it’s in the script but because they click, and then click more, and trust and longing and hope start to flow between them as each realises the other is what they have dreamed of and prayed to find one day. Of course, that makes the whole thing even more tragic, but then “Swan Lake” should be tragic – and at least we don’t get a happy ending here, even if from the balcony seats of the Coli I could only see half of the dead lovers’ heavenly apotheosis (the lower half – thoroughly nice legs, but it was hardly the full spectacle, and I was only in the fourth row).
Anyway, that’s my last ballet fix until October. Sigh.
It’s nearly five pm – can I stick it out? I still feel grotty and queasy and I’ve begun burping like a drunken marine. Not nice.