Monday, 20 June 2011

Online Roller Coaster

Suitable experts tell us that swearing when in pain is therapeutic. That is why I do not feel too bad about shouting intemperately at my computer screen on Monday 1 November 2010.

This was, you see, the opening day for online booking at English National Opera and my wife and I wanted to buy tickets for Wagner’s Parsifal as a birthday treat for me the following March. There was the added piquancy that, by the chosen date, my chemo would be over and I would—all being well—er, be well. It was a goal to aim for: quite a large one actually, as the show would last in excess of five hours.

ENO’s site crawled, doubtless weighed down by the number of people trying to do the same as us. The shouting on our side increased. Twice we clicked on desirable virtual seats on the colourful plan, only to find that our choices—once the spinning beach ball on the screen stopped—had gone to other people. More swearing: it was shamefully undignified, but emotions were running high.

Finally it all fell into place and our credit card emerged from the experience with an extra burden. In fact we had been more successful in our clicking than we thought: when the tickets arrived a few days later in the post, it turned out that we had in fact acquired four tickets. Fortunately the only friends of ours that we were sure cared for Wagner were free on 11 March 2011, so we made a date.

Part of the production of Parsifal we eventually saw.
The staging was strange, but the music sublime.
Seen here is Klingsor, the evil sorcerer, singing from within a giant pelvis (don't ask).

A fair part of the day was taken up with mundane admin, although it did also feature a delicious ratatouille made by my wife and daughter and enhanced by shavings of grana padano cheese.

In the later evening the kitchen was warmed by the oven and filled with the heavy aromatic fruitiness of this year’s Christmas cake. Yes, sir!

Christmas cake, naked and unashamed.

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