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12 November 2002

So why is it that those times when I both need and want to be a hermit, to be left alone to work, are those times when there's a social rush? My life is not usually like this, honestly it's not; but I am trying to get some important pieces of work finished, I need stretches of days and weeks uninterrupted, and suddenly I can't manage more than half a day at home. Friday was York, Saturday was party night, Sunday was "Chaz, meet me in the pub," yesterday was dinner out at a new Thai restaurant with the friend of a friend whom I need to spend independent time with now that our friend-in-common has left town, and tonight is theatre night. A friend just phoned to offer me two tickets to Tosca, but alas, I'm booked already. Taking a small party to the Circus of Horrors. It's a pity about the clash; I'm looking forward to the circus in a spirit of cheerful idiocy (I'm anticipating lithe young people in bondage gear, performing extreme jugglery; I'll let you know how it turns out), but Tosca and I stand in need of reconciliation. This was the first opera I ever saw, back when I was at school, and I did not want to go. I was determined to hate it from the start, and succeeded admirably; was utterly bored and contemptuous in that way that only an overeducated sixth-former can achieve to his own satisfaction and no one's else. Love opera these days, but still haven't been back to Tosca. Nor, when I can avoid it, to opera-in-translation; I don't care how banal the lyrics are so long as I don't understand them, but there is something irrefutably bathetic about an exchange like "Where's your lunch?" "I've eaten it," when performed with great bravura and full orchestral backing. That is a direct quote, by the way, from the production cited; I've carried it in my head, with added sneer, for more than a quarter of a century. It's not like me to argue for obscurity, but in this case, please, I honestly do not want to know...

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© Chaz Brenchley 2002
Reproduced here by permission of Chaz Brenchley, who asserts his moral right to be identified as the author of this work.