December 11, 2004

Horse 251 - Starlight Express

I must confess, are you real? I hope not.

Starlight Express is a story that carries a bizarre cultural agenda. If you loved the early 80s - the clothes, the hair, the politics then you'll love Starlight Express. Starlight takes spectacle about as far it can go, with sets borrowed from Russian constructivism. There's an overpowering contrast between the show's rhetoric of action with athletic dancers racing round the theatre on roller skates and the absolute stasis of the audience. Carefully positioned screens discourage you from even moving your head. Yet despite all the noise, the plot of competing trains (where? why?) is told with tedious emphasis.

The real story of Starlight is what it does to pop. It murders a whole culture. As I sat there wondering why I'd paid the best part of $50.00 a ticket to watch this sash, I quietly turned to the lady who was sitting next to me and motioned that I wanted to leave. Of course the principle of economy got the better of me and I had to stay. One could describe the show as a spectacle, I can think of at least ten other descriptors and a few of them are four-lettered.

Suffice to say that when I left the matinee performance I've vowed never to return or to see it ever again. They must be desperate though, if they are willing to offer such cut-price rates, and that surely reflects that what's on offer is crap, not that the audience doesn't care. I think Bec agreed and when we got back in my car to go home, she looked me fair in the eye and said "Let's never talk of this again?"

What's a good way to describe this? I had more fun getting dental work done. Do not go and see Starligh Express under any circumstances, I imagine it would be worse than Cirque du Soleil which I equally didn't understand.

Now then...

Country and Western musician Jerry Scoggins has died in Los Angeles at the age of 93, his family has said. Scoggins was best remembered for singing the theme tune to popular US TV show The Beverly Hillbillies. The Texan-born singer approached the producers of the programme with theme tune The Ballad of Jed Clampett for the pilot which was screened in 1962. The show, which told the story of a poor man striking oil and moving to Beverly Hills, ran until 1971.

Although I've never heard him before, had he died just 21 days later he would have died and scored lucky combatants 10 points in Celebrity Death Bingo. Pity really.

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