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September 23, 2004 

Lord of the Rings

So it’s been a while. I’d catch up, but I really just want to cut to the chase, so here’s a praesee. M&S got married, bride was gorgeous in green, cake was chocolate and yummy, and the gin flowed. A second baby dragon arrived. I got ill. D&D came to stay, got drunk, went on their way to Oz. I was still ill. We went to see Collateral and The Terminal and I enjoyed both, but not as much as the guy who applauded at the end of Collateral did. My Gran had a birthday. I forgot to post her card. My Mum’s in Bournemouth at “Conference”. I went to the doctor. I’m still ill – apparently my glands are swollen but there’s nothing she can do about it so I should go away and wait to get better.

Last night, though, P & I were lucky enough to have tickets for the Lord of the Rings Symphony performance at the Royal Albert Hall, and intelligent enough to use them. The performance was fantastic, the soloists brilliant, and the highlight was definitely Howard Shore himself conducting. This symphony doesn’t just use orchestra (and random weird instruments), choirs and solo soprano, but also uses lighting to good effect and shows the storyboard drawings from the film in the background. I enjoyed it immensely. There were a few things that spoiled it though, and I’d just like to list them here, in the vain hope that someone might read this and have it change their behaviour. So, in reverse order, we have:

5. The small child behind me. I was torn between wanting to turn round and tell him to stop kicking me and being pleased that he was at a classical performance.
4. The two (19 year old?) girls behind us who managed to open their second bottle of wine in a particularly quiet and atmospheric bit. Incidentally, they swigged straight from the bottle.
3. The two (19 year old?) girls behind us who phoned their friend halfway through the second half to let her listen to the performance. Plus the bings and bongs from her phone that I assume were text messages.
2. Whoever it was behind us who was eating sweets that needed unwrapping and insisted on unwrapping them very very slowly, thus giving maximum displeasure ratings.
And finally…
1. Everybody who ignored the request not to use video cameras or flash photography. Particularly those couldn’t work out how to turn the red-eye reduction off their cameras. And especially the guy in the purple shirt, 8 rows back in section G1 or H1, who took approximately one photo every 5 minutes, with the red-eye on. What do you gain from it? A photo won’t help you remember the music. There is a reason that people request no cameras and videos, and guys, THIS MEANS YOU TOO. It drove me mad. I also add onto this that if I could identify 4 or 5 of the perpetrators without trying too hard, surely the RAH staff could too? Couldn’t they stop it? As people realised that there was no come back, the rate of flashing increased exponentially.

However, as a final note, I did enjoy it immensely. It’s a clever way of pulling together the music from three epic films into an enjoyable night out. And Howard? The standing ovation that went on and on at the end? That was for the performance, yes, but mainly for you. For your composition. Well done, or, as the girls behind us yelled, “Go on Howard, give us another song”.