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Time and the Theatremonkey

November 17, 2010

My favourite Marx Brothers line of all time is, “Religion is the Opium of the People.” No it isn’t, wrong Marx. That was the one who does two meals for a tenner, I think? No, the line is Groucho’s, “Time Flies Like an Arrow, Fruit Flies like a Banana.” It took me a while to get it – and when I did, how I laughed… at how long it took me to get it. I’m easily amused, I guess.

Anyway, two theatremonkey things proved just how right the first part of that quote is (the ‘Time Flies’ one, not the ‘Religion’ one for those who are struggling to keep up even more than I am). First off, “Theatremonkey, A Guide To London’s West End” was published a year ago! A whole year since Mr P nervously tore the wrapper off that first box load and (deleted on grounds that what a man imports for personal reading is his own business) found beneath the first copies. A whole year since an exhausted courier showed up late in the afternoon – well, early in the evening really – with my copies and I nervously tour the wrapper off that box load and (deleted as what a man chooses to send to another man for personal reading is his own business – he forgot I can’t read Serbo-Croat, though) found beneath a book that in fact I’ve still not read… I’ve read it online, but am saving the print version for a rainy year.

The good news is that the book is still selling heavily, and is within Amazon’s top 20,000 even a year on. Beat that J.K. Rowling, Stephen King, Sue Townsend, J.R. Hartley and all.

Second, and equally amazing, theatremonkey.com is ten in 2 weeks time! I fondly remember that Saturday evening when it first went live – and life has never been the same since. If you had told me that 10 years later it’d be mentioned in the blog of influential theatre reviewers like Mark Shenton (http://blogs.thestage.co.uk/shenton/  thanks for the latest one, Mark), a book, a full-time micro-business and that I’d have had some truly amazing and unique experiences (mostly outdoing even those photographed in Mr P’s personal imports), well, I wouldn’t believe it either. Celebrating? You bet.

Speaking of treats, my copy of “Evening Primrose” arrived last Saturday… and I have to say it is very special indeed. If you are a Sondheim fan, this is a must – the tingle as you see those famous songs in context for the first time is amazing. For those who don’t know, this was a TV musical drama shown once on US TV in 1966, then never seen again. It included much covered numbers “I Remember Sky” and “Take Me to the World,” but for most fans it is the first chance to see the whole thing – the tape resided previously only in a New York library or in private hands as blurry bootleg copies.

Biggest revelation was Charmian (Liesl “Sound of Music”) Carr. Amazing voice, talented character actor and photogenic as anything too. Besides that, how many (like me) thought her name was Charmain, not Charmian – until an interview with her on the disc pointed it out!

Anyway, read more about what I thought of it at http://www.theatremonkey.com/Bookshelf.htm#Eve

That’s all – off to choose a hat for the big wedding next year… finally that pair got round to it. I’m really not much of a monarchist, but the festive atmosphere surrounding the news makes a nice change from the unrelenting gloom of economically depressed November. Also, as I said to an American friend, we do it so much better than Disney, just because we have the real thing to work with! On the other hand, at least Disney do it in 90 minutes on screen or every 30 in their parks – not 7 years. The biggest bananas can just take their time, I guess…

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