As our half term down south came to an end another one, in Wales and some places in the North, begins. Much as I’d have loved to have whisked everyone off to Miami Beach or St Lucia, my credit card is still otherwise engaged thanks to last summer’s holiday in Canada. So we celebrated the end of half term playing tourists at home with friends from out of town. The highlight was a trip to see the West End musical version of Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in London’s oldest theatre, the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane.
We had an absolute ball – we’d bought the tickets way back in November so the sting of the £35 price tag had almost faded, but it is still a shocker that such a fabulous day out is restricted to those who can drop the equivalent of almost a day’s minimum wage on two and a half hours of magic.
Fortunately there were plenty of freebies around outside to soften the blow – the free entertainment began on the underground with a busker playing Gerry Rafferty’s Baker Street (lovely as it is I did want to shake his artfully pained face and bellow into it, “It’s not 1978 you know,” but I thought that might seem a bit churlish). It didn’t get any more contemporary above ground where we were greeted in the Covent Garden piazza by one guitarist singing Simon and Garfunkel’s Scarborough Fair and another, a few yards away, serenading us with Bob Dylan’s Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right.
I think I’m with him on that one. I know it’s warm and comforting and reassuring, and it was fun to see nine-year-old Katy enjoying the street entertainment for the first time and getting as much fun out of the experience as we did. But it gave me a slightly queasy feeling that one day I’ll be sitting in an old folk’s home in a room with all the chairs facing each other, while some bright spark plays some vintage (is there any other kind) Simon and Garfunkel to “cheer me up”.
I’ll probably be the one bellowing, “It’s not 1978 you know!” at some poor unfortunate “music therapist” and have to be quietly wheeled out of the day room for my medication.
Posted by Amanda Blinkhorn