A better title for this might be “Fun with Wireless Broadband, Part 2”, but it's sort of relevant as-is.
Saturday I decided to pop down into the city to go to a computer fair to pick up a new (working) ADSL modem, cos I wasn't gonna just sit by and have unusued bandwidth at the house. After eventually finding the place (via Starbucks, to try out their Christmas “Gingerbread Latte”, on Annie's advice – bloody yummy it was too !), I discovered that they had no single-port ADSL modems, only 4 port routers, and of course I didn't need one of those. The bit that made me a bit hesitant was that the one they all had was the same brand as the one that had arrived D.O.A. from the online place… and none of these herberts would let me plug one in to test before buying it.
I nipped outside to get some cash out, and then en-route found a PC hardware sales place ! And they had single-port ADSL modems, AND those were of a decent brand (i.e. not Dodgy Brothers Taiwan inc.)!!
So, after making a purchase there I strode off in the direction of the tube station, and then something kinda unexpected happened…
(I hope you're still reading, cos this is sort of the interesting bit)
I was accosted on the street by a guy selling “the last few tickets – usually £40!”. I guess it would have been a good idea to find out what they were tickets for before asking how much, but we got embroiled in a discussion during which I talked him down to £10 (for whatever it was). Whilst fumbling for my wallet, I looked up and saw that I was standing in front of the Dominion Theatre, where the Queen Musical – We Will Rock You – is playing, and the guy was indeed hawking off odd seats for the matinee. After thoroguhly checking the ticket, I decided to give him the £10, and sort of randomly popped in to a musical for the afternoon !
I've got to say, I reckon We Will Rock You was one of the more enjoyable theatre events I've been to so far. It gets very few points for the storyline (missing, presumed abducted), and Ben Elton's jokes were down to the usual standard (PLENTY of groaners amongst that lot)… but the music was quite awesome (of course, if you don't like Queen then this may be a matter of conjecture) and the technical side of things was the most amazing I've seen. And it's always cool to have green lasers in your show.
The storyline seemed to me to be a contrivance on a simple “misunderstood kids meets other misunderstood kid amid repressive society, escapes and finds rebellion group and then triumphs” theme, which then sort of railroaded itself around to allow use of as many Queen songs as possible – then main characters were named Galileo Figaro, Scaramouche, and the Killer Queen. OK, so I already said nobody was winning awards for plot.
But yeah, visually and musically, AWESOME ! the set incorporated about 8 or 10 screen panels (those screens made up of lots of little lights, like you get at the cricket) which were moved around and had all kindsa stuff shown on them – weird x-ray electrocutions for one bit, a giant countdown clock, hundreds of clones, and even at one point a fireplace. The front of the stage had a big hydraulic oval shaped “boardroom table” that would rise up and then rotate out above the audience… and the laser cage was well funky. Oh yeah, and there was the “Heartbreak Hotel” – the HQ of the resistance – which kinda rose up out of the stage in tandem with a giant moving painted cyclorama sheet at the back of the stage, all of which gave the and excellent visual effect of going way underground.
The unspoken question on everybody's lips was of course, when were they going to fit Bohemian Rhapsody in, and there were PLENTY of allusions to it, but after the big kinda victorious “yay, we've smashed the oppressors and save the world” finale of We Are The Champions, it seemed that they weren't going to do it. It was one of those moments, sorta like when the They Might Be Giants concert looked like it was gonna finish without them singing Istanbul, Not Constantinople – you'd have been quite satisfied, if only a little miffed.
Then, up on the screens at the back of the stage, the words appeared: “So, I guess you want to hear Bohemian Rhapsody… “. After a fairly enthusiastic overreaction from the matinee crowd, the words “Oh, alright then” appeared, and then we were treated to an epic presentation of the Queen Anthem, involving every member of the damn cast, singing as soulfully and meaningfully as they could, and while I've gotta say it sounded pretty damn good, it reminded me a lot of that special anniversary concert of Les Miserables, where they got all of the A-list stars who'd played the various characters to perform together. Nice idea, but bloody self indulgent and tedious. Then again, it's musical theatre, so they're basic cornerstone concepts pretty much.
But overall, We Will Rock You gets the big thumbs up from Uncle Humpy !
I guess that's enough for now. Nobody wants to hear about the pain in the arse of a time I had getting wireless broadband working at our place (although for the minute it does SEEM to be working…). Next time I can tell you about the Ladysmith Black Mambazo concert I just got home from…