It’s been a long and funny old fortnight since my last trip to my spiritual home. In the intervening period I’ve been to Wembley arena, Shepherd’s Bush Empire and Nottingham amongst the usual day to day dirge like ‘going to work’ and ‘going to the supermarket’ and sleeping. No wait, sleeping isn’t dirge – sleeping is amazing. I am very fond of my sleep, more so after last weekend when there wasn’t even nearly enough of it (but everything that happened in the non sleeping moments made it worth the while).
After my trip to Wembley on Tuesday whereupon I discovered that skating could hit me in the same way that ballet does, I made my way to Shepherd’s Bush on Friday night to see my beloved Puppini Sisters do a gig. Having gone all the way to Paris to see them last year, a quick trot down the Central Line was nothing in comparison. It was a beautiful, beautiful gig and – if it’s actually possible – I love them even more than previously (mostly I am still wondering why I resisted them for so long in the face of the minis’ adoration, contrariness you are not a good thing) ESPECIALLY Kate for making Steph laugh so much she actually couldn’t sing the next line of Bei mir bist du schon (“Of all the boys I’ve known and I’ve known some…” “I BET YOU HAVE”, OH MULLINS). Aaaaaaaaaaanyway, the set was amazing: a really good mix of things from all of their albums and a few extras along the way (Side by side, yay!) and solo numbers from each of the girls (I NEED Kate’s solo in my ears permanently).
It felt as though I’d barely got in on Friday night before it was time to get up again and catch an indecently early train up to Nottingham for Dancing on Ice tour 2.0. I had a thoroughly jolly time getting to catch up with some of my favourite people and laughing so much that it hurt and I wasn’t sure I could laugh anymore (but somehow I valiantly managed it). There was also a spot of shameless stage door-ing from which I have possibly my most favourite photo of me in the world ever because my face is so ludicrously cheesy it’s unreal. And hilarious. Then again, the general proximity to Karen Barber and trying not to do Awkward Cygnet Face* has that effect on me (I’d like to point out that she looks amazing as per in the picture, it’s only me who looks like a complete village idiot but I’m okay with that). It was, as ever, a complete privilege to watch Torvill and Dean skate and I got a nice little bonus of getting to watch Karen skate replacing Jennifer Ellison (who was injured :() in the ‘Team Challenge’, eeeeeee!
Recovering from a weekend of sleep deprivation notwithstanding, it was back to my spiritual home last night to see La Fille Mal Gardée which is right up there with my favourite ever ballets in all of the world. Only being able to stretch ye olde finances to one of everything in a run, choosing your lead pairing is critical in things like this. I plumped for Alina Cojocaru and Johan Kobborg because… well because they’re somewhere beyond sublime. I love Fille (which is nothing to do with Irish policewomen**) for a myriad of reasons, mostly the fact that it is one of those ballets that makes me so terribly very glad to be alive. It’s charming and I think I explained all my reasons for loving it after I’d seen BRB’s production last autumn. All I really have to add to them now is: ALINA AND JOHAN FTW OMG, my ovaries very definitely did not survive. The Act 2 pas de deux? There was definitely audible sniffing going on around me (a relief to know I was not the only one). Perfect ballet and perfect cast are perfect. I honestly cannot put words to my ~feels beyond ‘OMG ELEVENTY ONE SQUEE’. I didn’t stop grinning from beginning to end, I’m still grinning now when I think about it.
My photo a day prompt for yesterday was ‘something you’re grateful for’. I am grateful for the Royal Opera House and my ovaries.
*There was a documentary Darcey Bussell did a few years ago about her favourite bits of ballet and she goes to White Lodge to teach some of the girls the cygnets and is going on about how difficult it is to keep in unison because if you turn your head the wrong way you find yourself looking in your neighbour’s face and, yeah, awkward. YouTube it.
**I mentioned to colleagues I was going to see La Fille Mal Gardée and one of them misheard it as ‘female garda’ and wondered how a ballet about Irish policewomen worked… heh.