Archive | 2:26 pm

Culture as an Olympic sport

5 May

In the last few weeks I have been having some interesting exchanges on Twitter that have had mainly as their subject the viewing of live opera at the two main stages in London. I came across a very distinct group of people that seem to not discriminate between performances, and casts but to just book for absolutely everything that is know so they can have an encyclopaedic armoury of live performances behind them. This kind of attitude is equally alien and fascinating to me. It also creates a rather intriguing kind of snobbish attitude:  “oh you haven’t seen every single performance at the Royal Opera this season how dare you criticise them”. I find those people totally incomprehensible and at the same time I pity them if they only have one interest in their lives. I find that part of being a human being is to try to expose ourselves to a plethora of artistic practises as a way to enrich our being. But never saw attending live events a way to increase to my own personal cache as a validated human being. Most of the times it’s about sharing a fantastic night out with a loved one.

I refuse, point blank,  to attend every single show our Artistic Director overlords will put in front of us in the numerous concert halls and opera houses. As such one has to be discerning and to put their money where their mouth is and not spread their bets like a vapid gambler. For me the following are the main concerns I have when I pick performances and frequency of attendance:

Free time

Music performances, opera, museums, galleries, historic houses, walks all take time to do and surely my free time is both valuable and not exactly limitless.

Quality of life

My particular kind of approach to life is to enjoy it as much as I can and put my dearest people first in whatever happens. And if possible doing the above while being as comfortable as possible. So crappy seats for favourite artists are our of the question…I’d rather listen to a recording than seat in the Amphitheatre seats of the ROH.


I do have a particular taste, in visual arts, music, film and theatre. That is the accumulation of the last 33 years of my life and hopefully allows me to judge when to take informed risks with novelties.


I do have particular favourites that I will always get off my bum and go and see as frequently as possible. That doesn’t make me ignorant or a blind fan, it offers me the possibility of more pleasure by artists I find inspiring and significant.


I am particularly outspoken, when I witness greatness I am more than happy to report it, when I honestly think a particular venture is pointless, I’ll say so. But dear reader that is my personal take and it doesn’t have to conform to the rules made by those “cultural Olympians”. And I outright discard their criteria.


As I always pay with my own hard earned cash I have the ultimate say of where it gets spent. And believe me I’d rather spend it buying some bulbs for the garden or some paint that on the new faddish vehicle the English National Opera has come up with. My Twitter name is OperaCreep, it doesn’t mean to preclude other interests, it just signifies my intense pleasure and interest in the particular artform.

Not aiming for the medal

I do not aim to be awarded a medal in this silly and frankly pointless quest to go to every single concert and performance that ever takes place in London town. My aim in life is to have a great time and to go to as many events to enrich my inner life. Which also may mean avoiding anything else that doesn’t fit my outlook or pleasure tolerances.

Read if you like

I am always grateful when people read my ramblings about cultural or not matters and have forged some great friendships around them, exchanging views and tips with other opera and visual art enthusiasts. But my blog and Tweets come with one major disclaimer, if you don’t like what you read, please stop reading, as you will not convince me on the errs of my ways and I’d rather spend my time having interesting, meaningful conversations with some great people out there that have something to say. And above all trying to keep it all fun, enjoyable and decent.

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