Jerry Springer: The Opera

Posted: Oct 20, 2003 11:53:06 PM


I have been in London for just under a week. At first I was going to treat it like any other city I have visited so far: make a list of things that I need to see and do, and see and do them. However, there's something different about London. For one thing, there's always something more to do, and so I have had the splendid opportunity to cram my days as full as they will go with activities of all kinds.

The museums and art galleries are a given, and there have certainly been enough of them to satisfy me for now and for quite a while longer (if I had the time). But what I'm writing about today are all of the unusual quirky diversions that crop up all the time in London, the boundless and endless opportunities to do the kind of things that would make the people back home do a double-take.

No, I'm not talking about that. Stop sniggering!

There was Speakers' Corner of Hyde Park, for example, where every Sunday morning professional nutbars come, with either a small stepladder or (literally in some cases) a soap-box, and preach, or complain, or lecture. And, because it is the right of every Brit and tourist to be heard, you're allowed to argue with them. So I did - I found a likely candidate (he was telling everyone that they were going to hell, particularly Americans of the Jewish-Masonic International Conspiracy) and spent a good twenty minutes debating theology. He was abusive, a tactic that he obviously employed to distract from the weakness of his arguments, so I ignored them completely and pressed on.

And I won. There's no official measurement of such things, but I received a round of applause from the rest of the audience at one point, a friendly slap on the back from a complete stranger after we were done, and (best of all) a shut-down to the order of "I'm not talking to you any more" from the speaker himself.

That debate was at least more energetic than the one I witnessed in the House of Lords a couple of days ago: the second reading of the Ragwort Control Bill is not exactly the most thrilling experience in the world. I will try to get into the House of Commons tomorrow, because that's apparently a little more lively. What with politics and such.

I'm getting around London primarily by the tube, by the way, which is surprisingly intuitive to use and reliable, if a little crowded. Sure, there have been 'incidents' somewhere on the system every day I've been here - signal failures, people going onto the tracks or under the trains, and at least one proper derailment - but on the whole it has been very helpful.

Every evening so far I have trundled off to West End, the entertainment hub of the city, and I have sampled a wide range of movies and shows, both alone and with friends that I've met on the way.

Two movies: one excellent (Intolerable Cruelty), one awful (The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen). I saw them to do something relatively normal. You need to do that on the road or you lose touch with reality. Er, more so.

One play: Mousetrap. Written by Agatha Christie, first performed fifty years ago, and performed every week since then, often several times. The longest running play of all time. I was at performance number 21,178, which should give you an idea of how long this thing has been running. It was quite engaging. No, I'm not going to tell you who the murderer is - it is part of the tradition that it must never be revealed save by watching it live.

One musical event: Stomp. They strike everything in the search for rhythm, including the kitchen sink. It was quite fun. No, I'm not going to try to imitate it.

And yes, I went to an opera. I decided that it had better be something supremely tacky, something that will show up the darker, more disturbing side of the London theatre, and amongst a strong list of candidates (Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, The Lion King, Fame: The Musical) I found my match. Yes, it's Jerry Springer: The Opera.

Words cannot describe this production. There were musical numbers such as 'Talk to the Hand,' lyrics such as "dip him in chocolate sauce and feed him to the lesbians," and a memorable tap-dancing Ku Klux Klan sequence. Halfway through the opera Jerry is shot and sent to hell, where he has to stage a reconciliation between God, the devil, Mary, Jesus, Adam, and Eve. Jesus, who in the first half plays a man who wants to wear a diaper/nappy everywhere, was particularly well done.

And that's London.


Banjo   Oct 21, 2003 12:40:12 AM

Oh. My. God. I have to see that opera. I wonder if they tour. Also, isn't London the biggest city you've ever been in, up to this point?

Damon   Oct 21, 2003 12:43:01 AM

I'm sure they will tour, at some point. It's that kind of show. And yes, this is the biggest so far. It's about a hundred times larger than my home town. Oo.

Nick   Oct 21, 2003 12:44:55 AM

League of Gentlemen was a super watch for outlandish steampunk stuff though, sneaking a 5 story submarine into Venice. Are you planning a trip to the sinking city ?.

Damon   Oct 21, 2003 12:46:29 AM

Yep, I am going to Venice later on. I was very impressed how well that enormous submarine managed to get down the canals. Without being seen by anyone. Even though it wasn't submerged, and did not submerge the entire time it was sitting parked underneath that famous bridge.

Banjo   Oct 21, 2003 12:48:14 AM

Haha ant boy. Is it intimidating? Also I can't believe that you argued with a crazy dude. Did he threaten to put his evil inside you?

Charlotte   Oct 21, 2003 12:48:24 AM

No comments? Everybody must be speechless. *laughs*

Charlotte   Oct 21, 2003 12:49:09 AM

My goodness! They popped up quickly! First there were no comments, now there's half a page!

Damon   Oct 21, 2003 12:51:19 AM

I don't think he was really crazy. He was an enfant provocateur, there to get people riled up. *shrug* I found it extremely fun, but then I like debating with idiots. It's kinda like bear-baiting, only without the cruelty to undeserving animals.

Banjo   Oct 21, 2003 12:56:58 AM

*sigh* And I don't suppose you got any groupies out of it did you?

Damon   Oct 21, 2003 12:59:15 AM

That, I'm afraid, will have to wait until I'm in person to answer. *grin*

Charlotte   Oct 21, 2003 1:00:45 AM

*raises eyebrows* But we're all so interested!

Damon   Oct 21, 2003 1:01:11 AM

Sorry, my lips are sealed. *amused*

Banjo   Oct 21, 2003 1:02:04 AM

What, so I can hear you personally say "No"? ;p

Banjo   Oct 21, 2003 1:02:59 AM

really, I just hink it would be funny if some giggling girls came and draped themselves on you after you trounced that guy.

Damon   Oct 21, 2003 1:03:19 AM

*pokes out tongue, which is fiendishly difficult to do with your lips sealed, don't ya know*

I have to get some sleep now. Because I'm tired. Tired of being awake.

Banjo   Oct 21, 2003 1:06:33 AM

Yes I bet they did tire you out.


Dr Phil   Oct 21, 2003 1:41:34 AM

only you know what is right

Banjo   Oct 21, 2003 1:45:44 AM

These little aphorisms from changing labels are funny.

Nick   Oct 21, 2003 2:44:43 AM

Tired of Going to Sleep ?
Scientists at the Dublin university of Wales announced on Monday that sugar and large doses of caffine can ward off the unwanted effects of sleep. I read it in Time magazine

Damon   Oct 21, 2003 8:52:12 PM

Time magazine of course works in the opposite direction. Particularly if you drink it all at once.

Now I'm off to Denmark, where I hope nothing is rotten.

Banjo   Oct 21, 2003 11:50:25 PM

I was going to make a joke about you not being able to tell a hawk from a hole in the ground, but then I couldn't remember how it went. Or was it your ass from a handsaw? Oh whatever. Also you're heading north north east rather than west, and now it's all fallen apart.

Charlotte   Oct 22, 2003 6:12:45 PM

Denmark! Let's hear about it! What? You've only just arrived? Of course that isn't a good excuse for not having much to say about Denmark! *shakes head* You don't wanna let the fans down now, do you?

Sadalian   Oct 22, 2003 6:14:07 PM

"I'm not talking to you anymore."

I wonder if the speaker will check to see if you're present before hopping on his soapbox again. You should have invited him to the opera - he probably would have loved to see Jesus in a diaper.

Damon   Oct 22, 2003 7:04:55 PM

He stopped talking entirely for a while after our little debate.

Btw, have arrived safely in Copenhagen. Nearly run over by bicycles.

king kong   Oct 22, 2003 11:14:08 PM


Binky   Oct 23, 2003 2:39:21 AM

When I was in Amsterdam, my Pterry-fan friend who lives in a town nearby quoted Mr Pratchett as once saying he'd like to be let loose in Amsterdam with a baseball bat and immunity from prosecution. The bicycles, you see.

They're a great idea from an environmental point of view, but they do sneak up on pedestrians alarmingly.

king kong   Oct 23, 2003 7:02:08 AM

arrgh, wish i could talk

Tamsyn   Oct 23, 2003 9:55:43 AM

Heh heh... as an Oxford cyclists, I'd just like to say DEATH TO ALL PEDESTRIANS!

Especially those idiot mothers who walk happily straight out into the road, using their pram to ram through traffic... hullo, do you WANT me to run over your child?!

lian   Oct 23, 2003 11:46:13 AM

yes, Halle is the death of bicyclists. Sigh. Danger of being run over by trams. Or: opening car doors. (ouch)

I only vaguely remember Denmark, but I do recall it was quite beautiful in a very, umm, flat way. I guess the Netherlands are no different there; but excessive flatness tends to depress me. I come from a rather hilly region :)
Jerry Springer: The Opera sounds -- -- -- uh. (lost for words)
I know what you mena with 'exceedingly tacky' though. That's why I went for Indian kitsh in the musical 'Bombay Dreams' when I was in Londres *evil grin*

Anywy, enjoy Denmark. Not much time left until we'll be actually *seeing* you in Berlin!

Damon   Oct 23, 2003 12:18:45 PM

I intend to enjoy Denmark as much as I can, although I won´t be here for long, as I´m going to try to have a look at Sweden (and perhaps Norway) before heading south to Berlin.

I´ve learned to look out for cyclists now. Plus they have those little bells to let me know if I´ve missed them.

Charlotte   Oct 23, 2003 2:19:50 PM

*grin* I love my bicycle bell. It's great for dinging at little old ladies who walk in the middle of the footpath, or drunken businessmen who sway erratically from side to side on the footpath. Cyclists have the right of way in Japan. It's great! A fellow gaijin told me recently that he recklessly cycles in front of taxis because if they hit you, they are always in the wrong and are likely to give you the entire days takings not to report them. A little too risky for me to consider this as a way to make a few quick bucks.

Of course, it also happens that I am frequently a pedestrian in Japan as well and then I curse crazy cyclists like everyone else does.

Good luck dodging the traffic, Damon!

Damon   Oct 24, 2003 12:58:48 AM

Hmmm... taxi-ramming in Japan. Yet another career opportunity.

chief   Oct 24, 2003 11:53:20 AM

how.... well its about time someone reached out to me

Damon   Oct 24, 2003 9:54:28 PM

Simpsons quotes will always go down well.

By the way, all: new report coming up. Have hit a slight (but hopefully very entertaining) snag.

Banjo   Oct 24, 2003 11:46:12 PM

Ha! Almost tricked me into making things uneven again. Fool me eight times, shame on me.

Re: Erasing - cause it's irrelevant spam that only appeared because I'm neurotic?

Banjo   Oct 25, 2003 12:30:01 AM

*huff* And now everythings all uneven again! Damn my eyes! And the rest of me too.

Kyle   Nov 3, 2003 7:44:15 PM

I'm almost sad now that I didn't join you in seeing that wretched opera. Maybe I missed out on something good. On the brighter side, I got a little lost trying to find Douglas Adams's grave, and got a picture of Zaphod Beeblebrox the Fourth pointing me in the right direction.<br>
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Damon   Nov 3, 2003 9:28:21 PM

Why you decided to hold a seance at that point in time is something that you never fully explained...

Or something like that, I can't remember the quote exactly.

Where's the towel, by the way - I'd add a question mark, but I can't find it on this damn Czech keyboard.

Kyle   Nov 4, 2003 12:25:13 AM

The towel is here ngland/thumbs7.html

The pictures arn't organized yet, but there they are. I hope to have a breif guide to other hitchhikers on how to find the grave. But if your wondering find the grave with the shaking hands, and Mr Adams's grave is the one to the right of it (that whole silly prespective thing makes it look like the towel is on his neighbors grave. But it isn't)

So are you still in Germany? Or have you moved onto eastern europe yet?

Damon   Nov 4, 2003 2:50:58 PM

Hee hee - I like literary pilgrimages. Went to the house Kafka lived in today (am in Prague now).

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