Saturday, March 15, 2008

Les Miserables

When I got to London on Thursday the cold that had been nagging at me for days suddenly became THE VERY BAD COLD, so I was forced to sniff my way through my book (on infectious diseases, rather ironically) until I decided to give up early and make my way to Piccadilly on foot, stopping at a cafe on Shaftesbury Avenue where I took this...
...which struck me as highly appropriate. Les Miserables is a well-known musical. The lights which rotated above the doors proclaimed that it was a record-breaking show that had been played thousands of times in various places (although I have never seen it). But here was the theatre in which it was playing, and what a dingy place it seemed on a cold March day: the paintwork on the building next door grey and peeling, and the decor of the theatre itself seemed tired and old. When I read about famous places like Shaftesbury Avenue I expect, when I see them, for them to appear more than they often turn out to be: brighter, shinier, newer and more perfect. But maybe it was just the day and my mood. Or perhaps this place is better seen in artificial light. The rain and clouds had caused a premature dusk. It was cold, wet, windy and everywhere I looked people seemed to be feeling as gloomy (miserable!) as me.

The meeting was good, though and I'm really glad I went. One of the speakers said that to write a successful book you have to communicate your passion, which I think is true and which caused me to ponder.


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