Sunday, 27 April 2014

A boy or a girl?

Gender is a very strange thing. I didn't think of it until I went to Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake last week when it visited the Theatre Royal in Newcastle upon Tyne.  I love the Theatre Royal even though its seats are only big enough for medium sized children. What were they thinking?  I know numbers matter but when you have to take in your breath as you pass the people who managed to avoid the bar and took their seats earlier it makes me wonder how any man ever gets there. Now that's an important gender matter.
People have called it  'the gay Swan Lake'. Dear God, how absolutely bloody stupid. Yes, men play swans but last time I looked there were as many male swans as female swans and besides, it's just plain daft.
The whole thing is enough to turn Tchaikovsky in his grave. For God's sake. It's about a poor young bloke, like a whole load of other unfortunate royals who have to do the right thing, is suffocating, he longs for a different life and when the swan tries to rescue him they die because they can't help one another. It doesn't matter who is a man and who is a woman, all the best stories are about people trying to live decently and to help people, struggling for survival as best they can. People love people and they die and they lose one another.
One of my daughter's dearest friends is soon to have a child and we went looking for baby clothes. They don't want to know whether it's a boy or a girl but we were besieged in every shop we went to by blue for boys and pink for girls. Is it just me or is this completely asinine?  It's like going into toy shops and having boys' toys and girls' toys. The whole thing makes me want to spit. Why?
Must we go on and on like this endlessly? Must we tear ourselves apart being a woman or a man first rather than just being people?  Who says it has to be that way?  Well, I say, it doesn't.
My daughter was very embarrassed because I have a loud voice and said all these things in the shops but really I am very tired of the whole thing.
So if you do want me to buy baby clothes - all those shops who stick to pink and blue -  they will have to be red and white and black and orange and whole rainbows of colours because it doesn't matter whether you are a boy or a girl, with luck your parents will adore you and you will have the whole world in all its glory to grow up in and go and see Swan Lake in all its different interpretations. I hope so.
And thank you, Matthew Bourne, for the sheer brilliance of your beautiful version of a work of genius.

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