Thursday, January 31, 2013

Les Miserables? Well I was!

Took the wife to see Les Mis on 2for1 Orange Wednesday. We’d both been keen to see it based on the moving experience we had in Shaftesbury Avenue many moons ago. Back then, I really hadn’t wanted to go, and after ten minutes I was regretting it even more. But this is a story which slowly sucks you in, such that, by the time the chorus had their chests puffed out as they boomed ‘Tommorow you’ll discover what your God in heaven has in store’ (you know the bit) I was crying into my lemon sorbet!

OK, I’m going to get a bit of a reputation as a proper cynic, particularly after my last rant about Sadie and the Hotheads, but here we go again. Why get actors to sing when they clearly can’t? This film would have stood up on its own if the characters had been played by lesser known actors who were talented in the warbling stakes. But, if compared to a bird, Russell Crowe is as tuneless as a…well, Crowe! It was painful, particularly as his compatriot Hugh Jackman is sensational.

sound the same?

  Russ mate, as a Gladiator, Father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife who will have their vengeance in this life or the next there is no one to touch you. You are ‘all man’. But to me, Hell would be locked up in a room with just you and Elizabeth McGovern and a song-sheet.

Amanda Seyfield (She of MamaMia fame) can sing. I always thought that Abba back catalogue was a bit of a laugh and didn’t take itself too seriously, thus the tone deaf JulieWalters and Piers Brosnan was excusable. But in this latest film, why make her sing her songs in a key that got all the dogs across Luton barking like that of a scene from 101 Dalmations!

I’m so disappointed. I’m feeling pretty low about some personal stuff at the moment, and this hasn’t helped. All I need now is to hear Lou Reeds ‘Berlin’ album and I might not be responsible for my actions. (Was that the most depressing album ever recorded?)

Someone emailed Mark Kermode of Radio 5 Live  the other week, and summed the Le Mis story up as follows;

She cries, she dies
She cries, she dies
She cries, she lives.

Pretty succinct huh? But to those of us with a soul, this story is so much more. It’s a wonderful story of redemption, and its all based on a wonderful act of love bestowed on the main character Jean Valjean by a priest. The power of loving acts is also central to a book I’m reading at the moment called Everyday Church by Tim Chester & Steve Timms

This would be a tough read for anyone who is ‘unchurched’ and a must for anyone who goes to church. Basically, it argues that it doesn’t matter what you change within the church service; Contemporary music, multi media, casual clothes and a cool vicar, this country has become so disconnected, that they’re never going to come!

God, the Bible etc is just not a part of a swathe of society’s agenda, and even knowledge of the Gospel story is lost to many. The book anecdotes a teacher who told her class the nativity story, and was asked the question ‘why did the lady name her baby a swear word?.

Statistically 70% of the UK population has no intention of ever attending a church service albeit the 2001 Government consensus states 72% of the same database claim to be Christian! Has it just become an ethnic label, simply to differentiate ourselves from Muslim or Buddhist?

The book argues that Christians need to become community rather than create its own insular movement, and then within community, love it.

Love Luton?

That’s pretty radical.

Imagine if we all committed one selfless act and transformed a Jean Valjean, the ripple effect of that would be incredibly powerful in (y)our town. Just don’t tell Russell Crowe, he might want to sing about it!

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