Original London Cast, Les Miserables (1985)
I have never seen Les Miserables – nor do I really ever intend to see it, or read it or experience it in any way. I don’t feel I’m missing out – and if I did go to a production of it now it would be a bit like making my wife watch the original Star Wars now (she’s never seen any of them). My experience of Les Mis is somewhat tainted anyway – my mum and dad saw the musical, in Auckland or Melbourne or whatever – and they loved it. Well, mum loved it. Dad probably did too. Possibly even just because mum did. But she loved it. She bought the CD and got me to make a tape of it. That C90 cassette tape went round and round in her car; she drove a wee MX5, a red racy convertible, which, in the early 90s, was really quite something. Now they just seem like slightly oversized slot-cars. Anyway, fuck, that car was full of the sounds of Les Mis. I’d get a ride to school, or get picked up from sport, or whatever and it’d be all “A heart full of love/No fear, no regret” or “When the beating of your heart/Echoes the beating of the drums” or “Drink with me to days gone by/Sing with me the songs we knew” or whatever else. Mum loved it. I asked for the convertible’s top to be put up. I bought the Les Mis LP – along with a bunch of musicals; many of them Andrew Lloyd Webber’s evil creations – a couple of years ago because my wife had grown up listening to musicals. Just as I had grown up with Star Wars. We listened to Les Mis the other day because my folks were in town and something came up about it and mum said how much she loved that music and show, particularly the music. We sat through four sides of vinyl, chatting about what a fuck-up I had been at university. It was a surreal soundtrack. I actually kinda liked some of it. And hated myself a little bit for that. Surreal because we were talking about a time when I hated myself a little bit (or a lot) for everything and never would have stopped to take in the Les Miserables soundtrack, ironically, nostalgically or otherwise.
Sample Track: I Dreamed A Dream
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