Michael Jackson for Biscuits

Firstly, let me congratulate me on actually delivering the second of my promised monthly blogs, especially after the parenting shock-fest that was half-term. Suffice to say, this post has been written in snatches: while standing in queues for ice creams and buses, sweltering in swimming pool changing rooms, hovering around slide-diving kamikaze 2 year olds, and waiting, lots of waiting, for you-tube clips to load.

Secondly, I guess I should explain the randomness of the title. It’s a writer cliché, I know, but I genuinely do jot down ideas as they pop into my head, mainly to reduce the chance of losing them in the chasm of my forgetfulness. I used to carry a tatty notebook (another writer cliché), but latterly have upgraded to one of those popular fruit-based electronic devices.

I am currently researching and writing about opera for the V&A Museum website, so note-making has been at fever pitch. But whatever I was trying to say in my latest effort, I sincerely don’t think it was: ‘Opera feels like it’s always been like Michael Jackson for biscuits’. What? WHAT?? Effing, bloody predictive text.

As a phrase it’s kind of likeable, but woefully nonsensical and useless to my needs. What’s more frustrating is that I can’t even remember/decipher what I was trying to say. A great(ish) thought lost.

I now dread to look back through the pages of notes and dictations that I have taken over the last few months, that will no doubt have come out awry. Latest novel is not going to pull together on this basis. That said, could it be a way to push the envelope, to introduce an unexpected and surrealist touch to my work, although I’m not sure it would win me many readers.

Anyway, my third point, strangely related (since I blame my forgetfulness, thus need for note-making, on the constant ‘fullness’ of my mind), is how much I love cramming said mind with new knowledge. As I get older, my appetite for learning seems to increase, rather than diminish. When I was offered the opera topic, I admit I winced with a dose of ‘not for me’ suspicion. Within a few hours of research, however, I was enthralled. It seems that wherever there is opera, there is power, deceit, conflict, scandal, money, monstrosity, revolution, riot, romance – everything exciting, all bound up with some of the most extraordinary music ever written. It’s a delight to be able to bury myself in such an intriguing subject and call it work, thus I eagerly anticipate the V&A’s forthcoming exhibition ‘Opera: Power, Passion & Politics’ – if only to find out whether opera really is like Michael Jackson for biscuits…?

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