Friday, 20 July 2012

Billy Elliot

There have been no posts for a while as I have been spending a week with friends near London.  Among other things we saw the musical version of "Billy Elliott", all of us for the second time.  The advantage of this live show over the film is that the dancing cannot possibly have been faked, speeded up or otherwise technologically advanced: these amazing actors really are achieving these impossible-looking feats before our very eyes.

 In the version we saw Billy was played by a child of 11.  It must be daunting to achieve so much at that age and still expect that the rest of life will be "up" rather than flat or even downhill.

"Billy Elliot" has many themes but to me the most poignant is the clash between the miners and the police.  I suspect that, when social historians come to study British society in the second half of the 20th century they will see the miners' strike of 1984/5 as the point when the gradual social improvements of the post war era went into reverse and we began moving towards a less cohesive, more antagonistic society.

If Margaret Thatcher is given a state funeral, and there is a sense in which, as our first woman premier, such recognition is merited, I hope one of the TV Channels shows "Billy Elliot" at the same time, as a reminder of the damage she caused.

1 comment:

  1. I agree about the miners' strike' Have you read David Peace's novel about the strike? Peace is on old boy of BGS - it is titled 'GB84' and is vivid if confusing, told from different viewpoints.