Not long ago, I scored a ticket to a “BBC Prom” (definitely not to be confused with the frequent autocorrect, “BBC porn”). For those who don't know what the proms are, it's a series of concerts run every year celebrating classical music. For those who don't know what classical music is, it’s everything before jazz. At least, that’s my understanding. (For those of you who don’t know what “BBC porn” is, you should feel glad that you are less sullied by the internet than the rest of us. And, obviously, don’t google it at work.)
The main difference between classical music and post-jazz music is that a classical band has way more musicians than you would have thought necessary. There are so many they couldn’t possibly keep time and so need a human metronome called a conductor. This is the second difference. With no pop/punk/rock equivalent except perhaps an overbearing manager, or so I thought, the conductor is so called because they look like electricity is coursing through them. Conductors dress like old-school stage magicians. The even carry a wand. (There might be a reason musician and magician sound kinds similar. But it might just be a coincidence and no amount of research will uncover a link, as with “pianist” and “penis.”)
|Salle d'Albert Royale|
No one knows why the concerts are called “Proms.” Some say it stands for “Programmable read-only music;” others that it comes from the opening of several famous concertos which begin “Prom, Prom, Prom!” But whyever they are called that, they’ve been an annual event since the time before jazz (BJ).
You may not be able to tell but I don't go to a lot of classical concerts and I nearly didn't make this one. It was a hot day. So hot, it somehow managed to melt the glue on my shoes.
I had just reached the tube station when the first sole departed. The other followed swiftly as I returned home for replacement footwear, in what was clearly a premeditated double shoeicide (I’m sorry). I reverted to my everyday shoes and made a mental note that probably leaving something in a bag for 5 years will reduce its will to live. If you have shoes you wear infrequently, check in on them occasionally.
Thanks to punctual but overcrowded public transport, I still arrived in time for the gig although, on one of the hottest days of the year, if not since the Earth first cooled, I was more sweat than man.
As with all of them, this Prom was at the Royal Albert Hall, Britain's most famous music venue after Wembley Stadium. But the Royal Albert Hall doesn't have to moonlight at a football pitch to make ends meet. It is also notable as the alleged storage facility of Germany’s most famous wartime leader’s second testicle.
It’s a tall space. I’d say too tall for someone like me with acrophobia (fear of heights or Greek ruins). I was right up near the top and shown to my seat by a Sherpa. It also has a massive organ at one end. (Do not google “massive organ” without “Royal Albert Hall.”)