Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

The Grin Inducing Power of Musicals

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

The Grin Inducing Power of Musicals

Article excerpt

Byline: KEITH HANN

IFIRST realised that Simon Cowell had achieved world domination when I invited two cultured friends to an opera and they replied: "We can't possibly go out that night, it's the start of The X-Factor!" Even more amazingly, the opera concerned was one of those summer country house affairs, which means that Mr Cowell's TV money-making machine must have been churning away every weekend from balmy late August through to polar mid-December. The strangest thing to me was that I knew for a fact that my friends possessed one of those Sky Plus Box gizmos and could perfectly well have watched the show later, with the added bonus of being able to fast-forward through the ads.

Apparently, though, it's just not the same.

Indeed, for complete satisfaction I understand that you must not only see these things live, but share your views of them with the world every few minutes via Twitter and Facebook. A great service for the likes of me, because an occasional glance at these has enabled me to pretend to be in touch with what is going on not only on The X-Factor, but also The Apprentice, Strictly Come Dancing and I'm A Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here without wasting great chunks of my life actually watching them.

Not that I have anything against popular entertainment. I spent almost every evening last week glued to the unfolding drama that was the 50th anniversary of Coronation Street, even though ITV had done their utmost to drain it of any surprises by emailing me months beforehand with previews of their tram crash and details of which actors had decided to leave the series or been sacked by its new producer.

Only on Wednesday did I rely on my old-fashioned video recorder to keep me up to date as I slithered through the snow-covered streets of Jesmond to see the Royal Grammar School's production of Oklahoma! …

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