Op-pen dat societeee, bitch
The thinking couch potato's musical
June 20, 2003
Like I didn't have enough worries (anxiety, perpetual hunger),
now the Euro has gone up. Every mouthful is 10-15% more expensive.
I've started picking breadcrumbs with a wet fingertip, as our housekeeper
used to do in Tehran, decades ago. Is this as good as it gets?
all have a story to tell, I once said - only mine doesn't make
sense. My next life project is, I suggest, a rap musical of the
life of Karl Popper, the philosopher and enemy of dictators. Naturally
it would be called "The Open Society".
Karl could do a few rap numbers, pointing his fingers sideways
at the camera with attitude, singing "op-pup-pup-pen dat societeee,
bitch". That would be a topical song on the need for democracy
("democracy: dat's wass best man" is the refrain).
love interest: his girlfriend, called Zulu Queen (played by Dame
Maggie Smith) is, like, heavily into drugs and dies. So Karl does
another song and breakdances around her corpse outside the A block
residence ("U-tuk megirl Pablo Escobar, I'll diss you" he
sings angrily, peering into the camera, his baseball cap reversed).
The details, some may say, have but a tenuous basis in Karl Popper's
life, and miss out his years as an Oxford professor. I say, that
is a fair criticism that merits a considered response: how about "dauntcha
gimme nunna dat sh*t man"?
I intend to explore the Oxford
theme with another musical soap opera. It's the story of a distinguished
scientist, Archibald Shtutzelberger, a refugee from Nazi Germany
(but he wears gold chains and breakdances), who discovers a time
reversal machine, the Fuzzle Machine.
The Fuzzle concept is explained in a song at the start, where
Archi breakdances in his lab holding a test-tube (bubbles and steam
everywhere) and sings "Man, I love dat science sh*t".
I just know that's going to be a hit.
He also falls in love with
Edna the librarian, whose glasses keep sliding down her nose. There
are some poignant scenes too: Edna asks 'Shtutz' if he loves her
as he peers distractedly at a test tube - so she sings her poignant
song "I ain't no library mat - I wantya respecc").
This is the thinking couch potato's musical. I admit science
wasn't my strongest subject at school. I cordially detested the
biology teacher, a drab specimen who wore the same tweed jacket,
year in year out. They should have pickled him in a jar, not let
him offend my artistic sensibilities.
I loved history though: endless tales of drunken despots reclining
on beds, ordering rape, pillage and mayhem as they wiped the wine
off their mouth with the back of their hands. My Latin translations
were full of "they laid waste the entire country up to the
Rhine", "they sacked the city for three days running", "the
Parthians amassed an army of thousands in Syria" ...
does mathematics have to offer in return - the triangle? (yawn)
What is history other than drama follows tragedy follows disaster?
I was moved by the death of Cicero, the Roman statesman and enlightened
conservative, a Churchill of antiquity, killed for speaking up
for the law
and denouncing the gangsters of his time.
One of the gangsters, Marc Anthony, had him murdered: Cicero's
hands and head were cut off and displayed in the Roman forum, and
as Anthony's wife passed by, she took out her hairpin and stuck
it in his tongue, because, she said, this tongue had maligned her
Or consider the Roman emperor Eliagabalus, a lascivious teenager
from Syria, who murdered yesterday's friends by suffocating them
under a bed of rose petals at a party, or the Byzantine emperor
Andronicus III, who after a brief rule of madness and terror, was
seized by the Constantinople citizenry, mutilated and castrated,
paraded around the capital on a donkey, beaten and spat on as a
rival took his purple garb and imperial throne. How's that for
the wheel of fortune?
History is fun - in retrospect - and I wish to share my excitement.
Why isn't there a musical of the French Revolution? ("I'm
lovely Antoinette [pom pom] I love my choc'lat cake" - what
a great opening number. Later I want courtiers and fishwives tap
dancing up and down the scaffold steps).
If the health authorities
will not let me stage a musical, nor the business community
give me a desk job, then for goodness' sake, give me a small third
world country to run. I have always had a philanthropic (and
privatising) streak that needed expression. My people would be
happy, they would ride bicycles,
use wind energy and sing songs.
My interactive shrink Barbara will be proud.
- "Now did you
do a positive task this week Alidad?"
- "I sold Zimbabwe
to Starbucks, is that good?"
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