Les Miserables

Jan Leeming

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Jan's Blog

Computers and the internet are amazing things. One of my concerns with putting together this site was that it could remain current, yet with all my travelling I've often much to say, but little time to say it. Years ago when reading the news it would take me days on end to reply to the kind letters people sent. Now, with the magic of the modern age, I can keep you up to date with what I'm doing and other events in my life.


Date: 12th January 2013


Forgive me for being an old spoil sport but I really do find it amazing all the publicity this very mediocre ‘Musical’ is receiving – by that I mean the original concept because I haven’t seen the film.

Don’t know if I am on my own but I don’t see the sense in turning tragedies into ‘Musicals’ – singing tragedies are best placed as operas. Also Les Mis. is predominantly actors talking to music – Sprechtgezingen is what I think the Germans call it. To me a musical is a joyful experience even if the end isn’t always as happy and romantic as one would wish – I’m thinking of ‘South Pacific’.

I saw Les Miserables in London in the early days and didn’t like it one bit. I’ve only seen it once since and that was because a friend of mine, Josephine Buchan, produced it with pupils from Sandwich Tech. I must be honest that I went only to give her support and was actually very moved by her simple production which gave some youngsters a new perception on what they might be able to do in the future – she discovered some very good talent.

Classic FM is on all day in my flat and at the moment they are giving a huge amount of time to Les Mis. (quite rightly called The Glums in many areas) in Howard Goodalls section of ‘Movie music’ – and I’m even more convinced that I would not want to go and see it. Have just heard Russell Crowe shouting his way through some music as well as other members of the cast. Sure, the piece has a couple of memorable numbers but overall, from me (not that it matters in the least) it gets a definite thumbs down.

The ever young Cliff Richard who can hardly ever put a foot wrong DID when he starred in Wuthering Heights – the Musical – some years ago. It really was a Dud.

Maybe I have plebeian taste but I took my son to see ‘Bombay Dreams’ ten years ago mainly because my father was born in India and I rather like the rhythms of Indian music having heard the late Ravi Shankar perform at the Free Trade Hall in Manchester decades ago. Jonathan knew nothing about the cadences of the Tabla and the Sitar and I was a trifle concerned that he’d be bored.   He absolutely loved it and we were fortunate enough not to leave our seats too quickly at the end. The two Tabla players started up a kind of competition which was totally extempore and we were entertained to another ten minutes of striking music. I know it is not to everyone’s taste but there were some incredibly good numbers in it and, of course, it sank without trace.

What next - a musical about the French Revolution with the heads falling into the baskets to some catchy number.

Of course, all of the above is totally subjective but as I do have a website which sometimes I'm able to use to promote good causes, places of interest, etc. then I think I can allow myself the occasional indulgence.

What do you think? Send your feedback to contact@jan-leeming.com.