Well, I’m no longer a Phantom Of The Opera virgin. My musical cherry – because High School Musical doesn’t really count – has been popped. I’ve been deflowered in the middle of the back row of the Royal Circle.
When we were on the way to London, we had a very chatty taxi driver who, after he’d promoted his coffee stall on the platform of Huddersfield Station, asked us what we were doing and where we were going. Carole gladly furnished him with all the details of our trip – often the best thing to do as a taxi driver takes you away from the door of your house to go on a trip for a number of days. When she got to the bit about Phantom she explained that I was not an eager beaver, that I was not looking forward to it, which horrified the taxi driver. Absolutely horrified him.
“Music is life!” he said. “How can you not like music? Without music I would die…”
Who said anything about me not liking music? Not me, that’s for sure. Just because I favour Radio 4 doesn’t mean I’m dead inside. Nearly, maybe, but not quite.
It turns out, though, that the music of Phantom – as people in the know call it – or POTO as almost no-one does, isn’t the music for me. Not at all. Not even a little bit.
I’ve certainly seen it though. I could have snuck off, unnoticed by a transfixed Carole, and gone to the pub or – if it wasn’t an empty shell – to play on the arcades in the Trocadero. But I stayed. Primarily to act as a human shield between Carole and a woman at the end of the row who text her way through the entire thing.
At one point I considered moving along a few seats to sit next to her and ask if she’d loke to stop texting. I had the speech all worked out and everything.
“Hi. Hi, sorry. I was just wondering if you’d like to stop texting and lighting up the whole theatre like you’re a prison officer using a powerful searchlight to find an escapee. You see, we’re here for my girlfriend’s birthday -she’s the one on the edge of her seat – and it’s kind of a big deal for her and you’re ruining it. You also realise you’ve paid forty quid to sit in a dark room and text? You could have stayed at home and WhatsApped under the duvet for nothing…
I didn’t. But it’s the thought that counts…