Monday, 22 December 2008


Bit of music for a change – and none of that music charts bollocks. Thought I’d take time out and indulge myself today. Here are two songs from my favourite musical Les Miserables (if I’m not mistaken from the brilliant 10th anniversary performance at the Albert Hall many moons ago).

The musical is based on the 1862 novel Les Misérables by Victor Hugo. Set in early 19th-century France, it follows the intertwining stories of a cast of characters as they struggle for redemption and revolution. The characters include a paroled convict named Jean Valjean who, failing attempts to find work as an honest man with his yellow ticket of leave, breaks his parole and conceals his identity; the police inspector Javert who becomes obsessed with finding Valjean; Fantine, the single mother who is forced to become a prostitute to support her daughter Cosette; Cosette, who, after her mother's death, becomes Jean Valjean's adopted daughter and who eventually falls in love with a revolutionary student named Marius Pontmercy; the Thénardiers, the unscrupulous innkeepers who initially foster Cosette, and who thrive on cheating and stealing; Éponine, their young daughter who is hopelessly in love with Marius; Gavroche, a young beggar boy and the young son of the Thénardiers; and a student leader Enjolras who plans the revolt to free the oppressed lower classes of France. The main characters are joined by an ensemble that includes prostitutes, student revolutionaries, factory workers, and others.



Fighting on barricades of course has consequences – a lot of your comrades get killed. Michael Ball made the part of Marius his own. This song, however, always reminds me of the old NE Branch (SPGB) meeting place in the upstairs room in the old The Swan public house in Heworth (Gateshead) - I think the only time it was open each month was when we used it. Back in the day we could pull in 17 branch members for a meeting. Jeez, where are they now? Interestingly, the pub backs on to Heworth cemetery, where Tommy Hepburn, leader of the massive binding strike in the 1830s is buried.

I’m yet to see this show live, so if anyone has any spare tickets give me a shout!

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