Tag Archive | Andrew Lloyd-Webber

Life: The Masquerade Ball

Since August 3rd I have been on a Contiki group holiday travelling from Los Angeles to New York.  At the beginning of this article, I am in a hotel abutting the beach in Panama City Beach, Florida.  For most people, this state of events is ideal and has the potential for wonderful times and indescribable adventures.  Sadly, as you will all have picked up by now, I am not most people.  Neither my brain nor my heart will permit me to compute the idea of a month of such glee or merriment.  I simply cannot stress enough just how frustrating it is to me that I so desire to join in the fun and have a great time with the new friends Pippa has made (for reason I address myself in 3rd person here, see..) and yet, there never comes a time when control of the requisite organs to appreciate my situation rests in my hands.  My illnesses are constantly usurping my power and forcing me to conceal the true madness behind the mask (yes, I am a Phantom of the Opera fan!).

The Pippa I was before I became medicated and up-to-a-point subdued and diluted would have been standoffish and shy to a fault, but eventually she would have found her feet and met her lobster (Friends has been playing on the coach!).  Sadly, the Pippa who survived assault and constant mental, emotional and physical abuse with scant comfort to punctuate the suffering, attempts to fit in and finds her lobster but buckles under the strain of being so constantly watched and masked in front of strangers.  That is what has happened in the midpoint of this wonderful trip that has been eagerly anticipated for years.

Precisely halfway through my sojourn abroad my mood took a nosedive.  My sleeping hasn’t been too bad, which can sometimes lead to depression, yet just before a wild night in NOLA (New Orleans), most of which I do not recall, I felt as though I had no reason to live.  I had just seen the most beautiful natural sight I’m sure I’ll ever see: the sunset over the bayou in Louisiana from an airboat floating on calm waters.  I’ve included one of the pictures I captured of the moment that nearly brought me to tears but though it is a cliché thing to say, you really did have to be there sitting at the front of the boat with spray hitting you and showing you just how alive you are at that moment in time.  I felt free and alone in a crowd.  It was perfection.  There was no pressure, there was no suffering, there was no thinking or living.  There was just being.  I thought it God’s gift.  Sadly, as I have previously said, the greater the gift from God, the harsher and greater the payment owed to the Devil.  The Devil took his payment in full not three hours later (even Faustus had more time to settle his debts!) when I determined to drink my way down the notorious Bourbon Street in New Orleans.  It has been said that I was “drinking like I didn’t want to live” and I am forced to agree with my travelling companions.  I did not want to live.  Life will never be as perfect or easy to deal with as it was on that boat in the middle of the swamp seeing a spectacular sunset, and somewhere, subconsciously, my broken brain told my broken heart that both should go down after a high like that and then my entire system was in agreement that Bourbon Street would be a location where I tried to die happy rather than England where I have attempted to die miserable many times.

P1090743

Louisiana Sunset

I remember the entirety of Bourbon Street, including the bulimic attack I had during a helping of gumbo.  I even remember being cogent enough to request the Uber to take me and my two friends back to our hotel.  The last thing I remember is getting into bed at probably about 2am, but after that, I have no clue what befell me or my roommate, though I am told I was a very abrasive drunk.

Drinking like I didn't want to live...

Drinking like I didn’t want to live…

Since then, I don’t know if I am almost disappointed that I am not dead or if I am just reacting to the poor opinion of me that the other passengers now have, but my mood has refused to be improved.  Despite my proverbial inhalation of my SSRIs and antidepressants, my bulimic attacks have not slowed up or gone away and I cannot get into the spirit of the trip as well as I was before I grew tired of wearing the mask that showed the rest of the world the portrait of a sane person, while beneath there resides a broken, bat-shit crazy bitch.

When I am back home, I wear a mask to a certain extent with people I do not trust or have only just met, but when you are spending a month in the company of the same people and without resorting to Facebook and Instagram stalking – something I refuse to do with my time – you have no idea who they really are as much as they cannot tell who you are.  When it’s a fortnight or less, it’s not so bad because I can keep it together (more or less…) for that duration of time, but I’ve never had to maintain a constant mask for over four weeks and to paraphrase the great Tennessee Williams, I’ve never had to depend on the kindness of strangers for so long.  It’s exhausting and it made me think about how often I don the mask and thereafter how long I wear it in the company of others.

I have since made up my mind and decided that none may know me as long as I live, save my children and the only love of my life.  They are the only ones with whom I feel – or will feel – safe.  As such, I wear a mask to all others to protect myself from being further broken and rendered unable to show my face to those who have to see it, who deserve to see it, who must see it.

Anyway, I’ll leave you all with that thought as I sit watching my roommate get ready to go to a club in Miami Beach that according to a club promoter I am too ugly, too big and not sufficiently “Miami” enough (yes, I am using Miami as an adjective that’s how low my self-esteem is currently, that without the mask I’m still too warped physically for the world that the Grammar Nazi in me has checked out for the night!).

LaBellaBorgia Speaks,

P. Mistry-Norman

20-08-2015

Music of the Night

Softly, deftly music shall caress you

Hear it, feel it secretly possess you,

Open up your mind,

Let your fantasies unwind

In this darkness that you know you cannot fight,

The darkness of the music of the night.

So often I feel that life and living is simply a run.  It’s a run from the time you’re expelled from a womb to the time when you decay and die.  To get from A to Z you have to run, whether you choose to run towards death or away from it.  The irony is that I am as bad at running as I am at life.  Somewhere, sometime before my brain and heart broke, I couldn’t keep up with life’s pace and I slowed down, then stopped altogether.  Now, whether a hurdle tripped me up or I wasn’t fit enough or I ultimately decided I would not run, I got left behind.  Life, the living and all that encompasses left me behind.  Others who fall and fail and struggle through life, who cannot keep pace with the run of life, are tugged along by the other runners in the race, those who knew them, loved them – who would miss them – and saw them fall.  Nobody saw me fall.  Nobody looked back at me lying in their wake.  Nobody realised I was no longer in the race.  Someone had already won and I had already come last in that instant.  Now, I’m up and I am walking.  I am walking but nothing I, or anyone else, can do now will lessen the distance between myself and those ahead of me who might have knelt down and given succour.  So, when humankind forgets you are part of it and is complicit in your survival or lack of it, to whom or what do you turn so that you can keep walking towards death and find an end to the journey?  What is it that keeps you company on your long, dark, solitary odyssey that your life is to you with a broken brain and a broken heart?  The caress and possession of your mind, heart and body by music, the sweetest and darkest music that lets the burning in your muscles dwindle and is the balm to the crushing weight of the world’s dismissal and apathy of you on your shoulders.  Music is the door from this world where Pippa trudges to Calvary alone, no longer able to run with life, to the sacred world where Lucrezia and Cordelia sing with angels and thrive away from the great race in the night no longer “dark and full of terrors”.

My extended metaphor aside, I want to write about music today, seeing as I’ve been crying (inexplicably, I might add!) through three episodes from season 2 of Glee!  It was nothing in the show particularly that elicited such a visceral response from me but it’s a show that, despite being cliched, unbearably American and full of unrealistic teen drama (even from the adults), is about music and the joys of music healing people and bringing them together with other people, who would have left them behind or never known them and made a difference in their lives.  Can you see how this fits in with my metaphor dragged out above?  Just in case I’ve been too cryptic, I’ll spell it out: it’s a show about people falling, failing and fumbling their way through life but more than that, it’s a TV show about others picking you up and being aware that you matter, especially in the episodes aired in the aftermath of Cory Monteith’s tragic passing.

Anyway, back to music!

The first tunes I remember and the first moments of insurmountable joy I experienced during a melody were those of Andrew Lloyd-Webber’s composition.  I used to adore musicals and Kid’s Week in London was the highlight of my year.  Now, I find them just adaptations of better works and overly sentimental romances, but Andrew Lloyd-Webber’s works still hit a resounding note with me, despite the fact that I listen to them less and less.  Just to give you a rundown, of all his musicals, I have seen (though, even where I haven’t seen the show, I know of the songs, e.g. I have never seen Song and Dance but I have sung Tell Me On a Sunday):

  • Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (1968)
    • NB. also my first exposure to Donny Osmond, whom I love also!
  • Jesus Christ Superstar (1970)
    • At Chigwell School, this was one of the shows and I played trumpet in the orchestra
  • Evita (1976)
  • Cats (1981)
  • The Phantom of the Opera (1986)
    • I believe, other than the Joel Schumacher film, I have seen the show in London’s West End over ten times
  • Whistle Down the Wind (1996)
  • Bombay Dreams (2002)
  • Love Never Dies (2010)
    • NB. I saw this twice and the original ending (SPOILERS!) was that Christine dies and Gustave resides with his natural father, the Phantom, after losing his mother and I LOVED THAT!  Then, after a cast change and alteration to the musical, I saw it again and the ending was changed so that Raoul returns after leaving his wife and “son” and the Phantom lets Gustave return to the father he knew rather than stay with the father he knew no and I HATED IT

I have also seen all of the BBC 1 talent show-auditions for Andrew Lloyd-Webber productions and adored them, but I’m getting sidetracked by a delineation of the history of my fanatical following of Lloyd-Webber.  I’ll get back to proper writing now!

For my third form prom, I sang The Music of the Night from The Phantom of the Opera and for the reason that it speaks of how music brings a lonely, scarred, incomplete man love, a vocation and a life, I have never found another song to replace it in my heart.  Those lyrics that opened this article are words I long to sing and love to recall when nothing but music for a while (kudos to any music lovers who get that reference!) can soothe my achy, breaky heart.  (I am on fire with these references!).

The lyrics of the entire song are about transcending out of this banal and brutal world to one where fantasies can come to life and you can be who you are, not who you appear to be.  That is my life, through television, through film, through whatever I can find.  My need is to leave Pippa behind and become someone else who can feel love and give love in a world that is not going to find pitchforks and cages with which to punish me for being ugly, for being evil, for being a monster.  For, that is what you become when you fall and the run of life leaves you behind because no one living, who runs away from death and towards life itself, remembered to look for you or reach for your hand to save you, who are forced to begin the long march to death.  You become a monster and a beast with no salvation other than that you search and yearn for beyond this life and away from this earth that has forsaken you.

reaching-out-300x196LaBellaBorgia Speaks,

P. Mistry-Norman

28-06-2015

 

To Get You Through the Day

As anyone who knows me is aware, a telltale sign that I’m spiraling or trying desperately hard to get through the day to tomorrow is that I drown out whatever thoughts or feelings that are percolating in my errant brain by playing certain songs.  I have a chosen few songs that are so poignant and meaningful to me and often – and without exaggerating whatsoever – are the difference between life and death.

I would like to share with you just the most memorable of these.

  • “Light Outside” by Wakey!Wakey!
  • “Vande Mataram” from “Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham”
  • “Portrait of My Wife” by Seth Lakeman
  • “Shame” by Robbie Williams & Gary Barlow
  • “11” by Cassadee Pope
  • “Kiss It Better” by He is We
  • “Gravedigger” (Acoustic) by Dave Matthews
  • “Breathe (2AM)” by Anna Nalick
  • “You are my Sunshine” by Frank Turner
  • “Starbuck” by DeathStar Disco
  • “Imba Wimbo” from “Mighty Joe Young”
  • “Runaway” by The Corrs
  • “Main Title” from “Free Willy”
  • “Childhood” by Michael Jackson

These are the songs that are probably the most likely to be played in my room during times of crisis, but it’s dawned on me (once more) that this blog is about media, so I’ll also share with you some of the films and TV shows (as I’ve just come back from seeing “Kingsman: The Secret Service”), if you care to read on…

  • “Bright Star” (Jane Campion/Abbie Cornish/Ben Whishaw)
  • “Pitch Perfect” (Jason Moore/Anna Kendrick/Skylar Astin)
  • “The Phantom of the Opera” (Joel Schumacher/Emmy Rossum/Gerard Butler)
  • “Frozen” (Jennifer Lee/Idina Menzel/Jonathan Groff)
  • “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” (Stephen Chbosky/Emma Watson/Logan Lerman)
  • “The Blind Side” (John Lee Hancock/Sandra Bullock/Tim McGraw)
  • “Firefly” (Joss Whedon/Morena Baccarin/Nathan Fillion)
  • “Stargate SG-1” (Brad Wright & Jonathan Glassner/Amanda Tapping/Christopher Judge)
  • “The Borgias” (Neil Jordan/Holliday Grainger/Francois Arnaud)
  • “Angel” (Joss Whedon/Charisma Carpenter/David Boreanaz)
  • “Grey’s Anatomy” (Shonda Rhimes/Ellen Pompeo/Justin Chambers)

Today, I found myself feeling as though my voice was being taken away from me and that is what prompted this mini-article/list.  There are so many films, TV shows and songs about having a voice or finding your voice or some such notion, but when I sense it being diminished from the outside or just moving further and further away, I dive into films, music and television so I can find it again or replace it with Cordelia Chase’s voice, or Lucrezia Borgia’s voice.  In those moments, when my own voice, identity and mens sana desert me, I turn to the ones I know never will.  The ones that will always get me through the day…

LaBellaBorgia Speaks,

P. Mistry-Norman

11-02-2015

Cyberme

You can tell I’m back in Essex now because I’m posting a lot more.  I’ve only been back in the county for just over a week and today is my mother’s first full day back after going abroad and already I’m asking my father to bring back a bag of ice cubes (something I’m told you should squeeze when you’re thinking of self-harm or suicide to take away the lack of feeling or desire to cut).  True to form today had the potential to be one of the best days ever as I got my 2nd year results today and achieved a surprising 2.1 but I was so elated at that that the universe saw me enjoying my life too much and too hopeful for the future and decided to crash a train into me at full speed.

As of 21:15, I have had 29 people like the status announcing my exam results and 9 comments saying “congratulations” and the like on Facebook.  The icing on the cake was an email from the best personal tutor in the world saying how delighted she was that I’ve

“battled through and come out the other side with such good results.”

I am amazed at my results and I know I don’t deserve them but I did work hard enough and tried my best to know that I don’t deserve the emotional and verbal overhaul that my mother has just dealt me.  I really do hate coming back to Essex for this reason, because coming back to this awful house and my family always means that pain and suffering and endless, unfailing abasement.  I can feel one hundred feet tall (despite not even being 5!) and larger than life itself when I walk in the door but it takes so little time and effort on my mother’s part – she’s actually perfected it into a natural talent – to turn me from a semi-confident, intelligent, compassionate, twenty-one year old Devonshire lass into a weepy, small, weak infantile girl who doesn’t know what she’s done wrong and can’t understand why the mother who she really loves so much continues to douse any flame of happiness that casts a faint glow in an otherwise monochrome existence.  I can’t often leave my flat and I don’t find engaging with people easy so I live – not exist – mostly online, in a cyberutopia and in my medium mind where people are not people because there, people are perpetually nice to me.

It actually makes me wonder if one day people will discover how to upload the human consciousness into the net and bodies will just die.  I often perceive my body as a dead thing that is inanimate and unaffected by the world.  It is corporeal forms that open us up to hurt.  Imagine it, if we all existed in a purely digital world where the minute someone hurts you or abuses you, you block them or report them to The Elders of the Internet (Thank you, IT Crowd and Graham Linehan), which leads to them being deleted or restored to factory settings.  I’d like to be restored to factory settings and taken far away to begin life again…that would be the best gift in the world, it’s just a shame no one has the power to give it.  If only genies existed…

Anyway as I’m writing this I am in my bed, crying and listening to my Love Songs/Ballads playlist on iTunes which I do when I need to reacquaint my mind with my body so that both can feel something again after being dragged through a field of barbed wires.  I’m now focusing on the earlier hours of today when I was so happy and felt well in myself to try and get some restful sleep and have no nightmares.

Now, for your perusing pleasure, I enclose the list of songs in the aforementioned playlist for you to get an idea/inspiration of songs that I rely on when I’m tired of not feeling and feeling unloved and pointless in this world.

  • Falling Slowly    Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova
  • Don’t Go Breaking My Heart        Elton John           Blanche & Orson              Jackie
  • Haven’t Met You Yet       Michael Buble
  • Song for the Waiting      Aron Wright
  • Till I Hear You Sing          Andrew Lloyd Webber
  • Once Upon Another Time            Andrew Lloyd Webber
  • Look With Your Heart     Andrew Lloyd Webber
  • Beneath a Moonless Sky              Andrew Lloyd Webber
  • Love Never Dies               Andrew Lloyd Webber
  • Universe & U     KT Tunstall
  • Since You’ve Been Gone               Rainbow
  • Wait      Get Set Go
  • Grace    Kate Havnevik
  • Please Stay         Duffy
  • Someone Else’s Story (Live)        Kerry Ellis
  • Everything I Own             Vanessa Hudgens & I Can’t Go On, I’ll Go On
  • Breathe (2 AM) Anna Nalick
  • Hiding My Heart               Adele
  • Don’t Marry Her                The Beautiful South
  • Feel This (feat. Enation)               Bethany Joy Galeotti
  • Fix You Coldplay
  • Someone to Fall Back On             Aly Michalka & I Can’t Go On, I’ll Go On
  • Three Times a Lady (Single Version)       The Commodores
  • You’re Beautiful               James Blunt
  • Just the Way You Are     Bruno Mars
  • Unanswered Prayers      Deja Vu
  • If Tomorrow Never Comes          Deja Vu
  • Like a Virgin (feat. Jonathan Groff)          Glee Cast
  • I’m Yours             Jason Mraz
  • Because of You Kelly Clarkson
  • She’s Always a Woman Billy Joel
  • Call Me Maybe  Carly Rae Jepsen
  • The Story             Sara Ramirez
  • Kiss It Better      He Is We
  • (You’re) Having My Baby              Glee Cast
  • Crazy People     The Wreckers
  • Stand Still, Look Pretty  The Wreckers
  • Wish You Were Kate Voegele
  • Kiss Me Sixpence None the Richer
  • Blue Moon          Cliff Richard
  • I Won’t Say (I’m In Love)               Cheryl Freeman, LaChanze, Lillias White, Susan Egan & Vaneese Thomas
  • Sweet Caroline Neil Diamond
  • Sweet About Me              Gabriella Cilmi
  • Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered   Richard Sisson & Samuel Barnett
  • Time After Time               Cyndi Lauper
  • You Are the Sunshine of My Life (Glee Cast Version)      Glee Cast
  • Suspicious Minds             Elvis Presley
  • (You’re) Timeless to Me               Christopher Walken & John Travolta
  • Plaisir d’amour (Album Version)              Charlotte Church
  • My Funny Valentine       Ella Fitzgerald
  • I’ll Stand By You                Pretenders
  • The Perfect Year              Dina Carroll
  • I Got You Babe  Sonny & Cher
  • Anyone Else But You      Michael Cera & Ellen Page
  • Mercy   Duffy
  • Surrender           Patti LuPone
  • Send In The Clowns        Michael Ball
  • Please (feat. Bethany Joy Lenz)
  • S.O.S.    Hilton McRae & Siobhan McCarthy          Benny Andersson, Bjorn Ulvaeus & Stig Anderson
  • Love Is a Many Splendored Thing             The Four Aces & Al Alberts          Sammy Fain & Paul Francis Webster
  • Love Is In the Air              Rupert Everett & Colin Firth
  • Amarilli, Mia Bella          Aled Jones
  • Love Changes Everything             Teatro
  • Nothing Compares 2 U  All Angels
  • Ángels (Edit)      All Angels
  • Total Eclipse of the Heart             Jill Andrews
  • Total Eclipse of the Heart (Glee Cast Version) [feat. Jonathan Groff]       Glee Cast
  • Mandy  Donny Osmond
  • Bring Me To Life               Evanescence
  • Love Hurts          Gram Parsons
  • It’s a Heartache Rod Stewart
  • The Bridge          Shaun Johnston & Amber Marshall
  • Everybody Hurts              The Corrs
  • 10 / 10   Paolo Nutini
  • Please Do Not Go            Violent Femmes
  • When the Stars Go Blue                Tyler Hilton & Bethany Joy Lenz
  • I Know Him So Well (feat. Emma Bunton)            Melanie C.
  • Every Breath You Take   The Police
  • Man Like Me      Robert Downey Jr.
  • I’m Yours                             Jason Mraz
  • Gravity Sara Bareilles
  • Love Theme       Lisbeth Scott
  • Leaving On a Jet Plane (Glee Cast Version)          Matthew Morrison
  • Make You Feel My Love                Adele
  • Calm After the Storm (Eurovision 2014 – The Netherlands)The Common Linnets
  • Next to Me         Emeli Sande
  • Your Song            Ellie Goulding
  • Never Can Say Goodbye               Dianna Agron & the Cast of Glee
  • Saving All My Love For You          Dianna Agron & the Cast of Glee
  • Seasons of Love               Dianna Agron & the Cast of Glee
  • Take My Breath Away    Dianna Agron & the Cast of Glee
  • You Keep Me Hangin’ On              Dianna Agron & the Cast of Glee
  • Homeward Bound/Home             Dianna Agron & the Cast of Glee
  • I can’t go for that/You make my dreams                Dianna Agron & the Cast of Glee
  • I Don’t Want To Know    Dianna Agron & the Cast of Glee
  • Just Give Me A Reason  Dianna Agron & the Cast of Glee
  • Love Song           Dianna Agron & the Cast of Glee
  • Lucky     Dianna Agron & the Cast of Glee
  • Marry You           Dianna Agron & the Cast of Glee
  • We’ve Got Tonight          Dianna Agron & the Cast of Glee
  • Cherish/Cherish               Dianna Agron & the Cast of Glee
  • (I’ve Had) The Time of My Life   Dianna Agron & the Cast of Glee

 

LaBellaBorgia Speaks,

P.Mistry-Norman

16-06-2014