Tuesday, February 07, 2006

We're not pimps on the make, politicians on the take

It seems that the British desire to turn everything and anything into a musical knows no bounds. The life of Maggie Thatcher is to be turned into a musical. Showing at Warwick Theatre before a UK-wide tour (of every Tory market town, no doubt), it celebrates the life and times of the 'Iron Lady'. It reminds me of the Brass Eye sketch where they make people believe that they are doing Peter Sutcliffe the Musical.
But we do have far too many musicals based on crap premises, like 'Daddy Cool' (the musical based on the songs of Boney M) , as well as 'We will Rock You' (the muscial based on the songs of Queen). The Queen one seems particularly ridiculous as this synopsis from Wikipaedia shows:

The story is set in the unspecified, vaguely Orwellian future. Earth's name has been changed to Planet Mall. As the name would suggest, mainstream commercial conformity reigns. Everywhere on the planet, people watch the same movies, listen to computer-generated music, wear the same clothes and hold the same thoughts and opinions. Musical instruments and composers are forbidden, and rock music is all but unknown. Representative government has been eliminated. All are controlled by the Worldwide mega-corporation Globalsoft, which is headed by the "Killer Queen" and the commander of her secret police, the evil Khashoggi. Those who dare to stand against Globalsoft's enforced conformity are kidnapped and "brain stormed" into submission. However, a small group of "Bohemians" struggles to restore the free exchange of thought, fashion, and (most of all) live music. As with the classic quest stories that it spoofs, the musical includes both a Messiah figure, the social outcast Galileo Figaro, and a McGuffin that will restore freedom, the lost guitar of Queen guitarist, Brian May.

Together with his love interest, another dissident calling herself Scaramouche, Galileo joins with the Bohemians to find the guitar, and overthrow Globalsoft. However, when the Bohemians are captured and brain stormed, Galileo and Scaramouche are forced to flee for their lives. Eventually they meet Pop, an older, hippie-esque Bohemian who yearns for the "old days" when people were free and Rock & Roll was king...or Queen as the case may be. Again fulfilling the classic role of "Guide" for the two, Pop shows them a fragment of the Queen video, "Bohemian Rhapsody," further inspiring them. Impressed by the “heavenly music,” Galileo and Scaramouche eventually decide to search for the guitar at Wembley Stadium, the location of two legendary concerts by Queen. Though the Stadium is a ruin, they find the guitar hidden in a wall. With guitar in hand, and Pop serving as "roadie" for the two saviors, they perform a rousing rendition of the title song, "We Will Rock You," and conclude with a marvelous arrangement of "Bohemian Rhapsody."

It's especially interesting to note the reinvention of Queen as an alternative, non-corporate band seeing as they were as pop as you can get and were quite happy to accept money to play a concert in apartheid South Africa in 1984, when very few bands did as a protest against the regime.
Anyways, I digress. Musicals such as these are generally rubbish. That's what I wanted to say.
Check out a new thing I wrote on rockbeatstone about Lyrics in modern rock music (so far removed from some of Queen's)

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