Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Encounters: concert

It sounded like a skit from a Woody Allen film:

First man: Are you ready for the next instalment of the tragedy on Sunday?
Second man: Götterdämmerung?
First man: No, Tottenham.

Half the fun in going to a big classical concert – and with André Previn and Anne-Sophie Mutter playing (at the Barbican on Monday) they don't come much bigger – is people watching. It's a great tradition: they did it in all the grand opera houses in Europe.

The people in our row didn't disappoint. The conversation above was between a well-heeled man a few seats down, and a well-heeled friend he met in the aisle. One, fittingly, had a touch of Alan Sugar about him, only with a German accent. The other seemed to know everyone.

But it was their women-folk who were the most jaw-dropping. Hair was expensive, dyed just the right tawny shade, tonged and set with so much hairspray it shimmered. Clothes were showy and tight; jewellery, ostentatious. Faces were taut with Botox, but captivating. And best of all were the accents: exotic Anglo-Euro-German, the voice of a 60s Bond girl.

I don't doubt they were enjoying the music. But as they settled into their seats for the second half, dinner plans were already being urgently discussed. I thought of the sandwich I'd wolfed down before the concert, and vowed, one day, to be this glamorous.

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