My boyfriend surprised me with a beautiful bunch of flowers and a trip to see Cabaret last night. It was one of those perfect surprises where I wouldn’t have guessed it in a million years and, then, when I realised what it was, I remembered that it was exactly what I wanted.

I have been a nightmare over the past few weeks. Full of cold and stress and frustration. It is easy to do lovely things for someone being lovely, less so for someone who has been a bit of a pain. I have been smiling most of the day.

I’m not sure what to say about Cabaret. I remember reading Christopher Isherwood’s ‘Goodbye to Berlin’ and loving the fact that a character was developed into the subject of the film. I like the way that literature creates its own inter-linked world – and then it joins with your own.  I remembered the music, too, though I’m not sure where I remember it from. Songs have a funny way of getting into your head. I remember the feeling of watching or reading things from the 1930s – the fascination of seeing the moment before the moment of change. The impossibility of untangling the overhanging tragedy and reconciling the before and after.

Cabaret does that particularly well. Even with Will Young, who I’m guiltily kind of fond of. Even when the starting place is extreme and heady.

I have been humming the lyrics today. I had forgotten how much I love musicals.

“For the sun will rise
And the moon will set
And learn how to settle
For what you get.
It will all go on if we’re here or not
So who cares? So what?
So who cares? So what?”


“Start by admitting
From cradle to tomb
Isn’t that long a stay.
Life is a Cabaret, old chum,
Only a Cabaret, old chum,
And I love a Cabaret!”

I am always amazed by what happens to words when you add a soundtrack. It is hard to hear beyond the dark acceptance when you just read the words. We had a storytelling session at work on Wednesday where it emerged that you can’t recognise a tune from tapping the rhythm, that the two parts come together to make the meaning. Cabaret has many layers of meaning. I guess all stories do when you start wrapping contexts around them –


I wonder why I keep coming back to stories. The Wednesday guy described stories as mortar, the things that hold together the bricks we build our meaning out of. He argued that they are our biggest differentiator, the reason we are as we are. I am not sure, yet, what to do with this.

It has been a long week. I don’t want these bits to get lost in it.


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