The media hypemonster will shortly begin shoving the musical film adaptation of Victor Hugo’s depressingly awful tale of Love And Death In The French Revolution down our collective throats.
I read the book years ago. Didn’t like it.
Hollywood has had a couple of stabs at the Les Misérables story over a bunch of decades. I haven’t liked any of them.
But in 1990 when I started work in Social Services in central Bristol, a colleague – Brian – had a CD set of the Official Soundtrack of the Cameron Macintosh stage musical.
And Brian gave me a lift to/from work every day, because he had a car and I was a pauper. We didn’t speak much. The Les Mis CDs did the talking.
Before many days had passed I found myself captivated by the songs. The lyrics, so beautifully sung – pronounced so clearly – held my attention. The emotion that the songs presented caught my imagination, and I found myself getting drawn in.
This stage musical soundtrack was light-years from the Depeche Mode/Pink Floyd-infested musical world that I was used to.
A couple of years later I had my own car; my own copy of the Les Misérables official soundtrack nestled uneasily between Radiohead’s Pablo Honey and Portishead’s Dummy.
A handful of years ago I went to see Les Misérables in London.
The stage production, the use of space, the use of light, the set design (and the way it moved to make different shapes)… they all combined to blow me away.
And pouring gently across the awesome visual spectacle was the soundtrack that I had grown to love – the breathtaking emotional sounds of love and longing and loss.
I haven’t yet seen the new Les Misérables film, though it has Russell Crowe in it, so my judgement is already tainted.
When the mainstream media hypemachine begins firing shotgun-like GO AND SEE THIS FILM messages at us, it will be too easy to lose just how lovely the musical story is.
So here’s a very different version of the musical; as you would expect from me, a non-mainstream version.
This is one man performing all of the main parts, in a highly edited medley, of the Les Misérables musical.
Some of his parts are stronger than others, his Innkeeper (a character I strongly dislike) is amusing, and his female characters are stunning.
(even this Polish flashmob version gets me welling up!)