- About TFT
Friday Thing Archive
- Politics
- Media
- Culture and Society
- War On Terror
- People
- Places
- World
- Popped Clogs
- Music
- Books
- Film
- Etc
Help And Info
- Contact Details
- Advertising
- Jobs
- Privacy Policy
- XML Feed

Home > Culture and Society

TFT Goes To: Sadler's Wells

11 October 2005

Imagine you had a Swiss Army knife that you'd carried with you all your life but for some reason you'd only ever used it to hammer in nails and occasionally bludgeon tiny creatures into submission. Then suddenly you meet another person with a Swiss Army knife - someone who actually knows how to use it. You marvel as they run around the house, their knife a glinting kaleidoscope of extraordinary instruments and glorious achievements, and you realise how blind you've been. You look at your own knife, all battered and rusted shut, and you curse all those wasted opportunities. Well, that's exactly how this TFT contributor felt on Sunday night, having watched a performance called 'Push' at Sadler's Wells theatre. All my life I've been using my body to perform the dullest, most prosaic chores; just plodding through life, inspiring no-one - but now, thanks to Sylvie Guillem and Russell Maliphant, I know just what the human body is capable of. Not mine of course. But still, my eyes have been opened.

'Push' consisted of four numbers, two solos from Guillem, one from Maliphant and a duet. Each number was wholly mesmerising. I had always been of the rather small-minded opinion that dance was not something that could move a person in the same way as words or music. 'Push' therefore, was a revelation. Imagine. A movement of the body having the same indefinable effect on the human heart as a lilt in a voice. A woman dancing so hypnotically that you begin to wonder how many arms she has. A man dancing with his own shadows, managing somehow to bring tears to your eyes.

Watching these two perfect specimens of human physicality brought to mind the ghastly memory of Barry Austin, Britain's Fattest Man, who graced our television screens the week before, courtesy of Sky One. It is almost impossible to believe that Barry Austin and Silvie Guillem are the same species. In the same way that Austin's deformed bulk gives rise to feelings of disgust and despair at the personal degradation of which human beings are capable, so Guillem and Maliphant have the opposite effect, making you smack your gob and rejoice, glorying in the breath-taking work of art we can make of our flesh and our bones. I say 'we'. Really I played little part. I did leave the theatre with a certain spring in my step, but sadly one can no more dance after a visit to Sadler's Wells than one can perform surgery after watching an episode of M*A*S*H. What I was left with however, was a long overdue appreciation of dance, and a renewed determination to join a gym. Maybe it's also time to give Michael Powell's 'The Red Shoes' another go. Maybe now I could finally understand it.

Comment on this article: letters@thefridaything.co.uk

Subscribe to The Friday Thing for free

Bad words ahead The Friday Thing is a weekly email comment sheet. Casting a cynical eye over the week's events, it is rarely fair and never balanced.

A selection of articles from each week's issue appear online, but to enjoy the full Thing, delivered by email every Friday - as well as access to almost five years of back issues - you'll need to subscribe. It's absolutely free.

"Razor-sharp comment and gossip." - The Sunday Times

"Hilariously cynical..To describe it as 'irreverent' is to do the newsletter an injustice." - The Observer

"Sharp, intelligent, opinionated, uncompromising and very, very funny. Just like 'Private Eye' used to be." - Alec McKelland

"Wicked" - Channel 4

"Ace" - Time Out

"'We rise once again in advocacy of The Friday Thing. We realize that some of you may be unwilling to spend [your money] on plain-text comment, but you're only depriving yourself." - The Minor Fall, The Major Lift

"Subscribing to this at the beginning of the year was undoubtedly one of the better decisions I've made. Superlative, and utterly marvellous. I look forward to Fridays now, because I can't wait for the next issue. Fucking fucking brilliant." - Meish.org

"Featuring writers from The Observer, Smack The Pony and The 11 O'Clock Show... will continue to attract new subscribers sight unseen" - NeedToKnow

"The Friday Thing is so good it's stopping me from doing a bunk of a Friday afternoon." - Annie Blinkhorn (The Erotic Review)

"So now" - The Evening Standard

"Damn it, you rule. May you never, ever back down." - Paul Mayze

"Ace" - PopJustice

"Snarky" - Online Journalism Review

"Can you please stop making me laugh out loud... I'm supposed to be working, you know!" - Tamsin Tyrwhitt

"Your coverage of stuff as it spills is right on the money." - Mike Woods

"Popbitch with A-Levels." - Tim Footman

"In an inbox full of trite work-related nonsense, TFT shines from under its subject heading like the sun out of Angus Deayton's arse." - Nikki Hunt

"A first rate email. It's become an integral part of my week, and my life would be empty and meaningless without it (well, *more* empty and meaningless anyway)." - Mark Pugh

"Genius, absolute bit of class. And you can quote me on that." - Lee Neville

"If you're hipper than hell, this is what you read." - MarketingSherpa

"The most entertaining email I've had all week. Great tone." - Matthew Prior

"A massive and engrossing wit injection." - idiotica.co.uk

"I wouldn't know satire if it bit me on the arse. But I did like the Naomi Campbell joke." - Matt Kelly (The Mirror)

"Has had an understandably high profile among people who know about these things." - Guy Clapperton (Guardian Online)

"Satirical sideswipes at the burning issues of the day." - Radio 5 Live

"Puerile and worthless... Truly fabulous... Do read the whole thing." - Stephen Pollard

The Friday Thing 2001-2008 - All Rights Reserved