23 December 2006

Rent - don't buy - at Christmas

Regular visitors know how one admires a good adaptation. Initially sceptical about transposing the French aristocratic society of ‘La Boheme’ to a ghetto full of squatters and homeless people in Manhattan – after all, one prefers going up in the world – since I was offered a pair free tickets- and urged passionately to accompany a handsome man- off I went to see another musical. But I confess one did not have high expectations on attending a premiere for Mr Jonathan Harvey’s debut, ‘Rent.’

Exhilarating, gentle reader! In fact, one enjoyed the performance so much that several years later, one actually paid for tickets to see it again. In vain I tried to persuade my mother and step-father to come with me- to celebrate my mother’s 50th birthday, I had flown them both to spend a week in New York- but they couldn’t get their heads around the concept of an upbeat musical with rock guitars dealing with HIV and homelessness… and Christmas. Instead, they preferred another repeat performance, something by Lloyd Webber; how embarrassingly dreary!

How distressed I was to discover that my Rent soundtrack was not among the box of treasured CDs that I have in Paris: this is one of the great disadvantages of my fabulously glamorous lifestyle- being unable to lay fingers upon the mood that I want, often forgetting what country the CD concerned might be in.

One wanted to quote a verse or two… and there are so many appropriately seasonal sentiments to share in ‘Rent.’ Of the refrain to Another Day one is particularly fond: even those of you struggling with the concept of irony ought to follow:

There's only us; there's only this
Forget regret, or life is yours to miss
No other road, no other way, no day but today

In other words, do not waste a single precious moment of your life wallowing in how much more fabulous Christmas might be if only you were in Paris with me. Whatever your miserable circumstances, enjoy yourself this Christmas… I quite insist that you do!

For those of you celebrating Christmas with a special someone, there are a few poignant words from I’ll cover you that are worth drawing attention to:

I think they meant it
When they said you can't buy love
But I know you can rent it;
A new lease you are, my love, on life

Those lines can be taken to mean a great many things… believe me. But here’s what I’d like you to consider: however fabulous you are (or however fabulous that special someone is) don’t take for granted all of the - whatever it is- you have together. Nothing lasts forever; why should love be an exception? All you have are moments: even those moments are not owned, they're on loan; you’re only renting, which means you have to pay out, giving yourself up to each and every one of those precious moments... because however special they are depends entirely upon your effort.

So never mind expensive gifts: it’s the energy you give this Christmas that will make all the difference and be remembered. Never forget you’re only renting, and you will find that true happiness is something possessed throughout the year.

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