Going to a Mozart opera or going to an infamous ICSM bop. Attending a black-tie 21st birthday party at a house overlooking the Thames or attending a good old fashioned house-warming party. Watching a Champions league football match or going to a classical music concert. These were the decisions that I was faced with/will be facing in the last couple of days. Some of you will think these decisions seem blindingly obvious to make and would know hands down which event you would go for. Some of you will think these decisions are just put there so that it gives the illusion that I have some sort of social life at and thus are complete lies given that I am studying medicine at Imperial and come from a Chinese background, or that I am a posh person going to Operas and black tie events. However I think these are really quite interesting scenarios that many of us are faced with everyday, just in different disguises.
Take the Opera vs Bop scenario. You may think this is one of the easiest decisions in the world: sociable person = bop, geek/posh classical music aficionado = opera. This may be true in a lot of cases, but sometimes a person’s choices are not quite as you would expect. Suppose the sociable people wanted to, but have never been to an opera before (why would they…they are the popular sociable ones after all!). They would probably want to take the opera option because they want to see and experience what it’s all about, whereas there are many many bops later for them to attend. Or suppose a final year student who is the classical music aficionado wanted to attend what would be his/her last bop. They would probably go for the bop, especially as they’ve heard the Mozart so many times (classical music does seem quite repetitive at times, even according to a concert violinist). In my case, as previous posts have indicated, I lie firmly with the classical music aficionado type and indeed I did chose the opera. Surprisingly I have only been to the opera once and I didn’t have a clue what was going on. Fortunately this one was with the English National Opera and therefore I finally managed to understand the story of the Marriage of Figaro with the actors singing in English for once (er…the clue is in the title…duh!).
The black-tie dinner is something else altogether. In 3rd year university, EVERY birthday is that special 21st. Hence you are obliged to attend most of them. Incidentally, I had my firm partner Gaby’s 21st birthday celebrations on the same day as the opera vs bop debate. It was originally the bop vs birthday but the opera opportunity came up at the last minute, and I accepted it in front of Gaby, rather embarrassingly and apologetically (insert apt ‘the awkward moment when…’). However, this 21st was rather special. It had been months in planning, with invitations sent out 11 WEEKS in advance. It drew people from all over the world, from London to Singapore (I’m not exaggerating!). It included fireworks, vintage champagne and bouncy castles (extremely fun when tipsy!). Normally, birthday events and stories consist of the standard you-were-so-funny-and-outrageous-when-you-were-drunk story. However, I have to say this has been one of the best and fun events I have been to, despite the lack of potentially 50 people’s drunken stories and massive thanks to my friend Jen for inviting me.
If you’ve read up until now, you would have built up the image that I am that posh, classical music aficionado. Hence you may be surprise to learn that I will pick the Champions league football this coming Wednesday over the concert. Again it’s to do with the ‘Never have I ever’ drinking game. Life is built on experience and I have never experienced the atmosphere of a live football game, especially a Champions league one. Living next to Stamford Bridge, Chelsea’s home ground, the atmosphere is absolutely amazing when 40,000 people walk through Fulham Broadway (often with me walking the other way, carrying a violin/dressed in black tie/both!). If a big match is on, you can hear the crowd noise and use that to judge the score, or any missed chances. I am a bit of a football fan, but not a massive one and I am a massive fan of classical music. Hence there will be many more concerts to come, but not many football matches and thus I am taking the opportunity to experience this particular one.
Hopefully you would have read this and taken up the mantle to experience something new, within reason of course: my friend once said: “Yeah I’ve never experienced murdering someone before but that doesn’t mean I’m going to do it just because I want to see what it’s like!”