Today's post will seem a little surreal but be patient with me.
Last night I had a peculiar dream in which I was watching a programme on TV that was a strange hybrid of the 'X Factor' and 'Britain's got talent' and Dannii Minogue began to launch into a tirade about young people not seeing enough opera (there had been a vaguely operatic act on stage). Anyway if you are still with me, hang on in there. Dannii said that she thought that all young people needed were free tickets. Then, oddly, the actor who plays the religious guy in Eastenders - who also happens to be a serial killer - Don somebody or other - came on stage to talk to Dannii; actually this is not so odd because years ago that actor did play a non-singing role in a production of Beggar's Opera at Holland Park. Alora, this actor told Dannii about this place called Opera Holland Park who give 1200 free tickets to young people (by now I was beside myself, phoning James and urging him to turn to the channel on which this huge publicity coup was happening).
Dannii vehemently proclaimed that 1200 was not enough and asked how much it would cost to provide 5000 free tickets and said she and her fellow judges, including Simon Cowell who was sitting beside her nodding in agreement, would put up the money. Don, the serial killing preacher, was impressively on top of his game and told Dannii it would cost £116,000 which is pretty much spot on.
"I would do anything", said Dannii sincerely, "to get you young buggers to the opera. This Holland Park place is going to get a big surprise tomorrow!" And the audience rose to roar her on. Meanwhile I was frantically trying to phone the programme to tell her where to send the money. And then I woke up with a horrible anxiety because I thought she would never find out where to send the cheque.
Now, that entire dream was absolutely how it happened. And when you stop to think about it, that is all it would take to genuinely bring our young people into theatres too. Just theatres - you know, pick up a paper, check the listings, go to an opera. Not dressed in pop garb, no stadium spectacles, failed pop singers or rags to riches pub karaoke singers. Just good old fashioned cultural experience given a great big kick up the arse start with a hundred grand of cash.
I'm getting in touch with Dannii's agent today and everybody reading this should mail it to everybody you know -let's get the X Factor doimg some good!