Well, I may be putting the Phil into Philistine by admitting this, but I didn't quite get the bicycle ballet yesterday afternoon. I seemed to spend the entire half hour feeling that it must all mean something, but that somehow I couldn't quite work out what. To be honest, I was expecting wheelies, bunny-hops, and maybe a few Evel Knievel type stunts with flaming hoops and rows of double-decker buses. What I got was a lot of walking, pointing, and facial expressions set to music.
It started well, with a group of fifty or so cyclists dressed in black and wearing comedy scarves, all cycling down Madeira Drive and coughing in unison, which I took to be a bold statement on traffic pollution. Unfortunately, that was about as much as I could follow. Ten minutes later they rode back laughing. And ten minutes after that, did it again whilst looking over their shoulders. That was the sum of their contribution. They were followed by a man on foot, holding a broken bicycle lock above his head. Like I say, I'm sure it all meant something, I just can't be sure what. If I'd been watching it on TV, I'd have put on the subtitles.
Pictured on the left here are Sarah Alexander (on foot) and Janine Fletcher (on another planet), two of the 'Bicycle Ballet Core Performers'. According to the Bicycle Ballet website, Sarah trained at the Rambert Dance School, making her well qualified to wheel a bike along the seafront for half an hour, while Janine is a 'performer, choreographer and live artist' whose "solo work is a cross-disciplined approach to performance and is characterised by an incessant need to entertain". Sadly, judging on the evidence of yesterday afternoon, Janine's need has not yet been met. Although I did like her hairstyle.
As for Alex Beech, a graduate of the Northern School of Contemporary Dance, she rolled around in the road for a bit, while her colleague lay there with her legs apart, presumably to give Janine somewhere to park her bike. It was all very confusing. Ironically though, despite standing on the kerb for half an hour in a state of constant bemusement, wondering what the heck was going on, I actually quite enjoyed it. I'm well cultured, me.