Sunday, 18 January 2009

PPO's Transymphonia: Glimpses of Europe

Pedro and I have gotten into this habit of getting in the car, sitting in traffic for an hour or so and watching the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra's Transymphonia at the Cultural Center of the Philippines once a month. I'm telling you it's worth it. After seeing the Spanish Embassy-sponsored concert last month our expectations were higher and of course the disappointment was greater. Where shall we start.

What I like about these concerts is that the attendees are just as interesting as the actual performance. The matrons and old gits never fail to amuse with their big hair and inappropriate wardrobe choices, and Friday night was no exception. As soon as we got there we decided to check out the mezzanine for hopefully a cocktail spread and were delighted to realize that the Czech Embassy, on the occasion of their six-month presidency of the European Union this 2009, is the main sponsor of the event. They were going to serve draught beer!

While waiting for the show to start, I walked towards the Gourmet Cafe booth where they're handing out free styro cups of coffee to the concert goers. Listen, Gourmet Cafe. If you want people to leave with good memories of your coffee, don't ever serve that watered down coffee and expect people to buy it. No wonder everyone was drowning sachets of coffee mate and sugar in their cups.

First half was great. Three anthems were played, then Sibelius and then Elgar. Great. I almost did a cartwheel to the mezzanine when intermission was announced. There was a bit of a confusion there. They weren't serving anything. And people just stood around wondering why. Hmmm. Went back for the second half. It was Lizst, then Dvorak, then another Elgar for the encore. Then a mad dash to the mezzanine for cocktails, where we were met by an efficient-looking secretary type who was turning people away. The buffet table which prominently featured Czech beer, nuts and crisps was cordoned off.

Guests of the Czech Embassy only.

That was sooo tacky. You don't hold a by invitation only drinks party in full view of all the attendees. Do it elsewhere if you don't want other people there. I don't know why these people are so elitist. VIPs only. Guests of the Embassy only. White people only. Jeez. I was feeling a bit disappointed and quite rejected, then I saw this elderly couple who was being turned away by secretary type. For Chrissakes. They must be at least 80 years old. They won't eat nor drink much. Let them in! Way to throw a fucking party on the occasion of your presidency of the European Union in 2009.

I hate the Czech Embassy.

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