My parents always romanticized their early days of marriage when they didn’t have a lot of money, describing how spending less could be fun… like a game of “see-how-much-we-can-get-for-this-little-amount-of-money.”    Now that I don’t have a job, I thought I might relate, but I do not.  Being poor does not feel like a game, it feels like seeing all the things I want and not buying them.  Have you seen Gap’s fall collection?!

Fortunately for me, there are events like The Proms, a classical music festival held all summer at the Royal Albert Hall.  For the unemployed, the most important feature of the Proms is that if you queue on the evening of a concert, you can go for £5.  Yup, a whole classy evening for the price of a sandwich.

The Royal Albert Hall

In my head, a prom is a high school event where you wear a fancy dress and a corsage, so I went to wise Wikipedia to learn why these concerts are called Proms.  Interesting fact of the day: Back in the days of yore, when most people were poor (like me) and couldn’t afford to go to concerts, the only time they could hear good music was while walking through gardens (called PROMenades), where live music was frequently played.  Robert Newman thought music should be available to all, and in 1895 the Proms were born.  There are more expensive seats available, but since day one, cheap standing room tickets have been available to the masses.

We were invited to this event by some properly artistic people who know about composers and concerts and art shows and stuff (I like Britney Spears, so to each his own).  We started waiting at 4:30 in a queue that was decidedly less organized than the Wimbledon queue (no queue card or sticker), but we got tickets for the 6:30 show quite easily.

Queuing for the Proms.

Standing in line for a concert that you will also watch while standing = sore feet, so I’m glad I wore flats.  But it’s worth the wait, and definitely worth more than the £5 price.  I would never listen to a piece of classical music on my own, but listening and watching the musicians is amazing.  Especially violinists, how do they move their fingers so quickly and accurately?  But the best part of watching this concert was the dramatic conductor, Vladimir Jurowski.  Long hair, exaggerated motions, dramatic sweeping on and off of the stage between pieces and working up a sweat conducting….it’s all live viewing gold.

The gorgeous interior of the Royal Albert Hall.

Encores for Vladimir & Co.

Moral of the story: even though being poor is terrible, you can still have good times thanks to the Proms.