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Byline: Hannah Jones

I'd never admit to being cultured. I would say, though, that I have an interest in cultural things, in knocking about with artists and similarly creative folk as I think they possess something inherently interesting (besides, I'm always hoping they'll give me a painting or write a song for me - Kyffin, are you reading this?) I'm what you'd call selfishly cultured, but not socially so.

I can't abide those people who go about telling you why they would ``simply die without Mahler'' or that you ``really must'' go to such and such an opera.

I like to find out things for myself, and certainly wouldn't go to something just to be seen in the right place.

I don't mind a nudge in the right direction - that's what Box Office is for, right? - but the idea of being involved in something just because someone says that doing so puts another notch on your culture post, well, I find it utterly odious. I used to know someone who thought that visiting art galleries at openings, being the member of boards of organisations dedicated to the arts, making sure he never was in the cheap seats at the opera made him culturally superior to me, someone who, let's face it, often gets more joy out of an episode of The Bill than Don Giovanni.

I'm also a non-snob when it comes to galleries as, unless there's something I really want to see, the first thing I head for when I go through the doors is the gift shop.

So it came as some surprise when my auntie told me this week that she's getting married in Verona.

As her newly designated matron of (dis) honour I'm in on all the plans and the biggest one of all is that she wants to take all her guests to the opera ``to say thanks for coming'' on the night of her wedding.

Now it's no exaggeration when I tell you that the only thing my auntie knows about opera is that you pronounce it differently to Oprah as in Winfrey.

But she's determined to do it because, and I quote, ``some fancy people are going and they'll like a singsong in the night and besides, when you're in Verona I've been told you simply must go to the opera.''

I didn't like to remind her that even ``fancy people'' prefer Roll Out the Barrel than a rousing rendition of Vesti La Guibba after a few glasses of vino.

I'll have to go, of course. Just so that I can sneak in a ghetto blaster with a various selection of That's What I Call Music CDs for the bus ride back to the hotel.

Now That's What I Call good sense...
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Apr 4, 2003
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