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Dear Boris Johnson: Your Government Destroyed Me.

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I’ve been meaning to write this for a long time.

Dear Boris Johnson,

If you happen to read this, make no mistake that I hate you, your government, and everything that you stand for. I do not mean that lightly in a passing comment way, either. I hate you. You and your administration have severely effected by mental health and ripped my confidence into pieces. I’ve gone from a sociable, hardworking and genuinely happy individual into an anxiety ridden, under- confident mess. That is all because of you. I know I’m not the only one. I’m only eighteen years old, I turned eighteen three days before you butchered my confidence forever. How can you sleep at night?

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First of all, how can you seriously commit to the empty rhetoric you make in your press conferences? How can you possibly say you’re doing everything you can to help the COVID-19 crisis when your track and trace system has fallen to pieces and is unresponsive? That’s all on you and your administration. No one else. Stop blaming the public for your incompetency. While European countries such as Italy and Germany have effective Track and Trace Systems to help keep their public safe, more and more people are becoming infected with this deadly disease so much so that there are threats of the NHS being overwhelmed once again and the prospect of a second lockdown. The majority of people have been following the social distancing rules, the majority wear masks.

Stop trying to blame the public. A few people breaking the rules by throwing parties and holding gatherings has not caused this second outbreak. It is you. You forced schools to open. You forced universities to organise themselves to reopen with ever-changing guidelines. You recommended people to Eat Out to Help Out. You recommended shopping, cinema viewing, restaurant going. We are only doing what you told us, or as much as what we can make out from your confusing, contradicting guidelines. Yet, you have the cheek to blame us for a rise in infections and especially young people in the North. This is all on you. Stop trying to defect blame. I have no doubt you were told the risks, and predicted what would happen as you enforced these measures. The cynic in me thinks this is what you wanted all along in your herd immunity, eugenic driven mind.

I could go on and on about your chaotic handling of this country over the past year, so much so that I would run out of superlatives. I will do in another blog post in time.

You’re probably wondering how you effected my confidence to such an extent, and how you initiated what I described at this start of this blog post. I’ll tell you how, Prime Minister.

Allow me to introduce myself first. I’m an eighteen year old girl, and I went to a sixth form that branches off the comprehensive secondary school I attended. My sixth form’s last OFSTED report was “requires improvement.” I didn’t have a teacher for one of my A-levels for five months. I spent the twenty nineteen summer holidays revising, and I gave myself only one week off. I was determined to succeed even though yourself and your party expect people like me to fail. Against all of your odds and the ways in which your political party has moulded this country, I received an offer from the University of Cambridge to study Human, Social and Political Sciences. One person had received an offer before in my sixth form, but didn’t get the grades to fulfil it. I was working consistently at the grades A*A*A before lockdown. My sixth form predicted me to be on course to achieve A*A*A*. I was looking like the first student to go to Cambridge ever from my sixth form. Now you know who I am, let me take you back two months, to August.

The middle of August is always a worrying time for seventeen, eighteen and nineteen year olds in higher education as they await to find their A-level results. Normally, their focus of worries is on whether they answered a question correctly, whether they performed well enough in a particular exam, and so on. My year didn’t get to experience this. You cancelled our exams in the middle of the March. I still remember how I felt when you announced this and in the days after. I was worried sick as to how the exams would be marked and what would you use. You had no plan. You never do. I understand to an extent, though. You had other big issues to make hopeless plans for at the time. You did though have a whole five months, nearly half a year, to sort out how our grades would be handed out. Each individual would no doubt be given grades that reflected their academic ability and they could progress on to the next stage of their life. There is no way you could possibly get that wrong, with all those months to prepare and liaise with the exam boards and regulators.

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I remember at the start of August reading an article from The Telegraph about how your administration had chosen to hand out A-level grades. It detailed the fact that an individual’s school, and the grades that pupils had achieved in that school in the years before, would have an influence on the grades that were handed out for this year. I felt sick instantly. No one from my sixth form had ever achieved high grades in my subjects. Would that be the one thing that would hold me back from going to Cambridge? How was that fair? I frantically emailed my tutor who had helped me throughout the Cambridge admissions process and he tried to reassure me. He explained to me how the grading system in the UK normally worked, and it didn’t look like I would be affected in any negative way. According to him, some grades for A-level had been lowered only by one grade, most not at all. I would be fine. Any sane person with any common sense would have made sure myself and everyone in the same position would be fine. Not you though. Of course not you, Prime Minister.

As I went to sleep the night before I found out my grades, I felt sick with worry. My disadvantaged situation had always been what had spurred me on to achieve, and now it might be the one thing that held me back.

I opened up UCAS the following morning, sick with nerves about how you had handled my economic status, and how you had treated working class students. It took forty minutes to finally load the webpage as it had crashed that morning. I should’ve seen this as a sign, as it set the precedent for the events that I was going to experience. I logged on and found that my University of Cambridge application had been ‘unsuccessful.’ I was upset, of course I was. This unfortunately happens to students every year. I also felt confused. What else could I had done academically? I worked, and worked, and worked. I calculated in February that on average I spent one hundred and ten hours studying a week for my A-levels. In this unique year when I didn’t have official exams to prove myself, what else could I have possibly done, Prime Minister?

I walked downstairs from my bedroom to meet my mum in the living room and it felt like taking the walk of shame. I didn’t just felt upset, I felt confused. More than anything, I felt powerless. As I started crying into her hug, it wasn’t too long before my upset turned into anger within a matter of milliseconds. I kicked over living room furniture as I cursed your horrible elitist methods. It was lucky my dad was also in the living room as I would have most likely thrown my studying chair out of the living room window. He had to stop me as I raged over my economic status and the subsequent label that you placed on me because of that.

I then had to face going up to the sixth form, which was for the first time a daunting prospect. Before lockdown I walked the corridors happily, buzzing to learn and study more and more until I reached my final goal. I walked through the doors on Results Day with my head down, my head heavy with confusion, rage and upset all at once. I felt sick as I opened my grade paper and found out I had been downgraded twice in Sociology and downgraded once in Politics. Thus, I had achieved a A*AB. A*A*A*. Not exactly the same, are they? Not bad by any means, but not enough to fulfill my goal. In my last two Sociology mock exams in November, I had achieved 96% in Paper One and 92% in Paper Two. I rarely dropped more then one mark in homework and assigned essays. Somehow, that warranted a B-grade. In my most recent mock exam in Politics, I had achieved an A*. Somehow warranted a downgrade.

We all know why. The average grades for my school in years before had been Cs and Ds. I had been judged according to my background, and I had been disadvantaged. I wasn’t judged on my individual ability as I was promised I would be. It made me feel pain that I cannot describe. You’ll never understand what that feels like, your future handed on you based on your background. Like many people across the year, I was just another statistic to you. You didn’t handle my case on an individual basis, you passed me through an algorithm with no hesitation. I’ve read enough of his blog posts to know that your special advisor favours statistics and statistical modelling above anything, Prime Minister. He’s convinces it’s the right way of doing things. Tell me, is this right?

I then went through plans about what would happen next. My tutor mentioned an appeals process, but no one had any idea as to what that would involve. It would be announced Monday, apparently. The day was Thursday. What would we do until then? What would I do until then? There was no plan. As I said before, you never have one. When I back into my sixth form hall the Head Of The Sixth Form came up to me and excitedly said that my performance was top 15% in the county and I was thus a Norfolk scholar. It meant nothing to me. In terms of the day itself, I felt deflated. This is the one day that I had looked forward to the entirety of lockdown. It was written in permanent marker on my calendar, and I was certain it would be a celebratory one as I was certain I had ‘done it.’ Why shouldn’t I have felt like that? All the hours that I had put in would finally be celebrated. Instead, you left me horrified, confused and upset with a stabbing pain in my stomach.

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I nearly fainted in my school reception due to this combination of emotions as I tried to contact my admissions tutor for my College. At the time, I was angry at them too, but looking back I am not. They were chucked in this mess that you created just as much as me, and there was nothing that they could do until you announced a plan for resolving this mess. You didn’t have this, of course. Your Department of Education Minister didn’t either, who is somehow still in his job to this day.

When I got home, I tried to get myself together. However, the pit in my stomach, which had now turned into anger, knew that I could simply not keep silent over this. I tweeted about my cause on the A-level results day hashtag, which got significant attention and started to reach more and more people. It was the power of the people, Prime Minister, that gave my cause attention. That is something you always underestimate. If not for people caring about young people’s stories, I am confident that a U-turn would never have happened. It wasn’t long before my direct messages on Twitter started filling up with journalists wanting to share my story. I didn’t reply to many of them. My trust levels with people were generally at an all time low, which was the start of my confidence dipping. When I woke up the next morning, my tweet had reached astonishing figures and 1.5 million people had viewed it. I woke up just in time to see both James Felton and Matt Haig retweet my cause, which was quite the moment.

For the large part though, I was left in the dark about what would happen next. There was no hint of any remorse from you or your ministers. All of your government ministers were too concerned about toeing the party line and trying to up your self confidence in your administration than you were to fixing our problems. I watched your colleague Gavin Williamson say that there would be categorically no U-turn in terms of A-level grades, and I broke down. 40% of grades had been downgraded, most I would assume wrongly. Why would you do this to us? What was the reason? To halt social mobility?

As I watched you, Prime Minister, in an interview also defend the algorithm that had put us in this place saying it was ‘robust’ and that most pupils had received the correct grades, I felt despair. I had never felt like I did then. I was questioning why I should ever study and pursue an academic path, as there was no point. I was convinced I would always be disadvantaged. I would always have this label on my back, and you had shown that in big, bold colours. This is what you did, Prime Minister. I watched Newsnight to view the special report on the A-level grading chaos and I heavily despaired over interviews of students who were in the exact same position around me. We all felt a collective sadness, despair and hopelessness over our positions that we could not change. I would not wish that feeling on anyone. No one, apart from you.

I was lucky that at the time I had something to indulge myself in (Chess The Musical) which was a distraction from my current heart wrenching situation. A musical about a Chess championship in the middle of the Cold War set in Merano and Bangkok produced in the eighties was and felt like an entire world away, and was an escape from the time I found myself imprisoned in. I still listen to this masterpiece and remember how I felt when blasting these songs as my escape route.

It didn’t always work, however. As the interactions on my tweet began to slow down and there was still no news about what you would do, I tried revising. There was rumours that some students would have to take exams in the Autumn, and therefore I had to prepare for them. I realised my normally successful way of revising wasn’t working. I couldn’t concentrate. In my mind, there was an omnipresent voice screaming that I wasn’t good enough. My grades were proof I was not good enough. All the confidence that I built up concerning my studies over the past two years had gone. The information that I had gone through countless of times before wasn’t sinking in, and my mind put up a mental block on trying to remember it again. It was then I realised the imprint that your algorithm had put on my brain, Prime Minister. It’s not as strong, but it’s still there, and I feel no way near as confident as I used to be. It would be later on that I would realise my confidence was affected in all areas, and in some regard, I am still a shadow of my former self. I did not do anything to initiate this. This is all because of you. Again, I ask, how can you sleep at night? You’ve left an imprint on my confidence that I cannot shake, you placed a label on me and convinced me that’s what I was. That’s what the exam paper slip said, after all.

That night I was gripped to the social media site of Twitter, searching and hoping for any update on a possible U-turn. I felt a pain on my lungs and hurt every time I breathed. It hurt even more if I thought about what happened. It was getting to the point where I was so devastated, confused and horrified that I physically couldn’t breathe. I tried to write a post for my blog about how I was feeling but I couldn’t bring myself to do anything. The title was ‘an illness is on my lungs: the illness of social disadvantage’ which was undoubtedly how I felt. I felt broken. I was a broken person. All the talk about the reduction of class importance within the UK in the past few years, in my view, has been contradicted. Class barriers are very much still present in society, and you, Prime Minister, and your team in government reinforced them to an even further extent in the year 2020. You just didn’t make it a label or a status, you made it our defining factor, our definition . You make me feel sick. How did you let this happen?

It was nearly midnight when the news spread around the social media like wildfire that the page on OFQUAL, introduced earlier on in the day outlining a grade appeals process, had been taken down. I couldn’t believe it. There was no plan. No one knew what was going on, and those who were meant to be sorting out our problems seems to be just as much in the dark, despite having five months to prepare for this. This broke me. I sobbed to my parents and had multiple panic attacks that night because I couldn’t handle it anymore. I was in a ball on my bedroom floor, shaking like a leaf, punching the floor as I experienced a series of panic attacks, something I have not experienced in a long time. The words that I kept repeating to my parents were half audible apologies that I didn’t do enough. “I didn’t work hard enough. I didn’t achieve as much as I should have. I’m sorry.” This is how you made me feel, and I have not recovered, Prime Minister. Ever since that night, my confidence has been shot and it has not been the same.

The next day I watched the footage of student protests come through and I felt proud, but also kept a substantial amount of anger within me as the cause was not yet over. Finally, The Labour Party started piping up and were pressuring you to hold an emergency meeting and conference over this crisis. And then, the next day, we all know what happened next. The U-Turn happened. This is what Williamson had previously said, forty eight hours ago, would never happen. Of course, there was well deserved jubilation from students all across the country. Not for me though, I had to wait a few days until my place was finally confirmed.

This is amazing, but then, why was all the suffering necessary? Why did you have to enforce the classist, elitist algorithm in the first place? It is disgusting the way you treated me and my fellow peers, mostly in a disadvantaged position, and the suffering you put us through. Even if you decided to use the wretched algorithm, why didn’t you have a method of appeal sufficiently put in place when things inevitably went wrong? It’s because all of your incompetence. You and your administration, and only yourselves, caused all of this. It didn’t have to happen. The indescribable suffering that I and many others went through never had to happen if you were always going to U-turn like the calamitous government you are. If someone said turn left, you would turn right thinking you’re better, inevitably realise you’re wrong but wouldn’t want to admit it, and then eventually turn back. Your whole administration is like a father who thinks he can operate on a car holiday journey without using the map because he thinks he knows best. You’re a disgrace.

I’ve wanted to write and articulate my experience for a while, but it was meeting a government minister in person for a photo for them to use as silly PR that pushed me to finally start writing. The photo was used so they could pose with the first ever offer holder from my sixth form. I found that revolting. The experience is hard to talk about, as the effect for me is still here. I do not still feel like I am good enough, no matter what anyone tells me. The imprint will be left on my mind and especially my academic pursuit for a long while. This was not inevitable. It could have been avoided.

I’m sure I’m not the only one. Many have suffered because of your actions, or they did suffer in that time. I would not be surprised in the slightest if at the time it got too much for some young individuals, with young minds, with all their future ahead of them. Think about that for a moment. Again, this was avoidable. We didn’t deserve what happened to us and how you treated us as we put through a horrendous algorithm.

Of course, many people have moved on, as there are many other pressing stories to talk about, mainly caused and due to the incompetence of your administration. The effect and the experience will stay with me for a long time. I have had nightmares about reliving the day I found out, and sometimes I shut my eyes and remember how hard it was to breathe because of my suffering, all because of you. To quote my favourite musical, it was a case of ‘playing games… using our lives for nothing’ in reference to politics activity, and that rings true with you.

I am now in an intermitting year because of many factors but one of them is because of this. I remind you again that the suffering you put me through, and the mindset that is now with me, was all avoidable. This was never meant to happen. It’s sad that this is one of your failures, and so many more people have been affected in different ways due to your actions and the country that you are failing to handle. It’s disgusting. It’s every awful superlative you can think of. I worry they’ll be more horrendous actions that you’ll take that will have disastrous consequences while you’re in power.

You never truly understand what other people have been through in expense of governments until you experience the pain yourself.

I ask again: how you can sleep at night?

—— Holly.

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Ten reasons: why I love Chess The Musical

It’s about time on this blog that I talked about my favourite thing ever. Ever since I first listened to it’s lead single, ‘One Night in Bangkok’ at around 5am in July, my life has not been the same. If I haven’t persuaded you by the end of this blog to go and listen to this absolute work of art, I have failed.

For those that haven’t had the pleasure of knowing, ‘Chess’ is a musical that was released in 1984 and was first brought to the West End in London in 1986, with lyrics written by critically acclaimed Tim Rice and music by the two ABBA dudes, Bijorn and Benny. To give a very shortened synopsis, the musical is set in a Chess championship, in the middle of the Cold War. The championship is between two Chess players, one representing the US and the other representing the USSR. The American is named Freddie Trumper, the current world champion who has a ‘bad-boy’ attitude with a big ego and an even bigger temper. The Russian challenger is called Anatoly Sergievsky, a more conflicted individual, who although he’s achieved as a chess player still isn’t happy with his current position. We also have Florence, Freddie’s press secretary/lover, who Freddie treats appallingly and Molokov, Anatoly’s Russian Special Advisor/Spy who is the only character that has an accent suited to his character in the entire musical. Molokov wants to play politics during the championship, but Anatoly is focused entirely on his game of Chess. It has two settings- the first Act is in Merano, Italy and the second Act is in Bangkok, Thailand. Why does it have it’s two settings? That would be spoiling.

How much of the musical is actually about Chess? Not too much, to be honest. Like the real Chess championships of the sixties and seventies, it is a lot more about politics and political power, with the Chess players being treated like pawns in the political world. It is also about the never-ending pressure of the media and press, how it can affect the individual, push events into happening and play its’ part in the political world. In the middle of all of this, there’s love stories, Soviet jigs and one very energetic Arbiter/Narrator who loves a two minute dance break. All soundtracked by a diverse soundtrack ranging from operatic masterpieces, ballads and 80s synthpop bangers. Seriously, what more could you want?

Here’s ten reasons why I love Chess The Musical and why you should definitely go and listen to it after you’ve finished reading:

1.) The Music Videos:

The music videos are utterly bonkers in all their 80s ridiculousness. One Night in Bangkok has some funny 80s animation, with Murray Head (who plays Freddie Trumper in the original soundtrack) float upwards onto a massive Chess board. Among other events a smaller Chessboard magically appears on a table, and there are some questionable camera angles. Another particular highlight is Freddie simply watching two (you assume) Thai boxers conducting a boxing match, which is questionable in its significance. In the music video for ‘The Arbiter’ the original Arbiter Bijorn Skifs seems to live in a mirror dimension and walks around with no shirt, only a blazer, on his top half. There’s also an array of hands reaching out of large squares for seemingly no given reason. It’s awesome. The way in which the Swede Skifs pronounces the name ‘Kasparov’ is worth your view alone, it’s delightful (3:17). The music video for ‘Nobody’s Side’ which is an absolute female power anthem has a segment of Elaine Paige (who plays Florence in the OG soundtrack) carrying out some questionable dance moves. Her hair is sprayed with about ten cans of hairspray in this video too. Finally, you have the music video for ‘Pity The Child’ which is an absolute dramatic ballad and although cheesy in parts, it really does tug at the heart strings. What makes all these music videos brilliant is they are amazingly 80s and are utterly bonkers, and yet they’re so original and great. All the singers are also completely in character during these videos, which makes it even better. All these wonderful gifts to the music industry can be found on YouTube.

2.) The Soundtrack:

As mentioned above, the soundtrack of Chess is extremely diverse. I truly believe there’s something for everyone here, it’s that good. We have dramatic, heart wrenching ballads such as ‘Anthem’ and ‘Pity The Child’ sung by our two chess grandmaster boys, more poppy typical 80s bangers such as ‘One Night in Bangkok’ and ‘I Know Him So Well’, and in the finale two underrated, show-stopping songs named ‘Endgame’ and ‘Epilogue/The Story of Chess’, both over ten minutes long. Somehow, this diversity all blends well together to tell the tale of politics, love, defecting, media, and a little bit of Chess.

3.) The live concerts:

It is argued within the fandom that Chess The Musical works better as a concert than it does as a live stage production. This is what it actually started out as before it reached the West End in London in 1986. ‘Chess Concerts’ toured Europe with most of the original cast performing during 1984. Luckily for us, some of these concerts were recorded, such as the Stockholm concert. This Stockholm performance showcases some of the best ballads from the show with a live orchestra, and it is absolutely beautiful. Although there is less of an emphasis on the plot, the main cast of Murray Head (Freddie) Tommy Korberg (Anatoly) and Elaine Paige (Florence) still power every bit of emotion into their tracks, and the love and hate between the trio is extremely strong, despite it not being on the stage with props. Korberg in particular showcases his live vocal range in the song ‘Endgame’ and whenever I watch it I genuinely gasp out loud at the notes he hits. I wholeheartedly recommend it.

4.) Chess takes itself seriously, but that doesn’t mean you should take it seriously:

Chess is a very dramatic musical. It has a bit of humour here and there, with Freddie’s lack of self awareness over the consequences of being so anti-Communist and both the American and Russian delegations paranoia over the other cheating with ‘communication devices’ and the ‘make of the players chair.’ That’s about as far as the humour goes, though. For the most part, most of the characters are serious-minded people and the situations that they find themselves in, whether that be competing in the championship or being pawns in the world of politics, are serious. However, that doesn’t mean that you, dear reader, should take it as seriously. Chess has its faults, from some characters changing motives every ten minutes to some parts of the plot being quite unrealistic. This however just adds to the beauty of it. It can be a bit of a mess, but it’s a beautiful, dramatic, sometimes ridiculous mess. Some of it also, in the year 2020, is painfully outdated. This leads me to my next point…

5.) Chess has almost become a microcosm of its’ time of release:

Chess, as mentioned, is set at the height of the Cold War. It was also released in the year 1984 (the same year Frankie Goes to Hollywood released the Cold War anthem ‘Two Tribes’), when the Cold War was still a big topical concern. However, shortly after its release, the Cold War came to an end in 1989 with the fall of the Berlin Wall. This made most of Chess’ defining themes and significance redundant. As a modern audience, we may find it a little hard to relate to the US-USSR rivalry and relations that dominate the musical. To me, this is what makes it so beautiful. Chess is a defining work of art from its time, that although does not define the times of now, it defines the times of then.

Chess also has some lines which when made would only be Acceptable In The 80s. Characters called The Merchandisers, who advertise the Chess game as the championship is taking place, talk of selling ‘Rubik’s Cubes’ in their past work as sellers. A very decade defining lyric that we cannot picture being in a song now. There’s also some Questionable Lyrics in some songs- One Night in Bangkok in particular has some questionable lines about Thailand’s inhabitants (‘your bars, your temples, your massage parlours…’) that would not be written today.

6.) FREDDIE. TRUMPER.

Okay, okay I got to point 6 without talking about him extensively, and that’s quite an achievement. Freddie Trumper, The American, is my favourite character ever, in anything ever. Okay, he treats his girlfriend Florence with little respect and treats the press journalists even worse, but he has his reasons. Freddie is treated as a political pawn just as much as anyone else in the musical. Among the majority of the fanbase, he’s incredibly misunderstood. Without spoiling anything, he gets manipulated by various sources into committing to behaviour that isn’t his true intentions, and he is driven by money or political power. He also matures heavily throughout the musical, and eventually does make some right decisions about what to do and how to help others. Trumper has the gift of the best number in the entire musical in my opinion also with a ballad called ‘Pity The Child.’ It’s a miracle if I’m not sobbing by the end of that song as the guitar solo comes in. Freddie also produces my favourite line: ‘how can you let mediocrity win?’ which I’ve used countless times to motivate me.

7.) Chess isn’t well known, and that makes the musical even better:

I feel like individual songs from Chess are quite well known- One Night in Bangkok for example. However, not many people know this song actually originates from a musical. Compared to other big musical names such as Hamilton, Billy Elliot and Mamma Mia, Chess is quite obscure and is certainly a cult favourite. The consequence of this is a devoted fanbase who have to hunt down *ahem* content in whatever way they can. There’s not an official live recording of the Chess The Musical London stage production, let’s just say that. If one fan happens to find any bit of *ahem* content however then it is shared among the fanbase to enjoy equally. Finding said content is also so much more special due to the obscurity of the musical.

8.) The commercial performances:

To promote Chess across the world prior to the soundtrack’s release, there were many commercial performances of the songs from Chess by the original cast. This produced some absolute treasures of video recordings. In one performance for German TV, Murray performs One Night in Bangkok completely on character on an underfunded set with 3/4 of ABBA as the BACKING vocals during the performance. There’s also many, many commercial of I know Him So Well with both Elaine Paige and Barbara Dickson singing the duet in front of dodgy looking chess board props. One in particular is where Paige is wearing a bright floral shirts and the chess pawns behind are brightly coloured gold. It’s wonderful in its oddness.

9.) The beauty of the low quality Chess The Documentary:

User bobtrouper, thank you for uploading this treasure to YouTube. Split over seven Youtube videos, this documentary details how Chess The Musical was recorded and how the recording process was conducted. There’s footage from every major song of the show during it’s process of being recorded by the original cast. It also has it’s entertaining moments- from Elaine Paige reading a newspaper and then explaining to the camera how her horoscope is wrong to Murray Head talking about how his age is prohibiting his sexual liberation, it’s a wonderful thing to indulge in. It gives a feeling of personality towards the cast, with interviews for each, and a look inside the minds of Tim, Benny and Bijorn as they moved forward with the musical writing and planning. It’s brilliantly good, although sometimes a little blurry and low quality.

10.) The amount of versions are astounding:

In my writing of this blog post, I have focused largely on the original recording of Chess, which was released in 1984 and transcended to the West End stage in 1986. You discover you’re not too particularly fond of that version? Don’t you worry, there’s many more! Those who have directed a Chess The Musical production have not stuck with the original script, soundtrack or plot so every adaption is completely different from the last. The Broadway version’s soundtrack for example, which can be found on Youtube, is completely different and the story is turned on it’s head. It’s an understatement to say that this musical comes in many, many different forms. Some hate particular versions, some love them. That is the beauty of Chess. I’m sure they’ll be even more productions in the future that differ from the version. After all, there is always different variations left to be played.

If you are reading this far, thank you for listening to me speak about my favourite thing ever. Now get on Spotify, Apple Music, Youtube, Souncloud and listen to the Original Soundtrack masterpiece! I promise you’ll not be disappointed in all of its 80s mastery.

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