Monday, 27 February 2012

That Regulation – as an opera

I’ve been wondering what my response would be if I were asked to submit an idea for an opera about the new data protection Regulation. It’s certainly possible – after all, in the second half of this year the Government of Cyprus will assume responsibility for running political business in Europe, and there is a wonderful auditorium (pictured) near Episkopi, which has existed since antiquity. The acoustics are stunning – as I remember from spending some happy evenings at that venue some time ago. It’s a great place to witness a tragedy.

Anyway, what better way for the Government of Cyprus to commemorate its responsibility to continue work on developing the Regulation than by staging an opera about it?

I set to work on lovingly ripping off some lyrics penned by one of England’s greatest lyricists, Sir Tim Rice. Yes, he of Evita fame. So, I apologise in advance if some of the themes make a listener think too carefully of what happened in that glorious musical.

Let me know what you think of my sketch for the opening number. It features our illustrious heroine, who for no real reason I’m just calling Viviane, a chorus of regulators, the UK Information Commisioner, a chorus representing the mob, and a cameo appearance from an interesting character called Data Protector.


The Euro is sinking, the knives are out
Would be Commissioners are all around
I don’t think they mean harm, but they’d each give an arm
To see us six feet underground.


It doesn’t matter what those morons say
Our Vice Presidents are a feeble crew
There are only 26 of them anyway
What is 26 next to the millions who
Are looking at you?

All you have to do is sit and wait
Keeping out of everybody’s way
We – you’ll be handed power on a plate
When the ones who matter have their say
And with chaos installed
You can reluctantly agree to be called.


A new Regulation!
The cookies of the masses, revealed!
A new Regulation!
No more before Google must we kneel!


Don’t think I don’t think like you, I often get those nightmares too
They always take some swallowing
Sometimes it’s very difficult to keep a straight face if
It’s your blog they are following
Don’t close the doors
On that mob we deplore
Because we might lose
This opportunity

But, would I have done what I did
If I hadn’t thought, I hadn’t known
That we would take over the Commission?

(Dramatic silence as VIVIANE appoints herself President of the Commission. Then with a wave of her hand, she signifies that DATA PROTECTOR is to serve her as an additional (27th) Vice President, and that the UK's INFORMATION COMMISSIONER is also to serve her as the (28th) Vice President. She sings slowly to THE MOB)

It hasn’t been easy, you'll think it strange
When I try to explain how I feel
Why you still need to love me after all that I've done

You won't believe me
All you will see is a Vice President you once knew
Although she's dressed better than the other twenty eight
I am a true head of state.

I had to let it happen, I had to change
Couldn’t stand this old data protection stuff any more
But now this draft Regulation has hit the floor
Both rich and poor just want to ignore
The hard work my officials put in.

Don’t cry at me, I’ve committed no misdemeanour
The truth is I never liked IT law
All through my wild days
My mad existence
I kept my promise
Now I need your assistance

And as for power, and as for glory
I never invited them in
Though it seemed to the world they were all I desired

This Regulation is an illusion
It is not the solution that was promised to me
The answers might be found in time
So long as you sit through this pantomime.

Don’t cry at me, I’ve committed no misdemeanour
It’s an adequate state, Argentina
Don’t get too close, you’re getting too close

Help! Save me from this baying mob

I’ve committed no misdemeanour
Just get me out of here and to Argentina
Now. Fly me straight to Argentina

(Dramatic chaos as VIVIANE is surrounded by THE MOB. She vanishes, never to be seen again. THE MOB turns to face DATA PROTECTOR, who appears on a platform high above them)


A new Regulation!
The cookies of the masses, revealed!
A new Regulation!
No more before Google must we kneel!

(To be continued)

Standard disclaimer:
Naturally, all characters in this libretto are fictitious and any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

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