Monday, 15 April 2013

The friends of Maggie say play the song

As Ding Dong! The Witch is Dead moves up the charts the anti-Maggie brigade must be delighted.

The song from the musical, The Wizard of Oz,  has seen sales rise since the announcement of the death of Margaret Thatcher. This is what they wanted: to celebrate, in their eyes, the demise of an evil witch.

The witch in the 1939 MGM musical is a well-known pantomime villain. She is someone we all love to hate.

However, in the follow-up book and stage musical, Wicked, we are presented with a rounded character: the witch is flawed and misunderstood. In fact, she is almost a heroine in an set Oz that is very different from the one presented by Frank Baum.

Much has been written about the Thatcher legacy and the former prime minister's time in office. Your political leanings will determine how you see it all.

But here's a thought. Perhaps Maggie was a touch closer to the second incarnation of the witch than first.

The wicked witch of the East in the first story would never have saved the Open University or voted to abolish a law that made gay sex illegal.

The Maggie of the protestors, and to some extent her supporters, is a myth. The person, like all myths, was different.

The choice of song was a shallow bit of propaganda. But when you think about it the mythology of Oz maybe it has more depth than the people buying it realise.

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