“Is that the Star Trek theme ?”. A Skopje cultural break.

March 2023.

Us amateur bloggers like to believe we don’t really care about the blog views, but the truth is we’re obsessed with both the quantity and the quality (one Laos view is worth a dozen from France), and we’re always on the look-out for ways to boost readership unless it involves selling out by being deferential or polite.

Hash tags are very useful. Independent research suggests the tags #PublicUrination, #ClosedMicro and #DoomBar are the most effective, and anything suggesting a cultural interlude abroad turns readers off.

So here’s classical music in North Macedonia.

Skopje has the air of a cultured European city. The locals dress well, there’s jazz in the bars, and the vast squares (rebuilt since the 1963 earthquake) either side of the Vardar River have a bewildering mix of art.

This installation in Macedonia Square resembles an invasion by the Daleks. And perhaps it is.

Across the stone bridge or “art” bridge,

or the Bridge of Civilisations,

to Mother Teresa (more of her later) Square, which contains the big museum, the Opera House, and the Philharmonic.

Sadly NOT a pub with ornate loos and too many handpumps, but a wonderful concert hall. We bought tickets for a Thursday night of Aaron Copland, and judged that three pints of Bass Skopsko in the bar before hand wasn’t a good idea since we didn’t know for sure there’d be an interval.

It was £5.50 to get in, and obviously a lot less for young folk as half the audience were younger than us, which is young. No-one has dressed up for a concert, which I like a lot.

Even in Sheffield classical music of this quality would cost four times that, and Skopje’s concert hall is up there with the City Hall for acoustics, if a bit lacking in half-term refreshment.

We get the Clarinet Concerto, a bonus bit of Gershwin, and the Copland “hit”.

Well, it was a hit when Emerson, Lake & Palmer covered the finale in 1977, anyway.

But that bit of prog isn’t what came to Mrs RM’s mind as we left.

“Is that the Star Trek theme ?”.

And you know what, the same thing occurred to me. Great minds.

6 thoughts on ““Is that the Star Trek theme ?”. A Skopje cultural break.

  1. I am enjoying reading about these exotic places that you visit -we are not brave enough .After the “wedding of the year ” in Rhodes ,we have booked a holiday in Ibiza -all these years have passed & we are just getting round to simple foreign holidays -not been short of holidays in the past but they’ve all been in the Uk for a ferry trip to Europe & it has been great but we need to try harder !

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Always good to get feedback from you, Pauline, particularly on the foreign places.

      What really struck me about Macedonia, and Kosovo, is how easy it was to negotiate them. They felt as safe as anywhere in Spain or the Greek islands, for example, and I never once felt we were oddities or about to be ripped off.


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