Seventy-five years of the Royal Ballet? The title of Zoë Anderson’s new book brought me up short with the realisation that I had been watching the company for over half its existence. Let me confess: I am a besotted fan of the sort that Nick Hornby described so wittily in Fever Pitch. The Royal Ballet is my team, very much the way that Arsenal is Hornby’s team: I rejoice at its triumphs, I despair at its shortcomings, I am the repository of useless information about its comings and goings, I queue all night and resort to bad things in order to get tickets. It’s a one-sided love affair, and probably not the healthiest aspect of my life.
My memories start in 1965 with Nerina, Blair and Grant in La Fille mal gardée – to my eternal regret, I came in at the fag-end of that golden era when, so the legends tell, no wrong could be done and something miraculous happened every night. But I was in