Now be honest, tell me you didn’t just try to sing this. If I were a rich man is the name of the song from Fiddler On The Roof [DVD] made famous by Topol. Unfortunately Topol never did get to be rich (well not in the film anyway) but every week somewhere in the world, hundreds and hundreds of lucky lotto players do get rich simply by picking between 5-7 numbers and subsequently having those same numbers drawn electronically live on television.
Of course that is not the end of the story, winning the lottery is one thing, keeping hold of the money is quite another. It seems that the life changing opportunity that a mega win on the national lottery can give you is just too much for some people to handle. If, for example you have spent your whole life in low paid manual work then that probably signifies that you have little or no ambition and a sudden windfall of £1,000,000 or more may just be too much for you to cope with. Does that mean that we should all stop trying? Hell no! Surely everybody deserves just once in their lives that incredible adrenaline fueled high that happens when you pick up your cheque from some daytime celebrity to the popping of champagne corks and an avalanche of confetti.
Take for example the story of Michael Carroll. Known in the UK (not so very affectionately) as the ‘Lotto Lout’, Michael was an ex-binman from Swaffham in Norfolk who, in 2002 scooped £9,736,131 on the UK National Lottery aged just 19. By all accounts Michael had had a bit of a rough upbringing. His father died when he was just 10 years old though his parents had separated three years earlier. He subsequently had a succession of step-fathers at least one of whom used to beat him. All these things certainly seemed to count against him when his bank account suddenly swelled to the tune of nearly £10,000,000. What is a young boy to do? Predictably maybe, Michael embarked on a drug fueled orgy of excess.
Of course buying a large house and fast cars isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it’s really kind of accepted that this is what lottery winners do, it was probably the cocaine parties and hookers that really did for Michael. With apparently no real guidance Michael threw endless parties for his ‘friends’ for which he largely bought in the ‘entertainment’. But what he was really famous for were the demolition derby’s he held in his back garden. Michael bought dozens of old bangers (cars) and had a race track set up in the garden of his house. Michael and his pals were known to hold races almost daily and frequently for 24 hours. Now it is easy to criticise here but let’s be perfectly honest, who amongst us (particularly the guys) would not want to be able host a demolition derby in his own back garden? Excessive, yes. Frivolous, certainly. Jolly good fun, most definitely! Now although we wouldn’t advocate this type of behaviour normally, and I think it is safe to say his neighbours certainly wouldn’t, it has to be said that Michael certainly had style.
Fiddler On The Roof [DVD], is based on the stories of Sholem Aleichem. It takes place in pre-revolutionary Russia and centres on the life of Tevye (Topol), a milkman who is trying to keep his family’s traditions in place while marrying off his three older daughters. Yet, times are changing and the daughters want to make their own matches, breaking free of many of the constricting customs required of them by Judaism. In the background of these events, Russia is on the brink of revolution and Jews are feeling increasingly unwelcome in their villages. Tevye–who expresses his desire for sameness in the opening number, “Tradition”–is trying to keep everyone, and everything, together. The movie is strongly allegorical–Tevye represents the common man–but it does it dextrously, and the resulting film is a stunning work of art. The music is excellent (it won Oscars for the scoring and the sound), with plenty of familiar songs such as “Sunrise, Sunset” and “If I Were a Rich Man,” which you’ll be humming long after the movie is over. Isaac Stern’s violin (he provides the music for the fiddler on the roof) is hauntingly beautiful. And despite the serious subject matter, the film is quite comedic in parts; it also well deserves the Oscar it won for cinematography.
You can purchase the screen version of the popular Broadway musical ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ featuring ‘If I were a rich man’ from Amazon.co.uk