I know that Janis Joplin use to tell us that “Freedom was just another word for nothing left to lose” but I think we should really dig deeper into it than that. As indeed do Mrs Premise and Mrs Conclusion while doing their Monday morning wash down at the Launderette!
On this day in 1910: In Amsterdam, 25,000 demonstrate for general suffrage.
Sometimes I long for the days when the surreal was not the norm; when the unusual was, at the least, interesting and not scary. So to start another week that promises to be as surreal as the past few, here’s a bit of funny surrealism from the 1950s.
I once saw Salvador Dali at the old Russian Tea Room in New York City. He was preparing to go into the main dining room (we being nobodies were seated in one of the outer rooms). An obliging attendant was arranging his foulard and boutonniere while another was whisking his jacket – the great man attended to his waxed moustache himself. I recall him as being rather shortish but very much a presence even before going on stage – his “Yes” to being ask if he was a performer was very, very truthful.
And can you believe how civilized television was in those days – that’s almost as surreal?
On this day in 1898: Caleb Bradham‘s beverage “Brad’s Drink” is renamed “Pepsi-Cola“.
Hey! There was a solar eclipse – somewhere! – so get orf me!
So I’m a bit late… what’s yer problem? Had a few other things to do! You young ones just don’t understand. And bloody hell, while yer at it – get the hell off my grass!
On this day in 1961: Patsy Cline returns to record producer Owen Bradley’s studio in Nashville, Tennessee to record her vocals to Willie Nelson’s “Crazy“, which would become her signature song.
I was surprised when my friend Simonetta pleaded ignorance of an album recorded by Sophia Loren and Peter Sellers back in 1960. Mind you she would have been a mere babe in arms when it came out and didn’t have the joy of hearing two songs from it at least once a year on the old Clyde Gilmour radio programme in Canada.
Sophia and Peter had just appeared in a very, very loose adaptation of George Bernard Shaw’s The Millionairess – which also starred a, no doubt puzzled, Alistair Sim, Vittorio deSica, Alfie Bass, and Dennis Price. Though the film was a financial success it took a bit of a critical drubbing. Producer George Martin, of Beatles fame, commissioned a musical number based on the movie’s plot and it became a chart hit in the UK. Of course today it would be considered politically incorrect but here goes:
Another cut from the album twitted Brits who brought home Italian brides after the war. Considering that Sellars’ previous albums were cuttingly satirical the comedy in this one is rather gentle:
Unlike Mr Gilmour I have no intention of playing these once a year however I thought I’d take the opportunity to delight in the voice, form and style of Ms Loren – an actress I’ve always adored – and just to hear that delicious laugh in the second number.
On this day in 1040: King Duncan I is killed in battle against his first cousin and rival Macbeth. The latter succeeds him as King of Scotland.
I have had friends tell me that the comedy of Dave Allen is an acquired taste; well I acquired the taste a long time ago. I still find his routines achingly funny and more to the point achingly truthful.
On this day in 1487: Citizens of Leeuwarden, Netherlands strike against a ban on foreign beer.