Monday, August 21, 2006

Musicals, Movies, and Witty Brits

Editor's Note: We pause a moment from the sturm-und-drang of scifi dweebing ,to have a musical respite, courtesy of a lovely writer chap from across the 'pond'.

Cheerio, pip, pip, etc.....
We need a song and dance
If only there were a few more snazzy showtunes to distract us from the harsher realities of life, wishes John Patterson
Saturday August 19, 2006
The Guardian
We need the musical back, and we need it now.

Look at the world around us: the Middle East in flames, a psychotic, dry-drunk Jesus-freak in the White House, Editor's Note: Wonderful description. Makes him sound a bit more interesting than he appears from down here in the trenches, though. his compliant rentboy in Downing Street, militant assholes in southern Lebanon, Israeli politicians bent on repudiating allegations of dicklessness by bombing oil depots, airports and ambulances, the world economy on the precipice, and blackest night seeming to impend for the entire planet.

It's like mid-August 1939 all over again. Except no one's around to sing Over The Rainbow.

At least in those waning days of peace you could go to the movies and lose yourself in song and dance and escape utterly into fantasy. Where, pray tell, are our Mickey and Judy, those bubbly, eternally adorable adolescent graduates of MGM's Amphetamine Academy, forever puttin' on that show right here?

Where are our Fred and Ginger high-stepping their way through the Depression by putting on a Top Hat or Flying Down To Rio?

Where's Busby Berkeley when you need him to take your mind off all this looming horror with his dementedly beautiful spectacles of choreographed kitsch?

Where's our Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald? Nah, scratch that last pair - I never want them back, her all barmily a-twitter, him with his goony jaw and imperishably cheesy demeanour and silly Viennese military outfits.

But you take my point: we're sliding into the abyss, hanging onto the devil's molars as he tries to swallow us completely - and ain't no one belting out a showtune to take our minds off it all. You don't have to be a grandma or a gay man to love a little restorative dose of song and dance. Editor's Note: Although I'm told it helps?

Check out Robert Carlyle in Marilyn Hotchkiss' Ballroom Dancing & Charm School: he's not shy about donning his dancing slippers and putting on the Ritz. We need a bit more of that.

And here comes Oklahoma!, in a pristine reissue, made in 1955, the second golden age of the American musical, with Shirley Jones and Gordon MacRae yodelling merrily beneath the shadow of The Bomb, back when the Strategic Air Command's fascistic Air Force General Curtis "Bombs Away!" LeMay was more than prepared to nuke every last borscht-stand in the USSR, with racism still seething in the pre-Civil Rights south, polio not yet conquered, and Nixon still just a fledgling uber-creep with a cute dog of dubious provenance.

But people still knew how to sing and dance and laugh in the face of Mutually Assured Destruction.

Frank Sinatra and Bing could gaze upon all this in High Society and belt out What A Swell Party This Is, no problem. Likewise Crosby and Satchmo: the world may be doomed, but they've Gone Fishin'. What do they care?

And what do we get? Britney, Christina, Jessica, Lindsay. We live in a Mickey Mouse era, so I guess all we deserve is Mouseketeers. Let's face it: we're done for. Editor's Note: For heaven's sake people.....START SINGIN AND DANCIN!!!


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