Don’t know about you but I am still rather demob happy after the Brexit vote. Apparently the VoteRemain group have submitted a petition signed by a few million people still as furious as wasps in a jam jar to demand a recount. This is rather like re-running the Grand National when the horse has won by a nose. A photo finish is still a win. A pop star at Glastonbury called Damon Alban told the crowd ‘democracy has failed’. As La Farmer says, amazing what you see (or hear) when you haven’t got your gun…
In other news, another pop star called Rihanna played to a half-empty Wembley Stadium during Glastonbury (surely a bum booking!) and told her fans ‘Wembley, I don’t want you texting on your phone, not to your girlfriend, or your boyfriend, or yo baby mamas (?!?!?). I only want you on your phone if you’re taking pictures of ME’.
If hubris had a poster girl! Artists today live and die by social media. It has given the illusion that singers have multi-millions of fans when all they really have are people who in a bored moment choose to click a ‘Like’ button on Twitter or Facebook. Notice there is no investment financially or emotionally in such an act. When the fans don’t come it must be a crushing blow and a lesson learnt.
Anyway, enough crowing for now. I will watch with interest as Britain settles her feathers and ploughs-on as we always have done. I’m not one for admiring newspaper headlines but I did enjoy the Daily Mail‘s ‘Take a Bow, Britain’. I honestly don’t think the rest of Europe or the world saw the ‘Out’ vote coming which makes it all the more gratifying for those of us who took a stand. Hilarious to see a ‘Osborne seeks to calm nerves’ headline in the Standard. Yes, and Dracula fights to cure haemophilia.
Sad to read that Liza Minnelli, now seventy, is selling her $40 million collection of Andy Warhol screen prints and her New York apartment. The doom-mongers think this is the end of the road for Liza; liquidating her assets knowing that another concert tour might be a mountain too big to climb. As a life-long fan, I would say don’t write her off quite yet. Liza has made bigger and better comebacks in her time as, in a small way, have we all.
I didn’t enjoy seeing recent footage of Liza on a bar stool in Joe’s Pub, New York, caterwauling her way through the big three: Cabaret, Maybe This Time and New York New York. Liza was the most energetic performer ever to hit a stage since her mother and Sammy D so to see her incapacitated is a heart-breaker for die-hard fans. Still, Liza Minnelli will sell-out the Palladium and Carnegie Hall at least one more time. I will bet ass on it.
You might recall Liza’s mother, Judy Garland, was reduced to bar room performances in the late 1960s before she died a year shy of the 1970s. A young pianist, John Meyer, secretly recored Judy rehearsing for one of those shows. She was bawdy, funny, admittedly tipsy but rock solid on the vocals as you would be if you’d been schooled at MGM in the 1930s.
The things I’d say Judy and Liza have in common is what RuPaul calls ‘uniqueness, nerve and talent’. The combination of the three makes a star and a survivor. Madonna has it as do Cher and Miss Midler. Britney doesn’t and Gaga is looking distinctly wobbly. When nerve fails, talent can’t flourish. One of my favourite Bea Arthur jokes comes to mind. What do crossing the Grand Canyon on a tightrope and oral sex with Estelle Getty have in common? Whatever you do, don’t look down.
Losing one’s nerve is a terrible hazard in a city like London when you know at least half of the members of the audience are only watching in the hope that you’ll fall off the tightrope. And, as you know, I have fallen arse over tiara on several occasions much to the general hilarity of the capital. Still, you get out the glue gun, stick on more Swarovski, darn your fishnets and have another go.
Still, it is all very well being ‘show must go on’ like Ethel Merman after a vitamin shot and forget how much a fall can hurt physically and spiritually. As you know, I have been a card carrying member of the high-low club since my early twenties and let me tell you it is much easier to dust yourself down at thirty than forty.
I don’t like to dwell on the lows when I’m coming out of a particularly nasty one but will say this. After you’ve washed-down the sleeping pills with a bottle of Dom and still wake-up in the morning looking for your swimmies and sheepishly throwing the bottle and the empty pill packet away, you do think there has to be a bloody point to it all after all.
I think it was Oprah – or was it Lucille Ball? – who said that in this life you have to ask not what you should do in life but what you are for. Good wake-up call, that question. What are you for? If you don’t make more people smile in a day than you do back away holding a crucifix then perhaps you’d better think it out again.
Not that I wish to be frivolous about desperation. We’re too old friends for that. Coming out of the blue, there is some comfort in the fact that you can live on a dime, keep your happy face on (at least in public) and actually have the uniqueness, nerve and talent to think it’s worth another shot. Until next time…