Friday, 19 May 2017

This weekend, I am mostly dressing casual...



...like birthday girl Miss Alma Cogan!



Over at my "regular blog" Give 'em the old Razzle Dazzle we're celebrating the birthday of Miss Grace Jones. In complete contrast to the "Patron Saint of Fierceness", however, over here we're welcoming the "girl with the giggle in her voice" to the Museum of Camp; the little Jewish meydl from Whitechapel who rocketed to fame in the "pre-Beatles" era - and would have been 85 years old today. [It's a bit of a glut of birthdays today incidentally; also born today were Ho Chi Minh, Kemal Atatürk, Pol Pot, Malcolm X and Nancy Astor, as well the likes of Victoria Wood (RIP), Martyn Ware, Dame Nellie Melba, Pete Townsend, James Fox, David Jacobs and - erm - Yazz.]

Known for her fabulous gowns as much as her cheery songs - never appearing in the same dress twice - Alma Cogan was also renowned for her lavish parties, guests at which included some of the greatest "names" of her day including Princess Margaret, Noël Coward, Cary Grant, Audrey Hepburn, Michael Caine, Roger Moore, Frankie Vaughan, Bruce Forsyth and many more. She became one of the first UK record artists to appear frequently on television - that fledgling post-War novelty - and, despite being deemed "uncool" by the time the 60s arrived, nevertheless she allegedly had a passionate affair with John Lennon, and was a close friend of all the Beatles.

Her premature death from cancer aged just 34 shocked the nation, and to this day she is revered for the joy she brought to this country in the midst of the "austerity years" and beyond. Here, you can recapture some of her magic in this documentary from 1991:


Alma Cogan (born Alma Angela Cohen, 19th May 1932 – 26th October 1966)

10 comments:

  1. Good gods! That dress! It's like the aftermath of a fight between Barbara Cartland and a knight in shining armor.

    Still, happy birthday Alma!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. She wore much worse than that, dear - just watch the documentary and you'll be in awe... Jx

      Delete
  2. Ian Dury said she was one of the finest singers Britain ever produced

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ian Dury was a very wise man. Jx

      Delete
  3. I think one of his early paintings was of her.

    My brother have me a best of Alma Cogan for Christmas; I'd never heard her before. It's great, especially her version of This Old House

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My all-time fave is her Bell-Bottom Blues - camp as Christmas, dear! Jx

      Delete
  4. She was fun and exhuberant, a great entertainer

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My grandfather loved her. He worked as an electrician in the Yiddish theatre in Islington before the war. He wasn't Jewish but he could understand Yiddish and read Hebrew. He rigged up his radio in the garden shed to pick up Israeli radio

      Delete
    2. Just as one would expect from a Londoner. We've been known to listen to many a foreign-language radio station too. Jx

      Delete

Please leave a message - I value your comments!