Monday, 30 January 2017

The greatest?

"The greatest living actress" [© Dan Callahan] is 80 years old today...

"I think the theatre is as essential to civilization as safe, pure water."

"I don't consider myself beautiful at all, I'm usually running around like a scruff."

"Of course, I am misrepresented very often, but so is everybody who has got something to say."

"Integrity is so perishable in the summer months of success."

"I discovered a long time ago that the camera does lie, and thank God it does."

Vanessa Redgrave, CBE (born 30th January 1937)

Saturday, 28 January 2017

Pretending to be other people is my game

"It would be difficult to have any unfulfilled ambitions because I don't have any ambitions. I've never been that kind of performer."

"Pretending to be other people is my game and that to me is the essence of the whole business of acting."

"We are all racing towards death. No matter how many great, intellectual conclusions we draw during our lives, we know they're all only man-made, like God. I begin to wonder where it all leads. What can you do, except do what you can do as best you know how?"

"I never had any ambition to be a star, or whatever it is called, and I'm still embarrassed at the word."

"Someone once asked me, "Is there anything you regret?" and I said, "Everything!" Whatever you do, there was always a better choice."

Caligula in I, Claudius, "Max" in Midnight Express, John Merrick in The Elephant Man, "Winston Smith" in 1984, Stephen Ward in Scandal, the "War Doctor" in Dr Who; from one of the most memorable movie scenes of all time - the monster bursting from his stomach in Alien - to Harry Potter, from King Lear to the voice of "Hazel" in Watership Down - he played them all.

One of his most memorable roles, of course - and one which made a significant impact on one sad, closeted little Welsh boy [moi] back in the 1970s - was his magnificent portrayal of Quentin Crisp in The Naked Civil Servant:

We have lost a giant of stage and screen.

RIP Sir John Vincent Hurt, CBE (22 January 1940 – 25 January 2017)

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

First Class

From the NME:
David Bowie is to be honoured with a set of 10 Royal Mail tribute stamps.

Six of the stamps will feature images of Bowie album covers: Hunky Dory, Aladdin Sane, Heroes, Let’s Dance, Earthling and Blackstar.

The remaining four stamps will feature images of Bowie performing live on different tours: 1972’s The Ziggy Stardust Tour, 1978’s The Stage Tour, 1983’s The Serious Moonlight Tour and 2004’s A Reality Tour.

The Beatles in 2010 and Pink Floyd in 2015 are the only previous music acts to be honoured with an entire “stamp issue” of this kind. Bowie is the first solo music artist to be honoured by Royal Mail in this way.

Royal Mail’s Philip Parker said in a statement: “For five decades David Bowie was at the forefront of contemporary culture, and has influenced successive generations of musicians, artists, designers and writers. Royal Mail’s stamp issue celebrates this unique figure and some of his many celebrated personas.”
The stamps will go on sale on 14th March but fans can pre-order now from the Royal Mail website.

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Everything's luck

From a marvellous article in The New York Times back in 1983:
On the brink of her 100th birthday, Estelle Winwood tipples Gallo cream sherry, plays bridge three times a week and smokes three packs of cigarettes a day.

Wearing metallic brown brocade and a huge triangular hat, gold bracelets on both arms and black patent-leather pumps, and looking like a cross between a medieval queen and a carving of an ancient Egyptian princess, the fey and deft character actress of more than 40 Broadway plays and a score of movies sits on her sofa at noon sipping her drink.

Most noons she is still asleep in her four-poster bed. The habits of a lifetime in the theatre are not easily broken. She eats breakfast at 12:30pm, reads in bed until 3 - she is currently halfway through Kenneth Tynan's Show People - and then begins telephoning for a bridge game or an escort to take her out to dinner, perhaps to Ma Maison, the trendy French bistro across the hills from her white stucco San Fernando Valley home. She goes out most nights. If she is forced to dine at home, she is likely to be so angry that she will smoke a pack of cigarettes in place of eating dinner...

..."I've always looked on 100 as something for my great-great-grandmother in England. Coming to me it's like a punishment. Who wants to be 100?"

"Isn't it better than the alternative?"

"I wouldn't mind being dead,"
she says. "It would be something new."

Miss Winwood lives relentlessly in the present: " I've never taken life seriously about being an actress," she says. "I haven't any advice. Everything's luck. If you lose, you have to leave acting; if you win, you make a fortune.

"I don't think about careers. I think about how many people are coming to tea."
What a woman! There's hope for us all...

Estelle Winwood (born Estelle Ruth Goodwin, 24th January 1883 – 20th June 1984)

Monday, 16 January 2017

Travel in style

I need one - if not all - of these "weekend bags" to take on our holiday!!!

Thank you, once again, Dangerous Minds for dangling these "shopping opportunities" in front of my face...

[All bags available for $75 - or around £62 in real money - from 99 Wooster]

Friday, 13 January 2017

"The Jones Boy"

Dame Edith Evans

Joyce Grenfell

Princess Diana

Rupert Everett

Gary Lineker

Tom Stoppard

Dame Maggie Smith

Dame Janet Baker

Princess Margaret

Photography by Antony Charles Robert Armstrong-Jones, 1st Earl of Snowdon, GCVO, RDI (7th March 1930 – 13th January 2017)

[with Andre Leon Talley]


Sunday, 8 January 2017

You don't get older, you get better

“You must never corner a rat because she’ll go for your throat. I’d punch someone out if they had a go at me. I had a reputation in the nightclubs. People learnt not to cross me”.

"I'm too busy putting my energies into my performance to be a diva."

From a article by Carolyn Hitt in the national news outlet of the Great Dame's native country Wales Online:
She is complex, paradoxical and perhaps ultimately unknowable.

For every off-the-record anecdote about her worst diva moments, there are hilarious instances of her sending this image up – from putting a stiletto through Morecambe and Wise’s polystyrene steps to camping it up on a golden mobility scooter with David Walliams this Christmas Eve.

Like diamonds, her imperious Bond anthems with their power-packed crescendos will last forever yet we sometimes forget her vocal gifts are equally attuned to poignant and tender ballads. Not to mention chart-topping dance music.

She is an artist who embodies the glamour of a bygone showbiz age yet she has remained relevant to each new generation – from thrilling the mud-splattered masses of Glastonbury by strutting her stuff in bejewelled wellies to reinventing herself through collaborations with contemporary artists like the Manics and Rufus Wainwright who have been honoured to pay her musical homage.

She has an instrument that seems effortless and spontaneous ... and she prefers us to concentrate on the remarkable voice rather than the equally compelling life story behind it.
"When I started singing, I couldn't be shut up."

"I learned by standing in the wings and watching established acts on stage."

"I decided to retire from show business at the age of 17, because I didn't like it a bit... but my singing was like this burning thing inside me and I had to go on with it.”

"For a little girl from Cardiff's Tiger Bay, I've come a long way."

"You don't get older, you get better."

Many happy returns to one of our favourites, the Number 1 Patron Saint here at Dolores Delargo Towers, the one-and-only Dame Shirley Bassey - who is 80 years old today!!

Right on cue I fell in love with you
You caused many a tear
But I had applause, I had a career
Until the final day
I'll play this part the only way I can
For to live I have to give
The performance of my life

Dame Shirley Veronica Bassey, DBE (born 8th January 1937)

Saturday, 7 January 2017

This weekend, I am mostly dressing casual...

...just like our first centenarian of 2017, Miss Jane Wyman!

"I was always being sent film and television scripts like Baby Jane or playing a lesbian, and I didn't want to do that. But when I was sent the pilot script for Falcon Crest, I could see so many facets to the character."

"Jack Warner would never put me into any of their costume epics. He said I had the wrong looks. I think Jack was probably right."

"I never go into anything except with both feet and a lot of enthusiasm."

"Women are like tea bags. You never know how strong they are until you put them in hot water."

"Where else can you meet such fascinating people and go to such places as people in our business do? It's a fabulous life."

Jane Wyman (born Sarah Jane Mayfield, 5th January 1917 – 10th September 2007)