Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Absolutely delicious ....

The new AB FAB and that Christmas GLEE ....

Above is Jeanne Durand the famous glacial French movie star who has deigned to appear in the new tv series of ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS, the BBC's long-running series of comedies by Jennifer Saunders with her and Joanna Lumley as Edina Monsoon and Patsy Stone - the fashion, PR and media stars. [That episode "The End" with Patsy in New York and that flashforward to them just as disgraceful 25 years later is my particular standout favourite, it always creases me up...].
In order to impress her daughter Saffy, Edina decides to take on Jeanne as her new client and books her a concert at the Albert Hall - then it turns out that Durand can't sing! This is of course blissfully funny, and the campest thing you will see on tv this new year! It is fleshed out with all the usual AB FAB trimmings, Jane Horrocks as Bubbles, June Whitfield as mother, and guest stars Lulu and Emma Bunton - and yes, its "champagne for Lulu" once again! There are 3 new episodes of AB FAB and they are well up the quality of the previous.
Jeanne is of course wickedly played by Lindsay Duncan, that esteemed British actress who turns up everywhere: DR WHO, MERLIN, ROME, SPOOKS (she was stunning in that), and of course LES LIAISONS DANGEREUSES with Alan Rickman, her breakthrough theatre role in '87. She plays 2 roles in the 1999 MANSFIELD PARK, which I saw over the holidays, as per review below, and was Isherwood's icy mother in CHRISTOPHER AND HIS KIND (gay interest label). Here (below) she channels the Jeanne Moreau of BAY OF ANGELS, latterday Deneuve or maybe Dunaway doing Dietrich. Its slyly wickedly funny. I will be seeing her on stage in a month or so in a new production here in London of Coward's HAY FEVER where she will be playing Edith Evans's old role as Judith Bliss, with Jeremy Northam.
Incidentally, Duncan also played a stunning Margaret Thatcher in a BBC play: MARGARET in 2009 - so Meryl is not the first IRON LADY ! Duncan's was a deadly serious look at Thatcher's divisive reign and policies and the bids to topple her and shows how disliked she was. Stirring stuff!

On a different tack, the Christmas episode of this season's GLEE was a madly camp delight too as Klaine (Kurt and Blaine - how about "Blurt"...) had their "Let It Snow" number done as a perfect recreation of an early 60s black and white tv show such as those Judy Garland shows circa '63 (below). They are joined too by Mercedes and Rachel and swop gifts. It is a delightful parody or recreation of that time. Internet comment though on the boys has been fascinating. I watch GLEE without liking it too much, as rock anthems like the Stones' "You Can't Always Get What You Want" are steamrolled and homogenised into teen musak, but hey, it sells - and there is always characters like Sue Sylvester to keep things humming, as well as guest stars like Gwynneth Paltrow! So it is at least always watchable - but I agree, their singing "Do They Know Its Christmas?" while feeding the homeless at the shelter was a tad too condescending and smugly self-satisfied.

Comments include:
"The happiest and highest-profile gay couple on television has a new video, and in fitting holiday form it's for the song "Let It Snow." Kurt (Chris Colfer) and Blaine (Darren Criss) from Glee, a.k.a. "Klaine" as the kids on Twitter and fan sites call them, are featured in a magical video that resembles a grand old MGM musical number. The two young men are slick, sophisticated and super cute in their performance.

I applaud Glee for highlighting a gay couple as happy, healthy, and absolutely adorable. I found that this episode most definitely showed that they were together.
Adding close friends Rachel (Lea Michele) and Mercedes (Amber Riley) for "My Favorite Things" is smart, because it feels comfortable, and the grouping is totally believable.

And "Do They Know it's Christmas?" comes off as extremely condescending when sang to homeless people's faces. Why are the less fortunate enjoying this? They live in America! Of course they know it's Christmas!

The same goes for this video. It's just Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire to me and if seen by someone unaware of Klaine they would have no idea this scenario is that these two young men are 'living together' in this fabulous 50's house and having a fabulous singing/dancing Christmas get-together (I don't want to say party because it never came off as a party...)
it could just as easily be Rock Hudson and Tony Randall singing about their lonesome holiday not two seconds before Doris Day and her perrenially toasted housekeeper walk in from the cold. Charming but dated. Where is the real gay romance?

Creating prancing, limp-wristed, lisping Gays for entertainment is just as horrifying as having black-faced entertainers."

So, lots of varied opinion there then! - and Rachel gets to sing a bit of Joni Mitchells "River" too ... well it is a classic Christmas lyric: "Its coming on Christmas, they're cutting down trees, singing songs of joy and peace ...."

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