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.

Friday, 31 May 2013

Silent running on a dark star

"Bombed out in space with a spaced out bomb"

SILENT RUNNING -Catching up with this1972 sci-fi drama now it plays as a serious fiction, not fantasy, about isolation, alienation, lost causes, and the inevitable future - directed by Douglas Trumbull, legendary for Special Photographic Effects Supervisors for Kubrick's 2001, as well as special effects on Spielberg's CLOSE ENCOUNTERS, and BLADE RUNNER and others.

In a future Earth barren of all flora and fauna, the planet's ecosystems exist only in large pods attached to spacecraft. When word comes in that the pods are to be jettisoned into space and destroyed, most of the crew of the Valley Forge rejoice at the prospect of going home. Not so for botanist Freeman Lowell who loves the forest and its creatures. He kills his colleagues taking the ship deep into space. Alone on the craft with his only companions being three small robots, Lowell revels in joys of nature. When colleagues appear to "rescue" him, he realizes he has only one option available to him.

Everything about this film works: music, effects, photography, sets, acting, editing, direction - there are no action sequences or stunning CGI but it does not need them to tell is simple story. It conjures up a dystopian future as we share life on the ramshackle space freighter with our bored astronauts zooming around in their little karts. Bruce Dern has his most iconic role as the one astronaut who loves the forests he tends and the animals with them - he is alone on screen a lot once the other guys are disposed of. Then there are the two drones Huey and Dewey, little robots .... The only annoying features now are the very dated Joan Baez songs, though they may have seen apt back in the early 70s. The final image of the forests being tended by the drone all alone in space is both moving and spell-binding. Its a marvellous companion piece to 2001 A SPACE ODYSSEY or CLOSE ENCOUNTERS or E.T.

DARK STAR - John Carpenter's pulp science fiction classic - this brilliantly clever and funny parody of Kubrick's 2001 follows a warped intergalactic mission to blow up unstable planets. Four bored astronauts fill in time between missions catching up on their tans with the help of a sun-lamp, playing with a suspiciously plastic-looking alien  mascot they are taking back to Earth, and in conversation with their female version of HAL. Things start to go horribly wrong when the spaceship computer misfires and a 'smart bomb' thinks it is God. 

This was popular on the indie circuit back in 1974 and following years, before the arrival of STAR WARS and CLOSE ENCOUNTERS. We loved being in space with those spaced out astronauts, and that talking bomb that wants to explode, and the cute little alien, so obviously a rubber beach ball. Dan O'Bannion wrote the original story, and plays one of the 4 bored astronauts, as well as doing the production design and editing, before he went on to the ALIEN films, TOTAL RECALL (we loved that at the time), and others. DARK STAR is drollly amusing as our hippie astronauts cope with that talking bomb and the ending is just perfect. DARK STAR is of course amatuerish, but only 5 years later cinema had come up with those Spielberg, Lucas and Ridley Scott classics.... it and ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13 set up John Carpenter for his his great decade.

THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH, 1976, turned up as well; screened last week by the BBC as part of a Bowie night, this was fascinating to see after some decades. 

Thomas Jerome Newton is a humanoid alien who comes to Earth to get water for his dying planet. He starts a high technology company to get the billions of dollars he needs to build a return spacecraft, and meets Mary-Lou, a girl who falls in love with him. He does not count on the greed and ruthlessness of business here on Earth, however.

Making apt use of the pallid, zonked-out look that its star David Bowie had at the time, Nicolas Roeg's arty sci-fi movie casts the singer as an alien who struggles to adjust to life on our watery planet. Even native earthlings might have trouble following the (wilfully) splintered narrative, but the film is a curio in all sorts of ways, not least as an example of how wayward movies were in the '70s. It is not though as accessible as Roeg's WALKABOUT, DON'T LOOK NOW or even BAD TIMING, that one that chilled us in 1980, but Roeg used the Bowie persona as well as he did the Jagger one in PERFORMANCE. For all its fascinating moments (the alien showing his real self to Candy Clarke, never better, who wets herself; the deaths of Buck Henry and friends, snippets of life on his planet, and that curious timewarp moment when he in his car and some earlier settlers see each other across time, plus the ageing of other characters), THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH is not a film one can actually like or want to see too often ..... despite its great sub-plots of big business taking over the alien's business ventures, its visuals and razor-sharp editing, but it seems to run out of steam eventually. Script by Paul Mayersberg from a Walter Tevis novel, it was good to see again at this remove.

Thursday, 30 May 2013

O tempora o mores !

Or: "The times, the customs" - as Cicero said. There, I felt like saying a bit of Latin (I did learn it at college after all).

We tend to stay out of politics and news stories here at The Projector, but sometimes one just has to comment. The gay marriage story rumbles on, not only in the UK but America and Europe, now with the first same sex wedding in France and continuing objections. What really got to me was that story here in the UK last year where a newly married hetero couple were used as figureheads to hand in a petition against gay marriage to Nr 10 Downing Street. They were happily married but pleased to be seen denying others that right. Like those owners of B&B establishments who could not understand how mean and petty and spiteful they were because they wanted to turn away gay couples from their establishments or deny them double rooms. Is that really Christian? Did they really check to ensure that hetero couples were really married when letting them have rooms? Did they have to produce their wedding certificates? I don't think so ...
Those who object to gay marriage are quite right in saying it will detract from the original meaning of the ceremony. Lest we forget, a wedding was traditionally an archaic ritual in which a woman (who was regarded as a chattel) had her deeds of ownership transferred from her father to her husband - back when people married (or were forced to) for property or dynastic reasons rather than love. Heaven forbid that this noble transaction might in any way be sullied by reducing the ceremony to one which merely allows individuals to express their love, dedication and commitment to one another before their families and friends or whatever deity they hold sacred. We are not in the Dark Ages any more when you could burn people who did not think as you did; if you are happy in your own life why be so concerned or against what others want or do, if it does not affect you? Is your marriage any less valid if gays can marry and show their commitment too? What about all those divorced people who marry time and time again - is that more real that a same-sex commitment? I just don't get it ...

4th June: The new Archbishop of Canterbury, The Most Rev Justin Welby, says, or warns: "Allowing gay couples to marry would "diminish" Christian marriage and damage the fabric of society". Quite how this would happen he has not elaborated on, we wait with bated breath .... but would you feel that your marriage is "diminished" if gay couples could also marry? and as for the "fabric of society" - surely all these endless divorces and re-marriages, and affairs by couples not taking their vows seriously, is causing damage enough, as we see a young generation growing up without father figures, and unemployable due to bad education, and lack of role models - or is that just me? How many gays want to copy heterosexuals and be able to marry anyway - if a civil partnership gives you equal rights? Surely the plus point of being gay is that you can live with someone for as long as it works for you both, but don't have to bother with marriage and kids, which may be compulsory now as we have endless photo ops of the Quintos, the Bomers, the Eltons et al out with their off-spring ...  at least THE NEW NORMAL tv series makes it all seem funny.

Another equally serious topic is the spate of sexually-motivated child murders here in the UK - several high profile court cases just now, the latest is a father of 6 who killed and abused a 5 year old and cannot or will not reveal what he did with her body .... Those sick looking individuals (and they always look really sick) are always caught though by what their internet searches reveal .... they can't talk their way out of that!  Lots of serious comment now on how the ease of internet porn is feeding the depraved fantasies of these deranged individuals ... then there was the father of 17 (yes, seventeen children, think of the money he was raking in on benefits...) who burnt down his house, killing 6 of his own children. But at least he could get married any time he wanted ...

A new Baby Jane ?

Realistic aren't they? We enjoyed Greta Scacchi and Anita Dobson as Bette and Joan on stage in 2011 (Theatre label), now its that fantastic actress we like a lot Frances Barber as Baby Jane and comedian/writer Mark Gatiss as Blanche in PSYCHOBITCHES, a new Sky Arts comedy series here .... Can't wait ...
Romcom ?

It somehow feels dispiriting to see the lineup for a new comedy THE BIG WEDDING - maybe, unlike today's kids who are its likely audience, we are too used to De Niro, Keaton, Sarandon and Robin Williams in their glory days, to put up with them mugging here - and in other over-stuffed all-star comedies which somehow fall rather flat, like those FOCKERS films (the cat was amusing). We can't of course expect them to operate at the same level as they age (TAXI DRIVER and ANNIE HALL were 35+ years ago) as they head for the easy option of comedy romps to pay the bills. It somehow seemed fitting when the likes of Julie Harris and Barbara Bel Geddes went into television serials when they were older and were finally earning big bucks - they deserved it for all the years of toil. THE BIG WEDDING seems the kind of thing one may look at when it turns up on television, but I can't imagine rushing to see it ...

At least Sarah Miles, whom we like a lot here, is trying something different: 
Like some senior dippy hippie, Sarah, now 71, has opened a healing &relaxation centre, as per her website:
It looks absolutely lovely, with some great photos and I am temped to make a booking myself. I of course saw Sarah recently at that 50th anniversary screening of her 1963 classic THE SERVANT, as per Losey, Bogarde, 1963, James Fox, Sarah Miles labels. ...

The HBO BEHIND THE CANDELABRA which has already aired in the states, gets a commerical release here on June 7 .... I thought I would not want to see this, but the initial buzz is good and it may be jaw-droppingly amusing in that MOMMIE DEAREST kind of way ? Perhaps one should dig out that 1955 kitschfest (reviewed here at Trash label) SINCERELY YOURS with the "real" Liberace, where the likes of Dot Malone and Joanne Dru want to get romantic with him .... at least Michael Douglas and Debbie Reynolds (playing Lee's mother) knew the real Lee, so it should be fairly authentic. What would Liberace himself make of it? Probably still laughing all the way to the bank ....

J-Lo lives it up

Its the finals of our annual Britian's Got Talent shows, which also ups the ante with real live stars promoting their latest wares - this week we had Jennifer Lopez promoting her latest single "Live It Up" - J-Lo certainly stunned this family audience show with her bizarre outfit - the singer wore a black PVC leotard with matching thigh-high boots which she teamed with some feathered sleeves which made her seem like some sort of Big Bird. Her thighs and famous posterior were on show, which certainly made for eye-popping viewing. La Lopez is still dynamite on stage but does she really need to flaunt the flesh like this? - isn't it enough that Beyonce, Rihanna and others feel the need to ...  
La Lopez by the way would not walk through the canteen or mix with the ordinary folk, but then of course her diva demands are legendary ... We liked Jennifer back when she was doing "Play" (which had some good mixes) and "Waiting for Tonight" - gosh, was that the Millennium night, 1999 ? Now though its over-production with singing, dancing (can one sing and dance at the same time?) dancers, flashing lights; like Madonna and Beyonce, a performance is more like a gym-workout. 
J-Jo and Mary J. Blige did a terrific duet (The Beatles "Come Together") at the Twickenham Stadium Concert for Change, to "empower women" and were the best thing on the bill, topped by Beyonce and husband. 

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Shiny toys (2)

I just have to include my new kettle - a DeLonghi Italian style, which certainly jazzes up the kitchen, swanky or what ! - and at almost £100 it had better be, but I saw it and just had to have it ... (there is a matching 4-slice snazzy toaster as well - now, do I really want that ?)

also my new favourites now that I have finally joined the Blu-ray gang: those 50th anniversary issues of two of my 1963 favourites: Losey's THE SERVANT and Schlesinger's BILLY LIAR - both with extensive new features, interviews etc. More on these at 1963 label ....
I have not gone mad on Blu-ray actually, only have 5 : these 2 Brit classics, plus Kubrick's 2001, Carpenter's DARK STAR and Tati's PLAYTIME ... I gave away the blu-ray disks from some dual packs (Pasolini's MEDEA, Skolimowski's DEEP END, Antonioni's THE LADY WITHOUT CAMELIAS) to a friend a year or more ago ... so its not a case of buying everything on the new format any more; ordinary dvds look better too. We will wait and see what else comes up --- of course if BLOW-UP or MODESTY BLAISE did ...
My previous post on shiny toys was on that box of Joni Mitchell's first ten albums in perfect mini-gatefold sleeves! (Me label).

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

The Stripper

A discussion with the very knowledgeable Daryl (who is also a good friend) over at IMDB on the plays of William Inge led me to watching 1963's THE STRIPPER again. This had a chequered history: it was originally titled A LOSS OF ROSES and is the play that gave Warren Beatty his start on Broadway. 20th Century Fox were going to film it as a vehicle for Marilyn Monroe, who would surely have been ideal as its bruised heroine, rather like her Roslyn Taber in THE MISFITS, in another moody black and white drama, though MM would have been perhaps too pretty for this down on her luck showgirl, who could also be seen as Cherie from BUS STOP ten years later?

Lila Green is an insecure and aging showgirl for Madame Olga's stage shows. When her boyfriend, Rick, runs off with the shows money, Madame Olga and Ronny let Lila go. Lila goes to stay with her old neighbours, Helen Bard and her teenage son, Kenny. Lila decides to go out and get a regular job and try and live a normal life. All seem well until, Lila and Kenny stop fighting their attraction for one another.

Joanne Woodward (who was it who titled her "the duchess of downbeat"?) inherited the project after Monroe's death, it was the last Jerry Wald production before he died, and it went through several title changes: A WOMAN OF SUMMER, and - as per the "Films & Filming" cover - A WOMAN IN JULY. They must have groaned when it was changed to THE STRIPPER - as if it were some Mamie Van Doren title ....

William Inge of course was one of America's leading dramatists, along with Tennessee Williams and Arthur Miller. Williams and Carson McCullers (I reviewed her REFLECTIONS IN A GOLDEN EYE recently, see below, Brando label) created that Deep South American Gothic world, whereas Inge was the playwright of the Midwest - his dramas set mainly in Kansas or Oklahoma included COME BACK LITTLE SHEBA (one to re-see), PICNIC, BUS STOP and THE DARK AT THE TOP OF THE STAIRS, another must re-see soon. He scripted ALL FALL DOWN, a favourite of mine from 1962, and SPLENDOR IN THE GRASS - both with Beatty - and BUS RILEY IS BACK IN TOWN (review at Ann-Margret label) in 1965. He committed suicide in 1973. 

THE STRIPPER is an involving drama, with all the usual Inge ingredients: small town tedium, wistful dreamers, misunderstood young men, over-protective mothers, the local vamp, the good girl ... Woodward as ever captures the innocent essence of Lila and Richard Beymer, while no Beatty, is adequate (He was the young boy in De Sica's 1954 INDESCRETION, see Montgomery Clift label, and had starred in WEST SIDE STORY and HEMINGWAY'S ADVENTURES OF A YOUNG MAN among others). Claire Trevor is again terrific as his mother - not the gorgon one would have imagined, and Carol Lynley is rather wasted. Interesting to see Gypsy Rose Lee (of GYPSY) - right, with Beymer - as Madame Olga, one of her few movie roles (she is also in SCREAMING MIMI, (Anita Ekberg label) that terrific '50s noir.  The neonlike black and white photography is terrific, theres a Jerry Goldsmith score, Franklin Schaffner directs from Meade Roberts script. It builts to the climax when the disillusioned Lila strips for the baying crowd while those balloons pop, while she sings (badly) "Somethings Gotta Give" (ironically the title of Monroe's uncompleted 1962 film), while Lila finally realises what she needs is to stop being emotionally immature. Robert Webber is good too as the sleazeball boyfriend.

Woodward was one of Fox's main contract players (starting out in the mid-'50s like contemporaries Lee Remick, Shirley McLaine and the grown-up Natalie Wood), in films like NO DOWN PAYMENT,. THE SOUND AND THE FURY (see Woodward label), and her Oscar-winning role in THE THREE FACES OF EVE which I have not seen as it was unobtainable here for a long time. We will be seeing it before too long though ... she and husband Paul Newman did several films together, I particuarly liked THE LONG HOT SUMMER, RALLY ROUND THE FLAG BOYS, PARIS BLUES and he directed her in several interesting films like RACHEL, RACHEL in 1968. She was touching too as Tom Hanks' mother in PHILADELPHIA. I really must also have another look at Tennessee's THE FUGITIVE KIND from 1960 with her, Brando and Magnani - a powerhouse trio or what!
Newman scored with HUD in '63, Joanne's THE STRIPPER is equally good. 

Some more information from Daryl:
"THE STRIPPER actually started shooting on the Fox lot while MM was shooting SOMETHING'S GOTTA GIVE. Joanne Woodward and Franklin Schaffner had decided on the platinum hair, and one day, she was walking across the lot when Woodward ran into Monroe. Woodward said she was embarrassed because she didn't want Marilyn to think that she was making fun of her. Marilyn did look at the hair, and asked Woodward what she was working on. Woodward said, oh, it's the William Inge piece. Marilyn then said, oh, i was supposed to do it, but i thought the part was too much like Cherie. Monroe then said, i'm sure you'll do a terrific job. And Woodward said she was relieved, because she didn't want Marilyn to think she was making fun of her."

More on the London 1976 production of BUS STOP, right, which I saw, at Lee Remick label - she was Cherie with Keir Dullea as the annoying cowboy, perfect casting then.


Sunday, 26 May 2013

Bel Ami ? no thanks ....

The Projector has viewed and commented on some of the current leading men over the last few years: Michael Fassbender and SHAME, Ryan Gosling with DRIVE and CRAZY STUPID LOVE, Channing Tatum's THE EAGLE and MAGIC MIKE, plus Colin Firth, McConaughey, the romcom guys and others, all at 2000s label. Now for some of the newer crop .... let's start with Robert Pattinson as BEL AMI, from last year.
Now we like a good costume drama and that era - the Belle Epoque, the Fin de Siecle in 19th century Paris, fascinates - from Oscar Wilde out of jail to Toulouse Lautrec painting at the Moulin Rouge. Oscar's DORIAN GRAY was updated to the trashy '70s in the Helmut Berger version and there was that recent Ben Barnes version in 2009 - both at Trash label - with Dorian re-imagined for the newer TWILIGHT generation .... so it seemed logical that R-Patz should turn up in a new BEL AMI, the 'hero' of Guy De Maupassant's classic novel, first filmed in 1947 with George Sanders (ideal I am sure) and Angela Lansbury for Albert Lewin, director of the 1945 DORIAN GRAY, which gainfully employed Sanders as the perfect Lord Henry Wotton.

Here 23 year old Pattinson is Georges Duroy the penniless ex-soldier loose in Paris, who gets taken up by a now wealthy ex-comrade and finds himself on the ladder to wealth and power, as it is not the men who wield power in high society but their wives, as Paris is awash with money.  He soon learns which knife to use at those grand dinners and also of the corrupt relationships between politicians and journalists which is is able to use to his advantage. Three marvellous actresses play the main women: Uma Thurman, (great to see her again after PULP FICTION and KILL BILL), Christina Ricci (as delightful as she as in the ADDAMS FAMILY films and PAN AM), and Kristin Scott Thomas terrific as ever, who played respectively the intelligent Madeleine, the frivolous Clotilde and the married woman Virginie Rousset, who has to see her daughter marry our cad hero at the climax, where the over-lit Pattinson is photographed as if he is ascending into Heaven. His Duroy seems to be like another vampire on the make as he uses these women, plus that prostitute, to get ahead. It all looks very nice, but Volker Schlondorff did it better in his SWANN IN LOVE in '84 (another must re-see), or Huston with MOULIN ROUGE in '53 or Minnelli with GIGI. Our directors here are the respected theatre directors Declan Donellan and Nick Ormerod. (I wonder how 2 directors operate: do they take turns directing scenes?). who are interviewed along with the ladies on the dvd extras. Not being a TWILIGHT devotee Pattinson is new to me here, he has contined in films but hardly seems the most charistmatic player. 
Soon: Taylor Lautner in ABDUCTION, Tom Hardy in THE DESERTER, Channing Tatum in STEP UP. Then the big guys: Lee Marvin's HELL IN THE PACIFIC and PRIME CUT / Anthony Quinn's LOST COMMAND (re-uniting Alain and Claudia, with Ronet and Segal - as an Algerian!)) and SECRET OF SANTA VITTORIO with Magnani plus THE GREEK TYCOON !

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Jean Seberg: In the French style ....

A trio of Seberg's best ....
Nice to see - and get - a new edition of IN THE FRENCH STYLE, another of 1963's stylish romantic dramas, featuring that perennial - the American girl in Europe. I have done reports on this before here, see Jean Seberg label. I like the cover of this, showing part of Jean's goodbye speech to Stanley Baker at that bittersweet airport meeting.

She is now that brittle playgirl, as opposed to the naive young innocent who first arrives in Paris - to learn how to paint and study art! We get her father's disapproval, the young man she first gets involved with, men about town like Stanley Baker who loves his foreign correspondent job more than her, as she becomes a "Citizen of Paris" and "embraces its endless parties and jaded view of love." Then there is the doctor who adores her and whom she decides to marry and go back to America with (played by a favourite writer of mine, James Leo Herlihy), all based on two Irwin Shaw (TWO WEEKS IN ANOTHER TOWN) stories which make up this Robert Parrish film. It has that early '60s black-and-white international jetset look in spades, as Jean refines her American Girl in Paris after of course BREATHLESS ...

It is always a pleasure too to go back to 1958's BONJOUR TRISTESSE, her second film with Otto Preminger, from - that word again - the bittersweet Francoise Sagan tale. More on this too at Seberg label, and photographer Bob Willoughby's photos from the set, as above left. More on that at Bonjour Tristesse labelIN THE FRENCH STYLE, below.

Another favourite is the 1965 MOMENT TO MOMENT, a late Mervyn LeRoy romantic thriller which we like a lot, Jean as I said before is perfection here in that Yves St Laurent wardrobe (which would still be very chic today), driving around St Paul de Vence in her red sportscar and taking her naval officer lover to the Colombe D'Or restaurant, while her husband is away. Add in Honor Blackman  (just after
her GOLDFINGER stint) as the maneater next door, a missing body, a husband and suspicious detectives and the stage is set for a fabulous drama. A lot of it is studio bound but the South of France locations are enjoyable too .... as is that Henry Mancini score.

These were Jean's good years, after Rossen's LILITH (one to re-see), before those darker late ones - that Chabrol thriller THE ROUTE TO CORINTH in '67 was enjoyable too. 

More French stuff next: R-Patz as BEL AMI

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

A favourite album .... an occasional series

We had a soul grooves weekend and played a lot of 80s favourites - top of the heap was this super album which I played all the time then, by Regina Belle: ALL BY MYSELF, with that great track listing:
"Show Me The Way" / "Take Your Love Away" / "Please Be Mine" / "After the love has lost its shine" / "Intimate Relations" / "You Got The Love" / "How could you do it to me" / "Gotta give it up" / "So Many Tears" ...
I even got a new cd issue with extra extended tracks! I have another album of hers as well but Regina does not seem to be as well known as those other songbirds like Anita Baker, Jill Scott, Angie Stone, Erykah Badu, as mentioned in previous posts, let alone legends like Aretha.

"You Got The Love" still sounds marvellouslly funky, this is a terrific romantic album and soothing too for when a romance is over .... 
I also had to get Regina's "Best of..." as she has done quite a lot.

This also led on to some other 80s soul favourites from those club nights in London, Brighton and Portsmouth ...
We loved Joyce Syms then - her "All and All" was dynamite and I loved that album COME INTO MY LIFE.

Later there was Joni Mitchell's return to BOTH SIDES NOW (right) and those great tracks chronicling the arc of a love affair.   The iPod went on shuffle and began playing those late 90s speed garage anthems: Sneaker Pimps and "Spin Spin Sugar", Tori Amos and "Professional Widow", H20 and Billie's entracing version of "Ain't Nobody's Business", Tiga and Jake Shears revamping Nelly's "Hot In Herre", lots of Talking Heads - "Slippery People", "Take me to the river" - and dance tracks like Col Abrams "Trapped".

I liked 2 of D.J. Rory's: Alba's "Only Music Survives" [ ]  - Italian pop! -  and Zino's "Walk Away Satisfied" [ ].... and that lovely video (as below) for Bronski's "Smalltown Boy" ....[ ] -we used to see Jimmy Sommerville around town a lot. Then there were those earlier disco hits like Pamela Stanley's "I Don't Want To Talk About It" and "Coming Out Of Hiding", Oh Romeo's "Saving Myself for the one that I love" and "These Memories", more Italian disco with The Flirts and "PASSION" and Simone's hi-energy version of Carole King's "Its Too Late"! .... 
Then back to Joan Armatrading and possibly my favourite of hers: "Join The Boys" as well as "Stepping Out", "Cool Blue", "Back to the Night" ... then the Pet Shop Boys favourites like "Love Comes Quickly" and the various remixes of "West End Girls", "Paninaro", "Being Boring", and Bronski Beat and Jimmy Sommerville and Frankie Goes to Hollywood, and Boy George - one of the great soul voices; along with George Michael's essential album OLDER.(George has had another traffic accident, we trust he is improving). 
Back to the dancefloor with THE anthem: Deee-Lite's "Groove is in the Heart", Alison Limerick's "Where Love Lives" and Eve Gallagher with those various mixes of "Love Come Down" .... and T-empo's "Saturday Night and Sunday Morning", and those great voices Jody Watley and Shara Nelson of Massive Attack .... bliss, sheer bliss.  I also have a lot of '80s and '90s mixtapes to transfer to files for the ipod: Donna Allen's "Joy and Pain", Corrine Bailey Rae's "Put Your Records On", M J Cole's "Sincere", Alicia Keys' "Falling" - and back to the singer-songwriter years with Tim Buckley, Tim Hardin, Tom Rush, Paul Simon, Van Morrison and of course Joni and Carly and Carole and Laura Nyro, Janis Ian too. 

and we like Irish singer Brian Kennedy's take on these classics, like his version of Joni's "A Case of You" and Nina Simone's "See Line Woman", as well as Irish classics like his lovely slowed down version of "The Homes of Donegal" which he makes a wistful lament. Take it away, Brian ... then there's Leon Russell and that distinctive voice and sound of his ("A Song For You", also superlatively done by Donny Hathaway),  
The Band's early albums and Elton's like "Tumbleweed Connection" where Dusty helps out on vocals, and Lowell George with Little Feat, and the great British soul voice Stevie Winwood, along with new favourites Frank Ocean and John Grant. Those old HITS and compilations were terrific too - I loved Numbers 2 and 4,  with all the current pop and soul hits.  As Gwyneth says "Its all good".