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The Physician – Cole Porter Click Here To Comment!

Every so often, I’ll get an e-mail that goes something like this:

I have it in my head that Julie Andrews sang a crazy song about a doctor who loved every
obscure part of her body “but he never loved me”. Am I wrong? If not what is the song?

Love j

Oh, the burden of knowing more than I should about Julie Andrews … ok, yes, she sang this Cole Porter song, a very cute one, in the movie Star! This is a bio-pic about a stage diva named Gertrude Lawrence, a friend and cohort of Noel Coward who was insanely popular in throughout the mid-twentieth century. In truth, Gertrude Lawrence paved the way for modern-day Britney Spears and J Lo and others of that ilk. Talented, high-strung, terrible with financial matters, and quite enamoured with her own mythology. The movie was too long and badly timed in the marketplace, released when big budget musicals were no longer popular.

The song lyrics appear below, and here is a YouTube clip of the very scene and Jools herself singing this song.

Verse

Once I loved such a shattering physician,
Quite the best-looking doctor in the state.
He looked after my physical condition,
And his bedside manner was great.
When I’d gaze up and see him there above me,
Looking less like a doctor than a Turk,
I was tempted to whisper, “Do you love me,
Or do you merely love your work?”

Refrain 1

He said my bronchial tubes were entrancing,
My epiglottis filled him with glee,
He simply loved my larynx
And went wild about my pharynx,
But he never said he loved me.
He said my epidermis was darling,
And found my blood as blue as could be,
He went through wild ecstatics,
When I showed him my lymphatics,
But he never said he loved me.

And though, no doubt,
It was not very smart of me,
I kept on a-wracking my soul
To figure out
Why he loved ev’ry part of me,
And yet not me as a whole.
With my esophagus he was ravished,
Enthusiastic to a degree,
He said ’twas just enormous,
My appendix vermiformis,
But he never said he loved me.

Refrain 2

He said my cerebellum was brilliant,
And my cerebrum far from N.G.,
I know he thought a lotta
My medulla oblongata,
But he never said he loved me.
He said my maxillaries were marvels,
And found my sternum stunning to see,
He did a double hurdle
When I shook my pelvic girdle,
But he never said he loved me.

He seemed amused
When he first made a test of me
To further his medical art,
Yet he refused
When he’d fix up the rest of me,
To cure that ache in my heart.
I know he thought my pancreas perfect,
And for my spleen was keen as could be,
He said of all his sweeties,
I’d the sweetest diabetes,
But he never said he loved me.

Refrain 3

He said my vertebrae were “sehr schone,”
And called my coccyx “plus que gentil,”
He murmured “molto bella,”
When I sat on his patella,
But he never said he loved me.

He took a fleeting look at my thorax,
And started singing slightly off key,
He cried, “May Heaven strike us,”
When I played my umbilicus,
But he never said he loved me.

As it was dark,
I suggested we walk about
Before he returned to his post.
Once in the park, I induced him to talk about
The thing I wanted the most.
He lingered on with me until morning,
Yet when I tried to pay him his fee,
He said, “Why, don’t be funny, It is I who owe you money,”
But he never said he loved me.

A Second Dose Of Kool-Aid (25+5) 1 comment

Recently on Facebook, people are tagging each other with the request to list 25 Random Things about themselves. This may seem odd to non-Facebookers, but it is just something that happens from time to time in that particular social networking site. And, as one friend of mine states, it is a fun way to get to know one’s friends in a way that one wouldn’t in the normal course of human events. The Internet is kinda funny that way. Over-sharing is rampant and occasionally welcome.

The zenith of tagging activity happened for me this past weekend with several friends doing the Facebook equivalent of nudging me to write my list of 25 things. I’m usually game and started to turn over the possibilities in my head.

Maybe that is what did it. I was promptly cut down Monday by a pretty horrendous migraine accompanied by a wicked sore throat. I thought at one point that my head was in labour, the pain was coming in waves like contractions. Or what I imagine to be contractions. At the height of all this, there wasn’t a creative cell in my body – it was all I could do to just lie still and suffer. Later in the day, as the pain started to drift away, I started to pluck out my rather uninspired list of 25 Things. I was writing a few lines at a time between moments of dull throbbing. I wasn’t at my best.

In the interim, feeling much better these last few days, I realized that I left a few things off that I shoulda, woulda, coulda included if I’d had my act together. So, I present the original 25 + 5 bonus Random Things.

1.    I hate (hate) feeling rushed. I especially hate rushing through things early in the morning. Throws me off balance.

2.    My hair is longer now than it has been since I was 21. It feels both awkward and liberating at the same time. I have no idea how this is going to turn out.

3.    One of the most valuable things I did in high school was take typing class in Grade Nine with Mr. Traxler whom I adored. Although I nearly failed, I am so grateful that I can type reasonably well without looking at the keys.  I wonder if there will be curriculum developed to teach keypad texting. If there is, I know someone who could teach it and it wouldn’t be me.

4.    I can, and frequently do, watch movies and tv shows multiple times.

5.    I find cooking and dreaming up recipes very grounding and relaxing.

6.    Ian Turnbull was my favourite all-time Toronto Maple Leaf.  He was Borje Salming’s defence partner. He scored five goals in one game, on February 2, 1977, a record for defensemen that still stands. I remember watching that game, 32 years ago today, and also watching the awards ceremony the game afterwards. I try to wear his number, #2, when I can but that doesn’t seem to happen often. He autographed a hat of mine before he retired. I still have it.

7.    I may have a Scrabble addiction.

8.    I may have a popcorn addiction.

9.    The thing I miss most in my new diet regimen is pasta.

10.    One of my grad students was griping last week about feeling out of the loop on something we were discussing in class. I had overheard him say earlier to his buddies that he was born in 1986 and that his earliest recollections were from 1993. He asked me if I remembered 1993. I had no response. This whole exchange bothers me more than I care to admit.

11.    My family experiences genetic hearing loss. I am not immune to this phenomenon. I’ve been advised that more sound, not less, will help preserve my hearing. In other words, the audiologist has prescribed listening to loud music regularly.

12.    I love playing hockey. I wish I could play more than my schedule currently allows.

13.    There are a few people on FB that I’ve known since we were all learning how to print with big fat pencils. They all look fit and well and happy as grown-ups. When I look at their pics, I see soccer balls and Christmas pageants and endless winter bus rides home.

14.    I have a first cousin in England with exactly the same full name (first, middle, last) as me who also insists on being called “Liz”. We were completely unaware of each other’s existence until 1999. The number of things we have in common is rather astounding and includes our sexual orientation. Beware. There are two of us.

15.    My least favourite vegetables are Brussels sprouts and lima beans.

16.    There are at least two people on my FB who should understand, first hand, why I really don’t like cucumbers. I often wonder if they had the same response to that particular summer job.

17.    I think too much. I worry too much.

18.    I have terrible luck with houseplants. My favourite colour is green but my thumb is not green in the slightest.

19.    I am often overly optimistic about how much I can get done in a day.

20.    I used to love to read and I have stacks of books around that I have started and will one day finish. I just can’t sink into a good reading rhythm anymore.

21.    When I was a pre-teen, and probably on into when I was a teen, on warm summer days, I would take a stack of 7-8 books out and sit under the gigantic maple/willow in our front yard and read. I don’t know why I felt I had to take 7-8 books for an afternoon’s read. I generally stuck to one when I got there.

22.    I love where I’m living now. I miss living in the country. Somehow, these two ideas don’t feel in opposition to each other in my head.

23.    My dream, until Grade 9 science class, was to be a veterinarian. After that, I wanted to be a rock star.

24.    I have recently concluded that if a thinking person living in this crazy messy world doesn’t find themselves challenged by something like depression from time to time, they are not to be trusted.

25.    I was not close to my father but I do find some of his weird idiom creeping into my vocabulary, such as “Put a little English on it” (elbow grease, umph) and “Do you need to look after little Mary?” (are you hungry?) and “My head is here, my ass is comin'” and “Heeeh???” (speak louder, I didn’t hear you).

26.    I have my M (for motorcycle) as well as my G class licence. At one time I owned a Kawasaki 454 LTD bike that I adored. Absolutely adored. I toured solo around the northern edge of Lake Superior on it one summer when I was about 24. I had to sell it in a moment of “let’s grow up and get serious” career focus. It is one of the few times in my life that I remember sobbing uncontrollably. My bike looked something like this:

Kawasaki 454 LTD

Kawasaki 454 LTD

I suspect that if I acquired a bike again now that I’d have to re-certify my licence or something since I haven’t ridden since 1988.

27.   In 1997, I flew to New York for three reasons. a) to see Julie Andrews perform, again, in Victor/Victoria on Broadway. b) to meet up with a bunch of Internet buddies, also Julie Andrews fans, and attend the Tonys at Radio City Music hall. c) To pitch my idea for Julie’s next big project to her producer, Tony Adams. I achieved all three.  I saw the fourth last performance Julie did before her surgery cut her singing career tragically short.  Being present at the Tonys was a thrill-of-a-lifetime. Radio City Music Hall is very big. Famous people are just regular-size. Tony Adams was charming and patient. He bought me lunch and suggested a way I could get my proposal in front of Julie herself, which of course I followed up on. But the surgery interfered straightaway and messed with destiny. Still, it was a pretty terrific weekend!

28.  I think that the experience of growing up on a farm in RURAL southwestern Ontario colours almost every aspect of my life.

29.  I believe every dog deserves one hot meal a day. My dog gets her dinner with warm water and “gravy”.

30.  I am hard-pressed to think of anyone whom I know reasonably well who has not expressed at some point their feelings of exclusion, of “feeling like an outsider”.  I have heard many people express this of their relationship to a family of origin, as well as chosen family, community, workplace, social groups, etc. I wonder what we do to each other to make this phenomenon of “not fitting in” so pervasive.

Angle Three – The Soundtrack 2 comments

Adding an iPod to the cycling experience is brilliant, for me anyway. I am prone to boredom, well, not boredom so much as irritation as I ask myself why the hell I'm doing something that hurts so much, or takes so long, or seems  repetitive and fruitless. Somehow, the music shuts down the Type A part of my brain that insists, always erroneously, that I should Be Somewhere Else, or Doing Something More Productive. Listening to music is, somehow, always productive and worthwhile for me.

A few highlights …

  • circling around the edge of a picturesque lake, with farms on my left and water to my right as the Puppini Sisters launched into a faithful rendition of Old Cape Cod
  • waving at cows who stared back, or ignore me entirely, as I stood on my pedals, grooving to the Scissor Sisters' I Don't Feel Like Dancing
  • laughing out loud while slogging up a long, slow hill as Julie Andrews camps up Alan Jay Lerner's My Love Is A Married Man

My love is a married man
I'm a marital also-ran
Tho I love him so, does he love me – no
I'll never enter his life, because he's true to his wife

My dreams abundant, are redundant
And they fall very short
The ship I hoped for, sat and moped for
Docked in someone else's port

The man who controls my heart
Has a conjugal counterpart
And her dinner meals are enough he feels
He'll never have to go a la carte

  • Sia's Day Too Soon (Mock & Toof Edit) … mmmm … not the original girl with guitar version but the funky one with the bass riff and the bongo drums. Can't find this on YouTube.
  • singing along with Jully Black on Seven Day Fool, scaring the creatures by the side of the road
  • Maroon 5, Figure It Out … Let's go!
  • Coldplay Viva La Vida (on repeat, thanks very much) … Strawberry Swing (it is such a perfect day, such a perfect day …) … Lost (no, really, I'm not, and boy it is hard to keep up with the hand claps AND keep the bike on the road) … Death and All His Friends (… so come over, just be patient and don't worry …try … ) … 42 (you didn't get to heaven, but you made it close … )
  • Puppini Sisters Walk Like An Egyptian

PS – Although I don't have this on my iPod, I just found this on YouTube … the Puppini Sisters ROCK!!!

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It Will Be Solved By Others 3 comments

Once or twice a week, I am asked whether I am watching, following, or otherwise engaging with the CBC reality series "How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria?" The answer is easy … no, no I am not.

I note the absence of Julie Andrews and the presence of Andrew Lloyd Webber and these two elements are enough to keep me away.

I am, however, amused by the marketing juggernaut that seems to be in place for this show, and the degree to which they have borrowed similar fonts, styles, "look/feel" from the FILM's branding, not the original Broadway stage version's branding. This makes a lot of sense, of course, because not many people remember how the original stage version was promoted. In any case, that was me who burst out laughing in an underground mall yesterday, as I was scurrying from here to there, and my eye caught a huge poster for the show that looked, for all the world, like an ad for the film.

One of my undergrad courses was a thesis course and I wrote mine on the variations in stage vs. film conventions of musicals that made it to screen in the '60's. My subjects were Fiddler on the Roof, The Sound of Music and Cabaret! As it happens, Fiddler was a fairly true conversion from stage to film, employing filmic conventions to communicate the same narrative, using the same characters. The Sound of Music undergoes fairly significant surgery to make it to film, with entire characters and plot lines being added, removed or augmented. Cabaret! is barely recognizable, stage to film, with the essence of a few key characters making the leap, but not much more.

I'm sure if I dug around enough, I'd find the answer to my only burning (well, smoldering) question. Perhaps I'll root around over the weekend. My only real curiosity is this: There is a trend to bring movies to the Broadway stage, occasionally in musical form. As per usual, when you move from one format (film) to another (stage + musical), creative compromises, narrative surgeries, and other "improvements" are made. Will the producers return to the original book for the original 1950's stage play for the re-mounted stage version, or will ALW create an entirely new stage work, leaping off from the highly successful film of the 1960's? This choice would bring the work full circle in a way … stage … film … stage (with a detour into reality tv).

The creative process has really turned in on itself with the notion of an audience watching elements of the creation of a stage work, as the work is in the process of being created. This is like a "Making of … " documentary being available before the subject of the documentary has even taken form. For me, it has the feel of advance publicity on mutant steroids, as if they suspect already that the final product will be pretty awful and will need all the help it can get to re-coup investment. It also feels like the leveraging of marketing strategies used for pre-teen, teen and young adult markets ("You too can be part of it all, stand in line for a week just to be part of the audience, have your 15 minutes of fame, get your picture taken with Tony DeFranco! …") into an older market demographic. I don't recall this leap being made elsewhere in a similar way.

As a creative vehicle, The Sound of Music concept is completely out of sync with current sensibilities. If we are in a post-post modern phase, I would argue that The Sound of Music doesn't really even make it as a "modern" piece. It is classic – good guys, bad guys, romance, barriers to romance, children, faith, crises of faith, beautiful scenery and an escape. Oh, and the music. The good guys win, or at least escape. (Sorry – did I spoil it for you there?) It is opera, or operetta, straight from a linear, straight-forward, no nonsense Victorian sensibility. There is a complete lack of insight, no self-reflexive critical thought, no irony, no commentary or awareness of its own message. These are all elements of what makes creative work watchable now. Adding a reality tv element to the enterprise feels like the documentation of a train wreck, in slow motion.

So, no, I'm not watching and am only vaguely interested. Add Julie to the judging panel, preferably in a bobbed dirndl, and you may have my attention.

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Vox Hunt: Overdubbed Click Here To Comment!

Audio: If you could sing like anyone, living or dead, who would you choose to sound like?  Share a song of theirs.
Submitted by aa.

Well, ok.

I would sound like a cross between Serena Ryder (click on the mp3 player at that site for samples) and the one on the right (stage left) below.

Is that possible, or does that just twist your brain all the wrong ways?

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Sending Smoke Signals … Click Here To Comment!

Still here … swamped … recitals rocked (totally). Nearly fully-formed blog entries rattling around in my head, screaming for deliverance. Life intercedes … stay tuned …

An excerpt from an e-mail just received from a friend … (link mine) …

Your honey was also honoured at the SAG awards on Sunday where, true to her breed, she spoke most articulately. At the very end of her speech she whispered in a kind of small cartoon voice, "Where's Venus? I really miss Venus."

… so I guess I really am AWOL if I missed THAT!!!!

Back soon … watch this space …   


 

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