Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Saturday Afternoon at the London Palladium

I don't know about you, but I'm not a man's man. I've never been comfortable in groups of males, whether it be in the football changing room, the public house, or the Boy Scout Hut. I tend to retreat into my shell. The biggest favour anybody ever did me was in my early twenties, when I was one of a group of lads in a nightclub and one of them took me aside and said, "You don't belong here with us, do you?" I couldn't disagree, although it hurt at the time.

Frank Sinatra is a man's man. Just look at the Rat Pack! Frank, Deano, Sammy, Dopey, Sleepy...They all liked nothing more than a boy's night out. Practical jokers to a man, drinking, laughing, and talking at the tops of their voices. All that testosterone and aftershave, hugging each other in their man's man's way.

Horrible. I don't even like shaking hands. And if an alpha male presses his hand into the small of my back, I feel like donkey-kicking him in the shins. Don't touch me, you hetero freak.

No, it's me that's the freak of course. I should be loving a man getting me in a headlock and messing up my hair. Especially if that other man was Frank Sinatra.

But I don't like Frank's persona. I don't like his voice. And I don't like the songs he sang. I don't like Bing Crosby, but I like his voice and the songs he sang.

Sorry, Mum. If I have to choose between one of these wise guys to be the greatest, then it's King Bing for me.

New York, New York. The end of the evening at a wedding reception. All but one of the guests gather together in a big circle, link arms, and do a kind of hokey cokey, kicking the shit out of the 30 year old spinster or bachelor in the middle. That's Frank Sinatra for you. And it's not pleasant.

But my mum loves him. To her, he is the greatest artist of all time. She would have loved to have seen him live at any stage of his career but she never had the chance. But on Saturday she did see him live and he was everything she'd ever wanted. Even though he's been dead for nearly eight years.

There was a 24 piece orchestra. There was a stage full of young male and female dancers. And there was a big screen which came down from the ceiling and projected a live Frank. The young Frank, the middle-aged Frank, and the old Frank. Interspersed with commentaries from Frank himself, talkling about his life and times from beyond the grave. Everything a Frank fan could ever want. Stuff your Rat Pack stage show and your Louis Hoover Frank Sinatra Impressionist. This was the real thing.

And my mum was surprised by the audience. There was a family with a couple of late teenage boys. And the boys were having a whale of a time, clapping along and singing at the tops of their voices. There were other young people there, too. Although the majority were grey-hairs.

I'm not surprised these boys were there. Where are the men's men middle-aged pop stars for the youngsters to look up to? Ian Brown? Sting? Paul Weller? Bryan Adams? Morrissey? These are all individuals, you can't imagine any of them preferring multiple male company to the companionship of the one person they love.

And can you imagine Morrissey delivering a horse's head to Andy Rourke's bed in the middle of the night?

If you can, you're more of a man than I am.


  1. Oh Geoff! I'm not a man's man either! We have so much in common!

    I'm slightly startled by your Mum's choice of venue, still at least it wasn't that wretched Freddie Mercury imitator who seems to have moved permanently to New Zealand.

  2. I've never done the man's man thing either. Pubs I can handle but even though I played cricket for many years, my reluctance to shower earned the nickname "Gizmo" after the gremlin things that did odd things on contact with water.

  3. Caroline - The Bootleg Queen at The Screen on the Green is really something that has to be seen. Sorry, I thought the Freddie Mercury imitator was doing time for murder.

    Richard - I never showered after a cricket match. Never really broke into a sweat. Out first ball and fielded at silly mid-on.

  4. A Horse's Head In My Bed.
    I'll never wed, young man, I'll never wed.
    I say a Horse's Head In My Bed.
    Just a little one, but I fled, young man, how I fled.

    A Morrissey verse if ever I've heard one.

  5. Is he? There is a God!

  6. Wyndham - It was probably a seahorse. Bloody wuss, Stephen.

    Caroline - There's hundreds of 'em out there, so it might not be him.

    Is it fat bottom girls or fat bottomed girls?

  7. they've done a hip-hop remake of that you know. it's called "fat ass bitches" and features p-diddy, snoop dogg and that bloke who's representing the uk at eurovision riding the goodies' trandem and chasing mariah carey through the projects in LA.

  8. The Wurzels did it, too.

    "Gid on yur boikes and roide!"

  9. I don't know and don't care.
    Tie your mother up - or is it down? What sort of lyric is that?
    I want to ride my bicycle? Good, get on it now and I hope you fall over a cliff.

    Sorry Geoff. I don't think this mornings yoga session has done the trick...

  10. It sounds like you've listened to more Queen than I have, Caroline.

    My commiserations.