I am not sure if I am a proper woman.
I needed new shoes, ones with high heels and wanted to be a grown up but couldn’t be arsed, when the girls were trying on Ugg style boots in ShoeFayre, just raring to go for dropped insteps and walking like Nans aged 11 and 12.
Ugg boots look like they were a drawing of boots by toddlers which flew out of a nursery window one morning in a high mountain village in the alps where there is still a toymaker who makes wooden toys…and the picture flies through the window of a chalet hotel where a high class American shoe designer is staying. Under pressure from their employers for new ideas; they sit, despairing, in their room. How do they tell their family their job has gone at Christmas time? (sorry did I not mention it was Christmas? Oh and the designer will be played by Steve Martin or Adam Sandler if he’s not available) They absentmindedly pick up the piece of paper that has flown through the window and crunch it into a ball to lob in the bin basketball stylie; just then they stop, mid throw and uncurl the ravaged paper, spreading it out on the small desk and switch on the desk lamp, pondering. Quickly they take out an ancient leather case with pencils and sketch pad and are seen working through the night surrounded by sketches.
The next morning excited, and unshaven they put a call through to America waking their disgruntled boss – they have found it! A new shoe design to sweep the world, and, as in the case of the Emperors New Clothes people everywhere from Sydney to Montreal are seen sporting brown boots made from a toddler’s drawing thinking they are stylish. The film shoots to scenes of lots of newspapers spinning round and round with headlines on and the once despairing designer accepting accolade after accolade and award after award.
Hollywood stars are shown wearing the Ugg boot to the Oscars under their haute couture, nuns sporting Uggs under their habits are seen kneeling at Mass, the Queen of England does her Christmas Speech in them (as Cliff Richard, the Young Ones and all of the Spice Girls circumnavigate Big Ben in an Ugg shaped National Express coach with Richard E Grant yawning with ennui on the back seat making notes to sack his agent ) All the time the toddler in the alpine village grows up not knowing their part in all of this, and, as they flee their jobless village to end up sleeping rough in the backstreets of an industrial German town committing petty crime to feed their drug habit, they lie in the street, zoned out on crack cocaine and watching feet shuffle by, to go home, to go out, to get married, to party, to church, to divorce court, but all of them, every single one, clad in an Ugg boot…..if only……..
In next week’s fashion histories !!!!!!
How Mary Mungo and Midge felt when Vidal Sassoon stole the idea for the iconic Bob hairstyle, passing off as his own, the style created by a carpenter called Bob in the canteen of the hip 60’s cartoon. What would they all think now even Vidal, to know, that blow dried vigorously with mousse, it is synonymous with people who want to speak to the manager in any unsatisfactory retail situation.
SPECIAL OFFER! SUBSCRIBE TO FASHION HISTORIES FOR ONLY £45 PER MONTH AND LEARN ABSOLUTELY FECK ALL ABOUT FASHION; COLLECTING PIECES OF COTTON EVERY MONTH TO BUILD YOUR OWN UNIQUE THREAD COLLECTION ISSUE 1 COMES WITH FREE DISPLAY CASE.
BE THE ENVY OF YOUR FRIENDS AND LOCAL HABERDASHERY RETAILER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
PS In case you are wondering I got some shoes – they’re black.
I’ve done my penance
Walked on my knees
Fixed on a star
Through the wood and the trees
And as I traversed this scorched earth
I never regretted that I gave birth
I trod the fine line
Between celebration and solace
Saw the selfie explode in its own menace)
I wiped a tear that stole its own path
Slapped my own face to wake my own heart
This blighted star hangs so futile
Amidst terror cruel law all the while
Waits Blinking a beacon of hope
And we have to wait too enlighten folk
But wait for what and wait for who
Hope springs in the heart of you
It’s you who fixes you who builds
You who paints and you who guilds
You can make believe and propagate lies
Or feel the truth see with own eyes
There’s absolutely only one truth
To make a better place starts with you
Pull out your heart and hold it up high
Use its rhythm to move the star from dangerous sky
Spin your tales rewrite the law
Show your children what it is all for
Stand stand stand
The ground is yours now
Take no more milk from their sacred cow
Open your mouth drink in the rain
From high from sky from heaven again
Shout in the face of the despot who dares
Belittle your truth stamp on your cares
Throw off your shackles
There’s no prisoners here
Just the jail made from lies divisions and fear
There’s no ballot box that controls your heart
Take back compassion
March on from the start
The Giants who stood who knew what to do
Had hope in their hearts and holes in their shoes
The once insignificant voiceless few
Felt rage in those hearts but knew what to do
Because rage can be love Set on fire
And rage can be care whose purpose is higher
Take back your lives and hold out your hands
Your people need you
when hope flies
copyright EMcGinty 2015
as my hands
poised over the keys
I asked myself
If I still believe
If I write a story
When so uncertain
Would regret be result
Of pulled back curtain
The WiFi unstable
The resolve shaken
Even committing the words
And feelings forsaken
Never a guarantee
Aught would be read
The chamber of laying
Became chamber of dread
And so as always
I curl my fingers in
Too shy to write the extent of his sin
I sit, contemplate madness
For that is what happens
When you crush your sadness
I try to prevail
Find strength and rally
But dark is the road
And narrow the alley
pinprick of light
And pen, mighty sword
Will take up your fight
Beautiful the musical in Woking – the story of Carole King: As a line in the show uttered by her character says ‘I’m just a normal person, who wants to hear a normal person sing?’ Clearly the packed theatre confirmed they did and were interested to hear the story of one of the most successful songwriters of the 20th Century woven around the songs that made her so famous first as a writing partner with her then husband Gerry Goffin and later as a solo writer and performer.
Jukebox musicals are always popular. Whilst telling their story they allow the audience to add their own memories associated to the songs they share. As a vehicle to encompass, especially for those who may not know and assign the credit to performer rather than writers, the vast catalogue and contribution King made to modern music it serves so well.
The story centres at first around her relationship with Gerry Goffin (Kane Oliver Parry) and as part of the songwriting stable of impresario Donnie Kirshner (Adam Howden) they compete with friends Cynthia Weil (Amy Ellen Richardson) and Barry Mann (Matthew Gonsalves), as to who can produce the most hits. Including their work which was often then taken up by Phil Spector’s artists gave an added, welcome dimension to the piece – hearing the basic versions of songs pre Spector orchestration allowed the imagination to add that in and remember The Ronettes, Darlene Love, The Crystals, Righteous Brothers and the finished songs.
The friendships between King, Kirshner, Weil and Mann seemed to sustain her through troubled times with Goffin. His frustration at feeling inadequate in the wake of the new artists playing their own work and poets such as Dylan coming on the scene as well as his behaviour in the marriage finally contributed to its end and in a heartening scene her mother reminds her that she did write lyrics once and could again.
Her success in her own right came quickly after and the show tracks her reticence at being a performer to her concert at Carnegie Hall.
I admit to being still at odds with some of the songwriters I like getting the big musical treatment, though on the other hand happy to see people get deserved recognition I haven’t yet seen how ‘musical walking’ fits in – a style of sashaying across the stage that is so prevalent. Let’s face it though, if we don’t see it in real life that is only because we are all doing it in our heads going up the bread aisle at Asda and down the escalators in the Peacocks centre. It’s not just me…everyone does it, definitely.
I liked that it celebrated a diffident success “I’m just a normal person’ a person who had such a talent that she couldn’t not do it and who wrote regardless of fame, whose songs have provided a soundtrack to more than one generation even if they were flashbacks – The Locomotion- I remember jumping up on stage with the band at my sister’s wedding shouting that out, loudly, out of tune for three minutes – whatever- people danced and next day they did a whip round for singing lessons for me – never looked back- ha doubters! Anyway back in the room, Take Good Care of My Baby – sending that via private messenger to a teenage daughter’s boyfriend because I am so hilarious, a view not shared by her – philistines to my comedy. I Feel The Earth Move – doing an aerobics class, leg warmers (remember them) doing a grapevine in the wrong direction and knocking the rest of my line down like dominos, my sister (different sister, I keep spares) rolling her eyes and pretending she didn’t know me Around the theatre people were happily engaged in their own reminiscence.
As a vehicle to celebrate her work it, for those who know of it, and to present just how much she did for all those who didn’t realise, it is excellent. The early pop tunes to the later more introspective work and (ahem..) darker indictments of surburbia like Pleasant Valley Sunday and her release of an updated version of One Small Voice in 2017 on Donald Trump’s inauguration track her career. The cast were dynamic, especially Bronte Barbe in the lead role who reprised her poignantly, you really felt for innocent Carole who wanted to do the best for everyone. At times when the ensembles were singing the sound was very bright and as it only occurred when it was groups on the stage in big numbers – it seemed as if the performers couldn’t hear themselves over the music or the frequency was high, perhaps something only from the first night.
If it were to be said to be a musical about Carole King that centred more around her marriage than her work it wouldn’t be true, the King/Goffin collaboration was a success, it is also a celebration of friendship, You’ve Got A Friend seemed to sum up what her songs have done for people; been there in all aspects of their lives, and her attitude to her work and talent. I went with a friend, felt very friendy when that came on then I accidentally burped and looked at her in disgust so she would get the blame – as I said, friendship.
Beautiful – The Carole King Musical runs from Tues 27 February to Sat 3 March 2018 for tickets contact http://www.atgtickets.com/woking 08448717645
She sleeps silently while the wind rushes
fast and silent across the sea
She sleeps on, eyelash on cheek,
I don’t think she dreams of me
I gave her a kiss and left her there
Never to see her again
But when I left only I said goodbye
silently she slept on
There wasn’t a fight or parting of ways
or sneaking out in the night or break of the day
There were many tears though I left her
away from the fact she’d already gone,
And she sleeps silently despite all she gave
all while I weep mightily
by her grave
Legally Blonde held court in Woking’s New Victoria Theatre on its first night out this week where it plays until Sat 14 October.
Disclaimer: I had to go into this like a puppy for that ‘special’ vet visit – reluctantly but for the good of all, for the good of society even – my daughter* told me I had to review it because the film was what inspired her to want to study law because it showed fashion and law could mix. I have a bit of an anathema to pink but when such a heartfelt plea (guilt trip) is laid on so heavily what can you do? I put it under the ‘things we do for our kids and will mention a lot when I want a visit when they’re old’ file and set forth.
*I’ve got two daughters so whichever one you think it is – it’s the other one in the interests of me getting a good Christmas present.
After noting that in this performance the role of Elle Woods was played by Rebecca Stenhouse and the role of Margot by Sally Frith due to Lucie Jones being unwell (get well soon) we all settled our belongings about us – me ready for a little rest and the daughter on the edge of the seat, bracing herself. A woman near me shifted about in her seat a lot and moaned about not liking the dates she’d had recently ‘I thought – I’m not surprised love you don’t sit still for a minute some of us are trying to rest tsk tsk!’
Bright, fashionable Elle Woods vows to woo back the love of her life Warner Huntington III (Liam Doyle) by following him to study at Harvard Law school. Dismissed as being an airhead she studies hard and manages great results, not sure about the using cheerleaders as a great role model in place of a personal statement (as the eyes next to me slid over in a questioning way I mouthed NO! Very firmly) Elle proves her worth and comes out on top smashing through stereotypes to win her career.
It was lively, pink yes, vibrant definitely and the cast were superb. The variety of characters representing the law students from the typical, entitled, ‘ready for Senate’ to Enid Hoops’ (Nancy Hill) firebrand social justice campaigner (daughter turns with a smirk and says ‘wait, you’re about to come on look – ha ha that’s you that is – see it really is a musical for all!’ like some government appointed musical tzar) worked off each other very well. The dance routines are clever and blimey! The skipping display by Helen Petrovna as Brooke Wyndham was mind boggling – not since our playground cat’s cradle c 1972 or Malcolm McLaren’s Double Dutch has skipping ever raised my blood pressure so much, admittedly in 1972 I didn’t know what blood pressure was and is now only a polite word for a tantrum after falling over (I still say I was pushed by……… no names, can’t afford a solicitor and injurylawyers4U won’t take playground cases and it wouldn’t make a good legal musical so back to this one) but, suffice to say the display on offer in Legally Blonde is incredibly skilful and choreographed without skipping a breath whilst singing a full number – I should coco! Even I leaned forward in my seat – I never lean forward- I am too cool*
Rebecca Stenhouse as Elle was incredible her comic timing was spot on with the others and the whole cast show a chemistry and dynamic that made the whole thing flow. All without exception had great vocal skills. Special mention for strong, more bluesy at times, and sweet vocals also for Rita Simons whose performance as the good hearted but vulnerable Paulette Bonafonte was comedic and poignant and her journey to finally finding the man of her dreams brought us an unexpected step dance in front of the Irish Flag to full Riverdance from the whole cast. Poor old Professor Callahan hoisted by his own petard and the solidarity of his students who initially turning on Elle recognised unfairness, sexism and that they have had their day and kicked him into touch. Bill Ward played him admirably. People of my cultural magnitude will remember him as Charlie Stubbs (nasty builder who came to a bad end) in Coronation Street but who has had a varied and rich TV and theatre career from Sophocles to Shakespeare and beyond and now, Woking and he performs with menace and elan.
The juxtaposition between Elle’s likes and lifestyle and the stuffy halls of Harvard Law School were lightly seamed together (fashion expression – skills) by using the old Greek chorus device (of sorority friends) and sliding Cupids with silver lame shorts
So as it ended and the show, especially Rebecca Stenhouse, got a well deserved standing ovation from an enthusiastic audience of people from the very young to well, people older than that, (who were clearly fans of the film – a man walked in saying ‘are there any blokes in here at all?’ – there was I saw loads) I had to concede that the stage show was excellent, uplifting, funny and vibrant and the ways the story were told told differently from the film worked really really well. I still grunted when my daughter said ‘see saving the world isn’t all wearing black and shouting ‘keep the faith’ at each other at grungey gigs is it Mum?’ I may have grunted in agreement but she still can’t have a chihuahua at University so, ha- I win!
When I got home I tried to do the ‘bend and snap’ but only the cat was there and he’s European so didn’t notice and my leggings weren’t really up to the job – who can I sue? This has made me very litigious this theatre show, I’m going to be tripping over in supermarkets and falling off pub tables on a regular basis from now on and saying m’lud -oh ok maybe the latter is a current pastime rather than an actual industrial injury.
If you are like me you don’t really need to wait for a guilt trip (heavily laden) to be visited on you to see this show, I’d go along and enjoy yourselves, even if just to look at the face of a loved one having a brilliant time. Legally Blonde is on at New Victoria Theatre Woking until Saturday 14 October 2017 tickets can be bought from http://www.atgtickets.com