Friday 29 November 2019

Wednesday night's set lists at The Habit, York

The Elderly Brothers (1): -
He'll Have To Go
All I Have To Do Is Dream
Walk Right Back
I Saw Her Standing There

Ron Elderly: -
Just My Imagination
One More Cup Of Coffee
Wagon Wheel

Da Elderly: -
Ain't She Sweet
You're Sixty
I Don't Want To Talk About It

The Elderly Brothers (2): -
Hello Mary Lou
Crying In The Rain
Let It Be Me
Bye Bye Love

The start of proceedings was delayed due to a PA malfunction requiring host Simon (pictured later in the evening) to ring around for help and then go and fetch a replacement. In the meantime The Elderly Brothers performed an impromptu unplugged set and were just completing I Saw Her Standing There when Simon returned. There was a decent crowd of punters in the bar, but not many players; a visiting party from Ireland persuaded one of their number to do a couple of numbers - she sang a beautiful version of Dougie MacLean's Caledonia. A local lad got folks singing with some very catchy tunes of his own. There were a couple of novelties too, a comedian and two poem readings. After a 3 week lay-off, The Elderlys closed the show with a run through some songs which we don't play all that often.

Wednesday 27 November 2019

Clive James RIP

Mr. James in 2007 with a copy of “Cultural Amnesia,” in which he profiled more than a hundred representative 20th-century figures, most of them literary, arranged alphabetically.
Clive James, Literary Critic Who Took His Wit to TV, Dies at 80
A transplanted Australian, he had a zest for the knockout punch as he sparred with all things cultural, creating a pungent comic persona on British television.

By William Grimes
of the New York Times...
27 November 2019

Clive James, a transplanted Australian whose wit and aphoristic style made him a fixture in Britain as a literary critic of unusually wide range, a longtime television writer for The Observer and a reliable comic presence on numerous television shows, notably “Clive James on Television,” died on Sunday in Cambridge, England. He was 80.

His literary agents confirmed the death in a statement posted on Twitter on Wednesday. In 2010, Mr. James learned he had leukemia, kidney failure and emphysema.

Mr. James shared with his Australian compatriot Robert Hughes a pithy, muscular prose style and a zest for landing the knockout punch, the key to his success as The Observer’s television critic from 1972 to 1982.

He once dismissed a tedious public affairs program as “the mental equivalent of navel fluff.” He described William Shatner’s acting technique in “Star Trek” as “picked up from someone who once worked with somebody who knew Lee Strasberg’s sister.”

Unlike his British counterparts, who tended to sneer at popular programming, Mr. James regarded the entirety of television as precious raw material waiting to be mined. He found the peculiar language of sports commentators and Barbara Woodhouse’s dog-training show just as fascinating as a plush historical drama from the BBC. The Observer column, Mr. James wrote in “The Blaze of Obscurity” (2009), the fifth installment of his memoirs, was “the real backbone of my career as a writer.”

That career was varied. He published several volumes of poetry, including a series of mock epics and, as a lyricist, collaborated with the singer-songwriter Pete Atkin on six albums. He wrote a handful of novels, including “Brilliant Creatures” and “The Remake,” sendups of the London literary world.

Most of his non-television writing, however, was devoted to literary criticism, some of which appeared in American publications like The New Yorker, The Atlantic and The New York Review of Books.

His catholic tastes, and his enthusiasm for learning new languages, led him to take on figures as various as Edmund Wilson, Raymond Chandler and Primo Levi.

His range was on full display in “Cultural Amnesia” (2007), in which he profiled more than a hundred representative 20th-century figures, most of them literary, arranged alphabetically from Anna Akhmatova to Stefan Zweig.

Among other things, the book was a conscious attempt by Mr. James to re-stake his claim as a serious literary critic, which, in his own mind at least, had been damaged by his reputation as a television personality.

His gift for the one-liner and his lightning-fast footwork turned him into a one-man franchise. “Clive James on Television,” a quirky review of strange foreign television shows and advertisements, made him a household name and led to several sequels, as well as the travel series “Clive James’ Postcard” and a regular spot as a host of the weekly news review “The Late Show.” American viewers saw him in 1993 when PBS picked up his eight-part series “Fame in the 20th Century.”

Success came at a price. In “The Blaze of Obscurity,” he wrote: “The effect on my literary reputation was immediate. It was thoroughly compromised, and even now, after a quarter of a century, it has only just begun to recover.”

Vivian Leopold James was born on Oct. 7, 1939, in Kogarah, a suburb of Sydney, Australia. His father was taken prisoner by the Japanese at the beginning of World War II and died when the American transport plane carrying him back to Australia crashed into Manila Bay.

The elder Mr. James’s only son was named in honor of Vivian McGrath, an Australian tennis champion, but the name became untenable when “Gone With the Wind” made Vivien Leigh an international star shortly afterward. Allowed to choose a replacement, Vivian settled on Clive.

After graduating from the University of Sydney and working briefly as an assistant editor on The Sydney Morning Herald, Mr. James set sail for London in 1962.

The first volume of his autobiography, “Unreliable Memoirs,” which was published in 1980 and rose to the top of the best-seller list in Britain, described his childhood in Australia. Its sequel, “Falling Towards England,” covered, in often painful detail, his mostly unsuccessful attempts to gain traction in London, where he shared a flat with the future filmmaker Bruce Beresford.

Pembroke College, Cambridge, came to the rescue, offering him a place. Mr. James did manage to earn a degree and even embarked on a doctoral dissertation (never completed) on Shelley, but the real value of his second crack at higher education was the opportunity to do anything and everything. Cambridge was, he wrote in “May Week Was in June,” his third volume of memoirs, “the one place where I could be everything I wanted to be all at once.”

Eric Idle, the future Monty Python star, welcomed him into Footlights, the student theatrical troupe; he became its president. He pressed his poems on every journal available and parlayed his enthusiasm for Hollywood potboilers and arcane Japanese directors into a position as the film critic for The Cambridge Review. Looking back in “May Week Was in June,” he wrote: “I was tireless. I was tiresome. I was omniscient. I was a pain in the arse.”

A scrambling career in literary journalism followed, recounted in “North Face of Soho.” He was perhaps the least recognized name in the constellation of young stars that included Martin Amis, James Fenton and Christopher Hitchens, although it was he, he wrote in “North Face of Soho,” who created the weekly lunch that became the London equivalent of the Algonquin Round Table.

His essays were first collected in “The Metropolitan Critic” (1974). Later collections included “At the Pillars of Hercules” (1977) and “From the Land of Shadows” (1982). His television criticism, issued in book form in “Visions Before Midnight” (1977), “The Crystal Bucket” (1981) and “Glued to the Box” (1983), was gathered in a single volume, “On Television,” in 1991.

Mr. James, who lived in London and Cambridge, is survived by his wife, the Dante scholar Prue Shaw, and their two daughters, Claerwen and Lucinda. In 2012, he and his wife separated after Leanne Edelsten, an Australian socialite and former model, revealed on Australian television that she and Mr. James had carried on an affair for eight years.

Mr. James continued to write and publish poetry, much of it valedictory. “Japanese Maple,” a poignant meditation on his impending death, ran in The New Yorker in September 2014 and appeared in the collection “Sentenced to Life: Poems” (2015).
The New Statesman published two others in August of that year, including “The Emperor’s Last Words,” in which he contemplates, among other things, Napoleon, a niece’s ambitions to be a writer and his own mortality, writing: “It’s time to go. High time to go. High time.”

He never lost his enthusiasm for television, which he reviewed weekly for The Daily Telegraph from 2011 until May 2014. This time around, he turned a somewhat kindlier eye on topics as various as the Eurovision Song Contest, the Royal Jubilee and Barry Manilow, whom he had once savaged but was now prepared to appreciate.

“What you’re hearing from me now is atonement,” he wrote. “Time has happened to me, and as the dark closes in I am trying to behave better.”

In May, he told an audience at a literary festival in London, “One of my ambitions, at this age and in this condition, short of breath and perhaps not long for this world, is to live until Box 4 of ‘Game of Thrones.’”

Japanese Maple

Your death, near now, is of an easy sort.
So slow a fading out brings no real pain.
Breath growing short
Is just uncomfortable. You feel the drain
Of energy, but thought and sight remain:

Enhanced, in fact. When did you ever see
So much sweet beauty as when fine rain falls
On that small tree
And saturates your brick back garden walls,
So many Amber Rooms and mirror halls?

Ever more lavish as the dusk descends
This glistening illuminates the air.
It never ends.
Whenever the rain comes it will be there,
Beyond my time, but now I take my share.

My daughter’s choice, the maple tree is new.
Come autumn and its leaves will turn to flame.
What I must do
Is live to see that.That will end the game
For me, though life continues all the same:

Filling the double doors to bathe my eyes,
A final flood of colors will live on
As my mind dies,
Burned by my vision of a world that shone
So brightly at the last, and then was gone.

© Clive James, 2014

Saturday 23 November 2019

Michael J. Pollard RIP

Image result for michael j. pollard#
Michael J. Pollard, Character Actor in ‘Bonnie and Clyde,’ Dies at 80
A familiar face in movies and on television, he rose to fame in 1967 as the outlaw couple’s dimwitted accomplice, earning an Oscar nomination.

By Katharine Q. Seelye
The New York Times
22 Nov. 2019

Michael J. Pollard, who rose to fame in the 1967 hit film “Bonnie and Clyde” as C.W. Moss, the dimwitted gas station attendant who became a criminal accomplice, and went on to a long career as a Hollywood character actor, died on Wednesday at a hospital in Los Angeles. He was 80.

A friend, Dawn Walker, said in an interview that the cause was cardiac arrest.

Mr. Pollard had been a familiar face on television since the late 1950s. He most often played likable but socially inept characters, and usually ranked fairly far down on the cast list. In two separate shows, he played the cousin of a beloved supporting character — Jerome Krebs, cousin to Maynard G. Krebs (Bob Denver) on “The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis,” and Virgil, cousin to Deputy Barney Fife (Don Knotts), on “The Andy Griffith Show.”

He also had a memorable role in the first season of the television series “Star Trek,” in 1966, playing a creepy, mischievous teenage cult leader on a planet of children.
Bonnie and Clyde (1967)

But his performance in “Bonnie and Clyde,” which earned him an Academy Award nomination for best supporting actor, raised his profile — and changed the way Hollywood saw him.

In a 1968 interview with The New York Times, Mr. Pollard noted that directors had once been frustrated by his slow, somewhat eccentric way of delivering lines, but that the success of “Bonnie and Clyde” had changed that.

“They say, ‘Just do your thing, Michael, whatever it is,’” he said. “Same thing I’ve been doing for 10 years, man.”

“His thing” was evident in a scene in “Bonnie and Clyde” in which Mr. Pollard, who is supposed to be driving the getaway car for the two outlaws, ends up parking the car.

“We made that up,” Mr. Pollard told the film critic Roger Ebert in 1969. “See, I can’t drive a car. There was this guy teaching me, but I couldn’t learn. So here I was stuck in the parking place, and Penn” — Arthur Penn, the director — “said, ‘O.K., do it that way.’”

The writer Nora Ephron said it was Mr. Pollard’s face that grabbed one’s attention. “Potato face,” she wrote in 1970 in The New York Post. “And a little like a cherub blowing friendly winds on old-fashioned maps. A little hilarious.”

He told Ms. Ephron that he thought his face was weird. “When it was young it bothered me,” he said. “But then I became an actor and everyone started saying, ‘What a face. Wow.’ I believed all my publicity.”

He was born Michael John Pollack Jr. on May 30, 1939, in Passaic, N.J. His father was a bartender and his mother, Sonia (Dubanowich) Pollack, was a homemaker.

He is survived by a daughter, Holly, from his marriage to the actress Beth Howland, and a son, Axel Emmett, from another marriage. Both marriages ended in divorce. His sister, Ruth Coughlin, died in 2014.

He graduated from Montclair Academy in New Jersey and decided he wanted to be an actor after seeing Marlon Brando in the 1954 movie “On the Waterfront.” He enrolled at the Actors Studio in New York, where he studied with Lee Strasberg, among others.
Between the Lines (1977)

At the Actors Studio he did a scene with Marilyn Monroe, at her request. According to Ms. Ephron, when Ms. Monroe had called him up to do the scene, she said: “Hello, this is Marilyn. The girl from class.”

He quickly proved his versatility by scoring both comic and dramatic roles in television, film and the theater, starting in 1958. He went on to act in more than 200 films and television shows.

His early TV appearances included roles in the anthology series “Lux Playhouse,” the Cold War dramatic series “Five Fingers” and a 1959 television play by Archibald MacLeish, “Secret of Freedom,” in which he played a shoeshine boy.

He appeared in two episodes of “Alfred Hitchcock Presents,” again playing a shoeshine boy in one and a 13-year-old boy in the other. Thanks to his slight build, Mr. Pollard, who was 20 at the time, easily passed for characters much younger.

On Broadway, he landed a non-singing role in the original Broadway production of “Bye Bye Birdie.” A 1960 blurb in Playbill noted that he “began the season with a set of splendid notices for his performance in William Inge’s ‘A Loss of Roses.’”
Little Fauss and Big Halsy (1970)

Playbill added: “Following the strong impression he made as Homer Macauley in the television version of Saroyan’s ‘The Human Comedy,’ he was recruited for the Circle in the Square’s revival of ‘Our Town.’”

Multiple roles followed in quick, even overlapping, succession. They included a part in the Walt Disney family musical “Summer Magic,” opposite Hayley Mills, and another in the TV series “I Spy,” which starred Bill Cosby and Robert Culp.

In 1966, Mr. Pollard played an uncredited but memorable bit as an airplane mechanic with a runny nose in the Norman Jewison comedy “The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming.”

His breakout performance in “Bonnie and Clyde,” with a cast led by Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway and also including Gene Hackman and Estelle Parsons, won Mr. Pollard not only an Oscar nomination but also a BAFTA Award, Britain’s equivalent of an Academy Award, for most promising newcomer in a leading film role.

That same year, he landed a lead role in Derek May’s “Niagara Falls,” a kind of anti-travelogue in which fictional interviews are interspersed with documentary footage.

One of Mr. Pollard’s most popular movies was “Little Fauss and Big Halsy” (1970), a motorcycle racing movie with Robert Redford that developed a cult following. (Mr. Pollard played the woebegone Fauss to Mr. Redford’s womanizing Halsy.)
Melvin and Howard (1980)

He went on to prominent roles in films like “Dirty Little Billy” (1972), “Roxanne” (1987) and “Melvin and Howard” (1980), the story of Melvin Dummar, a gas station owner in Utah who claimed to be Howard Hughes’s beneficiary. Mr. Pollard played the buddy of Mr. Dummar (Paul Le Mat).

In 1990 he played the surveillance expert Bug Bailey in “Dick Tracy,” Mr. Beatty’s adaptation of the comic strip (in which he also starred). More recently Mr. Pollard had a role in the 2003 cult horror film “House of 1000 Corpses.” He was last seen in the thriller “The Woods” in 2012; he also has roles in two films that have not yet been released, according to the Internet Movie Database.
Dirty Little Billy (1972)

Mr. Ebert, the critic, was more or less smitten from the start with Mr. Pollard, who was largely unknown until “Bonnie and Clyde.”

In his review of “Enter Laughing,” Carl Reiner’s semi-autobiographical 1967 movie about a young man’s entry into show business, Mr. Ebert wrote that Mr. Pollard, who had a supporting role, “brings his squint and grin to the part of Marvin, our hero’s buddy, and steals every scene.”

“There is something about Pollard that is absolutely original,” Mr. Ebert added, “and seems to strike audiences as irresistibly funny and deserving of affection.”

Wednesday 20 November 2019

Terry O'Neill RIP

Terry O'Neill

The Rolling Stones, London, 1964

Elton John, Caribou Ranch, 1974

Faye Dunaway, Beverly Hills, 1977

David Bowie, Los Angeles, 1976

Raquel Welch, mid-60s

Bowie and William Burroughs, 1974

Jean Shrimpton, London, 1964

Frank Sinatra, Miami Beach, 1968

Audrey Hepburn, 1967

Dudley Moore and Peter Cook, Beverly Hills, 1979

Tony Curtis, 1968

Brigitte Bardot, 1971

Michael Caine and Camilla Sparv, 1966

Steve McQueen, Hollywood, 1969

Diana Ross, London, 1971

Richard Helms and Robert Redford, 1974

Chuck Berry, 1986

Amy Winehouse, London, 2008

The Beatles, Abbey Road, 1963

Paul Newman and Lee Marvin, Tucson, 1972

Sammy Davis, Jr., London, 1961