Friday, March 30, 2012

knock it off

I was wondering if there might be a song or a poem that expresses the sentiment,

"knock it off and stop it."

So I went on Google and typed in

knock it off and stop it,


lo and behold

there is a song called

"Stop It!!! (Knock it off)"


It is by someone named Rosie Okumura, and she has an "Official" Music Video.

It seems there is a little of everything, out there. ...


Thursday, March 29, 2012

nothing, nothing...

Yesterday I was typing a post here and I said I saw five movies that I thought were really good, during an 11-year time span.

I was not specific enough -- actually I saw many more movies that I thought were really good, during that time space -- films from all different years and eras. The difference with the five I've noted here,
The Last Waltz
Body Heat
The Big Chill
When Harry Met Sally...

was that I saw them at, or close to, the time when they came out, from Hollywood into the theaters.

In that time frame, saw many old movies that were great, but what I was talking about with these five particular ones was that, I saw them when they were new, & I sort of unconsciously constructed a (mistaken) idea (or assumption) in my head that the film industry was just going to keep on giving me more films that were going to be an elevating experience. That's where my mistake lay.

I feel frustrated and "brick-wall-ish" (like hitting head against brick wall) because I want to discuss & explain why these movies seemed, to me, so great -- but it's hard.

Intellectuals and (heaven help us) critics talk about movies in long words and melodious phrases
whereas I reach for words, sentences, and all kindsa melodious shit, and can only stand speechless and occasionally murmur, about one of these movies, "That was --
really --

That was -- really, really good.

That was really, really, really good."

Nothing like dazzling rhetoric.

(Harry and Sally ordering dinner in a road-side restaurant):
Hi, what can I get you?

I'll have a number three.

I'd like the chef salad please with the oil and vinegar on the side and the apple pie a la mode.

Chef and apple a la mode.

But I'd like the pie heated and I don't want the ice cream on top

I want it on the side

and I'd like strawberry instead of vanilla

if you have it

if not then no ice cream just

whipped cream but only if it's real

if it's out of a can

then nothing.

Not even the pie?

No, just the pie, but then not heated.

Uh huh.

[Harry's staring at Sally, across the table.]


Nothing. Nothing....


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

movies you run into

In an 11-year time span I saw five movies that I thought were really, really good, and then I kept going to other movies, expecting them all to be that good.

The Last Waltz (The Band, concert & interview)
Body Heat
The Big Chill
When Harry Met Sally...

After a while, realized, OK, every movie isn't that good, or -- doesn't affect you in such an intense way, because -- they're all different, and you can't expect that same high level every time. (Or -- you can expect it, but you won't get it, leading to a disappointed feeling. ...)

In that same time frame, I saw two Woody Allen films,
Annie Hall

I almost was going to include them on this list and make it seven instead of five, but decided no, even as I was seeing these two Allen classics I knew other films weren't going to be like that, & was therefore not disappointed when they weren't like that. I could see, even with my very young and inexperienced viewpoint, that Woody Allen's work is in a class by itself.


[Body Heat, restaurant scene]

He didn't have the goods, this guy.
He was like a lot of guys you run
into -- they want to get rich, they
want to do it quick, they want to be
there with one score.

He puts his glasses back on, stares at Racine.

But they're not willing to do what's
necessary. Do you know what I mean?

I'm not sure. You mean, lay the
groundwork? Earn it?

(with a small laugh), No. I mean do what's necessary.
Whatever's necessary.


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

just like my place

Last night it was so windy, in town it seemed like the wind was battering and howling in the tree-tops but not as strong on the ground. Maybe it's muffled, or de-aggregated (disaggregated?) and dispersed, at ground-level. ...

Someone in the neighborhood has wind chimes. They were "cling-ting-ing" in the whirling gusts last night and made me think I wanted to watch Body Heat.

(In the film, Matty Walker has a large collection -- a choir -- of chimes on her deck. ...)

When I thought of the film, it was quiet out but suddenly two cars appeared, one from the south & one from the west, and they both sped abruptly up the street, one after the other, heading for...? And I wondered if they were hurrying home to put Body Heat into their DVD players, as well.

-------- (In the first driver's living room): --------

Tell me, does chat like that work
with most women?

Some. If they haven't been around

I wondered. Thought maybe I was out
of touch.

How 'bout I buy you a drink?

I told you. I've got a husband.

I'll buy him one too.

He's out of town.

My favorite kind. We'll drink to

He only comes up on the weekends.

(laughs) - I'm liking him better all the time.
You better take me up on this quick.
In another forty-five minutes I'm
going to give up and go away.


-------- (In the second driver's kitchen): --------

Look who's here. Isn't this a

Racine looks at her, almost as though he can't place her.
But he doesn't push that effect hard. He lights a

I know you.

You're the one that doesn't like to
talk about the heat. Too bad. I'd
tell you about my chimes.

What about them?

The wind chimes on my porch. They
keep ringing and I go out there
expecting a cool breeze. That's
what they've always meant. But not
this year. This year it's just
hot air.

Do I remind you of hot air?

The Bartender has come up.

Bourbon, any kind, on the rocks.
(to Matty)

She thinks, then nods her agreement. The Bartender moves

What are you doing in Pinehaven?

I'm no yokel. I was all the
way to Miami once.

-------- (On my TV): --------

Matty comes in and puts her purse on a hall table as Racine
moves forward to look around.

A super-affluent interior.

Just like my place.

He follows her up a flight stairs and along a hallway to an outdoor deck where the chimes dangle and weave and “ching” together.

No help?

She goes home nights.

You're not nervous here alone?



You do have chimes.

He looks out at the boat house.

What's that?

A gazebo.

No, out there.

Boat house.

What's in there?


Racine moves back and stands very close to her. He looks
at her in the moonlight, but she concentrates on the
distant water.

I think you should go now.

I just got here.

You've seen them. Please go.


Racine stops next to Matty. She doesn't move away.

Thank you. I'm sorry, I shouldn't
have let you come.

You're not so tough after all, are

No, I'm weak.

She kisses him on the lips and steps quickly inside the
front door. She closes it, looks through the window at
him, then moves away.



Monday, March 26, 2012

no more hand-made clothes

When I was writing on Friday about
people who like to do something and teach about it,
and people who like to do the thing,
but aren't moved to write books or "have their own website," they just want to
Do the Thing,
thinking about my friend who "out-Marthas" Martha Stewart -- she even made her own wedding gown, when she got married when she was (I think) 19 years old.

Not everyone would be up to that.

That's called knowing what you value and having the confidence to -- Do The Thing.

In Fiddler On The Roof when Motel the tailor gets a sewing machine (at long last) he's so excited -- he shows his neighbors, the other villagers, how it works and says joyfully with visage aglow, "No more hand-made clothes!"
The way he says it, it's a laugh-line, because of course from the modern perspective we know that the finest clothes in the world (haute couture) are "hand-made" --
hand-made is good...
but in early 20th century Russia, where sewing machines were new, and not plentiful, it was a situation where "modern technology" was making things easier and faster and that seemed better, at the moment, than "hand-made."

And thinking about people doing-and-teaching, or not, made me remember the movie Julie & Julia, too, because in the film "Julia Child," (played by Meryl Streep), wants to learn French cooking and then begin teaching it immediately.

"We're going to teach Americans in Paris how to cook!" she says.

For Julia Child, learning passed straight through to teaching...


Friday, March 23, 2012

you should have your own website

One of the people I see at work, sometimes, is very talented with style and fashion and accessories. She has a real flair; so when she came into the building today I mentioned to her, "You should have your own web-site! All about fashion and style and beauty, you could put pictures, & talk about different ideas -- write about them..."

She looked up at me, politely feigning interest.
"Oh -- uh-huh? But --
I wouldn't have the time, I have a little one."

She has family, home, and a job: her "plate" is full.

And -- just because a person is good at something, themselves, doesn't mean they want to "proselytize" about it to other people, so to speak.

Some people want to do, and teach, or share.
Others want to just -- do.

She's kind of like someone else whom I've known a long time, a friend who is really good at a lot of things -- drawing and painting and art and cooking and baking and decorating and gardening and sewing and quilting and photography and even fixing things. (Holy Toledo, once I started that sentence, almost thought could never escape it! This person does a lot of things, no kidding!)

People who have been guests in her home so commonly compare her to Martha Stewart. And there is always someone or other telling her, "You should start your own business!" (Think at times she may feel a tad harangued by the "you-should-start-your-own-business" chorus and refrain....I try to restrain myself, now, from saying it to her -- and just say, "That is very beautiful." Or, "This is delicious."

She doesn't want to convert the rest of the world to her way of doing things, or teach them all, or seek fame.

What she wants to do, is to -- do -- the thing.
It's a very pure experience, I think, (like a sandwich with only one thing on it -- roast beef, or cheese. Just one thing besides the mayo or honey mustard)....

A person has only so much time, and if we live in line with the personal priorities which are closest to our own hearts & uppermost in our minds, then we cannot all "start businesses," or, have a magazine, or be on TV, or "take over the internet." ("Hi -- yaaghh!")

Now -- Martha Stewart -- no one knows if she really tests all the recipes she prints or discusses, but -- she is one who could "take over the internet" if she was of a mind to do so. (Has anyone considered what would happen if Martha Stewart was put in charge of the State Department? She'd get those middle eastern jihadists makin' doilies and shut 'em all up. ...)

Like where it says in Isaiah, "and they shall beat their swords into plowshares..." the middle eastern radicals could "beat their bombs into doilies..." or --something...


Thursday, March 22, 2012

to sit with a dog on a hillside

The other day I saw this quote:

"Dogs are our link to paradise.
They don't know evil or jealousy or discontent.

To sit

with a dog

on a hillside

on a glorious afternoon

is to be back in Eden, where

doing nothing

was not boring--it was peace."

-Milan Kundera

---------------- And today -- rain, and a hovering purple/gray sky.

Well, I love a rainy night
I love a rainy night
I love to hear the thunder
Watch the lightning
When it lights up the sky
You know it makes me feel good

Well, I love a rainy night
It's such a beautiful sight
I love to feel the rain
On my face
Taste the rain on my lips
In the moonlight shadow

Showers washed
All my cares away
I wake up to a sunny day
'Cos I love a rainy night
Yeah, I love a rainy night
Well, I love a rainy night
Well, I love a rainy night


I love a rainy night
I love a rainy night
I love to hear the thunder
Watch the lightning
When it lights up the sky
You know it makes me feel good

Well, I love a rainy night
It's such a beautiful sight
I love to feel the rain
On my face
To taste the rain on my lips
In the moonlight shadows

Puts a song
In this heart of mine
Puts a smile on my face every time

'Cos I love a rainy night
Yeah, I love a rainy night
Ooh, I love a rainy night
Yeah, I love a rainy night


[Instrumental Interlude]

Showers washed
All my cares away
I wake up to a sunny day
'Cos I love a rainy night
Yeah, I love a rainy night
Well, I love a rainy night
I love a rainy night
Well, I love a rainy night
You can see it in my eyes
Yeah, I love a rainy night
Well, it makes me high
Ooh, I love a rainy night
You know I do, yeah, yeah
I love a rainy night

I love a rainy night
You can see it in my eyes.

["I Love a Rainy Night." November, 1980.
Elektra Records. Recorded, Eddie Rabbitt.
Written by: David Malloy,
Eddie Rabbitt, and Even Stevens.]


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

riding high

{excerpt, Kurt Loder and Tina Turner}-------------"A Fool in Love," the debut single by Ike and Tina Turner, was released late in the summer of 1960.

It was an extraordinarily raw and primitive record -- as crudely galvanizing, in its way, as some of the early Howlin' Wolf sides Ike had once worked on. With Jessie Knight's over-amped bass rumbling through the mix, Gene Washington tapping out crisp paradiddles on the rim of his snare, and the three Artettes providing tight unison backup to Tina's unearthly wail -- "Yay-ay-hey-hey-heyyyy!" -- "A Fool in Love" was the blackest record to creep into the white pop charts since Ray Charles's gospel-styled "What'd I Say" the previous summer.

..."A Fool in Love" started making noise the minute it was released. At last, Ike was going to have a hit with his name on it -- a hit that he controlled.

...[Ike Turner]: "Well, when B.B. [King] and his band come off at intermission, they let my band play. We were doin' jukebox: Amos Milburn, Jimmy Liggins, Roy Milton -- all these cats were big then. After we played, B.B. says, 'Boy, y'all need to record.'"

So, in March 1951, Ike Turner and the Kings of Rhythm -- sax players Raymond Hill, Jackie Brenston, and Eugene Fox, guitarist Willie Kizart, drummer Willie Sims, and Ike's nephew Jessie Knight on bass -- piled into Hill's Buick in Clarksdale, along with all of their equipment, and set off on a rainy Wednesday for Memphis to meet B.B. King's record producer, Mr. Sam Phillips, and maybe even make a record.

"It was rainin' like heck," says Ike. "A tire blew out, and the bass amp fell off the top of the car -- we had all kinds of troubles. We got to Memphis and set up and started playing, and that's where we wrote 'Rocket 88.' The song was Jackie Brenston's idea -- he was always talkin' stupid stuff like that."

"Ike had a pretty good, together band," Sam Phillips remembers. "But I listened to Ike sing in the studio, and I told him in no uncertain terms that I just didn't hear him as a singer. The inflections weren't there, the phrasing, none of it. But he was a whale of a damn musician -- one of the best piano players that I had heard up to that time. So he told me that Jackie could sing, and that's when we cut 'Rocket 88.'...The Rocket 88 Oldsmobile had just come out, and everybody wanted one. I thought, 'Man, what a topical subject.'

"Then I said, 'Ike, now I want some damn piano.' And he got up there: dooda-dooda-doo-doot -- this was before Jerry Lee Lewis, man. And I heard them damn saxophones, and I said, 'Damn, that's good.' It may not win any high-fidelity awards, but I'll tell you, 'Rocket 88' is a hell of a record."

Released on the Chess label, "Rocket 88"...rose to number one on the R & B charts in June 1951. Unfortunately, to Ike's dismay, the record was credited not to the Kings of Rhythm, but to the nonexistent entity of "Jackie Brenston with the Delta Cats." Worse yet, while Phillips estimated that the single ultimately sold half a milion copies (at a time when anything over 50,000 constituted a hit for Chess), Ike and most of his band cleared a grand total of $20 apiece from the record's success.


[Ike Turner]: Man, I sat there and wrote that song ["A Fool in Love"] for Art Lassiter, and then he was gonna beat me outta some money. So I had Ann [Tina] do it. This was out at Technisonic, and the guy that owned the place, all he ever cut out there was TV commercials. When she started singin', "Hey-hey-heyyy-hey-heyyyy" -- boy, he turned red. "Goddam it," he said, "don't you scream on my mike!"

--------------[close excerpt]

When they put out "A Fool In Love" Ike came up with a new name for the group: it was now "Ike and Tina Turner."

------------- [open excerpt]: [Tina]: So I had to get myself ready. For a costume, I designed a kind of sack dress and put chiffon over the top -- people didn't realize I was pregnant for a long time. And the next day we left, the musicians first, packed into a station wagon with all their gear, and then Ike in his Cadillac an hour or two behind them....

On the way to Cincinnati there was an accident; the station wagon turned over.

None of the guys got really hurt, but they were all skinned and bruised. We finally got to Cincinnati, though, and that's where we played the first Ike and Tina Turner show. Some of the band guys weren't too clear about this new billing --

they thought I'd changed my name to "Ockateena" or something.

They played the date in their wrinkled clothes, all torn and beaten -- and the people loved us. Our record was way up in the charts by then. We were riding high.

------------------[end excerpt]
{I, Tina. By Tina Turner, with Kurt
Loder. Copyright 1986, William Morrow,
New York}


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

back seat glower

{excerpt}---------The old Earl,

[grandfather of Diana, Princess of Wales]

Jack Spencer, had "a very peculiar temperament," according to his own sister, Lady Margaret Douglas-Home. "He didn't see the point of ordinary people." Diana's younger brother, Charles, remembers their grandfather as "a figure of awe. His moustache bristled. His stomach bulged under out-sized trousers and he had the uncompromising air of a man who had no time whatever for fools."

He was so relentlessly taciturn he outlawed small talk; on one occasion

relished by the staff,

he instructed the chauffeur of his Rolls to stop so he could get out and

relieve himself behind a tree.

The wind slammed the car door and the chauffeur assumed that as usual His Lordship was once again glowering in the back seat. He drove off without a backward look, leaving his irate employer

stranded on the A40.

------- {end excerpt}

[The Diana Chronicles, by Tina Brown.
Copyright 2007, Random House, New York]


Monday, March 19, 2012

working over-time

"Takin' care of business,
and workin' over-time --
work out!"
This song jumped out from my memory this afternoon, as I was thinking about all the people in the company where I work, "working over-time," or -- working more hours than usual. A couple of departments going 7 - days - a - week for a while.

Someone said Friday, regarding how long the 7daysaweek would continue, that they heard it would be through May.

And the other person said, "Well that's better than what I heard -- I heard nine months!"

Rumors always helpful to morale. ...

For many of the people, more hours means more money. More is everyone's favorite kind of money, and yet enthusiasm for 7-days-a-week wanes swiftly.

People shake their heads, negative, and say, "It's not worth it."

Managers and Human Resource people "get the hint" when 57 people "call in" (sick / or other) in one day! (Approx. one-fifth of one dept.'s work force, am guessing...) Antennas go up on people's heads and they say, "Hmmh. I seem to be receiving some sort of -- message."

Bee-beep, beep!

----------------You get up every morning
From your alarm clock's warning
Take the 8:15 into the city
There's a whistle up above
And people pushin', people shovin'
And the girls who try to look pretty

And if your train's on time
You can get to work by nine
And start your slaving job to get your pay
If you ever get annoyed
Look at me I'm self-employed
I love to work at nothing all day

And I'll be...
Taking care of business every day
Taking care of business every way
I've been taking care of business, it's all mine
Taking care of business and working overtime
Work out!

If it were easy as fishin'
You could be a musician
If you could make sounds loud or mellow
Get a second-hand guitar
Chances are you'll go far
If you get in with the right bunch of fellows

People see you having fun
Just a-lying in the sun
Tell them that you like it this way
It's the work that we avoid
And we're all self-employed
We love to work at nothing all day

And we be...

[Spoken] Take good care of my business
When I'm away, every day whoo!

[Repeat first 2 verses]


Takin' care of business [4x]


Takin' care of business [repeat, fade]
[Bachman-Turner Overdrive. On their
Bachman-Turner Overdrive II album, 1973.]

When I was in high school, I thought this song, and "Cover Of The Rolling Stone" by Dr. Hook were -- like -- pretty -- hard -- rock.
(GAL. Giggling A Little.)


The other weird thing was, 57 people called in, on Sunday, and when I heard that I was -- Umm, 57 -- what does that sound like? 57 -- 57...

57 channels and nothing on.

I bought a bourgeois house in the Hollywood hills
With a truckload of hundred thousand dollar bills
Man came by to hook up my cable TV
We settled in for the night my baby and me
We switched 'round and 'round 'til half-past dawn
There was fifty-seven channels and nothin' on
Fifty-seven channels and nothin' on
Fifty-seven channels and nothin' on

Well now home entertainment was my baby's wish
So I hopped into town for a satellite dish
I tied it to the top of my Japanese car
I came home and I pointed it out into the stars
A message came back from the great beyond
There's fifty-seven channels and nothin' on
Fifty-seven channels and nothin' on
Fifty-seven channels and nothin' on

Well we might'a made some friends with some billionaires
We might'a got all nice and friendly if we'd made it upstairs
All I got was a note that said "Bye-bye John
Our love's fifty-seven channels and nothin' on"
(Fifty-seven channels and nothin' on)

So I bought a .44 magnum, it was solid steel cast
And in the blessed name of Elvis well I just let it blast
'Til my TV lay in pieces there at my feet
And they busted me for disturbin' the almighty peace
Judge said "What you got in your defense son?"
"Fifty-seven channels and nothin' on"
Fifty-seven channels and nothin' on
Fifty-seven channels and nothin' on

I can see by your eyes friend you're just about gone
Fifty-seven channels and nothin' on
Fifty-seven channels and nothin' on
Fifty-seven channels and nothin' on
Fifty-seven channels and nothin' on
Fifty-seven channels and...
["Fifty-seven Channels and Nothing On"
Bruce Springsteen. Human Touch album, 1992.]

Bruce -- just cancel your cable! Cheaper. Quieter.


Friday, March 16, 2012

dedication; magic; frostiness

The six-week tour of Australia and New Zealand in March 1983 was a threatening experience for Charles's ego.

{excerpt - The Diana Chronicles, Tina Brown}

It confirmed the Princess as a global superstar and it scared her husband to death. There were 100 or more press on the tour from the UK alone, and 70 more photographers from France, Germany, America, and Japan. Daily Mirror photographer Kent Gavin observed that out of every 100 pictures he took on this tour, 92 involved Diana and only 8 showed Charles. "She is so popular," added Gavin at that time, "that she is in my lens from the moment she arrives at a place until the moment she leaves."

The tour had a serious political goal -- persuading the grumpy and increasingly Republican Australian continent that it still wanted a monarchy in the first place. The Liberal Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser had just lost a landslide election to the Labour leader Robert James Lee "Bob" Hawke, who epitomized the churlish mood of the populace when he commented, "I don't regard welcoming them [Charles and Diana] as the most important thing I'm going to have to do in my first nine months in office." Regarding Prince Charles, he added dismissively: "I don't think we will be talking about Kings of Australia forever more."

Diana's magic turned the whole mood around. The crowds shouting her name were overwhelming, the tiara version of Beatlemania. In Brisbane alone, 400,000 turned out to scream for the Princess, bringing the city center to a dead halt. "I'd seen the corwds in Wales but the crowds in Australia were incredible," [photographer] Jayne Fincher said. ..."It was just a sea of people as far as you could see, not just on the land, the harbour was full of boats and people. And all you could see was the top of this little pink hat bobbing along."

...Diana wooed the Australians like a pro, hurtling with Charles between mob-scene walkabouts, glamour receptions, marathon dinners, making forty flights between Australia's eight states.
...What the Australians adored was Diana's lack of pretension, the opposite of colonial arrogance. The Princess's own intellectual insecurity was an unexpected asset. It made her head immediately for the underdog in any room -- the aged, the shy, the very young.

"She didn't speak to confident people half as easily as those who weren't," her mother, Frances Shand Kydd, has said. "And this was, in her case, a kind of battle that went on. She wasn't all that confident herself, she knew she had this gift with people and she used it wisely and generously. But in fact she felt going into a big room of people rather drawn to those who are feeling a bit nervous, rather as she was herself."

...The AP photographer Ron Bell remembers the elevator doors opening and Prince Charles stepping out with shining eyes: "Ron, isn't she absolutely beautiful?" he said. "I'm so proud of her." It was true -- Charles was smart enough to see what a stuning political asset Diana had become -- but he was also deeply disturbed by all the adoration coming his young wife's way. Its excess frightened him. You can see him still trying to figure out Diana's mystique in a letter from Australia to a friend dated April 4. "Maybe the wedding, because it was so well-done, and because it made such a wonderful, almost Hollywood-style film, has distorted people's view of things?"

...Victor Chapman, the press secretary on the tour, got used to late-night phone calls from Charles complaining about the scant coverage of himself in the press compared to the hagiographic acres accorded his wife. The Prince retreated into Jung's Psychological Reflections and wrote exasperated letters to his friends: "I do feel desperate for Diana," he wrote in his April 4 letter to a friernd. "There is no twitch she can make without these ghastly and I am quite convinced, mindless people photographing it...What has got into them all? How can anyone, let alone a twenty-one-year-old, be expected to come out of all this obsessed and crazed attention unscathed?"

...In Australia and New Zealand, Diana graduated to being a seasoned media sophisticate with the stamina and the charm repertoire of a big-time star. She mesmerized Bob Hawke and even extracted a curtsy from his wife, Hazel. By the end of Charles and Diana's tour, a poll in Australia found that Monarchists outnumbered Republicans two to one and...that was the point, wasn't it? The twenty-one-year-old Princess of Wales had proved she was a dazzling new PR weapon for the British crown.

...Diana's ballooning star power strengthened her growing independence from the Palace. At the end of the tour, the Princess was told by the Palace that the baby-in-tow format would not be allowed again. She responded by saying that in that case, she would not go on long tours. "Children cannot be left for that length of time at their age," said the Princess, who knew all about being left.

...Buckingham Palace was furiously competitive about the success of the Prince and Princess of Wales's Antipodean travels. The frostiness from members of the household toward Diana when she returned was obvious. No one said a word about how well she had coped, how superbly she had represented her country over six grueling weeks and turned around the Australian attitude to the crown.

Alan Clark, the patrician Tory MP and acidic diarist who died in 1999, believed that the Queen was more directly threatened by Diana than has previously been supposed. In an unpublished 1998 interview...Clark opined that ever since the Princess of Wales's wedding day, "When Diana said, 'I will' a great roar went up -- like the Middle Ages. This rang alarm bells for the Queen. Mrs. Thatcher and Diana -- these two women threatened her. Here clearly from the outset was a rival. Here was the embodiment of The Way Ahead. A walking icon who conformed to every convention that young people fantasized about." The Queen's men were especially irked by the BBC devoting a half hour of Sunday prime time to the Waleses' Australia and New Zealand trip, unprecedented coverage for a royal tour.
------------ {end excerpt}
[The Diana Chronicles, by Tina Brown.
Copyright 2007. Random House, New York.]


Thursday, March 15, 2012

just a minute, let me check

"You're using sex to express hostility."

That is a line from the Woody Allen film, Annie Hall.

When I read about some of the bizarre games-and-travails of these British royal groupies, it makes me think of that line.

It's like, what are these people using sex,
or -- sexy behavior ("lip-locked" on the dance floor -- whatever...) --
What are they using it for?
We think about "making love" as a way to express love.
But none of these people are using it for that.

Andrew Parker Bowles was using random sex with various members of the female population as -- what? Off-the-cuff amusement and rebellion against Society and Marriage...?
Camilla P.B. was using sexy-behavior with the Prince of Wales as revenge against Andrew.
Charles was using sex with Camilla as an escape hatch, or pressure release-valve from his relationships with wife/Princess candidates.

Amusement and rebellion.

---------------- "You're using sex to express hostility."

Diana Spencer wanted to use sex to express love and have babies with the man she loved.

(Diana wanted four things:
to love Prince Charles;
to be loved by Prince Charles;
to have children with Prince Charles; and
to be happy.

Of the four things she wanted, she got two.)

Later in separation acrimony, Prince Charles said he never loved Diana. He loved her then, tried to be faithful to her, but then the marriage had "broken down" so he went back to Camilla. ...He loved Diana, he didn't love her...he appreciated the sons he had with her, but didn't love her ...
What happened to the promises in front of God at St. Paul's Cathedral?
(??) It seemed to me he was a bit parsimonious with his "love."
And wishy-washy.

AND -- the "sparks" with Camilla were supposed to be so "whoomph-y" -- now he gets to be married to her, his true great love, so everybody should be happy, right?
Reading articles -- Camilla as Charles's wife doesn't like to do the royal duties (which Diana was SO GOOD AT, that she actually ticked off Charles and some of the other royals by simply being so Damn Good At Her Job);
word is, Camilla doesn't like the job and doesn't like to live with Charles at Highgrove, but retreats to her own house 17 miles away, & has food sent over, from the kitchen chef at Highgrove.

The more I thought about having the food sent over, the funnier it seemed.
Uh -- yes -- I don't want to LIVE over there, with HIM, but -- the food's awfully good, send some of THAT over -- right, thanks.

"You're using sex [food] to express hostility."

{excerpt, Annie Hall script}:


A cocktail party is in progress, the rooms crowded with guests as Alvy and
Robin make their way through the people. A waiter, carrying a tray, walks
past them. Alvy reaches out to pick up a glass; Robin reaches over and picks
it off the tray first. There is much low-key chatter in the background.

There's Henry Drucker. He has a chair
in history at Princeton. Oh, the short
man is Hershel Kaminsky. He has a chair
in philosophy at Cornell.

Yeah, two more chairs and they got a
dining-room set.

Why are you so hostile?

'Cause I wanna watch the Knicks on

Is that Paul Goodman? No. And be nice
to the host because he's publishing my
book. Hi, Doug!

… They move through the rooms, Robin holding a drink in one hand, her arm draped
in Alvy's; the crowd mills around them.

(Taking Robin's hand)
I'm so tired of spending evenings making
fake insights with people who work for


Oh, really, I heard that Commentary and
Dissent had merged and formed Dysentery.

No jokes-these are friends, okay?


Alvy sits on the foot of the bed watching the Knicks game on television.

(Off screen)
Cleveland Cavaliers losing to the New
York Knicks.

Robin enters the room, slamming the door.

Here you are. There's people out there.

Hey, you wouldn't believe this. Two
minutes ago, the Knicks are ahead fourteen
points, and now ...
they're ahead two points.

Alvy, what is so fascinating about a group
of pituitary cases trying to stuff the
ball through a hoop?

(Looking at Robin)
What's fascinating is that it's physical.
You know, it's one thing about intellectuals,
they prove that you can be absolutely brilliant
and have no idea what's going on. But on the
other hand ...

the body doesn't lie, as-as we now know.

Alvy reaches over, pulls Robin down onto the bed. He kisses her and moves
farther up on the bed.

Stop acting out.

No, it'll be great! It'll be great,
be-because all those Ph.D.'s are in
there, you know, like ... discussing
modes of alienation and we'll be in
here quietly ----ing.

He pulls Robin toward him, caressing her as she pulls herself away.

Alvy, don't! You're using sex to
express hostility.

"'Why-why do you always r-reduce my
animal urges to psychoanalytic categories?'
he said as he removed her brassiere..."

(Pulling away again)
There are people out there from The New
Yorker magazine. My God! What would they



Wednesday, March 14, 2012

flattered and enchanted

I shall only get married when I am sure I am in love, so I can never be divorced.

Diana said, when she was a little child.
And that Sounds Like A Plan.

Sometimes when I think about quote-end-quote "relationships" between women and men, I think "Nothing works."

Then other times I think otherwise.

--------{excerpt, The Diana Chronicles}:
The amazing thing about the Parker Bowleses' twenty-two-year marriage is how faithless it was right from the start -- and not even primarily on Camilla's side. Andrew had had affairs throughout their courtship, and he didn't stop after the wedding.


...In the early years of Camilla's marriage, when her husband was off during the week playing around in London, it was doubtless an agreeable boost for [her]...that the Prince of Wales telephoned her so often and continued to confide in her about his ongoing bachelor affairs. A fomer member of the Queen's staff says that throughout Camilla's marriage to Parker Bowles, it was Charles's intensity of feeling that drove the sustained romantic friendship.

Camilla took the Prince's devotion for granted, at the same time making sure no newcomer usurped her. A friend of Camilla's believes the bond would have lapsed on Camilla's side if Charles had not been the Prince of Wales.

On weekends, the Prince often showed up in the Parker Bowleses' kitchen in need of tea and sympathy. In return, Camilla could share her rueful stories of Andrew's wandering eye. One of her earlier flames, Rupert Hambro, remembered the masochistic glee Camilla took in telling him about the tricky situations Andrew's love life sometimes caused. "She often saw the funny side of things afterwards," said Hambro.

Or pretended she did.

...Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Parker Bowles left for Rhodesia with Lord Soames, the last British Governor. Parker Bowles was away for four months helping oversee the transition to independence, leaving Camilla behind with their two children in Wiltshire. When word reached her via the grapevine that the rampant Lieutenant Colonel was now developing a warm friendship with Soames's daughter Charlotte, she knew how she could console herself.

You have to hand it to Camilla that she always knew how to stage her sexual reprisals. Or, as a male friend remarked, "Only Camilla Parker Bowles could find a way to reheat a soufflé."

...Whoomph. The sparks between Charles and Camilla blew into the open at the Cirencester Polo Club ball at Stowell Park at the end of June 1980. The Prince was there with his latest girlfriend, the beautiful twenty-five-year-old blond spitfire Anna Wallace, a Scottish landowner's daughter. Charles was for a time deeply infatuated with Wallace and had even been rumored to have proposed.
[A risqué photo of Anna was discovered to be in possession of journalists...]

Anna might have been tarnished as a bride, but she could still supplant Camilla as premier mistress. Anna was nicknamed "Whiplash Wallace" for her prowess on the hunting field, and Camilla knew exactly what that meant. The Prince's long-term lover needed to demonstrate, in public as well as in private, that she had the power to get the Prince of Wales back at her pleasure, and make that point to her philandering husband.

When Charles asked Camilla to dance, the two of them were lip-locked half the night....
Even Camilla's mother, who was present at the ball, was perturbed at the effect of such a display of flagrantly adulterous feeling, especially with Andrew present. But that was at least half the point, presumably -- that Andrew was there, pretending, in the couple's endless marital games, to be impervious to his wife's making out in front of him with the heir to the throne. "HRH is very fond of my wife...And she appears to be very fond of him," Andrew drawled to a guest as he watched Camilla's performance with the Prince.

... Charles was now thirty-one, past the age he always promised he would marry. A bride must be found, and fast. But who? They were running out of names of single girls plausibly intacta. Any woman near Charles's own age who was still a virgin could only be found in a sitcom. With very few exceptions, the younger ones had proved even more woefully experimental. "This was always part of Diana's logic," her friend Simon Berry said. "Who else was he going to marry?"

...The Queen's guests were as charmed as Prince Charles. Lord Charteris, Elizabeth II's former private secretary, was intrigued by what he saw as Diana's "wonderful instincts" that week at Balmoral. "...She kept herself in his line of vision as much as possible. Always looking pretty and being decorous. Always being jolly. She was canny by nature and understood that few men can resist a pretty girl who openly adores them, especially one who has a ready laugh and a witty retort . . . [and was] available and sent out very clear messages of worship. The Prince was flattered and enchanted."

[rear maneuver]

...A trio of Royal watchers alert for any new royal liaison were in wait that weekend for the photo ops afforded by the Braemar Games....In hopes of catching Prince Charles in dalliance with a new blonde, they staked out HRH's favorite fishing spot on the River Dee. They were quickly rewarded with a glimpse of a tall girl in fishing gear on the banks.

But she spotted the ambush, dodged behind a tree without showing her face, and for a youthful novice performed an expert maneuver: she pulled out a compact mirror, watched the trio watching her without letting them see her face, and then bolted for the Prince's nearby car.

All the lensman Lennox got were pictures of her rear.

Whitaker was impressed by her cunning. "This one," he said, "is clearly going to give us trouble."

--------------{end excerpts}
[The Diana Chronicles. Tina Brown.
2007. Random House. New York.]


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

when I am sure I am in love

Diana, acutely attuned to the radar of disaster, later recalled listening, at the age of five, from her hiding place behind the door of the drawing room at Park House to the distressing sounds of a violent parental row. Her elder sister Sarah used to turn up the record player to drown out the shouting matches.

{The Diana Chronicles excerpt.
They used to do the same thing in the Bouvier household when the parents had screaming fights: Jackie would turn up the volume on the record player, according to biographies. ...}

{Chronicles excerpt continued}---------...Diana later told her friend Cosima Somerset that her mother's exit was "the most painful thing in her life, that the children weren't told why she was leaving permanently." Charles Spencer remains equally disturbed by the deception. On the day his mother's maid, Violet Collison, was suddenly very busy, Diana told him she came across Mrs. Collison and their mother packing all her dresses and their mother said, "I'll be back very soon!" ...She recounted that her six-year-old self sat quietly at the bottom of the cold stone stairs at her Norfolk home, clutching the wrought-iron banisters while all around her there was a determined bustle.

She could hear her father loading suitcases into the trunk of the car, then Frances, crunching across the gravel forecourt, the clunk of the car door being shut, and the sound of a car engine revving and then slowly fading as her mother drove through the gates of Park House and out of her life. Diana sat on the steps week after week forlornly imagining her mother's return to live with them again.

...Johnnie was granted custody of the children. It was the shattering surprise witness to Johnnie's superior parenting claims that swung the verdict against Frances -- her own mother, Ruth, Lady Fermoy. ...It is hard not to conclude that Ruth was driven by the same ruthless social politics that had caused her to propel Frances into Johnnie's arms in the first place. Divorce was such anathema at court, after the reverberations of Mrs. Simpson, that Ruth felt impelled to sell out her daughter to preserve the high ground. ...

...The spirit of gaiety was gone from Park House along with Frances's furniture. ...The forty-three-year-old Viscount incarcerated himself in his study, speaking in words of one syllable to his chauffeur and his gamekeeper and sitting morosely for hours staring out of the window. ...His own formal childhood had moored him irrevocably to the detached parenting style of the aristocracy. Diana and Charles always took their meals with the nanny in the nursery while he supped in solitary grandeur in the dining room.

Journalists later rhapsodized about Diana's "grand upbringing," but life for the children at Park House was desperately limited, timidly local. There was a reason why, as Princess of Wales, Diana never used her position, as Jacqueline Kennedy did, to invite an interesting mix of people to dinner parties. Socially, she felt inadequate. Her father fraternized with the dullest of landed gentry, whose children offered her a narrow range of friends. Her absentee mother could provide carefree sailing holidays on the coast but not much else in the way of expanding her children's horizons or building their confidence. Her highbrow grandmother, Lady Fermoy, was hardly diligent -- as her friend the Queen Mother was with her own grandson, Prince Charles -- about exposing the Spencer children to stimulating ideas and people or offering warm encouragement to their developing interests.

Nanny Mary Clarke, meeting Diana for the first time, found her talkative and friendly, but obsessed with the idea of romance. "I remember her saying 'I shall only get married when I am sure I am in love so that we will never be divorced,' and this became something of a theme for her."
--------------- {end excerpt}

[The Diana Chronicles, by Tina Brown.
Copyright 2007. Random House. New York.]


Monday, March 12, 2012

first cuckoo twitter

Speaking of "old families," and family history, after re-reading the texturous background of Diana Spencer (Diana, Princess of Wales), last week, then was reviewing Bouvier family background in Jackie biography by Donald Spoto:

-------------- [excerpt] [Jackie's father's] great-great-grandfather Michel Bouvier -- the surname means "cowherd" or "cattle driver" -- emigrated from the south of France and settled in Philadelphia, where he prospered as a carpenter, cabinet-maker and designer of first-rate furniture. As he traveled around the eastern United States, Bouvier's talents as an artisan quickly expanded to speculation: his success enabled him to acquire 153,000 acres of coal-rich land in West Virginia and choice Main Line real estate.

...The Bouvier wealth increased still further during the 1920s, thanks to real estate holdings in the Middle Atlantic states and enormous investments in a number of successful companies. ...

Most important of all to the Bouviers, their wealth and intermarriage with prestigious American families put their names in the New York Social Register in 1899 -- no easy feat for Catholics at that time -- and there they remained for sixty years, until the death of Jacqueline's father. The Bouvier name, as donor, is also etched on an altar at St. Patrick's Cathedral.
----------------------- [excerpt break]

Comparing the British tradition against the American: the Spencer family's traditional power and Something-ness (I don't know really what to call this stuff...) came from service to the Crown; the Bouvier "Name" with a capital "N" was established by -- 1st, accomplishments, reflected in Money, and 2nd, being named, by the people who do that (who are they??) to the Social Register. ...(all these competitions, and I don't know the rules...?!?) Or the origin. Or the meaning....

----------------- [excerpt, Spoto]: The Bouviers' first summer residence in East Hampton was a clapboard-and-shingle house called Wildmoor, on Appaquogue Road, which the Major bought about 1910; in 1925, he purchased an additional estate on Further Lane called Lasata ("place of peace" in an American Indian dialect). With the twitter of summer's first cuckoo, the family betook themselves to Long Island, and there the Bouviers remained in stately splendor until the pumpkin harvest.

...Apparently unsatisfied with the family genealogy, John Vernou Bouvier Jr. -- a man who was otherwise a stickler for accuracy -- eventually published a little book called Our Forebears in which, with shameless gravity, he invented the most outrageous accounts of a noble ancestry. These stories he had told for years with rhapsodic fervor.

The line of Bouviers, Jack's father insisted without a shred of evidence, had sprung from the patrician house of Fontaine and included illustrious French patriots and titled aristocrats from the royal courts. With that stroke of his imaginative pen, a modest provencal clan was at once transformed into a family of barons and marquises. Every Bouvier child and grandchild was thenceforth subjected to excerpts from Grandfather's solemn family saga, which was understood to be true.

------------------ [end excerpt]

Even more fun than the Spencers' real family grandeur, I think, is the Bouviers' invented "aristocratic" heritage....(!)

Several ironies:
1. The point of America was, you could come here from Europe if you weren't grand, and "make it," by working. That was cool, in itself. But not cool enough, at some point -- when this guy (Jacqueline Kennedy's grandfather, or great- or great-great-...) ran out of money to make, he starts making up family history...LOL. And the thing was, you could make it, here, & be proud of that, but then old Grandpa Bouvier, went, "Wait, making good through work, creativity, and investments isn't enough, I want to revert to the old-country ways & have some titles, too."...

2. And the funny (not funny, ha-ha, but funny - odd) thing too, if you look at Diana and Jackie -- as a child Diana knew little of her heritage, because little was communicated to her; Jackie on the other hand was told meticulously and carefully about her aristocratic background on the Bouvier side.

Diana's family history was true, but they didn't bother to educate her on it;
Jackie's "aristocracy" was mythical, and they made sure and drilled it into her; one of those moments when you think, Hmmm, if something's true people may just let it lie around, but when they go to a lot of trouble to drill it into you & convince you, maybe it's suspect. ...

{Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onasses: A Life.
by Donald Spoto. Copyright 2000. St.
Martin's Press, New York, New York.}


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

reverie, aspiration

"An old family" is one of those expressions that, when you think about it literally, you go, "Huh?" -- because how could anyone's family really be any "older" than anyone else's family? Every person comes from someone, who came from someone else, & so on back to whatever. (Or Whatever.)

It isn't as if some people's grandparents or great-grandparents just suddenly sprang out from cliff-edge rocks, or emerged, gnome-light, from under mushrooms. Everyone traces back to some place, and someone.

But "old family" refers to a family which can trace its history back to something good. Or big. Or outstanding. Or (better yet, and) -- rich.

(If a person's ancestors traced back to something bad, then it would be like -- uh, ours is not an "old" family, we're part of that mushroom-crowd....Umh-yes, that's it, that's how it was. ...Um. Um-hmh. Change the subject....)

In America some families say they can trace their ancestors "back to the Mayflower." Others trace back to England in the 1500s or 1400s, whatever....

In Europe, they can go back further -- they would say, back to the Mayflower? Oh, you mean like, last week??
When I read about Diana, Princess of Wales
and about Jacqueline Kennedy,
I noted that both of these icons / role models came from families where there was a type of ancestor / lineage Thing happening.

Jackie's was the Bouviers -- proud of their ancestors in the French aristocracy, and for Diana, it was Spencers on her father's side and Fermoys on her mother's.

Something I saw was that Diana Spencer's parents and grandparents didn't give her and her sisters and brother much information about their family heritage. It was just there. Part of the reason for that was, the Spencers split up when Diana was a small child: tension and trauma in the parents' relationship kept them busy at the adult level.

--------- {excerpt, The Diana Chronicles} -- Her father's inheritance of his earldom in June 1975 meant that the ordinary girl became Lady Diana Spencer and the resident of a stately home. (Her sisters became Lady Sarah and Lady Jane. Her brother, Charles, inherited the title of Viscount Althorp of Great Brington.) The morning Diana heard the news, she rushed along the corridor at West Heath with her dressing gown billowing out behind her, saying, "I'M A LADY! I'm Lady Diana now!"

...Being a Spencer, more perhaps than being a princess and more than being a global celebrity, was a formative factor of Diana's life. Althorp was a place of romantic aspiration. You leave the twenty-first century as soon as you pass from the encroaching suburbia of Great Brington village and turn into the long, tree-lined avenue to the great house. There is an immediate sense of pastoral harmony. Even the sheep are dotted through the park with pleasing asymmetry, like the reverie from a Regency window.

Diana's life had been afflicted with the chaos and impermanence of modern social mores, but in every treasure-crammed room of the Spencer family seat, she inhaled the hierarchical values of the past. Because of Johnnie Spencer's war with his father, the children rarely visited the big house as a family when the old Earl was alive.

Growing up they knew almost nothing about their heritage -- about the history of the treasures on display at Althorp, the books that were the glory iof its library, the spectacular pictures that were leaning from its walls in their chains.

"I didn't even know I had any kind of title until I started getting these letters saying 'The Honorable Charles Spencer,'" Diana's brother has recalled.
{end Excerpt}

One of the points made when Lady Diana became engaged to the Prince of Wales in 1981 was that her family was older than his. (When that marriage began to go wrong, publicly, my father commented casually, "It's too bad she had to marry down.")

{excerpt, The Diana Chronicles} As Viscount Althorp [Diana's father], eldest son of the seventh Earl, he was the presumptive heir to Althorp House, a 121-room stately home with 14,000 acres of rolling Northamptonshire, Warwickshire, and Norfolk farmland, complete with cottages, farms, and villages. The family was older by 250 years than that Hanoverian import of the eighteenth century, King George I, whose descendants are today's House of Windsor.

The Spencers could trace themselves back to 1469, when they were a respected clan of prospering sheep farmers in Warwickshire, already in a position to lend money to the monarchy. In 1603, James I repaid the royal debts with...a barony, conferred on the prosperous Robert Spencer, which forty years later included the earldom of Sunderland.

...The Spencers' glory days were the eighteenth century. They became powerful forces in the Whig party, dedicated to restraining the power of the monarchy and supporters of the Protestant succession; in the nineteenth century, they became Parliamentary Liberals, rivals to the Tories. They were behind-the-scenes power brokers. They helped smooth the ascension to the throne of the Hanoverian prince who became King George I.
---------- {end Excerpt}.
{The Diana Chronicles, Tina Brown,
2007, Random House}


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

invisible thread

While the House of Windsor was increasingly consumed with its need to pick a malleable bride for the heir to the throne, one who would suit their dynastic needs and consummate a pact with tradition, Lady Diana Spencer was living in her own movie....A prince was in love with her!

{excerpts From The Diana Chronicles, by Tina Brown. Copyright 2007. Random House}

---------------- It was her sister Sarah who brought...Charles into her life....In November of that year, [1977] Sarah felt confident enough to invite the Prince to shoot with her father at Althorp. Schoolgirl Diana was there. She registered on Charles's radar only as a "jolly" and "bouncy" (or "binecy," as he would pronounce it) younger sister of Sarah, but for the sixteen-year-old Diana seeing Prince Charles for the first time since her childhood was a "whoomph" moment of her own. Once she had caught sight of the number-one royal bachelor striding with his Labrador through a plowed field with the guns and "beaters" and dogs, there was no other rival for her heart but twenty-eight-year-old Charles Philip Arthur George, HRH The Prince of Wales, Earl of Chester, Duke of Cornwall, Duke of Rothesay, Earl of Carrick, Baron Renfrew, Lord of the Isles, and Prince and Great Steward of Scotland....

After the shooting day, Diana could not forget this thrilling multiple presence. How could she? The Royals had been embedded in the Spencers' idea of themselves for centuries. They were raised up by kings. The source of their wealth and influence was propinquity to the crown. Diana may have disliked her childhood visits to Sandringham, but her imagination still revolved round the magical rescue power of princes. ...

...Diana...was included in the invitation to Prince Charles's thirtieth-birthday ball in November 1978. It was one of the most lustrous private parties the Royal Family had thrown since the 1930s, when the then Prince of Wales, the future Edward VIII, had been in his partying prime.

The Argentine...Luis Basualdo, a polo-playing friend of Charles, accompanied Diana into the Picture Gallery to watch the cabaret by The Three Degrees, the all-female vocal group from Philadelphia (whose big hit, back in 1974, had been "When Will I See You Again"). Basualdo thought she was "very shy, very naive but rather nice."

Diana gazed down from the Picture Gallery at the thrilling sight of the elegant Prince dancing the night away, sometimes with Sarah, sometimes with the other lovely, sophisticated girls in his life, all of them more self-possessed and more accomplished than she: Lady Leonora Lichfield, Gerald Grosvenor's beautiful sister; Lady Jane Wellesley, the cool daughter of the Duke of Wellington; the curvaceous screen actress Susan George; Lady Tryon, glamour-girl Australian spouse of Charles's shooting friend Anthony; and one especially intimate-seeming dance partner, the confident, laughing blonde Camilla Parker Bowles.

It seemed to Diana she could hardly compete in this company. She had left West Heath in December 1977 having failed every one of her O-level exams not once but twice. How could she win Charles's heart with so few accomplishments?

...She did, in fact, have a talent that West Heath had already noticed. She had a keen emotional intelligence. Whether it was inherited from her Spencer grandmother's instinctive kindness or her Fermoy grandfather's gift of spontaneous intimacy, Diana made her warmth available to anyone regardless of race, creed, or nationality.

An invisible thread of kindliness drew her to people who expected the least and needed the most.

The distinguished historian Paul Johnson believes that Diana's empathy was a unique gift. "...She had something that very few people possess. She had extraordinary intuition and could see people who were nice and warm to them and sympathize with them...Very few people compare to what she had."

Diana was restive, not emancipated enough to challenge ladylike patterns that were increasingly obsolete but modern enough to want inchoately to escape them. She came across an article in the Daily Telegraph that seemd to speak directly to her, about academic failures who later become roaring successes in life. Diana, the third girl who should have been a boy, ...who was always the butt of her sharper siblings' gentle condescension, secretly longed to show the world she was a star. Beneath the timid conventionality there were signs of gathering conviction. She clipped the Telegraph story, slipped it under her father's door, and began to pester him about moving from Northamptonshire to London.


Friday, March 2, 2012

a trickle of invitations

Someone discussing Jackie Kennedy in a TV special stated, "No one really gets what they feel is the 'right amount' of publicity. One either gets too little, or too much. She got too much."

Tina Brown wrote, in The Diana Chronicles,
---------- [excerpt] {In 19779}In the face of the merciless new gossip press, seriously grand personages had to hide from the pervasive influence of envy. Everyone was startled when the Duke of Argyll burst into print with a defensive announcement about the number of kilts he had (only one kilt for morning and one for evening wear, he defiantly alleged). Or when the Earl of Warwick went so far as to flee his ancient family seat of Warwick Castle for an apartment in New York, taking with him a cache of Old Masters that the nation expected to stay right where they were. "The castle stinks of old shoes, old socks and wet mackintoshes," Warwick proclaimed from exile with rather admirable candor. "How we dispose of the contents is entirely a personal affair."

The Royal Family didn't want or need any controversy like this. Ever since the abdication fiasco it had been much safer for the monarchy to be boring, and the Queen was striving to keep it that way. Her own social life was always carefully unadventurous. Childhood friends, horsey folk, courtier families.

...The trouble with all the discretion was that in a racier media age it made them look old hat....Pictures of a middle-aged Princess Margaret churning grandly around the dance floor in her caftan in Mustique hardly moved product....The bachelor Prince Charles was the only game in town.

When the Queen set off on one of her royal tours, an unthinkable thing happened: no one went to cover it. No television, no newspapers, not even the Press Association wire service (which no longer had a regular court reporter). The Palace saw this as a worrying sign, on the basis that the only thing worse than having yourself exposed is not being bothered about at all. Richard Stott, then editor of the Daily Mirror, expressed the underlying anxiety: "If the Royal Family is not being reported on, it becomes irrelevant, and if it becomes irrelevant it will die."

Throughout the seventies, the guessing game of the Prince of Wales's love life was the sole excitement for the media. A bevy of royal {media} sleuths, who were to play a major part in Diana's life, were poised to follow any scent in pursuit of the girl they referred to as "the One," wherever it led without regard to any of the conventional boundaries.

...They were welcomed by the royal machine on official foreign tours, but less welcome when they chased vacationing members of the family down the pistes of Davos and Klosters, hid under coconut palms for sneaky long-range photographs, or festooned in field glasses and fishing rods, adopted Clouseau-like countrymen disguises for trespassing at Sandringham and Balmoral....

Reporter Arnold was teamed with the jovial photographer Arthur Edwards, who approached royal scoops like a general plotting a siege. At Sandringham, Prince Philip once greeted Edwards's cheery "Happy New Year" with a succinct "Bollocks!"

...The Prince's long-term lover needed to demonstrate, in public as well as in private, that she had the power to get the Prince of Wales back at her pleasure, and make that point to her philandering husband. When Charles asked Camilla to dance, the two of them were lip-locked half the night. "On and on they went...kissing each other, French kissing, dance after dance. It was completely beyond the pale," a guest recalled. ...

For the Royal Family, Charles's obsession with Camilla had gone from being an acceptable dalliance to a serious roadblock to matrimony. Plus, it was causing unsavory chatter. The Queen's private secretary had already come to inform her that there was dismay among senior officers in the Household Cavalry that the Prince of Wales was having a very public affair with a brother officer's wife.

The Queen said nothing, but she absorbed the implications and did not like them.

It was clear now that there were deeper emotional reasons why the slipper never seemed to fit....The awkward fact was that the heir to the throne, like his uncle, Edward VIII, was tenaciously in love with a married woman. Charles was now thirty-one, past the age he always promised he would marry. A bride must be found, and fast. But who?

..."All Ruth Fermoy wanted was that her granddaughter be the future Queen of England," said Lady Edith Foxwell....In turn, the Queen Mother told her eligible grandson over lunch in the spring of 1980 "not to miss the chance of Diana Spencer."

A trickle of invitations started to include Diana in theater parties where the Prince of Wales was present. While Charles persisted in his affair with Camilla, those invitations now began to increase.

...It is one of the ironies of Diana's story that the more Prince Charles fell in love with his mistress, the more pressing it was for the Palace to produce somebody to replace her. The arc of Diana's ascendance in Charles's life was thus always entwined with the arc of Camilla's.

What no one understood at the time, least of all the eighteen-year-old bride-to-be, was how much it suited Camilla, too, for Diana to marry Charles. The likes of Anna Wallace were way too assertive, worldly, and disruptive. In the words of Camilla's brother-in-law, Richard Parker Bowles, "She [Camilla] initially encouraged the relationship between Charles and Diana because she thought Diana was gormless.

She never saw Diana as a threat. . . Camilla knew that as a woman with a past she could never be accepted as Charles's wife. She wanted two things from her life: to retain her special relationship with the Prince of Wales, and a marriage to someone who she was genuinely fond of..." The youngest Spencer girl was such a sweet little thing. She was sure to be quiet, passive, and obedient. How could she possibly be any trouble?


"It would have been very easy to play to the gallery," {Prince Philip told an interviewer}, "but I took a conscious decision not to do that. Safer not to be too popular. You can't fall too far."

{Tina Brown continues}: If the Duke of Edinburgh is making a veiled suggestion here that the only qualitative or quantitative difference between Diana's fame on the one hand and that of himself and his royal wife on the other was Diana's pushiness and their self-restraint, then he is kidding -- and flattering -- himself.

It wasn't just that since the 1950s the mass media had multiplied its outlets and abandoned its reticence. There was also an order of magnitude's difference between the containable, appropriate, rather formal admiration bestowed on the young Queen and her consort and the incendiary star power of Princess Diana. Its wattage kept increasing every year Diana was alive, rather than damping down as the Royal Family had expected.

...Diana's unerring female antennae rightly told her that Camilla's "friendship" was a strategy for deftly sustaining her control. ...
It was not till mid-October that the Prince and Princess of Wales finally ended the honeymoon from hell....Among the Royal Family there was growing trepidation when they left about what appeared to be Diana's incipient nervous breakdown. They had seen nothing yet. For the next sixteen years, the unacknowledged nervous breakdown was theirs.

----------- [excerpts, The Diana Chronicles.
Tina Brown. Copyright 2007. Random House, New York.]


Thursday, March 1, 2012

gone mad

I do not need advertisers to "sell" me my own dreams;

and I do not need any politician to "sell" me my own religion.

Also do not need a minister to tell me how to vote.

Politicians try to make us feel emotional about emotional, personal topics, to avoid talking about real positive problem-solving and economy-building, and serious, realistic foreign policy. To actually have an idea is a harder job. To rant-and-rave and get people excited (finger-pointing, name-calling, ranting about the mistakes, sins, and misfortunes of others, elsewhere -- not us! We're "good"!) is an easier job, particularly if they have the right audience.

And media's reporting of political "news" has become so shallow that it's almost meaningless. I don't know why. (Because "news" outlets are owned by same giant, all-powerful corps that own members of congress...?)

"The world has gone mad today...
Anything goes!"

-- Cole Porter, (1934)