January 18, 2016
Mark Steyn on ‘The Man Who Sold the World’
Mark Steyn writes:
For the video and telly appearances, Lulu looked like a Seventies version of a Thirties gangster – a bit Bugsy Malone for my tastes, but I think they were aiming for Marlene Dietrich in The Blue Angel. She had a red carnation in her buttonhole, but the tie looked like something from the discount rack at Marks & Spencer. Weimar chic would become something of a style cliché in the years ahead, but it was still a novelty in 1974 – so much so that many observers assumed that the bespoke transvestite was merely Lulu trying to look like a diminutive Bowie.
Also she barely moved. “You’re usually very animated,” I said to her.
“I can’t help myself, Mark,” she giggled.
“But here you’re standing stock still for the whole song, very deadpan…”
“It wasn’t easy for me,” she said, “but that’s how they thought I should do it. It helped” – she laughed again – “that I don’t have the faintest idea what the song is about.”
Also? It’s bad enough that Mark Steyn actually saw The Sex Pistols and I didn’t.
But — of course! — he also caught Alan Rickman’s star-making stage triumph:
More or less exactly thirty years ago, I saw Alan Rickman in the role that made his name – as the Vicomte de Valmont in Christopher Hampton’s Les Liaisons Dangereuses at the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Barbican Pit. Theatre critics are overly fond of the phrase “a commanding performance”, but I’ve rarely seen anything as commanding as Rickman on stage that night: he was a very palpable flesh-and-blood embodiment of the title. From about 20 minutes after his entrance, you could feel all around you that approximately 90 per cent of the female audience and 30 per cent of the male were just longing to be taken by him. I made the mistake of inviting a young lady along, and at supper afterwards she did her best not to make it too obvious that she found me wanting by comparison.