Yep, it's a Cliff Eurovision, quote, Rik from 'The Young Ones' would be proud of me. Two events (neither of which would normally trouble me) in the space of a week or so are occurring, or have already happened. The first, Eurovision, has come and gone without troubling my viewing habits in the slightest. I only mention it because of the Spanish entry's openly stated desire not to win because it would be too expensive to host next year's competition. Back in the early nineties when I attended the Celtic Film and TV Festival fairly regularly this was a common complaint from Irish film and programme makers, particularly when they won three times on the trot, as hosting the whole shebang apparently immediately swallowed 10% of RTE's annual production budget in one go. And irony is piled upon irony when one considers that the Spanish have a history of (allegedly) buying the contest to ensure a win. In fact in the very year that the sainted Cliff came second with 'Congratulations.'
The second event of note is naturally HM Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee or, to those of my generation the thirty-fifth anniversary of this going to number 2. In fact, at least as far as I remember it, this was another instance of official shenanigans as the 'Official' BBC/BRMB chart was allegedly rigged to make sure that arch royalist Rod Stewart remained at no. 1 whilst the Sex Pistols (who were of course banned by the BBC) remained at no. 2 to avoid embarassment to Her Majesty (God Bless Her!) and presumably those BBC and BRMB types in with a shout of a knighthood. All the other charts had them ahead by miles. By merest coincidence this weekend's 'once in a lifetime event' (the third jubilee I've experienced so far) coincides with the next Bank Square Arts Marketthis Saturday, back in the normal place following May's one-off excursion to Bedford Square. There will be bunting (but bring your own frolic), I will have a very large Union flag on my stall and there may be a special one-off, once in a lifetime, diamond jubilee special edition memento/souvenir type painting at the special jubilee price of £60, one for each of Betty Windsor's Sixty Glorious Years (if I can figure out what to paint and finish it in time).
Okay, I know the post title is a song from a Fred Astaire movie but wasn't Vivien Leigh absolutely beautiful? This picture is one of three, all from 'Lady Hamilton' (1941), Churchill's favourite film (there's an apocryphal story that he even wrote Nelson's speech about Napoleon/Hitler) and one of the few period propaganda pieces Britain produced during WWII. Being a typically British movie it was naturally made in Hollywood by Hungarians. Director and producer Alexander Korda got into trouble with both the US censors (for making about a film about an adultress) and the US Senate (for peddling British propaganda to neutral Americans). He got round the first by cutting in a scene where Nelson admits to his father he's been a bad boy and is very sorry (but only in the US release where the film was called 'That Hamilton Woman') and evaded the second by the fact that the US declared war on Germany the day before he was due to appear before a formal hearing (thanks to the Japanese and Pearl Harbor).
All three incarnations of the lovely Ms Leigh will be on show this Saturday at the Tavistock Arts Festival Arts Market in Bedford Square 9.00am - 4.00pm and at a very affordable price. I should also have some framed prints ready (at an even more affordable price!) but lets face it, you want the original don't you? Go on treat yourself, less than £50, what's not to like? Also making its debut will be 'Johnny Frenchman' (1945) which will probably be the nearest I get to producing a typical west-country subject in that it features a fishing boat.
In other news Resurgam continues its run at St Andrews Church, Plymouth until May 11th so hurry along, there's only a week to go. If you can't make it to Plymouth I can sell you a postcard at the market on Saturday (I did mention the Tavistock Arts Festival Arts Market didn't I?).
And finally, just thought I'd share this on the blog as well as the Links page, the British Council is digitising it's film collection and making it available online for streaming and legal download. 80 films from the 40's and 50's available so far here British Council Film Collection I'm just staying in for a while, I may be some time.
Work in progress and other stuff that happens.