Steve Harley

& Cockney Rebel

DIARY 20/02/14

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Been to the movies a few times lately.

It’s that time of year, when the best the studios have in the locker get released – all the awards ceremonies happen around this time of year, Oscars still to come. “Inside Llewyn Davis” rang true, according to those I’ve met and those I’ve read who were involved in the Greenwich Village/SoHo Manhattan scene in the early 60s. It’s funny and it’s charming, and never sentimental. I liked it very much. Plus, it is short. “12 Years A Slave” moved critics far more than it moved me. Many of the slave torture scenes had been depicted earlier, even as recently as in Tarrantino’s “Django Unchained”. The leading man couldn’t be bothered to take a few violin lessons, just enough to grasp the basics, so his fingering would at least be passable. It wasn’t. I was embarrassed for him, to be honest. All those tens of millions of dollars in the production kitty, and no spare to give the guy some fiddle tuition. A proper American Method player would have killed for that role, and would have practised until his fingers bled. “American Hustle” grabbed me from the start and never let go. Christian Bale – boy, how does he do that? Then to “The Wolf of Wall Street”, which I’d been putting off since I’d heard it ran for a full three hours. That’s a long time for any story to be told. But Scorcese, DiCaprio et al…….I had to go, and am seriously glad I did. DiCaprio has never won an Oscar. Unbelievable. What’s he got to do? Since “Romeo + Juliet”, all those years ago, he hasn’t picked a bad one – although I never did read a kind word about the remake of “The Great Gatsby”, so maybe that’s his blot? Here, he rises to another level altogether. It’s Method acting of the highest calibre. In my view, only Tom Hanks and now Bale sit at the High Table with DiCaprio. And the three hours passed in a flash. Just a thought, how is it the movies can be so biased regarding human genitalia. The female parts (yes, lower as well!) are on show perhaps 30 times; but not one sighting of the male nether regions, unclad, is on show. And there is sex, sex, sex throughout, even male masturbation, and they even manage to spare that actor’s blushes with crafty cut-aways….I couldn’t help noticing. And the audience around us was entirely couples, from early twenties to a few in their seventies. Those women must have noticed this anomaly, but did they mention it on the journey home? Just curious, that’s all. I’d like someone to supply me with an explanation.

Manchester has practically sold out, with a handful of seats left up in the Gallery. But the newly released Choir seats are good seats. They look pretty well across the stage. It’ll be like sitting in the wings, but raised above the monitor men! One of those could well get the harmonica after “Cavaliers”. The venue didn’t think initially that they should be sold, as drapes would block their view. My Production Manager went to see, and decided that was not going to be the case. I mention this, in case anyone wonders how such decisions are made so late in the game.

I’ve read an audio book. I mean, I have “voiced” an Audio Book, at a small voiceover studio in Soho, London. Title, “Fremojo”,  a fantasy tale of metamorphosing monsters and battles against the elements. Two days of non-stop reading – well, we had several tea breaks, but mostly it was words, words, words. Plenty of Vocal Zones were sucked and much still water drunk. I’m not entirely sure why I was approached for the job when there are two million out-of-work actors in the Capital, but, as usual, I couldn’t refuse the chance of another adventure. Remember Mrs Woolf’s simple philosophy: “To speak of knowledge is futile, all is experiment and adventure.” Bang on!