Five Things: Wednesday 8th May

Tony, Tony, Tony
Following on from the despair of a couple of weeks ago at depressing rock reads, this rebalanced everything: Eamonn Forde’s brilliant compression of Tony Blackburn’s hysterical and self-regarding autobiography, Poptastic. Here are two examples, the first about Gary Glitter. Read it and weep. With laughter.


Elton John Documentary, BBC
elton_john_backbendI caught the last quarter of the Elton doc, which seemed to compress the past thirty years of his career into ten minutes and was struck by this: Why, if you’ve got an interview with Terry O’Neill, and he says, “Elton rang me up and said we’re doing a show at Dodger Stadium, it’s gonna be great, get over here and take some pictures,” do you not show any of Terry’s now-iconic shots, just some fairly run of the mill video?

Little Bulb’s Orpheus, Battersea Arts Centre
Amidst the wonderfully mad recreation of Hades and the beautifully evoked Parisian nightclub of this Django-ised retelling of the Orpheus myth, a truly stunning moment. Tom Penn, who plays The Drummer/Stage Hand/Dancing Bear/Too Many Parts To Mention, sits down and, as Persephone [the Queen of the Underworld] plucks the opening notes on a harp of a beautiful ballad, “La Chanson de Persephone,” written by the company. From his mouth issues a falsetto that is extraordinary – part Bon Iver, part Antony – and in a production filled to the brim with indelible music – “Minor Swing”, Saint-Saens, Debussy, Piaf’s “Hymne à l’amour” – brings the house down. A song you wanted to hear again the second it finished.


“I analyse leaders for a living, and none are as great as Alex Ferguson”
Nick Robinson, the BBC’s political editor: As someone paid to observe and analyse leaders and potential leaders for a living, I never saw one to match Sir Alex. Like the impresario of a great opera company or the chief executive of a mighty corporation he succeeded so much and survived for so long because he understood people – how to motivate them, how to discipline them and how to inspire them. When this year Harvard Business School asked Fergie to share some of his secrets, he explained how as a young manager he studied and learned from leaders in other walks of life: “I had never been to a classical concert in my life. But I am watching this and thinking about the co-ordination and the teamwork – one starts and one stops, just fantastic. So I spoke to my players about the orchestra – how they are a perfect team.” He didn’t manage teams – he created them.

Tribeca Films Logo Screen
TriI’m not even sure what those pre-credit sequences that show the production company of the film are even called. Splashes? You know – the Lion of MGM, the Searchlight of Fox, the Calder Mobile thing for Pathe? Whatever, check out this little beauty from Tribeca Films at the head of this two minute preview for Greetings From Tim Buckley [you’ll need to search for Tim Buckley]. Using a lighthouse sweep, it’s just gorgeous.

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