Rogues & Vagabonds

theatre, film & tv past and present 2001-2008 & 2013…

Look Back in Languor • Lynne Harvey • 17 December 2001

In this time of joy, peace, and goodwill to our neighbours, a time when Charlotte Church, Russell Watson and assorted songsters flit across our screens unendingly, we need all the goodwill we can handle. But in amongst all the merry songsters skipping from one show to the next is the strange world of Daniel O’Donnell.

To certain women of a certain age he is the object of all their desires. They follow him from show to show, queued up to have tea at his mother’s house in Ireland before he moved. They worship and adore him, buy everything he records, plus the cheesy merchandise to go with it, laugh at every aside, listen in wonder to him speak. To them he is beloved. To watch him with his fans on Gloria Hunniford’s afternoon show is to watch something very strange indeed. He has a constant air of not quite understanding what’s going on, but going along with it anyway.

All this is reminiscent of the Barry Manilow phenomena. Remember the parties where fans would get together and light candles while singing ‘Mandy’? Spooky. I think I have the answer as to why all these female hormones are working overtime: both men are the little-boy-grown-up, with all the bits but no idea or inkling how to use them; at least that’s how they like to be seen. They are clean, safe, asexual male dolls, with not much of a personality on show, probably put the toilet seat down after a pee, are lovely to their mums and never fart. A quick look at the male sex will tell you – it ain’t like that in the real world.

At least with Barry Manilow you can, if you try hard enough, imagine a snog, a kiss longer than a nanosecond maybe, but with Daniel … nothing. He’s set up a charity for Romanian orphans which has done terrific work; his fans pay in quite willingly – you can’t take that away from him, you can’t take much away from him as there doesn’t seem to be anything there to take, despite all the constant signing of autographs and spending time with his fans whilst remembering the names of the more persistent ones; there’s nothing to get hold of that you could call a personality.

Perhaps that’s another reason these ladies like him so much: they think they can mould him into their lives, sit him on their sofa and spoon feed him like some real live cuddly teddy bear. Yuk.

A very tiny piece of the real Daniel came out on Gloria’s show last week. The clip was played of Mrs Merton, aka Caroline Aherne, trying to kiss him as he was singing. Without thinking he said, “I remember trying to avoid the kisses, it’s hard to remember she’s not an…” The words he didn’t say were ‘old lady’, as that’s what his audience consists of. I hope there is someone behind the blank eyes, that he gets his rocks off on a regular basis, but we’ll not tell Mary, Ivy and Noreen et alia. We’ll leave them their dreams of a man without all the nasty bits.

•••

Someone who features in many dreams is Sian Lloyd, TV weather girl. I know this as there are websites dedicated to her and the odd comment comes my way. It’s all to do with her hands and the way she uses them, practising Tai Chi across the weather map. It does it for some men, I can tell you. Perhaps it does it for Daniel, and there’s a bonus, Daniel, she’s not old enough to be your mother.

•••

A mother who is getting it in the neck on a regular basis is Kim from identikit group Hearsay. Everything is getting thrown at her and I’m left wondering why. Okay, so she’s a working mother, like she’s the only one in the country? Okay her hairstyles are a bit dodgy and get more coverage than current murder cases, but now the photo mags have close-ups of her in a dress that is supposedly too tight and shows bulges. I can’t see any, but I did see some nifty photo angles trying to show something that wasn’t there.

Is being over-size ten a crime against humanity? Should she throw in her lot with Bin Laden? Lets get things in perspective here: if she looked like a Swiss Roll done up with rubber bands then maybe a comment or two, but baying wolves of photographers and close-up photos just because she isn’t a bag of bones is getting frighteningly out of hand.

•••

Mathematics are not my strongest point, but even I could raise a guffaw at the very thought of trying to do Seven Brides for Seven Brothers with a cast of six. This was a suggestion to friend and director supreme, Fraser Grant, for a future show. Maximum cast members six. I can only suggest some very quick changes and cardboard cut-outs.

A mention also for ‘ole actor/presenter matey Andy Love, who appeared on Kilroy this week pretending to be a drunk driver to see if anyone would stop him driving. Shame you picked a female, Andy, for as we know, most females would drive you home themselves – to their home.

•••

Did you know the melatron was out of tune on Manfred Man’s ‘Ha Ha Said the Clown’? You do now. This and many other snippets of rock info can be heard on ITV’s Routes of Rock 2, Thursday nights at midnight or thereabouts. Fascinating stuff.

To think that the studio engineers, the men in white coats, ruled the recording process in the those early recording days, along with the studio musicians, ruling the roost on what could and could not be done, when they would play and when they wouldn’t play. Oh you don’t get me, I’m part of the union, you know, even if we are in the middle of recording ‘Hey Jude’ – it’s my tea break.

I’m hoping against hope things weren’t quite that bad, but who knows what might have happened if sessions and recordings were allowed to go on until it was in the bag and bands had more say with the studio techies? Perhaps the music industry is now artificially ten years behind, just like TV drama.

As it’s Christmas, here’s what I want in my Christmas stocking:

  • The powers that be to recognise the Mermaid Theatre is worth saving – but I’m sure a business park, or whatever, is planned, would give far more pleasure, insight and enlightenment…
  • The return of the single TV drama on a regular basis.
  • The demise of Monarch of the Glen.
  • NO MORE cop and doc shows.
  • Writers allowed to write and not given formulas to adhere to.
  • A new stream of CHARACTER actors allowed to come through (casting directors please take note).
  • Future TV drama picked by people who know what they’re doing, not by pseuds and accountants.
  • David Jason allowed to spend more time with his family.
  • Less little itty-bitty programmes that are instantly forgotten and more major programmes that mean something.
  • NO MORE DIY programmes – we know what to do with MDF and Carol Smillie.
  • NO MORE look back at the seventies programmes – my neck is stiff from all the looking back.
  • And please, no more soaps masquerading as drama. They aren’t.
  • One more thing, no more Sainsbury’s ads featuring Jamie Oliver; sometimes I can’t get to the remote quickly enough to switch over.

Lynne Harvey © 2001

Originally published on 17-12-01

7 comments on “Look Back in Languor • Lynne Harvey • 17 December 2001

  1. Crysta
    04/24/2014

    What a great collection. I like your blog. ~ Dancing with Fireflies ~

  2. First Night Design
    05/09/2014

    Thank you! I apologise for taking so long to respond but my computer was in hospital for most of April!

  3. Crysta
    05/09/2014

    Oh that’s tragic. Are YOU ok?

  4. First Night Design
    05/09/2014

    I’m okay! It was the computer that wasn’t!

  5. Crysta
    05/09/2014

    I would have been in fits on the floor.

  6. First Night Design
    05/09/2014

    I was. In no uncertain terms! 🙂

  7. First Night Design
    12/16/2014

    Reblogged this on Rogues & Vagabonds.

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