Saturday Odds & Sods: Firth Of Fifth

The Dream by Betty Swanwick

I have the French presidential runoff election on my mind. It’s tomorrow and Putin-loving neo-Fascist Marie Le Pen has a chance to win. She wants to pull France out of NATO and the EU. What has she got against acronyms?

Incumbent Emmanuel Macron is likely to prevail, but it’s disturbing to see the presidential election boil down to a duel between the center right and the far right with the left out of the running. Mitterand weeps.

The featured image is a painting by Betty Swanwick that was originally titled The Dream. Genesis used it as the cover for their 1973 album Selling England By The Pound. Swanwick merely added a lawnmower to the painting and a classic album cover was born. The lawnmower was an allusion to the album’s single I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe.)

“Me, I’m just a lawnmower, you can tell by the way I walk.”

Peter Gabriel month continues with a song from the aforementioned record, Firth of Fifth. It was originally credited to the entire band but it was really written by Tony Banks and Mike Rutherford. PG, however, sang lead vocals and acted out the lyrics live.

The title is a pun on the estuary of the River Forth in Scotland: the Firth of Forth. That’s why I like the title even more than a lawnmower in the wardrobe.

We have two versions of Firth Of Fifth for your listening pleasure: the studio original and a 1977 live version with Phil Collins on lead vocals.

Since I’ve gone on about lawnmowers, wardrobes, and the featured image, here’s the song in question:

Yes, Virginia, Peter Gabriel once had a full head of hair.

We have one more wardrobe-related song before beginning our second act in earnest:

One of the best films of the 1990’s is back in circulation thanks to the Criterion Collection.

Mississippi Masala Returns: Back in the day, I was a faithful viewer of Siskel & Ebert’s film review shows. I learned about Mississippi Masala from Gene and Roger.  Unfortunately, that review isn’t online but suffice it to say, they gave it two thumbs up.

Here’s a link to Roger’s review. Gene liked Mississippi Masala even more than Roger. It made his Top Ten list in 1992 and was number four on my Denzel Washington list.

Mississippi Masala was about immigrants, forbidden love, and masala. Denzel Washington had just become a movie star and it was one of his best films and finest roles.

Director Mira Nair sat for two revealing interviews about her 1992 classic. I couldn’t decide which one to post so here are links to both of them:

Slate by Dan Kois.

Vulture by Roxana Hadadi.

The money quote comes from Nair’s Slate interview:

“Actually, to be very honest, we wrote the film for Ben Kingsley, instead of Roshan Seth.

What happened?

I was in Venice, and I was quite the toast of the town from Salaam Bombay! Ben Kingsley came to me, and I said, “We wrote this film for you,” and he actually said this—I don’t know why I’m telling you this—he said [Ben Kingsley voice] “Mira, I only do title roles.”

Oh no.

And I kind of joked and said, “Oh, well, we could call it Jay Patel.” He was not amused.”

Talk about art imitating life. The Sopranos made fun of Sir Ben’s pomposity when Christopher and Little Carmine tried to cast Kingsley in Cleaver:

That was also the episode in which this happened:

Let’s travel from the luxury lounges of Los Angeles to Albania of all places.

The Pretenders: This segment is NOT about Chrissie Hynde’s swell band, but I might as well post a Pretenders tune while I’m at it.

Back to the Other Pretenders. There’s a terrific piece by Helen Lewis at The Atlantic, Among Europe’s Ex-Royals. I’ve long been fascinated by the fallen eagles of the pre-Great War European royalty. It’s probably because of the fabulous BBC series I saw as a youngster, Fall Of Eagles. FYI, Patrick Stewart played Lenin.

Back to the Lewis piece. Instead of focusing on Romanovs, Hohenzollerns, or Bourbons, she focuses on a lesser pretender: Prince Leka II of Albania. He’s an amiable chap who grew up in South Africa and now lives in the Albanian capital of Tirana. He has no illusions about a restoration but is eager to do his bit for his country.

The last word of the segment goes to The Band followed by Freddie Mercury:

We begin our third act with our favorite stolen feature.

Separated At Birth Casting Edition: We watched the first episode of the new Showtime series: The First Lady. It was excellent. Dr. A and I agree that our favorite bits were about Betty Ford who is played to perfection by Michelle Pfeiffer.

That helmet hair hairdo was mandatory for women of a certain age in the 1970’s. In fact, Betty was a babe despite that dastardly do.

I just realized that it’s Peter Gabriel month and I haven’t posted a solo song by the man himself. Excuse me.

The Movie List: This week’s separated at birth pairing led to this week’s movie list. Holy synergy, Batman.

My Top Ten Favorite Michelle Pfeiffer Movies

  1.     The Age Of Innocence
  2.     The Fabulous Baker Boys
  3.     Married To The Mob
  4.     Scarface
  5.     Dangerous Liaisons
  6.     Tequila Sunrise
  7.     Batman Returns
  8.     A Midsummer’s Night Dream
  9.     Frankie and Johnny
  10.    Beautiful Minds

Since two of the movie titles were inspired by song titles, here they are:

The Best Of Johnny: This edition features one of my favorite SNL alums, Dana Carvey.

Isn’t that special?

Saturday GIF Horse: Dr. A and I just finished binge watching the second season of Castle Rock on Hulu. I highly recommend both seasons.

Season two features the origin story of Annie Wilkes of Misery infamy. The performance by Lizzy Caplan is just as good as Kathy Bates in the 1988 movie.

Here are two GIFs from Misery. The second one could be gory but it’s not.

It’s almost time to hobble off into the tequila sunset but let’s play some more music before we close down this virtual honky tonk.

Saturday Classic: I know I said I was abolishing this feature. Then this Jefferson Airplane set popped up on the YouTube.

Let’s call it a sporadic or occasional feature. Never say never.

That’s it for this week. The last word goes to the season 2 cast of Castle Rock: Barkhad Abdi, Yursa Warsama, Matthew Alan, Elsie Fisher, Lizzy Caplan, Tim Robbins, and Paul Sparks.