Monday, February 10, 2014

Minor Triad, Dept.
So, I was listening to an album of songs by Binnie Hale, a British stage and screen star most popular in the '20s and '30s, and I recalled that there was a British stage named Sonnie Hale, who, upon investigation, turns out to have been her brother (theatrical family, don'tcha know).

Well, Sonnie Hale was involved in one of the more lurid divorces of that entre-deux-guerres period, as steamy love letters penned by his co-respondent and This Year of Grace co-star Jessie Matthews were found by Hale's wife, theater star Evelyn "Boo" Laye.

The letters, read at the June 1930 divorce proceedings, cause the somewhat-priggish judge to fulminate, "It is quite clear that the husband admits himself to be a cad, and nobody will quarrel with that, and the woman Matthews writes letters which show her to be a person of an odious mind."

One excerpt, cited here, follows:
"My Darling, I want you and need you badly, all of you, and for a very long time. I am lying here, waiting for you to possess me. The dear little boobs, which you love so much, are waiting for you also."
The small world of the West End must have seemed just that much smaller for this trio.

To provide some sense of their respective styles, here is Binnie Hale singing "You Don't Know The Half Of It" from 1935's Hyde Park Corner, here is Jessie Matthews in a sparkly body stocking singing "It's Love Again" from the 1936 film of the same name (read the comments for discussion of Fred Astaire's interest in co-starring with her) and here is Evelyn Laye singing "Love Is A Song" from 1934's Princess Charming.

And here is the play that brought Miss Matthews and Mr. Hale in close proximity, which, quoting Dante (Inf., V., 137-8), I share with you:
Galeotto fu 'l libro e chi lo scrisse:
quel giorno più non vi leggemmo avante.

Sunday, February 09, 2014

Love and Death, Dept.

Yeah, so your sobsister correspondent was metroing around town Saturday.  Very slowly, because Metro has been taking advantage of the weekends to fuck over anyone who doesn't own a car in the city effect track improvements. And I noticed packs of 20-something men and women (hereafter "Youngs"), some wearing colorful headgear, weaving noisily through the Metro Center subway stop at irregular intervals.

Surfacing at Farragut North because the train I was riding decided that that was now the last stop on the westbound Red line, I walked up Connecticut Avenue and saw a humongous line of people.  At least a couple hundred.  Youngs, men and women, mainly Caucasian, although some Youngs of Color were also lined up.  Was money being given away?  Jobs?  Photo ops with the president?

No, silly sobsister!  It was just people waiting a long time to get into one of a number of venues in the greater Dupont Circle area participating in the Cupid's Bar Crawl, "the country’s largest and most electrifying Valentine’s Day themed pub crawl" in which you are invited to "join thousands of fellow crawlers and take a shot at love at some of Dupont Circle’s most popular bars."

And, sure enough, they were out by the thousands.  An alarming number of the women were wearing what I'd describe as spring dresses, lightweight, above the knee, with maybe a shrug or light top.  It was 32 degrees at Dupont Circle when I walked by, and humid.  So, what I, an Old, would consider bone-chilling cold, these blithe female Youngs considered a judiciously selected opportunity to display their wares in "a shot at love."

Of the really made-up holidays, Saint Patrick's has always been an occasion for public inebriation because, faith and begorrah, we honor the memory of that missionary saint by puking green on public property.  Cinco de Mayo because you have to wait all the way till the end of the month to commemorate our fallen servicemen and -women by killing a six before the barbecue.  And now, St. Valentine's Day, more nakedly than ever about drugging someone to participate in your attempt to quell the white-hot flames of libido and fear.

Oh, Industry.  First, you create it, and then you degrade it.  Well played.