Following the recent UK cabinet reshuffle, Maria Miller has been appointed Minister for Culture, Sports and the Media with additional responsibility for equality and women’s rights; a strange choice, given that she has never supported gay rights.
If Clive James, David Lee Roth and (the late) Gore Vidal were to jointly compose a letter of complaint to Equalities Minister Maria Miller, the end result might be something like Chris Kluwe’s magnificent tirade against Emmett Burns, the Maryland state delegate who vehemently hates Gay Marriage and tries to silence anyone who offers their support for it.
Chris Kluwe Tirade
In the news: last month it was announced that Bob Birch, bass player with Elton John’s band, had been found dead. Old Elt may sometimes come across as a pantomime dame, but his devotion to music is deadly serious – he watches the UK pop charts and still makes private record purchases instead of accepting company handouts. The sleeve notes to ‘Rock of the Westies’ include admiring pen-portraits of all his musicians, while mocking himself. And back in the seventies, he was a guest on The Two Ronnies; we saw Messrs B and C dressed as charladies, cleaning a deserted theatre and wondering why the musical turn hadn’t arrived. Then Elton walked onstage, glanced at the empty auditorium and proceeded to play ‘Sorry Seems to Be’, a stark, harrowing performance with the singer alone, seated at a piano the size of a hearse.
Birch had appeared with dozens of legendary musical performers, and when Sir Elton said ‘He was one of the greatest musicians I have ever worked with, and in all our years on the road he never played or sang a bad note’ he was saluting a fellow craftsman and beloved friend.
Journal Entry, 11 Sep ’12:
Last night Radio 3 broadcast Bruckner 9 from the Edinburgh Festival, performed by the Orchestre des Champs-Elysees. It was a glorious performance; light, open textures with the various melodies perfectly visible. Instead of struggling to inject spiritual drama into each phrase, they simply played the notes in the score and brought the music to life. I reckon that if Old Anton had managed to finish its finale, this symphony would have become a ninety-minute ordeal; instead, we have a perfectly acceptable concert-hall favourite.