Wednesday, 20 June 2007

Anything goes

This and Porgy and Bess are the only 1930s musicals which are regularly revived.
In olden days a glimpse of stocking
Was looked on as something shocking,
Now, Heaven knows,
Anything Goes.

I went to see it at the De La Warr Pavilion, designed by Erich Mendelsohn and Serge Chermayeff in 1935 and restored in 2005.
It was built by Earl De La Warr, the socialist mayor of Bexhill-on-Sea,when the modern was only just beginning to be the accepted architectural style of social progress. and was the first large scale welded steel-framed building in the UK.

It was a good production, but even if it hadn’t been there would still have been huge pleasure in marvelling at the lyrics:

You're the top! You're the Colosseum.
You're the top! You're the Louvre Museum.
You're a melody from a symphony by Strauss
You're a Bendel bonnet, a Shakespeare's sonnet,
You're Mickey Mouse.

You're the Nile, you're the Tower of Pisa,
You're the smile on the Mona Lisa
I'm a worthless check, a total wreck, a flop,
But if, baby, I'm the bottom you're the top!

You're the top! You're Mahatma Gandhi.
You're the top! You're Napoleon Brandy.
You're the purple light of a summer night in Spain,
You're the National Gallery, you're Garbo's salary,
You're cellophane.

You're sublime, you're a turkey dinner,
You're the time of a Derby winner
I'm a toy balloon that is fated soon to pop
But if, baby, I'm the bottom, you're the top!

You're the top! You're an Arrow Collar
You're the top! You're a Coolidge dollar,
You're the nimble tread of the feet of Fred Astaire,
You're an O'Neill drama, you're Whistler's mama,
You're camembert.

You're a rose, you're Inferno's Dante,
You're the nose on the great Durante.
I'm just in a way, as the French would say, "de trop".
But if, baby, I'm the bottom,
You're the top!

You're the top! You're a dance in Bali.
You're the top! You're a hot tamale.
You're an angel, you,
Simply too, too, too diveen,
You're a Botticelli, you're Keats, you're Shelley,
You're Ovaltine.

You're the top! You're a Waldorf salad.
You're the top! You're a Berlin ballad.
You're the boats that glide on the sleepy Zuider Zee,
You're an old Dutch master, you're Lady Astor,
You're broccoli.

You're romance, you're the steppes of Russia,
You're the pants on a Roxy usher,
I'm a broken doll, a fol-de-rol, a flop,
But if, baby, I'm the bottom,
You're the top!

Fancying myself as a fast man with a pastiche, I spent a very long time trying to write some new verses to this with contemporary references. This was a hopeless task, partly because few of today’s icons, apart from the obvious ones like Blair, can be wittily rhymed, but mainly because I am not Cole Porter.

Many others have written parodies, not least Porter himself, who used to perform them at private parties; his have not survived except for this one, though some say it was actually written by Irving Berlin. It is not suitable for quoting here; this is a respectable blog.

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