A couple of posts ago a certain smart-arse, I’ll give him the code name of ‘maiL Man’ to save his blushes, had the cheek to suggest that I needed to get out more often! As I told him at the time, I had too much ironing to get through; I wasn’t joking!
Actually, it was whilst dashing away with the smoothing iron and listening to some nostalgia from the 60s that the idea for this post came about. Dear old Tony Bennett came on singing one of his standards; now, I won’t pretend to be a great fan, but I do admire his ability, shared with Sinatra, to make everyone in a packed audience feel that he is singing just for them.
As the old crooner warbled on my mind flashed back around 30 years; there was to be a televised performance of Duke Ellington’s Sacred Music at St Paul’s Cathedral and Tony Bennett was doing his thing there. Also on the bill was a member of our family who is probably the most accomplished baritone sax player on the planet. The main performance was for an invited audience only, so our man had managed to get us in for the full dress rehearsal the day before.
J and I had parked ourselves in a very nice spot and were enjoying the free show, albeit with the odd interruption as the director moved cameras and gear. In due course, Mr Bennett’s teeth made their trade mark entrance as he crooned a few words before pausing to bathe in the expected applause (a bit thin with just us and the techies there). Then, there was a bit of shuffling and huffling around before the great man launched into a well know spiritual type number, accompanied by . . . a bloke crouching down by the camera with the lyrics on ‘idiot boards’!
I recall being a bit uncharitable back then, about Mr B being a few synapse’s short of a connection – recently I’ve had to re-evaluate that attitude in light of the fact that I need the equivalent of idiot boards to carry out even the simplest task with any chance of a successful conclusion. The fact that I can’t recall the name of that standard, let alone any of the lyrics, is a good example!
Anyway, there you have a connection between ironing, Tony Bennett and a smartarse in Bodrum. ‘But’ I hear you say, ‘what’s the point of the story, and the connection with the title?’ Well, here goes!
The narrator cum anchor for this extravaganza was none other than Rod Steiger, star of such classics as ‘On the Waterfront’; ‘In the Heat of the Night’; ‘The Pawnbroker’ and others. He had the demeanour and awesome reputation of a serious ‘heavy’ (the reality was very different), and it came as something of a shock when, in the middle of a eulogy he paused, walked over, looked me in the eye, smiled and asked ‘How was that for you?’ I remember feeling like a fluttering ex-virgin as my stomach knotted, my mouth dried up and I managed to croak ‘Good! Really good!’ As the butterflies faded I remember being a bit gutted that they didn’t allow any post-climactic dog-ends in the pews at St Paul’s!
Alan Fenn, Okçular Köyü