Saturday, 29 November 2008

Birthday Music: Formby

I love inuendo, double entendres, mischievous rhymes, McGill postcards, the odd, coy, forgiving, sheer ordinariness of it. Let the beautiful go hang for a while. Let language go, get a decent pint, and snuggle down in the third-class railway carriage. Bring back Marie Lloyd, Irving Berlin, Cole Porter (a sophisticated lad by comparison). I mean:

...My pal puts Violet in his bath, Vi-o-let that makes me laugh
I've found where Violet lives not half, you can't fool me.
She giggles when he hugs her tight, when she's kissed she laughs outright
She had convulsions late last night, they can't fool me....

Eliot had a fondness for it. So did Auden. And as for Rochester...


Gwil W said...

I think I can put this comment here because George Formby has a dog and this evening I'm reading
Nabokov's 'Speak, Memory' which several people have recommended on your blog, perhaps yourself included, and there's something about dogs in it.
I found it in a bazaar, price 1€, on your birthday.
Having just read the first fifty or so pages I feel I ought to pass on my humble thanks.
The lovely family yarns like the one about the grandad in the bathchair swallowing the pebble. The relative who smuggles books to Dostoyevsky, just mentioned in passing. The ancestor who had butterfly named for him in Alaska. An incredible family history. An incredible family. Each ghost worth a role in a novel. All stranger than fiction. And all simply wonderful.

George S said...

Speak Memory is a splendid book. I read it some seven or eight years ago on a friend's recommendation.

The man is, no doubt, a self-consciously brilliant show off, but he has much to be brilliant about.