Thursday, April 26, 2007


This came to me in the mail from an old reader, and I think it'll appeal to a new one. I studied music formally as I was growing up, but I was never a crazy screaming ditzy fan of anyone till I discovered Rufus Wainwright. I would rather forget how I discovered him, but the very week Poses was thrust into my hands I found myself staring at a billboard on George Street. I remember calling my friend NO'D and asking 'Hey have you heard of this guy called Rufus? He's going to be singing in Oxford this weekend.' Needless to say, I was ordered to buy tickets. I saw him live three days after I had first heard him on CD, but I already knew all the songs on Poses. I loved the fact that his music was big and showy and overpowering, that it discovered these deep cavernous recesses inside me and filled them with liquid chocolate and tears, that just when I thought I was listening to pop or rock, I'd recognise a riff from some Broadway musical, and I swear the violins in Greek Song are Karnatak. When I first heard him use the phrase 'raggedy andy' in Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk (which is something of a musical homage to 'Raindrops and Roses') I thought he had made language gay. At the Oxford show, we were pissing ourselves through his butterfly encore, we cried through Hallelujah and we congregated with screaming teenage hordes around the rear exit to the New theatre. But alas, we never did catch sight of the man at close quarters. That would have to wait till the Judy Garland show in London. This time I didn't know any of the songs (except 'Somewhere Over the Rainbow'), but listened spellbound all the same. I discovered the gorgeously velvety-voiced Martha Wainwright that evening. Amazingly, we had tickets to the afterparty courtesy JQ's boyfriend S who knew Rufus' drummer. We did see him this time, but he looked tired and rather bored of posing for photographs. And I didn't really know what I would have said if we'd had a conversation (I have been known to say the lamest things to celebrities). So we contented ourselves with mingling with assorted pg 3 folk such as Mr. Gandalf, the woman who played the female teacher in History Boys, a cute curly-haired guy who hosts one of those forgetable silly quiz shows on some BBC channel, somebody who acted in I, Claudius. It was like being a rookie journalist for Heat magazine because we recognised everybody but couldn't name anyone. (Btw, the Guardian Weekend feature comes with big glossy pictures of a very sober-looking Rufus in grey suit being carried by a [insert appropriate collective noun] of yummy-looking buff tuxed men. This is a collector's item. Thanks SB!)

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