"It was imprudent of us, in the first place, to become authors. We could have become something regular, but we managed not to.
We were lucky, but we were also determined." Roy Blount Jr

"I don’t change the facts to enhance the drama. I think of it the other way round, the drama has got to fit the facts,
and it’s your job as a writer to find the shape in real life."
Hilary Mantel

Thursday, February 01, 2007

I'd like to thank the Academy....

It's awards season...shiny statuettes, fancy frocks, borrowed gemstones. The Golden Globes and SAG awards are behind us, the Grammys, Oscars and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame yet to come.

This season is especially engaging for me, on a very personal level. Here's why.

The Police Reunion. I'm so jazzed about it--it's going to happen at the Grammy Awards, a lot sooner than expected. We go back a long way. I remember when they were a fresh young band playing minor venues in Atlanta. When they went their separate ways, I almost had a nervous breakdown. This leads me to....

R.E.M. to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.. I'm super-jazzed. Stewart Copeland of the Police had a brother Ian who did time in the record biz in the Southern town where I mis-spent my early youth. He worked with Alex Hodges, and helped 50% of the future R.E.M. (Bill Berry and Mike Mills) with their first local band, and his booking agency, F.B.I. later handled R.E.M. (Miles Copeland, the other brother, started I.R.S. records, which produced R.E.M.'s recordings.)

My R.E.M. connections are odd. Bill, who played the trumpet, was in the orchestra for a musical production I performed in. A schoolmate of mine played in Bill and Mike's first band, which broke up when the boys went to university, where music history was made--that's where they hooked up with Peter Buck and Michael Stipe. I ended up in the same place. A couple of the girl students in the TV production class I was teaching were the girlfriends of some of the guys, and can lay claim to helping forge the band that became R.E.M. (cherchez les femmes!).

You can read about all of this in a very wonderful book called Party Out of Bounds. Most of my partying took place in bounds. But on my birthday one year, a bunch of my mates took me to the 40 Watt Club, where Love Tractor was playing. It's line-up changed, but that night, in addition to one of my students, a member of R.E.M. was playing drums. And somebody got the guys to sing "Happy Birthday" to me and they dedicated a song I think.

I'm not sure if my diary recorded the event, wish I had time to check. Probably not. I wasn't keeping up my journal very well at that time. I had a good excuse--I was so crazy in l-u-r-v-e with the Chap. (Still am.)

Jackie Earle Haley nominated for Best Supporting Actor Academy Award. When I was in Radio-TV-Film school and not hanging out in music bars, I worked on the set of a television series. Jackie Earle Haley was a cast member. I was very impressed with him--he was intense, dedicated, and interesting. I'm so glad his work in Little Children has been nominated for so many awards. That series marked the debut of young actress Dominique Dunne (daughter of producer/novelist Dominic), who soon afterwards did a stint on Hill Street Blues and was murdered by her boyfriend. She, too, was a very talented and very promising performer.

I don't have time to hunt down my on-set photos today. Maybe I can find 'em before the Oscar broadcast.

Kate Winslet nominated (again) for Best Actress Academy Award. In our household, the English Rose is referred to as "Cousin Kate". Because I'm a Winslett too. In fact, my first cousin's middle name is Winslett. Our branch of the family added a "t" on their way across the Atlantic--or else her branch dropped it. No matter, we're of one blood--all Winsletts are related. An awful lot of them are still located in the same general geographic area where they've always been.

I've been excited about this member of the clan ever since seeing her in Heavenly Creatures. I've got accustomed to her getting nominated for almost everything she does, and equally accustomed to her not ever winning.

Helen Mirren nominated for Best Actress Academy Award. She's the reason Cousin Kate isn't winning any statuettes this year, but I'll forgive her. I first noticed Mirren in a tv production of Balzac's Cousin Bette about a zillion years ago (she won't thank me for that!), with her bosoms overflowing from her costumes. She was a hot young happenin' actress at the RSC, and shortly afterwards I saw her onstage in Stratford in Henry VI--my goodness, she was good.

More recently the Chap and I saw her in London doing Cleopatra, with Alan Rickman as Antony. It wasn't a very wonderful production, but she did get naked in her last scene.

Okay, that's enough "Brush with Greatness" for one morning. Maybe one day I'll riff on my "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon." I can get to him in 1 step, via Meryl Streep.

Speaking of Kev, check out
Six Degrees
to support charity.

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