I woke up this morning to find my laptop playing Youtube roulette. Based upon cookies (probably my deliciously moist ginger snaps) it decided I should watch a Mick Jagger bio.
In a documentary of oft-repeated clichés there was the one of Mick and Keith locked in the kitchen in 1962 by their manager. They were told they wouldn’t be freed until they learned how to write a hit song. They came up with That Girl Belongs to Yesterday and gave it to Gene Pitney to record.
I, of course, knew that. But I also realized I’d never heard it. So I dug it up on Youtube and listened. Pitney’s tortuous vocal searches for drama while the bridge and chorus are pretty weak. Every line of verse, however, is answered with this quirky “dee dee dee-dee, da-da-dunh” riff that lingers. Shapes of things to come.
I moved on to scan the day’s headlines while waiting for my private secretary to arrive. I noticed Megan Mullally had hosted the SAG Awards the night before. I don’t have a TV so I didn’t watch. I was curious though because I loved her on Will and Grace 20 years ago.
Her character Karen was never without a cocktail. When she had trouble copping a buzz she’d supplement her drinking with opiates and barbiturates. Miraculously, she never appeared to get drunk. It’s one of the best fantasies Hollywood ever created.
But good character acting doesn’t always translate into good hostessing. I watched the replay of her monologue with some trepidation. I love her Karen so much I feel protective and don’t want her to fail in other roles.
I needn’t have worried. The moment she walked on stage she honored the history of film by doing a snippet of Elizabeth Taylor’s Bust Projection Dance from Virginia Woolf. She then launched a brief series of pointed jokes that were spot on in addressing the inequality mess. She was the perfect hostess.
It was in stark contrast to the Academy’s quixotic search for a host this year that got nowhere. Their obvious solution would be to hire Ms. Mullally which will never happen. The Board of Governors issued an edict recently that if you are featured in any of the other awards shows you will not be allowed to appear on their broadcast. Why be reasonable when you can be vindictive? It’s what makes American alpha-male enterprises so great.
The current state of the Oscars finds them doing catch up for 90 years of neglect. They are bending over backwards to pad the stats for posterity. Which is not to detract from the excellent contribution minorities make today. It’s just they were also making them 50 years ago too.
One prejudice has merely been substituted for another because it’s good for business. Their Excellencies, the distinguished board of the august Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, are handing out statues that are about as meaningful as the UAE Gender Equality honors.
In 1972 when I was grouping the Stones with Lamumba and Cynthia Plastercaster in Chicago, there were a handful of brief encounters. One was at 4 in the morning on our way home from the bar. We noticed the french doors on the second floor of the Playboy Mansion were open so we joined a few others on the sidewalk and waited to see what would happen.
It was only a few minutes before a very drunk Mick appeared supported by eight Playboy bunnies. They were like a bunch of giggling schoolgirls guiding him on to the balcony, nothing like the hardened hussies they portrayed in their spreads. He could barely stand up.
Unsure of what to say, I took off my denim jacket to show him the appliqued sequined tongue and offered it to him.
In his drunken haze he remained articulate. He thanked me, then said “but you should keep it and wear it. You’re much more beautiful than me.”
Jim Jordan’s analysis of that incident was I hadn’t been so much flattered by Mick’s compliment as I had been impressed by his graciousness while shit faced. Jim said it was one of the values I held highest.
With that in mind, everyone should raise their glass and toast Megan Mullally for a job well done. As I’ve been doing since about 6:00 this morning.