Thursday, 5 July 2007

Rum, Bum and Concertina no more

Very sad news today bout the death of dear old George Melly. We adored him.

Flamboyantly camp megastar of the trad jazz world, eccentric writer of bestselling and blatantly honest autobiographies, surrealist, raconteur and wit, the man epitomised the decadent post-war world that gave birth to the Swinging Sixties.

His genius as a performer both on and off the jazz stage gained him a legion of fans - me included - who continue to love and adore his sardonic versions of blues numbers like God Bless The Child and I Hate A Man Like You, and rumbustious renditions of standards such as Hard Hearted Hannah, Sweet Georgia Brown, and, of course, Anything Goes:

George was a trooper to the end, and despite lung cancer and several strokes that had evidently contributed to his creeping dementia, he still continued to perform even after collapsing on stage during a concert in January this year.
"When camp is tragic, and it can be, it is always personal and never universal. That it is sometimes silly and snobbish is obvious. It is however always, and at whatever cost, a cry against conformity, a shriek against boredom, a testament to the potential uniqueness of each of us and our rights to that uniqueness."
- George Melly, from the preface of "Camp - the Lie that tells the Truth" by Philip Core.
Read more about George's life on Wikipedia

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