Saturday, 17 November 2012

How does it feel?

Oh 'tis the season for patron saints to have landmark birthdays, it seems...

None other than that extraordinary being Miss Fenella Fielding celebrates her 85th birthday today.

What a woman! Critics and the public alike have never quite known what to make of her - with her smoky husky voice, her eccentric demeanour, her often over-the-top feline sensuality and her subtle humour, she always has been a unique character in the world of entertainment.

Hers was probably the most-remembered role in the classic Carry On Screaming...

She has had a long stage career, including revues with Kenneth Williams as well as more serious stuff like Ibsen and Shakespeare, and performed some classic double-entendre Music Hall Numbers on [the late dearly departed TV show] The Good Old Days:

I met her at Polari last April, when she was reading an extract from her friend Michael Menzies' autobiography Deeply Superficial, and she was everything you would want and expect from a camp icon...

And now - at last! - the contender for possibly the best album of all time has finally been released (despite Miss Fielding's best efforts to block it) - The Savoy Sessions, a meisterwork produced by David Britton, owner of Savoy Books, author of the banned comic (and novel) Lord Horror and “the last man in the country to be jailed under the 1959 Obscene Publications Act”. Apparently.

I featured Miss Fielding's take on Public Image Ltd's Rise (!) when I first stumbled across this musical extravaganza - it has been kicking around since 2008. Now the album is finally here, and it is more magnificent than I could have dreamed! Needless to say it is firmly at the top of my Amazon "wish list" for Xmas.

Among the weird selection of tracks, Miss Fielding is let loose on classics originally by such diverse talents as Robbie Williams, Cole Porter, Tom Waits and New Order...

...and Kylie Minogue!

Fantabulosa! [You can buy the whole album here.]

Many happy returns to a truly inspirational woman.

Fenella Fielding


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