I had occasion this weekend to be watching the incredibly talented Victor Borge. Sadly, he is no longer with us. However, fortunately there are many recordings of his performances that are available on various platforms.
Mr Borge was a musician and comedian. His timing and observational humour was perfection. Watching him on first glance, it would be easy to overlook his musicianship as his comedic delivery was quick and relatable. Yet, his skill at the piano was pure genius. This would become apparent to all watching, the realisation of the skill involved and an appreciation for the cleverness of this chap. I would highly recommend that you seek him out on YouTube and enjoy the talent and humour he brought to the world.
We went on to watch the wonderful Les Dawson. Again, his piano musicianship was incredible. To intentionally play a tune that “badly” but to still have it instantly recognisable showed an aptitude for comedic value alongside a love of piano playing and a full understanding of music. The delivery was seamless which overshadowed the sheer proficiency it took to some extent in the name of comedy and pleasing the audience. During the performance, Mr Dawson introduced the pioneering dance group – the Roly Poly’s. Fantastic and very different from the ordinary dance troupes we had become accustomed to seeing. Comedic, yes, but also highly talented and a very different set of dancers. The set was part of the Royal Variety Performance of 1987. A highlight to the year that we once looked forward to as a family. Multi generations would watch the show and enjoy the performances together. There was always something for everyone.
Things are very different nowadays. Most of the show is pop music. The acts are rather samey unfortunately and the variety of bygone days has long gone. Some people may argue that, as times have changed, the things people want to see have changed. Yes, of course this happens. But, in reality, we are all either children, teens, middle aged or retired. Each wanting something different in a variety show, hence the very name – variety. Not just music with a bit of a “variety” act thrown in.
Change is not always good. It does not always cater for everyone.
Whatever happened to the good old chat show? Cast your mind back, if you will or if, indeed you can, to Mr Terry Wogan, Des O Conner and the wonderful Michael Parkinson. Where are those shows that had us feeling as if we were there with the host and guest(s)? Yes, there are later night shows nowadays but nothing to bring the censored chat of the fashionable or favourite people we tune into the TV to watch or we go onto whichever music site to download. What happened to a probing yet delicate conversation with comedians, show people, the rich and famous who thought it an accolade to appear on these shows at a time in the evening when a family could enjoy them together? Those days seem to have gone. If a celebrity cannot swear on TV, they are not interested! It is such a shame that our television has succumbed to the violence, the bad language and the actions of a thug society. Our country promote family values, inclusion and a belief in our traditions yet our programmes, social media, music and film are filled with completely the opposite. Gone are the days of such lught hearted fun poking as Game for a Laugh – health and safety has put a stop to that, can you imagine Anneka Rice being allowed to jump out of a helicopter without 6 helmets and 12 layers of bubble wrap, ankle braces and knee pads, just in case and a neck brace with a built in inside pocket to house her signed indemnity form, in triplicate!! What on earth has this all come to. We are afraid to move!
I refer you to my earlier statement, there is no variety in life as there used to be. Only different shades of red in the tape that surrounds us all on a daily basis.
This whole rant started with an innocent YouTube video of a talented celebrity who is, sadly, no longer with us!