celebrity obit http://culturecatch.com/index.php/taxonomy/term/553 en Blues for Gérard (mon frère Gérard) http://culturecatch.com/index.php/node/3865 <span>Blues for Gérard (mon frère Gérard)</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/index.php/user/690" lang="" about="/index.php/user/690" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Steve Dalachinsky</a></span> <span>April 27, 2017 - 10:00</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/music" hreflang="en">Music Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/taxonomy/term/553" hreflang="en">celebrity obit</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><figure role="group" class="embedded-entity align-right"><article><img alt="Thumbnail" class="img-responsive" height="376" src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2019/2019-08/ap-terrones.jpg?itok=u-5X8NV9" title="ap-terrones.jpg" typeof="foaf:Image" width="450" /></article><figcaption>Photo Credit: Christian Ducasse</figcaption></figure><p> </p> <p>I first met Gérard in 2001. Alexander Pierrepont brought my wife Yuko and me to his radio show to be interviewed sometime in the middle of summer in the middle of the night. We immediately hit it off, both of us loving jazz and justice just equally. I always made him laugh… we always understood each other despite my non-existent French and his almost non-existent English. We would see each other every time I went to Paris, and I'd always go to a concert he'd booked at Sunside/Sunset or La Java. He was very generous to me and would always give me CDs from his incredible label. I had already had some LPs on Marge/Futura but knew nothing about the man behind the label; as I said, we became fast friends. Sometime in autumn around 2013 Gérard offered me a gig at La Java. He said there would be little if any money but that I could have all the drinks I wanted and that I could bring merchandise to sell and any musicians I wanted. He had only one request. Since I was opening for French band that played Chicago blues, he asked if I had any blues poems and if not could I write/read at least one to help please the audience. I'm laughing. "But Gérard, mon frère, of course I'll write you a blues poem." And I did. The musicians were Sabir Mateen, Sylvain Kassab and Cathy Hayden -- three avant-garde reed players.</p> <p>Well, the audience hated us and we didn't much like them either. They showed their disgust by talking through the entire set. I'm amazed they didn't throw tomatoes at us, or maybe they did. But the gig was actually pretty good. I expected not to sell one book or CD to this hostile crowd, but to my amazement there was one American, one Australian, and I don't remember who else in the audience who came up to me afterward, but thought our set was amazing and amazingly enough bought tons of books and CDs.</p> <p>The other great thing that happened that night was that I learned about Picon (the drink of old men I was told) which I have now indulged in quite a few times while in Paris. One of the last times I drank Picon was when I went to another gig that Gérard had booked the following year at La Java. It was also the last time I saw Gérard and sadly all my attempts to contact him after that were futile. By that time he had become even more frail and I already knew his health was failing. I also had the privilege about five years ago of hanging out with him when came to New York to do a recording session for the label; we had a great great fucking week… Okay, here's that blues poem a bit updated for this solemn occasion -- adieu, mon frère, Gérard Terronès...</p> <p>Blue Marge d'soiree blues for mankind important my friend please pardon my French too hot to sell in sync the solo the style the change regard the blue blue night Gérard's chapeau tipped down low so come here mama turn your lamp down some mo’ -- some people carry old faces and the blues puts out my fire some people leave no traces but Gérard was never for hire -- "don’t complain, just let it rain," said Bessie as she stepped in to muddy waters… key to the mystery is the key to life to take care of your pets without regrets the more that you spend on eating food the poorer it means you are but if life is lush and the weather is green it don’t matter what happens to the stuff in between -- mon frère Gérard the BLUES fall down...</p> <p>There's a pigeon on my roof a miracle a restless rage Blue sky Blue skin Blue eyes it's so nice not to look for the dead as they surround you as you surround us now with you smile with your teeth with your one-of-a-kindness your genuine kindness and your chapeau and your smile la futura la futura for GéRARd -- the thought of the sunset seen only by one man another song sung the bridge reached then crossed the folds within the folds the hanging on and the hangin' in and the hangin' out a place where the cymbal was born and birthed other symbols and there began eventually the speaking in tongues a written oratory the sweat of the brow the enslavement of souls not far from this place but so far indeed and color was born out of water and the promise of freedom our full blown freedom mon frère Gérard as you are finally released but from what to where to what -- ah, how I miss you already ah how I mourn the loss of not being there as you chased another dream another note another challenge another musical… now chain the ashes in Per Lacaise … and the sky the blue sky and the light inhabiting dark places as the sky begins to cry the blue sky as the darkness paves the way for revolution a revolution you helped create maybe never to come again… you paved the way just as darkness itself has done before you… your life helped pave the way your revolution helped show a way out the push and the pull… the way opposites attract and apostle's are born the way magnets merge and the blues are born the way the blues are born the blues are born on the riverbank asleep for so long the blues open up and sing this song as we open up our weeping hearts and speak in many voices the key to mystery the key to life solo the style the changes hung upside down sweet brother Gérard… as your soul remains here somewhere everywhere in this book in this universe in this dream in this lowest land this highest plateau this flawless world where only the outlaws can spread the news we're only the outlaws can sing the blues where only an outlaw can save us now and Jazz is what makes us mon frère Gérard and Jazz is what takes us… life solo style breath chapeau changes changes changes… so let it rain Gérard… let it rain Gérard… let it rain. </p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3865&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="DLu_t_2bsO1VSDa62wzi8y6Ouh_w9kNUWn3XcMY5W2Q"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Thu, 27 Apr 2017 14:00:00 +0000 Steve Dalachinsky 3865 at http://culturecatch.com Roll Over, Chuck Berry! RIP. http://culturecatch.com/index.php/music/chuck-berry-obit <span>Roll Over, Chuck Berry! RIP.</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/index.php/users/dusty-wright" lang="" about="/index.php/users/dusty-wright" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Dusty Wright</a></span> <span>March 21, 2017 - 13:10</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/music" hreflang="en">Music Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/taxonomy/term/553" hreflang="en">celebrity obit</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Uf4rxCB4lys?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>When I was seven-years old I had a Kool-Aid stand and with my profits bought my very first album -- <em>The Beatles' Second Album</em>. I remember walking the several blocks to the Acme store and praying that they still had a copy in the album rack. They did. I couldn't wait to get home and play it on my portable record player. I carefully placed the needle on the very first track on side one of that magnificent album and... my life would forever be devoted to music in some shape or form. On that beloved album, the very first track was my favorite song -- "Roll Over Beethoven"<a href="https://youtu.be/PVU915pM3f4" target="_blank"> </a>-- by one Mr. Chuck Berry. At the time, I had no idea who wrote the song nor much cared. It was all about The Beatles. But as almost everyone knows, Chuck Berry wrote and recorded it years earlier. And it would take me several years and thousands of hours of listening to rock music later to understand how important Chuck Berry was to the genre. In fact, I would better understand his place in music history from the likes of The Rolling Stones and The Grateful Dead. And while I always liked the Dead's version of <a href="https://youtu.be/PckVlp7Z8d4" target="_blank">"Johnny B. Goode,"</a> Chuck's original is still tops. Believe it or not, decades later I actually would meet him in person. And what a meeting it was.</p> <!--break--> <p>Fast forward to 1985... I lived across the street from the rock legend in the Loz Feliz neighborhood of West Hollywood on Hollyridge Drive. Chuck had this sprawling Mediterranean-style mansion with an unused, near-perfect tennis court. I was a young television variety agent at William Morris in Beverly Hills. And I was playing tennis a few times a week, when my busy schedule afforded me any free time. I heard through the neighborhood grapevine that he didn't even play tennis. Moreover, as far as I could tell, Mr. Berry was never home. I wanted to play on his court, but I knew that it would not have been kosher to play on Chuck Berry's court without his consent. He was Chuck Berry, dammit. But I knew I had an in with him. One day at the office I asked music agent Dick Allen, who use to book him in the '60s, if he would ask him or his manager for me. (That was pretty ballsy, right?) Dick told me just look for his RV/camper, because sooner or later it would show up, and ask him yourself. Chuck didn't like to fly, preferred the RV/camper as his primary mode of transportation between his home in St. Louis and his place in LA. As fate would dictate, one sunny Saturday I spied the RV parked in the driveway, so I stroll over around noon, knock on the door, and... a few minute later, Chuck looking dapper in his silk PJs answers the door flanked by two beautiful young ladies (twins) on either arm and asks we what I wanted. I introduce myself as his neighbor and a William Morris agent, friends with Dick Allen, <em>and</em> an avid tennis player. "Might I use your court when you're not home? I'll take excellent care of it." "No problem. Use it now," says Mr. Berry. I was gobsmacked. I was grinning like a Cheshire Cat. So was he, And so were the two young ladies with him. I thanked him, he nodded and closed the door. All hail, rock 'n' roll!</p> <p>Mr. Berry, your music, style and legacy live on. You started a revolution with you electric guitar playing and timeless tunes. RIP. And don't forget to tell Tchaikovsky the news. </p> </div> <section> </section> Tue, 21 Mar 2017 17:10:36 +0000 Dusty Wright 3555 at http://culturecatch.com R.I.P. GREG TROOPER http://culturecatch.com/index.php/music/greg-trooper-obit <span>R.I.P. GREG TROOPER</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/index.php/users/dusty-wright" lang="" about="/index.php/users/dusty-wright" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Dusty Wright</a></span> <span>January 16, 2017 - 09:54</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/music" hreflang="en">Music Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/taxonomy/term/553" hreflang="en">celebrity obit</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/U0Pg666g-G4?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>I'm certain many of you don't know that the New Jersey-born, Brooklyn-based Greg Trooper passed away yesterday after a two-year battle with pancreatic cancer, two days after his 61st birthday. Greg was one of those effortless singer-songwriters who other singer-songwriters cherished. Even well-known singer-songwriters covered his material, including Steve Earle ("Little Sister"), Billy Bragg ("Everywhere"), Vince Gill ("We Won't Dance"), etc. Never a huge star or mainstream name, his music resonated with us because he was so damn good at his craft, and he wrote amazing tunes. I once told a fellow musician that if I ever wrote and recorded a song as good as <a href="https://youtu.be/5FVRIWBSQXg" target="_blank">"Muhammad Ali (The Meaning of Christmas),"</a> I would have reached the pinnacle of my craft. His voice was soothing, his delivery even, his lyrics vivid and inviting; he had it all. And, he would better himself time and time again; 13 albums of memorable music. Just a few years ago, he wrote another song I would have given my eyeteeth for -- "They Call Me Hank". RIP, Mr. Trooper. I believe your songs will resonate long after the embers of all of us have faded into the ether.</p> <div><em>We won't dance no more </em></div> <div><em>We won't shine out on the floor </em></div> <div><em>We won't sway the band won't play </em></div> <div><em>We won't dance...</em></div> <!--break--></div> <section> </section> Mon, 16 Jan 2017 14:54:03 +0000 Dusty Wright 3528 at http://culturecatch.com Achievement in Reverse: Brett Smiley Obit http://culturecatch.com/index.php/music/brett-smiley-obit <span>Achievement in Reverse: Brett Smiley Obit</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/index.php/user/460" lang="" about="/index.php/user/460" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Robert Cochrane</a></span> <span>March 7, 2016 - 10:51</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/music" hreflang="en">Music Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/taxonomy/term/553" hreflang="en">celebrity obit</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/21U5nOfHIU0?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>Brett Smiley 25th September 1955 - 8th January 2016.</p> <p>The death of Brett Smiley has removed one of the most obscure, but fascinating facets from the chipped, black nail varnished footnotes of rock. Until the turn of the new century his most slender of reputations rested only in the minds of those fortunate enough to possess his lone single "<a href="https://geo.itunes.apple.com/us/album/va-va-va-voom/id163925282?i=163925309&amp;at=11l4R8&amp;mt=1&amp;app=music" target="_blank">Va Va Va Voom,</a>" a wonderfully effete confection which surfaced in Britain in the fading months of 1974. Over-hyped and over the top, this California pretty boy import pouted and pranced like a stick thin bleached and back combed Goldie Hawn in platform boots. He emoted huskily: "I've gone so crazy I'm a certified nervous wreck. A little bit eccentric Ha! Screaming like a discotheque,"  made the cover of <em>Disc </em>magazine as the prettiest boy in the world and managed to briefly render Marc Bolan butch and reveal Sweet as the dockers in drag that they truly were. Had he gained a more prolonged period of exposure his androgyny would have shocked the nation, as it was he crashed and burned, his single bombed undeservedly, despite having Steve Marriott of the Small Faces on guitar duties, and not yet nineteen, he became a teenage has been. A has-been then for the second time because Brett Smiley was no stranger to the fame game. At the age of eleven he'd already conquered Broadway in the lead role of Oliver. Precocious he might have appeared, but it was with an awareness of his own worth and capabilities.</p> <!--break--> <p>He crossed paths with Rolling Stones Svengali Andrew Loog Oldham who immediately saw the perfect exponent in the sixteen-year-old for the burgeoning glam-rock phase in Britain. An album was recorded and the stage seemed set for the arrival of a glitteringly new talent. Their appearance on the <a href="https://youtu.be/j9xIvGSj88g" target="_blank">Russell Harty TV show</a> is pure Rock &amp; Roll Babylon gold. Harty a kindly man is all mother hen concerned about the pink suited, apparently wasted boy lolling brattishly around and nervously smoking in his interview chair. Smiley seems fuelled and phased by some cocktail of chemicals which he's like shared with Loog Oldham who is attempting a routine of worldly weariness whilst extolling the virtues of his new discovery, but being as out to lunch as his errant charge.He seems like a slightly creepy uncle and the scenario holds echoes of Jerry Brandt's chronic mishandling of Jobriath's career, the creation of an appeased monkey that is all too quickly discarded like Michael Jackson's Bubbles when they tire of the sideshow they've facilitated. As Brett Smiley stumbles through a breathy mime of "Space Ace," the lavishly arranged B side of his debut release, you witness a performance that shouldn't have been permitted, but thankfully was. In later years Brett Smiley understandably winced at it's existence and refused to watch his sole British TV appearance. The album was shelved, and the rest became a mystery because nobody cared.</p> <p>But somebody was watching, and somebody did care. A barely teenage girl witnessed this debacle, something clicked and she was smitten. It was a moment of symbiotic narcissism, since she looked like the pretty boy who beamed out a her from the screen. She rushed out and bought the pouting performers single, but her anticipation of something in the future came to nothing, for the boy vanished leaving her with the emotional weeds of a fan in mourning. She was the future biographer of Johnny Thunders, one Nina Antonia, and over the years when the world didn't exist at the tap of a keyboard she'd ask: "Whatever happened to Brett Smiley?" That became the sub-title of her book, <em>The Prettiest Star</em>, a biography of the one single wonder, because eventually she found and befriended him, and was instrumental in locating and securing a release in 2004 for his long thought lost album.</p> <p>What happened to Brett Smiley was simple. Back in America he'd auditioned unsuccessfully to be David Cassidy's replacement in The Partridge Family, had-a-blink-and-you-miss-him appearance in <em>American Gigolo</em> although audiences saw more of him in the tawdry soft focus, soft porn <em>Cinderella</em> in which he appears as Prince Charming. Smiley eventually turned to drink and drugs, became an addict, HIV positive and suffering from hepatitis, and at one time homeless, he'd seemed destined to disappear long before his time. The efforts of the girl who'd seen him but once on a tv screen altered much and interest in him grew.</p> <p>The album<em> <a href="https://geo.itunes.apple.com/us/album/breathlessly-brett/id163925282?at=11l4R8&amp;mt=1&amp;app=music" target="_blank">Breathlessly Brett</a></em> is a consummate, accomplished piece of glittering genius suspended in the amber of the early seventies. His Broadway experience shines through. This boy could carry as well as write a wonderful collection of showy tunes. He even delivers a suitably mincy stab at the Beatles classic "I Want To Hold You Hand." Quite rightly the album got wonderful reviews, and Smiley arrived in London for a sell out show at the Garage. He looked like the classic louche rock star because from being a pubescent sensation on Broadway, he'd felt that privilege and continued to perform new material up until his death.</p> <p>Brett Smiley has now exited the Rock &amp; Roll palace, his slipping quietly out the side door in shades lost in the crowds mourning the passing of a certain Mr. Bowie. He belongs to a cache of '70s outage merchants which includes Jobriath, Duffo and the recently re-discovered Smokey who shimmered and shone and were all too quickly gone in a shower of glittering dust. Their lack of success then doesn't mean that their efforts shouldn't now be celebrated and valued. Debauchery in a more innocent time now seems beguilingly quaint, yet strangely brave. Smiley's life from Broadway sensation to Glam curio has all the elements of old Hollywood so astutely dissected in <em>Sunset Boulevard</em>. He has left sufficient material for the release of another album, but what is all the more important is that he existed at all, and that his trials, talent and tribulations should be celebrated. His life has all the elements of a parable, but sometimes getting all so terribly wrong is a form of achievement in itself.</p> </div> <section> </section> Mon, 07 Mar 2016 15:51:15 +0000 Robert Cochrane 3385 at http://culturecatch.com The Street Writing Man http://culturecatch.com/index.php/literary/tony-warren-obit <span>The Street Writing Man</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/index.php/user/460" lang="" about="/index.php/user/460" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Robert Cochrane</a></span> <span>March 5, 2016 - 11:35</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/literary" hreflang="en">Literary Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/taxonomy/term/553" hreflang="en">celebrity obit</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Tony Warren 8th July 1936-1st March 2016</p> <blockquote> <p>"The first <em>Coronation Street</em> writing team contained some of the biggest homophobes I've ever met. I remember getting on my feet in a story conference and saying: 'Gentlemen, I have sat here for two-and-a-half hours and listened to three poof jokes, a storyline dismissed as poofy, and an actor described as 'useless as he's a poof'. As a matter of fact, he isn't! but I would like to point out that I am, and without a poof none of you would be in work today.'"</p> </blockquote> <p>So reflected the writer and television dramatist Tony Warren on his early uphill, but routine struggle with homophobia of late 1950s Britain. It was a brave and brazen stance given that homosexuality was still illegal. He also stated later that "the outsider sees more, hears more, and has to remember more to survive" and that in those days if you were gay you needed to be three times better than your competitors in order to succeed.</p> <!--break--> <p>Tony Warren was by nature both homosexual and an observer in a world that sought to exclude, persecute and ridicule him and his kind. I saw him once in the 1990s address the crowds in Sackville Park Manchester during the gay Mardi Gras. With genuine emotion in his voice he stated that in 1964 'If I even dared to hold the hand of a friend I would have been arrested and now here I am looking out at thousands of you doing just that.' He hadn't changed but the world around him certainly had.</p> <p>Innovators are all too quickly absorbed into the mainstream they once challenged. It is hard to believe how ground breaking his proposal for a television drama set in a small street bookended by a public house and a corner shop actually was. Britain in the '50s had been staunchly middle class, a drawing room or stately home tableau dominated the stage and burgeoning medium of television. Warren wasn't an angry young man, but his position from the margins made him a determined one. By the sheer force of his drive and personality, this child actor turned knitting pattern model turned children's dramatist, succeeded in getting the provisionally titled <em>Florizel Street</em> commissioned and the set built in the winter of 1960, for the thirteen episodes he had penned. It became <em>Coronation Street</em> the longest running soap opera in the world, fifty six years and counting, and a blueprint influence on countless generations of actors and writers. It broke the mould but created a larger &amp; more realistic one.</p> <p>What made it all the more unusual, apart from it's suburban setting, was it's instantly recognisable population of strong, eccentric and at times terrifying women. There was Ena Sharples, the sharp old battle axe played by the redoubtable Violet Carson in a hairnet, and with a face like a very angry bag of spanners who frequently clashed with the glamorously common Elsie Tanner, who being no better than she ought to be and having a shining heart of pure but vulnerable brass. They in their turn experienced the withering wrath of Annie Walker, the haughty landlady of the pub who harboured hotel-like aspirations, but was riddled with all the insecurities of her desire to reach beyond her social confinement. She was wonderfully realised by Doris Speed, a fright in real life, the typical drag dragon woman with a penchant for leopard print. These actresses are now long dead, but they inhabit the collective memory as the archetypes the so brilliantly represented, a testament to Warren's insight, and eye for detail and pathos.</p> <p>A child of wartime, Warren was brought up by a regiment of women abandoned by husbands who'd enlisted. From his viewpoint under the table he'd listen to these ordinary viragos discuss their worries and their woes, absorbing their mannerisms and gestures. He once told me he'd based Mrs Sharples on his grandmother who was a fierce lady because she hadn't been born beautiful, and there-in lay the grit of her character and the seed for a dramatic pearl. Warren adored women, he felt comfortable with them which is precisely why his creations rang true, but with great success came immense pressure. He found it difficult relinquishing his creation to a committee of script writers, and drink and drugs became the crutches that would ultimately fail him, and when they did he fled to a hippy commune in San Francisco, only cropping up in sensationalised tabloid reports in the English press for the depth of his drunken downfall. It seemed that this talented architect of tragedy and amusement was lazily scripting his own chaotic demise, but the against all the odds of negative expectations, he got sober, and amazingly maintained it for the rest of his life.</p> <p>By the 1990s he was back at Granada Television as a consultant to <em>Coronation Street</em> and in that decade penned four hugely successful novels. His next project was to be his autobiography, a warts and all confection that would detail his affair with Brian Epstein, the Beatles manager, and feature walk on parts from Noel Coward, Burt Bacharach, and Sir John Betjeman, the poet laureate who in his final years of dotage regarded the soap opera characters as real people bemoaning to Tony his sadness at the trials and tribulations Hilda Ogden was having with her work-shy husband Stan. Alas the warts proved too taxing, he found the process of excavating the details of his often painfully eventful life distressing and the project begun with his usual boyish gusto, was quickly abandoned.</p> <p>I was with him the night he met the singer Morrissey at a Waterstones book-store event for Michael Bracewell's <em>Englands Dreaming</em>. At one point I could see him scrutinizing Bracewell in his rather quizzical way. The object of his gaze was wearing an old dress shirt which in it's day would have had the cuffs restrained by links, but on this evening they were distractingly flapping around the wrists of their languid, gesturing wearer, which was no doubt the desired impression. Tony leant across and whispered: "What's the score with Michael Bracewell?" and after my expression of uncertainty, he sniffed as an aside "Only a bi-sexual could dress that badly!" He was more forgiving and kindly about his encounter with Morrissey, a major <em>Coronation Street</em> devotee, observing that he's been surprisingly down to earth and nothing like he'd imagined.</p> <p>Tony Warren was made an MBE in 1994, and his life was dramatized by the BBC in the play <em>The Road To Coronation Street</em> to mark fifty years of the series. In 2008 he was the recipient of an honorary degree from Manchester Metropolitan University for his achievements in television and creative writing. He even had a building named after him in Media City. He lived long enough to be thus venerated, but would have disputed any attempt to apply the term venerable. A witty, modest man who viewed the world with a sense of bemused resignation, he became a part of the mainstream, still observing it astutely from the wings.</p> </div> <section> </section> Sat, 05 Mar 2016 16:35:54 +0000 Robert Cochrane 3384 at http://culturecatch.com