Wednesday, 29 June 2011

My Misunderstandings - Well, One of Them...

In his poem Taking A Walk With You, Kenneth Koch admits to his many and various (and wonderfully inventive) misunderstandings - ah, here it is (click 'more')... On the centenary of the birth of Bernard Herrmann, I might as well confess to one of my misunderstandings. For years I thought the great film music composer and the (identically named) conductor of the BBC Northern Dance Orchestra were one and the same. The poor fellow must have fallen on hard times, I thought - or alternatively, how kind of him to abandon Hollywood to come over here and perform jaunty dance orchestra settings of pop hits. At that time - the early Sixties - the NDO loomed large in the life of us young pop pickers. With even Radio 1 and the pirate stations still in the future, and BBC Radio reluctant to spend good money spinning platters by those upstart beat combos, we were obliged to listen to many a chart single performed live by the swinging hepcats of the NDO. We were not impressed, fine orchestra (of its kind) though it was, and fine bandleader though Bernard Herrmann was. But he was one Bernard Herrmann, and THE Bernard Herrmann was another. Still, it's consoling to know I wasn't the only one to confuse the two - the BBC often did, and so, at one time, did THE Bernard Herrmann's widow: check out the paragraph headed 'Before you met him, had you ever heard of him?' here.

9 comments:

  1. That's nothing, I thought I once appeared nude in The Wicker Man.

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  2. “Oh well, you are a bit thin, I think I ought to buy you some lunch tomorrow.” I said: “All right then.” That must be the definitive chat up line, say what you will about the sixties, there's no denying that men was men.

    What on earth went wrong.

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  3. Comment of the Month, Brit! Malty a brilliant runner-up.

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  4. For years I assumed that the Christopher Lee whose plays turn up all the time on Radio 4 (he's written over 100 of the things, not including occasional episodes of The Archers) was the same guy who donned cape and fangs for Hammer (and played the loopy laird in The Wicker Man).

    I bet I wasn't alone in this: indeed, now I think of it I'm sure I've seen Mr Lee's ‘other’ career mentioned in at least one film book. (He is, after all, a versatile sort of chap -- an accomplished linguist, a classically trained singer, and a scholar of the occult.)

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  5. Yes, confusing isn't it - and that Christopher Lee was also BBC defence correspondent - I don't think t'other one cld quite stretch to that...

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  6. It can't actually work, I believe so.

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