Ella Fitzgerald was not allowed to play at Mocambo because of her race. Then, one of Ella’s biggest fans made a telephone call that quite possibly changed the path of her career for good. Here, Ella tells the story of how Marilyn Monroe changed her life:
“I owe Marilyn Monroe a real debt… she personally called the owner of the Mocambo, and told him she wanted me booked immediately, and if he would do it, she would take a front table every night. She told him – and it was true, due to Marilyn’s superstar status – that the press would go wild. The owner said yes, and Marilyn was there, front table, every night. The press went overboard. After that, I never had to play a small jazz club again. She was an unusual woman – a little ahead of her times. And she didn’t know it.”
jesus christ this is so much better than all of the “you don’t have to be size zero!!!!!” and “i don’t mind living in a man’s world if i can be a woman!!!!!!!” bullshit related to marilyn monroe i see.
A friend introduced me to a boy named Emil on the basis of similar music tastes. As far as I knew, he was the only living Teenage Fanclub fan within my zip code, so I jumped at the chance to talk to another being whose mania matched my own. He was selling a bunch of his cd’s and emailed me a list. Teenage Fanclub’s third album “Bandwagonesque” (1991) was priced at a ridiculous P10,000 (roughly 250 USD). I wrote him back asking him if he was serious. He answered saying the album wasn’t really for sale, and that he only wanted to see who would ask about it. We ended up exchanging emails that talked about “Bandwagonesque” vs “Grand Prix”, fuzz vs. jangle, Norman vs. Gerry vs. Raymond. One thing he was absolutely sure in his fandom canon: hands down, his favorite Teenage Fanclub song of all time was “Alcoholiday”.
“Alcoholiday” is a Norman song. The song wakes up to stretching chords that want to be jangly but the effort pushes a fuzzier point of view to come into sharper focus, like someone waking up from a crashing hangover. The bass plods along in the background because it’s too damn hard to put on a game face and step out into the real world. Harmonies sighing. Another day has just begun.
There are things I want to do
But I don’t know
If they will be with you
The song’s bass lines ascend in a scale-like progression only to stagger back a few drunken notches and asks the listener/co-conspirator/confessor: ”Listen, ever get the feeling that you’re taken by the hand and led a course you can’t command?” Then the song goes on to chart some of those courses only to eventually end up with the resigned conclusion “Baby I’ve been fucked already.”
Emil made this the anthem of his life, and it fit him the way a personality fits certain physical types. He was morose without being dramatic. He was defeatist but not yet beaten. He was completely approachable while remaining untouchable. He played in a punk band called Happy Birthday that he never wanted me to see performing live.
Molly Nilsson is playing at Islington Mill on the 24th of May, along with Die Hexen and house Rad Band Hanna Cash! Will be a great show! Also the whole thing will be in the dark for some reason hee hee. You can get tickets for just £6 here