"SHE WAS a girl who could sell ice to Eskimos!"
That's what a record producer said of Deborah Harry, in a documentary about the band Blondie and the making of their breakout album Parallel Lines.
This was on the Smithsonian Channel. It was the same night as the Princess Diana documentary we recently wrote about. (I guess I was in a "blonde" mood that evening.)
I'm not going to pretend I'm super-knowledgeable about Blondie's music, although it was hard to escape in the late 1970s and early 80s -- when I was a denizen of New York nightlife. But what was fascinating was the link this program made between Blondie and Manhattan -- the grimy, cash poor, sleazily glamorous Manhattan of that era. New York today is infused with money. It's safer, booming, cleaner. But many look back with cocaine-laced nostalgia to that era.
All members of Blondie were interviewed, along with the super-meticulous and controlling producer of "Parallel Lines" Mike Chapman. He drove Blondie crazy, but he helped put out a masterpiece. The intricacies of developing a sound, a song, the right beat, is pretty fascinating stuff! (Excellent narration by Kim Cattrall -- more blonde! -- helped keep me focused.)
And, of course, the woman upon whom Madonna and Gaga were built, Debbie Harry herself, was interviewed. Florida born, but a New Yorker in her soul, Harry remains beautiful, funny, wry; a tart-talking Damon Runyon tootsie.
When her original vocals were played -- without backup or instrumentation -- Debbie made a face and said: "Well, enough of that!" Actually, not enough. She has a true voice, and has kept that instrument polished and crystalline. (I saw her perform live once and at first could not believe she wasn't lip-syncing; she wasn't!)
Plus, I was interested to see Rolling Stone writer Rob Sheffield on this show. I have frequently quoted him in this column, especially his coverage of TV or celebrity culture. (He has a terrific piece in the current issue on Game of Thrones.) He's very cute and looks around 14- years-old.
•"...A KICKY island vacation home punctuated with Chinoiserie details...Alessandra Branca made the guest rooms at her Bahamas get-away rather modest in size to encourage socializing in the common spaces, explaining ,'If you make bedrooms too big, people don't leave them!'"
This appears in the new Architectural Digest in the editor's letter. Well, I don't know Ms. Branca but I was pleased because I had just spent a wonderful week in the very 'Bahamas get-away' that she was writing about.
• It's called Harbour Island and no cars are allowed, only golf carts despite the fact that there are no golf courses to lure vacationers. So I think this island is "safe" from invasion for the time being.
If such a place could have a Queen, it would have to be the beautiful former model India Hicks. Her long-running shop called The Sugar Mill is always the talk of Eleutherans.
At a dinner party in India's home, I got quite a boost out of sitting at her husband David Wood's table with both Mountbattens and Churchills in attendance. (America's own princess Brooke Shields was also there, but that only added to the "down home" informal glamour.)
At this dinner, it was amazing to find Clementine Churchill Fraser visiting because as the recent book on King Edward VII (reviewed deliriously here recently) says there is tale after tale of how the Mountbattens and the Churchills didn't get along. (The book is titled The Heir Apparent from Random House.)
Clementine roared with peals of laughter when I asked her about this enmity, for she is the delightful offspring from one of the most famous names in English history. And, her hostess, India, is the grand-daughter of that popular kin to royalty, Lord Mountbatten, who presided over the historic handing over of India (the country, not the woman!) out of the British Raj.
Well, neither India Hicks nor Clementine Fraser knew of any bad feelings in their famous families. They are the friendly children of more modern times. And both are devoted mothers, wives and women of taste and charm.
Incidentally, at cocktails before dinner, a certain man was described to me as being one of the richest and most dynamic creatures of Miami Beach.
He said to me as he departed, "Please don't write about me because I am a member of the Mafia and they would kill me if they saw my name in the papers." (As I had never been told his name, his "secret" was safe with me.)
•SELENA GOMEZ, singer, actress, former Disney princess and Justin Bieber's good friend, recently had dinner at L.A.'s fabled La Dolce Vita eatery. Her tablemate? Cher! (This was shortly before Cher headed out with her concert.)
Apparently, Selena felt that Cher could give her a few tips on music, life as a woman in the public eye, staying away from bad influences and but of course, men. (I'd love to have been a fly on the wall to hear what the always scathingly honest Cher had to say about Mr. Bieber!)
Cher apparently advised Selena, "Use the music to guard your spirit." Well, it's worked for Cher.
•ENDTHOUGHT: The Malaysia airplane tragedy and events in Ukraine finally diverted MSNBC from New Jersey governor Chris Christie. But what was the result of the network's noisy endless self-important "brilliant reporting" on the traffic lane closures on the George Washington Bridge? Nothing, nada. It looks like Christie -- via the judgment of his own lawyers -- will be cleared of involvement and only those initially thrown under the bus by Christie will suffer. (Although how women are going to react to the Christie report which cites his ex-aide Bridget Kelly's romantic life and "emotions" remains top be seen. It was ugly and unnecessary information.)
MSNBC has fallen down the rabbit hole with the Christie stuff. Democrats and their pundits better wake up and pay attention to the signs and portents. 2016 will likely be a new era. Stop wasting time on the likes of Christie and shore up what you can, now. Winter is coming, and it's going to last at least, well -- four years.