Speaking for myself, I was not sorry to see it go. The whole thing had become too narcissistic and self-congratulatory. But there was a bit of backsliding last week when, round at a friend's house, there was a half-hour programme billed simply in the TV guide as “TOTP2 : Archive chart music featuring the Carpenters”.
Well, that was not something this Karen C fan could lightly pass over. I go into a kind of reverie whenever I hear that warm honeyed voice. Her death in '83, when she was just 32, was a huge loss to music .
As it happens the TV guide was misleading: she "performed" just one of her songs, Close to You, somewhat static on a swing, looking a bit lost, and presumably miming. But incredibly it was for me the first and only time that I had ever seen her "live" on screen, albeit as archive footage.
Much of the remainder of the programme was bizarre stuff from archives, mercilessly ungrainy. There was Ozzy Osbourne in the 80s, when he was lead singer for Black Sabbath, with those mad, mad scary eyes. And there was Robbie Williams in his Take That days, barely recognizable, and a few others ghosts from the past (Adam Ant etc).
I was half asleep at the end when a video began with a noisy boxing ringside scene. The camera then homed in on a sultry peroxide blonde, alone in the corner of the ring. On close-up it was a doe-eyed, wasp-waisted figure in a contour-hugging bright red dress. For a moment I thought, cor, they don’t make them like that any more.
And then she began to sing. Oh my, how she could sing. There was feeling, passion, all of which was enhanced by the attentions she was giving (and receiving from) a bull-necked boxer. One moment she was a siren, the archetypal blond bombshell. The next she was in angelic Florence Nightingale mode, tenderly patching up her man after a punishing round. A memorable juxtaposition of roles and images, one might say. Well, if one's a bloke, that is, still missing his Pan's People (from the glory days of TOTP).
By the way, bravo Louise for taking the plunge with your own blog, which I've added to the Escape Route in the margin.
Well, I hate to admit this, since it shows just out of touch I am, but having been smitten, I straightaway went into trainspotter mode, carefully noting her name (Shakira) and just one phrase from her song ( "a woman’s heart"). And so to Google, fully expecting to find that Shakira had briefly been something in the 80s, and was now doing the club circuit in Las Vegas.
So imagine one's surprise to find that she’s in fact what might be described as Latin America’s answer to Madonna (though maybe not quite so overtly sexy). Shakira too has been going for some years, constantly re-inventing herself. Again, the TV guide was misleading: what I was listening to was, in fact, her latest release. It's one she has done in partnership with the highly talented musician/guitarist Carlos Santana.
If you want to see the video, just make sure the microphone is switched on, and then click the following YouTube link. The clip starts immediately with that boxing ring side scene.
Don’t be alarmed at the word “Illegal”, because that, in fact, is the title of the song (honest). Whether YouTube is infringing copyright (or permitting others to do so) is another matter. I seem to recall reading about some disgruntlement recently in the industry. But lawyers please note: I for my part am now far more likely to add Shakira to my Christmas present list than if the video had not been available online .
Needless to say, there’s an entry for Shakira in Wikipedia . And what fascinating reading it makes too.
She’s Colombian, although her mother is Catalan, and her father a Lebanese- Christian -American. As a child she was somewhat shy, and took up belly-dancing, an integral part of Lebanese culture, to build her confidence. It worked !
To begin with, she performed entirely in Spanish, and was almost unknown in the English-speaking world. But in 2001 or thereabouts she took the brave decision to include English numbers in her repertoire, writing them herself, would you believe it ? Wikipedia says there were initially fears she might have overreached herself. But look at the lyric for “Illegal” .
That's one powerful song she has written and performed there. But with her voice (and those looks) I’d be content just hearing her sing from the telephone directory.
Anyway, Shakira's Illegal has made an impression on this blogger, as you will have gathered by now. By way of reward, she's been awarded the first musical slot in my new-look, invigorated margin . No doubt she'll be beside herself when she gets word of this latest accolade.