15 April, 2007

Ten Lord's A-Listings

Currently vying with Sir Alan Sugar for the role of the nation's favourite craggy curmudgeon, Andrew Lloyd-Webber hasn't always had it so good.

Ill-advised musical marriages with Conservative Central Office, de facto youth training schemes for recalcitrant royals, unseemly spats with purveyors of topical piano-led whimsy... Yes, it's been a rough old climb to the towering heights of sharing a prime time TV show with Denise Van Outen and Graham Norton.

On reflection, it seems the path to barony, not to mention getting to sit in a pretend throne every Saturday night, involves:

1) Taking credit for coming up with the theme for the Tories' 1992 general election campaign, which in reality involved "arranging" a piece of classical music from over 300 years ago, which in reality involved adding a bit of percussion and having the trumpet play a bit louder;

2) Taking credit for coming up with the theme for The South Bank Show and The Book Tower, which in reality involved "arranging" another piece of classical music from over 300 years ago, which in reality involved adding a bit of electric guitar and synth drums;

3) Sacking Richard Stilgoe. An unforgivable crime in any circumstances, even if the reason for the dismissal, Phantom Of The Opera, was itself criminal;

4) Hiring Prince Edward. An unforgivable gesture in any circumstances, even if the organisation for which the regal layabout was contracted to work was called (a thousand Spitting Image writers sharpen their pencils) the Really Useful company;

5) Taking out the highest ever mortgage in British history (to pay for the purchase of a dozen London theatres in order to stage ostensibly lauded musicals like Sunset Boulevard);

6) Enjoying the biggest economic failure in theatre history (when the ostensibly lauded musical Sunset Boulevard lost 25 million dollars);

7) Working with Ben Elton (on The Beautiful Game, one of Tony Blair's favourite musicals);

8) Working with Timmy Mallett (on Bombalurina, one of Anthea Turner's favourite musical acts);

9) Releasing a Euro-dance hit record under the nom de plume Doctor Spin ('Tetris', reaching number 4 in October 1992);

10) Releasing a pissed Pete Waterman to roam loose around his estate in order to kill a few rabbits ("When I got back to his house," recalls Pete in his autobiography, I Wish I Was Me, "Andrew got his French chef down and made him cook rabbit fricassee").

3 comments:

Chris Hughes said...

Bah, I'd successfully managed to erase the memory of Prince Edward turning up for his first day as glorified tea boy at the Really Useful Group smugly clutching, ho ho, a box of PG Tips. Until now.

Anyway, I think it should be added that The Lord also wrote the two best BBC World Cup themes ever. In 1978 he did Argentine Melody, performing it live on TOTP in a bowler hat, and turning up on the World Cup Grandstand sofa next to Frank Bough to explain how it had been commissioned ("Jonathan Martin phoned me up one Saturday night while I was lying in bed").

And then for Espana 82, he contributed an arrangement of Jellicle Ball from Cats - dunno what that had to with football or Spain, but it was dead good all the same.

FeedbackReport said...

In full agreement with Chris H about the World Cup themes. Also worth noting in old Fish Face's favour are the handful of records he made under the UK psych nom-de-plume Tales Of Justine in the late 1960s, his belief that the young music promoting Jeremy Beadle was the man who could get his idea for a musical based on the life of Jesus up and running (Beadle turned it down out of fear of outraging the authorities), and his game appearance on Blue Peter, whizzing around the studio on rollerskates to promote Starlight Express. The fact that he handpicked both Richard Stilgoe and Michael Staniforth for said project counts in his favour too.

Outweighing all of these, however, is that time he delivered a ten minute plus speech at the Brit Awards, not only causing so serious an overrun that Rick Astley wasn't allowed to collect his award, but also making a boring event even more boring.

Mark X said...

He was behind the rubbish Euro-dance version of the Tetris theme? Really? But they showed them making it on an episode of GamesMaster! Unless that was all part of the ruse, of course.