Anna Russell, the female equivalent of Gerard Hoffnung, here gives us a hilarious
send-up of many types of music, pop as well as classical - and the advertising
Her programme begins with 'A Practical Banana Promotion.' Anna is engaged
to give a recital to delegates at a fruit promotion conference - but then
decides her recital should enter into the spirit of the conference which
has the theme 88 - 88 being the number of calories in a medium sized banana!
Well, what she does with her bananas
is for your delectation! We are
told that marketing should make the banana over to suit us or if that is
not possible we should be made over to suit the banana. After a dissertation
on the history of advertising including the tale of the ancient advertising
agency, J Walter Belshazzar who put the 'Writing on the Wall,' she sings
some typical commercial jingles. For the concert-goer, for example, she suggests
the soft sell with the image of a grand piano because it has a connection
with the product - the banana has 88 calories and the piano keyboard has
88 keys. So, when the audience hears a piano duo they will have a craving
for babana splits! For those who resist advertising, she recommends subliminal
advertising - by inserting commercials between each line of a lieder so that
when the listener hears - 'I knew you loved me
' they also hear subliminally
- 'in my Maidenform bra!'
We then proceed to the section A Square Talk on Popular Music or The Decline
and Fall of the Popular Song. Anna begins: 'People in the Pop world take
an interest in classical music - for instance they have taken Tchaikovsky's
Piano Concerto No. 1 and made it into 'Tonight We Love'
so I don't
see why I shouldn't, from my point of view, louse up popular singing. After
all, we mustn't be chauvenistic must we? First of all, you have to use a
microphone because the popular singer does not believe in developing the
voice because that in turn develops other things and you have to be, above
all, a dish if you're a popular singer. And then it distorts the sound and
the more your vice sounds anything but human the more popular it's liable
to become.' Anna then proceeds, with relish to demolish eight forms of popular
Finally, she also manages to deflate the mannerisms of singing from Madrigals
to Modern opera. A hilarious 77 minutes and warmly recommended.
Ian Lace .