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
Tchaikovskys Piano Concerto No. 1 and made it into Tonight We
so I dont see why I shouldnt, from my point
of view, louse up popular singing. After all, we mustnt 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 youre a popular singer.
And then it distorts the sound and the more your voice sounds anything but
human the more popular its liable to become.
Anna then proceeds, with relish to demolish eight forms of popular song.
Finally, she also manages to deflate the mannerisms of singing from Madrigals
to Modern opera. A hilarious 77 minutes and warmly recommended.