Does the name Cilla Black ring any bells? In the mid 60s she had a minor hit record in the States, “You’re My World.” I could sing it for you sometime if you’re desperate and I’m high. In the UK, she was a big star. Cilla died two weeks ago and today, as in every day since her death, the media is FILLED with stories about Cilla. I doubt Winston Churchill got half as much press when he died. The BBC in yet another tribute to her, said she’s a “much mourned national treasure.” In recent years, Cilla was a “presenter,” someone who hosts chat shows and/or presents prizes at media and charity events. When we were in the Peak District, I turned on the TV at 2 am and there was a TV movie about Cilla! They either shot it 48 hours earlier or made it some years back. Either way, Cilla’s a national obsession.What I find most extraordinary about Cilla is that she’s over 60. British telly is FILLED with men and women with wrinkles. Actors 50, 60 and even 70 are major stars and work constantly!
The other big story is “A-levels”, which are more or less our equivalent of SATs. But A-levels are like an entrance exam to Harvard and SATs are more like the test to get into 6th grade, comparatively speaking. You can’t believe how tough these exams are. A-levels perfectly illustrate the difference between the US and the UK visa vie education. High school grads received the results of their A-levels this past week. Front pages stories about the results appeared in all dozen or so newspapers, on radio and television news, as well musical tributes on radio from rock to classical. The entire country spent an entire day celebrating students who passed their A-levels! And, surprise, surprise, scores were up with more kids getting into the top schools.
In an unrelated thought…it’s fun to see the similarities between the Bernie Sanders campaign and Jeremy Corbyn’s campaign for head of the Labour party in the UK. Corbyn is the most radical and, from my point of view as well as the majority of those polled, the best person to lead Labour. Cry baby Tony Blair declared the “annihilation of Britain” should Corbyn be elected head of Labour. The hysterical and hyperbolic Blair penned an OpEd piece in the Guardian with a headline “Even if Hate Me, Don’t Vote for Corbyn.” A shrink could have a field day with that one.
Like Sanders, Corbyn’s electrified young voters who recognize the status quo, if maintained, means a grim future for them. The interviews I’ve read with 18-21 year olds show them to be extremely well informed, thoughtful and INDEPENDENT. It’s enough to give the most cynical person, me, a modicum of hope. But mainstream media, Blair, Gordon Brown and the more conservative members of Labour issue daily catastrophic predictions should Corbyn win. They’ve made himout to be a cross between Stalin, Humpty Dumpty and The Emperor san clothes.
We won’t be here to see the results of the election. This is our last weekend in London. We leave for Paris en route back to the States. It’s hard to believe that the big schlep is coming to an end. So much time, energy, more time, more energy, more planning, more money, excitement, lost sleep, more planning, followed by more time and money, and now it’s our last Sunday in London.
We’re cramming for “finals”. We saw “Crossing Jerusalem”, play about the Mideast, at the Camden Fringe Festival and are seeing an experimental performance piece tonight called “Boxed”. Spent a fun evening with our lovely friends, Jay and Mike last night. Today we took the dogs to see Parliament and walked them over the Thames via the Golden Jubilee Bridge. They’re totally zonked out on the sofa. Just when they finally got their routine down, they’re hitting the road again. I hope their meds work better going back to the States then they did coming to Europe!