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December 14, 2010

Cilla


The year was 1968. I was 20 years old and living in a bedsitter in Belsize Park, London. My life was a heady combination of beer, politics, fish & chips and what I considered to be the cutest girls on the planet. There were the Carnaby Street Lulu-wannabees and the leggy Jean Shrimpton-style birds, but Goomba had different tastes. And in a culture dominated by music, clothes, Mods and Rockers, nobody captured my attention and haunted my fantasies more than Cilla Black.

I finally met her at a 1980 Christmas party in Cornwall. I barely kept my composure, and I'm convinced that my intense staring and my braying laugh at her every comment was the cause of her inching, crablike, back into the mass of revelers. My love for her has not waned. Thirty years on, I again wish her a grinning and awkward Happy Christmas.
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Here's Cilla and that ridiculous crapnozzle (thanks again, Rhod),
Burt Bacharach, recording at Abby Road.

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31 comments:

CambridgeLady said...

Love it :o) My Dad used to work in TV - on the techie side of the camera - and he worked with Cilla a lot in the 1980s. Apparently she's a lovely lady - very genuine and a good laugh. Will anyone in the USA have heard of her? I don't know how far her music travelled and I'm sure her TV series were only on this side of the pond ....

Doom said...

How wonderful a tale. I am a sucker for the things that had meaning in people's lives. You lead an interesting one. Oh, and it is nice to know even the great Goomba can be left illiterate, in a dazed state, and pretty much speechless by teh mean womenz types. Ha.

teh womenz... pa-sha

May you meet again, this time perhaps with some composure? Tell her your tale, you might end up in trouble. :p

Rhod said...

Just send my regular 37-cent royalty before Christmas, mate.
Do not send stamps or a 1099.

What an extraordinary recollection. Your literary mood puts me in mind of Amis's Jim Dixon of "Lucky Jim", a book everyone should read.

I remember Cilla and that epoch, too clearly to avoid regret for not knowing how good I had it.

Thanks for the memories, Nick.
(Bacharach was made by two women - Angie Dickinson and Dione Warwick.)

Rhod said...

Doom, Rita Tushingham left him unconscious for four days and Charlotte Rampling put him in the hospital. They really put up a fight.

DC said...

Bravo, Nick ... what a blog. XXOOXX

Nickie Goomba said...

Lady, I believe the stateside list of Cilla fans ends at me and Rhod. Rhod, once an enthusiastic Anglophile, led a spirited campaign in the 1970s to bring Bill & Ben The Flower Pot Men to Broadway.

I'll bet that your father had more than one tale to share about those years.

Nickie Goomba said...

Doom, we all have led interesting lives. The greatest pleasures are in reflection on and deconstruction of those lives. That's when we start to understand that we weren't as "in charge" as we thought.

banned said...

Cilla is still around; my memories are of her at the low-brow end of popular magazines and TV celebrity culture but I would not wish to spoil yours.

Nickie Goomba said...

Rhod, how true. None of us knew how well we had it. Sometimes one aches for just one more chance.

Nickie Goomba said...

Rhod... No joke... Ms. Tushingham's nose and "kitchen sink" urgency put her right up there in the league tables.

Rampling? Meh.

Nickie Goomba said...

Thanks, Daisy. That means a lot coming from y'all.

Nickie Goomba said...

Banned... "Low brow" describes my tastes beautifully. I'd watch Coronation Street in the evenings and then read John Le Carré into the night.

Opus #6 said...

You can add me to the list of Cilla fans. What a set of pipes!

Nickie Goomba said...

Impossible, Opie. You were not even born until Disco.

Opus #6 said...

Nickie, I'm sure that if Cilla were to meet you again now, she would be attracted by your je ne sais quoi.

Woodsterman (Odie) said...

"What's it all about, Nickie?" ... Ah yes, tis better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all ...

T. F. Stern said...

When she reached for a little extra her voice had an "Ethel Merman" quality to it...but I could be mistaken.

Nickie Goomba said...

Ope, I'm blushing down to my ankles.

Nickie Goomba said...

That's interesting, Woody... I've always seen myself as the Michael Caine type.

Nickie Goomba said...

You are right, TF. I, too, caught a few screeches. I consider it the inevitable flaw residing within every masterpiece.

LL said...

Without love, we just exist...

Nickie Goomba said...

LL... Word!

banned said...

This post set me to searching for Cilla on Youtube. "Anyone who Had a Heart" brought back childhood memories of being in a small apartment above a chip shop in Buxton, a former railway town in northern England, raining outside, Coro on the b/w telly.

Incidentally, she was the subject of a phone in today on BBC Radio 2, seems that at the age of 67, she regards 75 as the 'right' age to die.

Rhod said...

Quiz, Nickie. Using one of your post references, finish this name...Mary (?).

Nickie Goomba said...

Rhod... I'm having some difficulty understanding what you Quant.

Nickie Goomba said...

Banned... I too had a B&W telly. I couldn't afford a licence for colour.

Would that be Coro (Ena Sharples) or Coro (Hilda Ogden)?

Zed said...

You are talking about an England that is dead and will never come back. The BNP is the only hope.

Rhod said...

Lord, forgive me. Please.

banned said...

@Nickie; 1964-5, UK didn't have colour telly for another 10 years.

Coro/Corrie was big enough for both Ena and Hilda
This 50th Anniversary year they came up with a live show for the first time in a decade. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-11968043

Corrie is a bit like the Church Of England for me, of great cultural signifcance, just not for me anymore.

Nickie Goomba said...

Rhod... Arise my brother.

Nickie Goomba said...

Banned...

"Corrie is a bit like the Church Of England for me, of great cultural signifcance, just not for me anymore."

I have rarely seen truer words written. Well done!