Friday, 22 January 2010

If Lily Allen hangs up her basque


I have never laughed as much as half a lifetime ago in the cramped basement, which was the Comedy Store underneath the then Nell Gwynn strip club in London’s Soho. On stage was Keith Allen, Lily’s dad, completely naked but for a glove puppet held to preserve his modesty.
Allen talked to the puppet in the manner of a cheesy ventriloquist. When it was the dummy’s turn to reply, Allen raised the puppet to cover his lips exposing himself in all his full frontal glory.
That was the act. By the time the puppet had spoken for a third time the hysterical audience was gasping for air.
Allen has led a colourful showbiz career since then but I’m sure, like any proud parent, he is happy his success has been dwarfed by that of his daughter’s.
Lily told an audience in Australia this week that she is ready to pack up music to start a family. I don’t know my La Roux from my Florence but her absence should be missed.
Singer-songwriter Lily’s music is witty, tuneful and pertinent. Perhaps not the new Noel Coward but she can give Elton John and Ray Davies a run for their money. I’m not the target audience so I wouldn’t go a million miles near one of her shows. But her televised performances are as entertaining as any I’ve watched.
Her videos don’t match the production values of Lady Gaga’s but she has an advantage over most of her contemporaries. My 65-year-old ears can understand most of her lyrics.
Although Amy Winehouse’s jazz roots should be closer to my own musical taste, I’ve never been able to understood a word she sings.

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