A few cultural icons to liven up the shelves!

Sean Connery: the measure of a man by Christopher Bray

Faber, 2010

Faber, 2010

Poised uneasily somewhere between gushing fan tribute and serious career critique, this “unauthorised” biography (Connery simply refuses to cooperate) manages to outline the biographical facts well enough whilst casting a more intense gaze on the films and his performances in them. The author clearly loves watching his subject onscreen: “I like watching Sean Connery. I like watching him move through a room. I like watching him sit down and cross his legs. I especially like watching him open and close doors. I like the way he curls his lips as he changes down a gear. I like the idea of a big, big man being so light on his feet.”

Ahem, moving right along…..

The Elephant to Hollywood by Michael Caine

Henry Holt and Co., 2010

Henry Holt and Co., 2010

Whilst the world waits breathlessly for Mr Connery to pen his autobiography, other film icons are only too happy get it all down on paper. This is Michael Caine’s second volume of memoirs, and in it he happily and philosophically charts the extreme highs and lows of a career that has been going on now since the early 1960s, and shows no sign of slowing down. I mean, once you’ve played Alfred in the Batman franchise the world is your oyster!

American rose : a nation laid bare : the life and times of Gypsy Rose Lee by Karen Abbott

Random House, 2010

Random House, 2010

Not everybody gets a Sondheim musical based on their life, but Gypsy Rose Lee certainly deserved one for a career (and a life) breathtaking in its audacity, and almost Jacobean in its twists and turns! Coming out of the Great Depression America was ready for a bit of “naughty but nice” titillation, and Rose was just the person to deliver the goods, provocatively promising a whole lot more than she actually delivered and sending the punters home believing precisely what she wanted them to. And then of course there’s mother Rose, the beginning, middle and end of the monster stage-mum!

The new Percy Grainger companion edited by Penelope Thwaites

Boydell, 2010

Boydell, 2010

Percy Grainger’s star happily appears to be in the ascendant once again after long years of comparative neglect, not to mention being somewhat overshadowed by his own reputation (fair or not) for “oddness”. The reopening of the fabulous Grainger Museum at the University of Melbourne, and ventures such as the Chandos Grainger Edition of recordings, have brought into focus his phenomenol gifts as both a performer and a composer. This collection of essays from leading Grainger scholars explores his remarkable life and work, all beautifully put together by Penelope Thwaites, one of his foremost performing advocates.

 

 Now, who says he was odd?

Percy Grainger climbing on sailing ship L'Avenir

Percy Grainger climbing on sailing ship L'Avenir http://catalogue.slv.vic.gov.au/vwebv/holdingsInfo?bibId=1979737

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