A Charmed Life

guess who’s coming to dinner


blogA funny thing happened to me while I wrote this post. I got me some happy. You see this year so far has me in a bit of a funk and so I thought by writing something I might get my mojo back but after hours of trying to find my muse it just proved impossible in my current state of mind. So I settled on something completely trivial and guess what happened! In writing this there has been the desired lifting of spirit. Now that I’m feeling happier, today’s post –

If you could invite anyone to dinner who would you invite? Would you choose an entertainer, an intellectual or someone you could stare at dreamily across the table? I have been asked this many times and I am pretty consistent in my response, after all dream guests are dream guests for a reason. Unfortunately all my guests have transitioned so there will be no sampling of my roast chicken with creamy butternut squash and chilli in this lifetime but in a parallel universe…

At the best of times I do not preach at the altar of Oprah but where we do joyfully coexist is in our love for Maya Angelou. An angel walked on earth and her name was Maya Angelou, this is what I believe to be true. I so revere her that in all probability no one would actually get fed at this dinner because I would want to stay engulfed in her embrace the whole evening. Ms Maya came into my life when as a teen I read ‘I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings’ which is an autobiographical account of the first 17 years of her life. In the years since I have voraciously read much of her work. This woman lived.

Having survived sexual abuse as a child, she would eventually become an author, poet and activist as well as a mother after having worked as a prostitute, fry cook, dancer, performer and journalist. Her participation in the civil rights movement saw her work with both Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X and what these men never got to see – she lived to see an African American be President in the country of her birth AND not only did she live the most extraordinary life, she was blessed with the gift of storytelling… that voice, that cadence, those words, the grace, when Ms Maya spoke it was with her heart and her soul AND as if all this didn’t already qualify her as the perfect dinner guest, she is one classy broad, one you could easily see yourself having a glass of whisky with. I  describe myself as a lover of words, a history buff and an activist and as such Ms Maya has been an invaluable teacher to me. Oh to hear her velvety voice in person…

Then there is Queen Elizabeth I my favourite historical figure. During her reign Elizabeth was able to establish stability and economic growth in England, fashion her kingdom into a major world power, nurture the idea of nationalism and champion the arts (this was the time of Shakespeare and Marlowe). She achieved all this being a woman at a time when women were seen as weak creatures of vanity lacking in intelligence. Today the idea of feminism and equality is topic du jour but can you imagine being the Queen of England in the 16th – 17th century successfully exercising your power in a man’s world AND of course I would have to ask if was she really the Virgin Queen? Why she was if she was? If I had a court full of men at my disposal there is no way I would stay chaste. It would be such a terrible waste no?

♂ Bullish arrogant toff  – that’s how Christopher Hitchens would come across to those who first meet him and quite possibly to those who knew him too AND he would not give a monkey’s. Christopher Hitchens was not interested in playing nice and I loved him for it. I came to know him through his editorials in Vanity Fair, a magazine I have read since I was 15 years old. He taught me an invaluable lesson while I was still in my teens, he made me realise when we ingest information all we really do is take on an opinion.

I want Hillary Clinton to be the next president of the US, I base this on the information I have gathered via various channels but for every pro Hillary sound bite out there, there is an equally opposing offing and by no means do I think she is flawless I just like what I see. Christopher Hitchens was not a fan of the Clintons, of Hillary he thought her hawkish and fake and he questioned her experience, connections and the origins of her foreign donations. Here we disagreed but of Mother Theresa he offered a criticism which I have also come to believe; of her saintly image he said she was an ally of the status quo, that she wasn’t interested in eradicating poverty and that ‘her cult of death and suffering’ depended for its effect on the most vulnerable and helpless like abandoned babies or the dying who supply the occasion for charity – she needed these people to exist so she could exist as Mother Theresa.

He was an atheist, socialist, Marxist and his work helped me form a more secular view. He didn’t just spout criticisms, when he wrote it was after thorough investigation; he actually went to Calcutta and spent time with Mother Theresa and he even underwent waterboarding to prove it was indeed a form of torture. As a dinner guest no doubt he would come across as a bullish arrogant toff but one thing I know for sure is this contrarians’ contrarian would never let the conversation lag.

♀ When I was about thirteen I saw a picture of this woman; her braided hair was piled on her head atop which sat a crown of flowers, her piercings eyes pitch black, her lips full wearing bright red lipstick – what distinguished her from the females in my life was that she also had a distinct unibrow and a faint moustache – this image fascinated me. It was so outside my norm, it made me feel oddly thrilled and within me a fire had been lit, from that moment on my burgeoning inquisitive nature knew no bounds, anything that was considered taboo or wrong no longer was. It was also the moment I fell for Frida Kahlo. Frida and her art fascinate me. I can ponder a painting of hers for hours trying to decipher the meaning and because her work is autobiographical it is as if by interpreting her work you are by extension interpreting her life. A life marred with continual physical and emotional pain, her art deals with the idea of beauty, sex, abortion, miscarriage, gender inequality… all issues that get people hot under the collar today, imagine what it must have been like to be a crippled woman in the first half of the 20th century in Mexico. I certainly would love to have that conversation.

Rather predictably David Bowie is my last guest. To have been in his presence… just to have had one real conversation… he is was such a man.

I wonder what my selection says about me – each of my guests is a strong intelligent charismatic individual who lived their life by their own rules – do I want to be like them or surrounded by them or both. Hmmm something for me to ponder… as for you dear reader I would love to hear about your dream dinner guests over in comments.

Sat Nam

Also in the news: Well done to Super Bowl 2016 champions the Denver Broncos and to Coldplay for a fab halftime performance – any theme that involves love I’m in – the first six minutes were mint, shame the other two had to be included though, there can never be enough of Chris Martin’s high voltage energy in my book #SB50 #WillManningRetire #BelieveinLove ♥ I had high hopes for the Syria peace talks that were meant to take place this month in Geneva and am sad that they ended so abruptly with no actual resumption date. The time wasted in bureaucracy just increases the death toll. And it is important to note not at all refugees are Syrian, many come from Africa and Asia so any resolution has to tackle the issue on a broader scale #RefugeeCrisis #GlobalCitizen ♥ Market turmoil continues, are we on the brink of another global recession? It’s a bit scary #DominoDancing ♥ and lastly a bit of a rant… so the most unique mind blowing artist of this generation dies and what does the music industry’s most prestigious award show do – roll out Rent-A-GaGa. Lady Gaga for a David Bowie tribute – are you fucking kidding me? Yuck. Yuck. Yuck. I feel so vehement about this decision I initiated albeit unknowingly a mini twitter war with her ‘monsters’ as her folk like to be called. The point is not whether she has any talent but that David Bowie was everything Gaga isn’t – he was a unicorn she is a wannabe. The Grammys have missed an opportunity here, it should have been his peers, those he loved and admired. Big Mistake. Since boycotting the Oscars has become a thing this year. I say boycott the Grammys #GagaAPoorMansBowie #GrammysSoWrong

Author: akiwigirlabroad

'the universe always has your back'

19 thoughts on “guess who’s coming to dinner

  1. I haven’t heard of most of your dream guests. Mine would be me nan, David Beckham, David Attenborough, Robbie Williams and Alex Ferguson

  2. Richie McCaw
    Bruce Lee
    Ayrton Senna
    Colin Mead

  3. rent-a-gaga 🙂 never heard that before. I can’t really decide who mine would be Marilyn Monroe I have always liked her and maybe Ryan Gosling, Brad Pitt some looker like that. Lisa Vanderpump might be fun or Bethenny Frankel so hopefully her business head might rub off on me.
    I enjoy your hashtags. They make me laugh.

  4. I would invite….
    Nelson Mandela- an icon for all the right reasons
    Gabriel Macht- total hotness and perfectly plays a lawyer
    Coco Chanel- she gave us timeless fashion
    My father in law-wish I had met him

  5. Lovely post and i would invite Trevor Noah / Ellen Degeneres – I would love to laugh my heart out. But i know there must be a serious side to them. There’s just too much seriousness around us, need to chill and laugh.

    i would invite my father as well – as I never got to know him, and from what I heard he was a real gentleman,

  6. The father of one of my close friends knew the Hitch when they were both students at Balliol College, Oxford. Christopher was, he agreed, a very engaging polemicist and a well-read non-theist. His surviving brother Peter has very thoroughly researched views too. Can I ask you, what’s currently your favourite Bowie song/album and what did to you seem the best tribute? (I would have adored seeing and hearing Kate Bush pay homage to him.)

    • I’ve read articles by Peter, I don’t find him as engaging as I did his brother but you are right he does know his stuff.
      As for a favourite Bowie I dither… always have. Nostalgically Let’s Dance is up there because that’s the first song that awaken me to him when I was 10 years old. I love the intro and simplicity of Sound and Vision, Ashes to Ashes was played at a friend’s funeral recently and I was reminded of how inspirational I’ve felt it was, Under Pressure makes me cry something about Freddie and David together and The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars as an album – the theatricality of it. Maybe today its Rebel Rebel – I’m in a bit a rebellious mood tonight.
      As for a tribute – Yes Kate would have been up there, Iggy’s at Carnegie was lovely cos I knew the connection, the Brits was special as a kiwi I was proud to see Lourde an artist he appreciated, do him justice, I saw Sinead O’Conner do one and I quite enjoyed it but really all the ones I’ve seen have been wanting… who could do Bowie the best but Bowie – he was… such a man. Would love to hear your thoughts on your current/all time fav Bowie.

      • In regard to PH: neither did I, but he has grown on me (not unlike some Bowie songs which I initially didn’t care much for – among which songs on The Next Day album).
        Sound and Vision does somehow stand apart from all the other Bowie songs (might be to do with the story behind its production plus the wonderful simplicity and asceticism which you mentioned), and Ashes to Ashes certainly is a song which I could listen to for ever and still not be tired by. Modern Love’s presentation and lyrics work magically for me, as does Loving the Alien (him running onto the stage; the line “Pray and all your sins are hooked upon the sky”).
        Fav albums: Hunky Dory and Ziggy Stardust (too).
        Fav songs at the moment:

        You Feel So Lonely You Could Die
        Fantastic Voyage
        Dodo (album version)
        Sweet thing – Candidate
        Dollar Days

        I am sorry for the loss of your friend. Music does have that elusive power to heal (or aggregate) pain. Lorde was marvellous (and for her age; wow, what a talent!) whatever others may say. But I am impressed, 10 is a young age to start for a Bowie-lover!
        I am in a rebellious and revolutionary mood every night. Though as Wyndham Lewis wrote, “Revolution today is taken for granted, and in consequence becomes rather dull.”
        How else to end this post but through Blackstar? I remember showing the titular song to friends whom hated it (back in November), and subsequenty claimed to love it above everything else on earth. The songs do simultaneously pain and delight me whenever I listen to them (I am restraining myself). Like you, I imagine, I was listening to the latest songs throughout the weekend before his death (and you simply wouldn’t believe what I’d written in my diary and dreamt about the night before he died! But this post is already long enough…), which made the shock the next day even worse.
        And we did know him. Because he narrated our lives when we lived most, and we allowed him to touch us with his flair and melody. By the way, I am not a fan. Just so you know. 😉

      • Oh your last words have made me cry, which isn’t unusual for me I have cried for him continuously since I heard.
        Yip I was 10 I was discovering my own tastes in music and that album Lets Dance was played a lot at the time. Other artists came and went he stayed.
        I haven’t been able to listen to Blackstar since that weekend. I think its cos I knew, not like when or anything but I knew it was coming and listening to it on repeat that weekend I was filled with this dread so by the time I woke up and heard the news I was on the verge of collapse which I did anyway. I must listen to it again he deserves that.

  7. I didn’t really know much about Lady Gaga, and I’m older than her generation, but I understood what the hype was about when I saw a public television special on she and Tony Bennett’s rehearsals for their concert tours, some years back. She is one remarkably talented woman, with an incredible voice.

    • Yeah, as I said it wasn’t about her talent it was about the ‘fit’
      No fan of David would ever think her good enough to do a tribute for someone as magnificent as David Bowie.
      I never saw the end result I’d never put myself through that travesty and by all accounts I was right – it was an epic fail according to HIS loyal fans who did endure it.
      He didn’t rate her so at the very least it should have been someone he liked/approved of like how the Brits had Lorde.

      Anyway its all done now
      He’s still gone
      And we must continue to go on without him 😢

  8. Yes, it should be as you say; matched to what the preferences of the person to be honored would have wanted, etc. — you’re right. It’s amazing how commonly wrong they always get it. Gaga has the crazy costumes and is extremely talented, though. But Absenteen makes a great nomination for Kate Bush. I’d say that’s a perfect match. I didn’t watch any of the tributes. I saw the “Let’s Dance” concert tour (used to have the shirt, too). It wasn’t my favorite era of his, but it’s beter in retrospect. That’s when you know it’s a true talent.

    • Sorry I’m just never gonna be a rent-a-Gaga fan I find nothing original about her, its just more of the same wrapped slightly differently so reductive. Yeah she can sing but so can others,
      Like you I’m older than her fan base so her music doesn’t appeal and now she will always be the chick that did my David a disservice.

      You are so lucky you saw David live ~ I never did ☹

  9. Great choices! I don’t think there’d be any time for eating though…conversation would be too too awesome!

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