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Monday, September 16, 2013

It's A De-Lovely Bow Tie On Cole Porter

Cole Porter, A stickler for quality attire and accoutrements

Oppenheimer recommended that I ought to watch De-Lovely which tells the story of Cole Porter's life from the Paris years until his death. It's not an amazing film I must say. It is very enjoyable but it doesn't hold the weight for me that films such as 'The Life And Death Of Peter Sellers', 'Walk The Line' or 'Behind The Candelabra' do to portray the lives of famous entertainers. But none the less it brings you up to speed on Cole Porter's life very quickly.

The thread I was looking for with Cole Porter is to try and understand the tapestry of Paris in the 20's. Films such as Midnight In Paris suggest that everybody in Paris that was creative at the time all congregated at the same parties or perhaps all read books to each other in Gertrude Stein's salon, but it is fair enough to assume that just as today not all film directors in Hollywood go to the same bars, it is a fair enough to assume that many of the creatives in Paris in the 20's passed each other like ships in the night.

The difference between Cole Porter and say Josephine Baker was, I imagine, money and class. Cole Porter was from a wealthy family from Indiana. In fact, his maternal grand-father was known to be 'the richest man in Indiana'. His wife, Linda Lee Thomas was also from a wealthy family. Although they were most likely going to the same bars and taking coffee in similar areas, I am not entirely sure they all congregated together as Cole occupied a house near Les Invalides which was said to be decorated rather opulently. I am quite certain that they used Montmatre like Alexander Onassis used the Bois De Bologne.

When in the mass market we are presented the 20's in Boardwalk Empire or Midnight in Paris, we are often lead to believe that everyone in each of the spheres of government, the arts and crime all interacted with one another on a weekly level. I think this is farcical to the point of comical and often we need to put everything into perspective. Yes, I am sure the 20's was a swell time in Paris, but I am also quite certain that Sydney Bechet didn't catch the morning train with Cole Porter before he had lunch with Hemingway and dined with Picasso. It's not always the case that 'Anything Goes'.

But please, if I am wrong, let me know in the comments below.

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