I'm all electionned out, so I'm going to indulge myself today by talking about something else dear to my heart.
Those of you who have known me for some time, and know my proclivities when it comes to men, might have noticed that I have something of a type. Tall
, geeky boys
with deep voices
and good legs
. Men who can cook
men who look good in a beard
and can pull off
an outrageous hat
. Men with a wicked
, dry sense of humour
; who look great in shiny boots
but will wear slippers when nobody is looking
. Men who lean bi
, or at least are not bothered by being accused of such
. Men who can wear a cravat
. Men who can do
a quizzical eyebrow
This springs from a LOT of places, but not least of which is the fact that at the possibly somewhat precocious age of six I got REALLY into old horror movies. And the stalwarts of old horror movies* were three men
, one of whom had his birthday yesterday, and the other two have it today.Peter Cushing
would have been 101 yesterday. At a mere dead-on-six-foot he's the shortest of the three, and he was certainly the slightest. He was an extraordinarily talented actor, and if you don't believe that you haven't seen his Winston Smith, which knocks old raddled-face Hurt into a cocked hat.
Peter Cushing always looked stunning in whatever he was wearing**, partly due to poise, and partly due to cheekbones you could slice steel with. I believe he is a large part of my fondness for men in suits, especially a good three piece.
The thing that I admire most about The Cush, though, is that everybody seems to have had a very deep and genuine affection for him - even that grumpy old Tory Sir Lee (of whom more later), who was his best friend and co-Sylvester the Cat impersonator from 1957 till the day that he died. He was a Proper Gentleman, always unfailingly polite to everybody from the tea lady to the Queen. This is something I could probably learn from.Vincent Price
was the most impish of the three, and also by far the most political. He would have been 103 today. He was huge friends with Kenny Everett***, campaigned against racism and sectarianism, and built and endowed the Vincent And Mary Price Art Museum at East LA college because of his firm belief in public access to great art. He adored his doggies, especially Joe, whom he loved so much he wrote a book about him****.
He was also a fabulous cook. I know this because (thanks to karohemd
) I have one of his cookbooks. Because of the era it was written in, it has the same approach to healthy eating that I was brought up with - i.e. everything contains lots of butter, cream, and alcohol. Now that I am reasonably close to my target weight I look forward to trying more recipes from it.Christopher Lee
is the baby of the three, at a mere 92 today. What can I say about the grumpy old sod that I haven't said a thousand times before? Although in social terms I probably would have got on better with Cushing, and certainly in political terms I would have got on better with Price, Lee is the one whose voice goes directly to the forelock-tugging peasant genes in me and makes me sag at the knees and wish to serve, and I mean that in a deeply sexual way.
I have a spotify playlist called "Christopher Lee Reads Stuff". When magister
is playing Lego The Hobbit on his playstation he calls me into the room for the cut scenes because Sir Lee narrates them. Christopher Lee's voice has had a very profound effect on me from the first moment I heard, at the tender age of six,
they have destroyed my servant; they shall be destroyed.
For all the stuff I talk about above, this is the biggie. Men with deep, commanding voices are my kryptonite, and Sir Lee is their king.
So yeah. In terms of genuine admiration that comes from judgment in my brain, Price probably just beats Cushing but they are both up there. In terms of instinctive reaction that I have no control over whatsoever? Yet to meet a man that can do with his entire soul and being what Christopher Lee can do with a single whispered syllable*****.
Here is Sir Lee talking about his two best mates. Enjoy:
I shall certainly be raising a glass to the three of them later.
* or at least the ones that I obsessively recorded on our Video2000 video recorder that they showed late night on the BBC.
** seriously, even as a tramp in fingerless gloves for Doctor Terror's House of Horrors the man radiates style.
*** yes, this almost certainly does mean what you think it means.
**** if you ever have an afternoon to spare and feel like one of those feel-good books that makes you laugh and cry in equal measure, I fully recommend The Book of Joe by Vincent Price, by the way.
***** although I can think of a couple who come close. You know who you are.