Thoughts on Belinda Carlisle…

I was just a tad excited when I heard – at the beginning of the year – that one of my 1980’s singing idols – Belinda Carlisle was coming to the U.K. to do the ‘Heaven is a Place on Earth’ tour.

The news took me right back to 1989 when I was living in Langholm, Scotland, with my knitwear-designer colleague, Jennifer J. Kerr.  In our flat, I crooned along with Belinda every time her song ‘Heaven is a Place on Earth’ was played on the radio.  I think the name Belinda has a magical sound to it and the surname Carlisle, is also a place where I had lived and studied for years, so the name probably caught my attention for that reason alone, with the interest in her music coming later.

 Belinda Carlisle concertticket 10.10.17
I also remember having photographs of Belinda pinned to the inside of my wardrobe door and one of the photographs was a caption about how she had said that if she could save the whale by having all her teeth taken out she would do it.  That made her not only a fantastic singer but also a heroine!

 Belinda Carlisle The Collection CD cover
Imagine then my disappointment when having rang The Sage, Gateshead that there were no tickets available for the Belinda Carlisle concert on the 10 October.  The helpful sales assistant did say that I could try ringing back, as sometimes there were a couple of returns.  Day after day calls were made, but there were no returns.

Then one day, travelling from Maryport to my home in Durham, I was listening to Neil Diamond singing ‘A Solitary Man’ and the first words are…“Belinda was mine until the time…”  I thought it’s a sign to ring for tickets and the very next day two tickets were returned – and they were claimed – by me.  Some things are really meant to be…

The concert was great, of course, and Belinda sang all of the songs from her ‘Heaven is a Place on Earth’ album, along with a few extra songs, one of which is my personal favourite Belinda song ‘Summer Rain’.  I can honestly say that I have never seen an audience at The Sage, Gateshead dance as much; Belinda had them bopping in the rows from coming on stage…

Heaven is a place on earth CD Belinda Carlisle
I had to be back in the classroom the following day, so didn’t want to stay too late after the show…but I did get two signed Belinda Carlisle CDs, which I will treasure…

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Lauren Bacall – A Portrait

Lauren Bacall, Actress and Model, b: 16 September 1924 – d: 12 August 2014

I was very sorry to hear that Lauren Bacall had died last month, at the age of 89.   She would have celebrated her 90th birthday today. The news of her passing came to my attention many days after the event, as I had been on holiday in Scotland when the news of her death had broke. I had seen her picture on the front of a newspaper in Scotland and assumed it was something to do with her approaching 90th birthday.
Lauren Bacall for blog
Lauren Bacall was another one of my favourite actresses and had been since I was a teenager. It was the sultry voice, the arch of her eyebrow and her panther-like way of moving that had attracted my attention. She had an amazing look of intelligence and sophistication, which was enhanced by the roles she played, often as a wisecracking woman of the world.

Like Ingrid Bergman, as mentioned in my post last month, I remember Lauren Bacall’s starring role in Agatha Christie’s ‘Murder On the Orient Express’ (1974). She played the part of the garrulous Harriet Belinda Hubbard. She always amuses me in this role, as the gum-chewing, non-stop-talking former actress, who seemed to fluster Hercule Poirot with her incessant chatter and the mention of her multiple husbands! However, it will be ‘The Big Sleep’ (1946), that I will vividly remember her for – her beauty and sophistication were very prominent, in her role as Vivian Rutledge, in this film noir classic, which starred Humphrey Bogart.

When I was younger my hobby was collecting autographs. I remember getting the address of Ms Bacall’s agent and writing her a fan letter, with my autograph request. It was an exciting day when the autograph arrived, with a personal letter. So many of the ‘BIG’ stars of the silver screen would not have bothered, but she wasn’t a person who forgot her fans. I still collect autographs now (only of the actors and actresses I personally like), but the autograph from Lauren Bacall will always hold a special place in my collection…

This portrait I produced of Lauren Bacall, created by using very small dots, was done by-hand and took many hours of patient and careful work. It was one of a number of movie star portraits that were featured in a small, private exhibition in Liverpool. The feedback of the portraits was very good at a time when I was just trying new techniques. Perhaps that’s one of the reasons that I couldn’t quite bring myself to sell the majority of the pen-and-ink originals…

You don’t always win your battles, but it’s good to know you fought.
Lauren Bacall