Diary of an old cheeser

Hi there! Like other blogs, this is my chance to wax lyrical (some might say talk utter cr*p) about a) what's happening in my life b) all of my pet obsessions in particular music, tv, movies, books and other generally connected things, quite often of the retro, old and "cheesy" variety. Hence the title of my blog. Feel free to leave a comment if the mood takes you. There's nothing like a good chinwag about one's favourite topics and besides I love to meet new people! Cheers, Simon

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Video of the fortnight - Diana Ross - Chain Reaction

Diana Ross is one of THE ultimate divas.

Don't know what a diva is? Girlfriend, what planet have you been on? Here's a quick lesson for the uninitiated amongst you, nabbed from Wickipedia:

A diva is a female opera singer, but now the term also refers to a popular female performer of non-operatic works. The term was originally used to describe a woman of rare, outstanding talent. The term derives from an ancient Italian word meaning "goddess", which, in turn derives from the feminine form of a Latin word divus, meaning "divine one."

The term sometimes carries a comical or negative connotation, implying that a pop star who labels herself a "diva" is arrogant, difficult to work with, high-maintenance, or demanding. In slang jargon, a woman may be referred to as a "diva", suggesting that she thinks highly of herself, is demanding, or is especially dramatic. The term can also be used positively, however, to comment on a woman's talent, performance style, or stage presence, likening it to that of a famous and successful diva. Men may also exhibit "diva-like" behaviour.

There are many women who are or have been considered divas. They include: Maria Callas, Toni Braxton, Barbra Streisand, Shania Twain, Frances Gallup, Dame Joan Sutherland, Kathleen Battle, Janet Jackson, Mariah Carey, Regine Velasquez, Donna Summer, Cher, Celine Dion, Whitney Houston, Dame Kiri te Kanawa, Patti LaBelle, Madonna, Diana Ross, Aretha Franklin, Olivia Newton-John, and Dame Elisabeth Schwarzkopf.

Interesting eh? I learnt a few things there myself. And as you can see, Diana Ross (Miss Ross to you matey) ranks in the list of divas. There's been many a tale and ancedote about her, not least her rise to prominence as lead singer of The Supremes and all that she did to gain that crown, with little regard for who got used, mistreated or f*cked over in the process. Poor Florence Ballard fared the worst and ended up gettting booted out of the group (although to be fair this wasn't entirely down to Diana's influence. Interesting how the recent Dreamgirls movie copped out by having the Deena Jones/Diana Ross character "reform" at the end, helping the Effie Hudson/Flo Ballard character to rejoin the group. If only real life had such a happy ending. Pah!) Miss Ross was clearly on a trip to gain ultimate power. If you want to know more, I'd highly recommend Call Her Miss Ross by J. Randy Taraborrelli, a totally juicy, bitchy read.

Anyway, whatever shortcomings Miss Ross might have as a person, it can't be denied she is a totally fabulous performer. She's kind of gone off the radar of late and her musical output in the last couple of decades hasn't really been that great - the odd schmaltzy ballad or two and that's it. The only way she seems to grab the headlines these days is by accusing security staff of touching her up at airports (and even that was years back).

However once upon a time Diana was the queen of soul/disco. She was glamorous, theatrical and flamboyant in equal measures. "Chain Reaction" exemplifes all these things, and is, in my view, one of the last truly memorable things she ever did. I love Diana's totally OTT outfits, not least the gorgeous red fish tail number she wears whilst standing on what appears to be a rotating catherine wheel (better watch you don't catch fire, love). My favourite moment is the bit when she bursts out of the - warehouse?- doors, resplendent in white ball gown and gloves - a rather strange juxtaposition really. What's a glamorous diva like her doing inside a smelly old shed? Was she de-thawing the canapes? And who are all those geezers clambering over the fence? Her ex lovers coming back for more? The 60s pop prog homage scenes are nice too.

It's also a great pop song, written by the Bee Gees (and you can hear them clearly on backing vocals) with a kind of Supremes/60s sound to it, an affectionate tribute and a great dance number!

Enjoy ... and Happy Easter!


  • At 5:35 pm , Blogger Minge said...

    What fabulous viewing (and reading) for a Sunday.


  • At 7:15 pm , Blogger matty said...

    Ah, Miss Ross! Yes, a true diva if ever there was one!

  • At 11:18 pm , Blogger Old Cheeser said...

    You're welcome my darlings!!

    NOW get me a glass of champagne, PRONTO!!

    Mary Wilson? WHO??

    The diva queen xxx

  • At 2:40 pm , Blogger LaLa said...

    Ooh, the ONLY way to improve a Diana Ross song, by having Barry Gibb do back up vocals.


  • At 2:44 pm , Blogger Old Cheeser said...

    You could be right there, LaLa! (Loving your name, btw).


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