I pride myself in taking an interest in quirky real-life events.
Yesterday’s blog was about 80-something performer Lynn Ruth Miller making merry with 200 Russians in Montenegro at a conference called Well Over Fifty.
When I heard about this, I told her: “I associate Montenegro with that poker game and international intrigue in Casino Royale.”
This morning, she replied:
“No casinos, darling. Just a lot of fish and vodka. Yesterday I went on a bus ride to see the sights. Unfortunately it was pouring with rain and the non-stop narration of what we were supposed to be seeing through the fog spoke only in Russian.
“I sat next to a woman with a bad hip who pole dances because all she has to use to hoist herself up is her arms. This is why she can only take baths, not showers. She says she is 65 and gluten-free which explains why she has such powerful arms.
“She is traveling with her crazy sister who is a graduate engineer and a veteran of the US Navy, who insisted on singing Beatles’ songs to the Russians who joined in because they love our music and cannot understand why they can’t get a visa to come to London to sing-along.
“At least I think that is what they told me but I am not sure because it was all in Russian. They might very well have been discussing the crisis in Afghanistan (There is one there, isn’t there?) or that it is impossible to buy a decent avocado in this god forsaken place.
“The bus finally stopped when it ran out of gas and we all piled into boats (in the pouring rain) and the pilot of the boat plied us with doughnuts and honey, feta cheese and plenty of vodka, since the coffee here is like motor oil. This on an empty stomach.
“Within seconds, we were happily romping around the boat knocking up vodka and anyone else who would have us. When we landed, drenched, at a restaurant for traditional Montenegran food which is very fishy, we were fighting exploding bladders.
“There is another bus trip today where we get to buy souvenirs. I am not sure what the souvenirs will be but, by God, I intend to buy one to remind myself that this whole experience was not the result of ingesting rich food late at night.”
Now, as I said, I pride myself in taking an interest in quirky real-life events and Lynn Ruth in Montenegro qualifies, I think, as being a tad quirky – especially if you know Lynn Ruth.
But this all pales into normality compared to the doings of actor Randy Quaid, about which I was shamefully ignorant until yesterday.
I spotted an online report yesterday headlined:
SANTA BARBARA D.A. VOWS TO BRING RANDY QUAID TO JUSTICE DESPITE LEGAL SETBACK
which started: “Prosecutors say they ‘remain hopeful’ after Independence Day actor and his wife were released from a Vermont jail… Quaid and his wife are considered fugitives, wanted in Santa Barbara, California, to face felony vandalism charges from 2010. Authorities said they were found squatting in a guesthouse of a home they previously owned. The couple fled to Canada, where Evi was granted citizenship but Randy was denied permanent residency.”
This may have been because he claimed he was being pursued by assassins paid by Hollywood studios.
I had somehow missed the back-story on this completely. On Facebook, Matthew Wilkes pointed me to an explanatory report from February this year headlined:
RANDY QUAID RETURNS BY HUMPING HIS WIFE WHILE SHE WEARS RUPERT MURDOCH MASK
And, indeed, that headline did not overstate the case. The report says: “As his wife Evi watches silently, clad in just a bikini and sunglasses, Quaid declares that they’ve been through ‘a hell of biblical proportions’… Quaid reserves his most cutting words for Rupert Murdoch, first noting that he’s wearing ‘the very same shirt that I wore in ’94 when I saved the world’ in the Fox movie Independence Day… Since Murdoch has tried to fuck him, now it’s his turn. He hands Evi a Rupert Murdoch mask, bends her over, spits in his hand, then proceeds to take her from behind while a trembling dog barks nervously at them, like a nation personified.”
At the time of writing, Randy’s video – taken down from YouTube but re-posted elsewhere – has had at least 3,584,231 plays – as it well deserves, despite potential claims of sexism.
An even fuller story of the background, though, comes – as is often the case – from the Daily Mail.
The extraordinary thing about the Daily Mail – much-read by the middle-of-the-road middle classes of Britain and much reviled by liberal Guardian-readers for its reactionary conservative views – is that it is extraordinary prurient and loves a bit of sleaze and eccentricity.
I got turned-on to the half-hidden glories of the Daily Mail when I was working at Anglia TV and we got all the national daily newspapers each morning. It was at the time Cynthia Payne – nicknamed ‘Madame Cyn’ by the tabloids – was being prosecuted for running a brothel in the unlikely locale of Streatham, in south London.
The tabloid ‘red top’ papers gloried in the sex aspects of the case, but the Daily Mail, alone in Fleet Street, seemed to zero in on the fact that the case was not about sex but about quirky British eccentricity.
The current Wikipedia entry on Cynthia wisely describes one of the highlights of the story as: “Elderly men paid in Luncheon Vouchers to dress up in lingerie and be spanked by young women”. The key quirky words here are not “spanked by young women” but “paid in Luncheon Vouchers”. Cynthia’s defence seemed partly to be that she was providing a valuable public service to retired Army majors in wheelchairs et al. She was found innocent by a possibly amused jury.
She became something of a celebrity appearing, for example, on TV in The Dame Edna Experience with actor Sir John Mills and ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev. She wrote a book titled Entertaining at Home – currently sold by Amazon under their Etiquette and Party Planning headings – and two feature films were based on her life, both released in 1987: Wish You Were Here and Personal Services.
The true reportage of quirkily eccentric lives in Britain used to appear in the Daily Telegraph’s obituary column and on their page three, which used to be their court report page. They have sadly long-since toned-down their obituaries and abandoned their old page three jollities after people in other publications started writing articles about the wild eccentricities held within. I still remember a short paragraph on page three of the Telegraph last century saying that a man had been prosecuted for leaping out of country hedgerows and scaring passing women horse-riders; he did this by dressing from head-to-toe in a rubber frogman’s outfit including snorkel and flippers. There was no more detail than this and no context. That was their full report.
The British press is less colourful since the Daily Telegraph reined-back on its quirkiness. But the Daily Mail now out-tabloids the tabloids with quirky stories and astonishingly widespread often salacious features on celebrities accompanied by pictures of curvaceous young women with prominent bosoms.
Those who diss the Mail for reactionary greyness don’t read it or look at its circulation figures.
Meanwhile, Randy Quaid’s video currently remains online HERE.
Beware – it contains a probably simulated but possibly real sex scene.
I am surprised the Daily Mail did not run the video online it in full.
One response to “In praise of Randy Quaid, Lynn Ruth Miller & the oddly salacious Daily Mail”
Thank you for the mention in your blog today, I always read it. Those were the days eh John, such fun. Hope that you are keeping well. Life is a bit quieter for me nowadays, but I wouldn’t change a moment of it all. Wonderful memories. Much love Cynthia xx