Monday, July 16, 2007

Joan Collins Fan Club. (Self)

Okay, I know I'm on thin ice with this what with my catalogue of autobiographical work behind me and this blogging malarkey but here goes...

The thing is, when you write about yourself your ego is bound to control things at least a little bit. It has to. I'm pretty sure that most of what I've written about my experiences shows me to be the dysfunctional tit I am but even so, I'm bound to have crossed the line some of the time and written something that equates to I'm-great-me! And for that I can only apologise.

The best place to look for ill-advised, self-aggrandising nonsense is probably the blogosphere but I think you'd be hard pushed to find a better example of the genre than the accidentally hilarious piece written by Joan Collins in this Saturday's Daily Mail. Rarely have I read anything more lacking in self-awareness.

It seems JC has a new autobiography coming out and to plug it the Daily Mail published an extract covering a tour of US theatres in a play with her former Dynasty co-star (and real life nemesis) Linda Evans.

You can read the piece here and here. (Yes, it's in two parts. I'm not sure why. Maybe the Daily Mail haven't worked out how to scroll properly.)

Anyway, make yourself a cup of tea, settle down and read the article. It's worth it. It's not just that Joan is being catty about someone - after all, that's part of what normally makes Joan so deliciously entertaining - it's all about how blind she is to her own vanity and her own faults.

If Linda improvises it's unprofessional. If Joan improvises it's professional. When the director gives Joan notes to improve her performance he's wrong. When anyone gives notes to Linda, they're right. Before they've started rehearsals, the producer is interested in Joan's rewrites - all of which are fabulous and improve the play no end - and yet two days before opening night they're not so interested. Surely Joan is the only person in the world who hasn't worked out that they were only being polite in the first place and their politeness has now run dry.

There are simply too many fabulous moments for me to mention them all or I'll end up doing a line by line dissection of the piece and honestly, you'll enjoy reading it for yourself. Read about Linda stupidly wanting to do the fight scene onstage and Joan sensibly wanting to do it offstage. Then read the review from Variety in which the director gets criticised for inexplicably staging the fight out of sight.

Then read bitchy comments like "A simply horrible review in the local paper, almost as bad for me as it is for Linda." Then go back and read the review from Variety again and see who come off better in the serious trade journal.

Some random lines that made me spit my tea out with laughter:
"My finger is in agony because Linda kicked it last night." Oof.
"I find her an acting coach she can work with after rehearsals." Ow.

and then this exchange at the end of a row... well, this takes the biscuit:

As she goes, I say: "I don't think that's very professional."
She screws her head around - like Linda Blair in The Exorcist - and a demonic croak comes out of her mouth: "Well, you're unprofessional!"
Everyone around us is agape.
I'm furious. It's one thing to describe an actor's specific behaviour as not professional, but quite another to call the actor unprofessional.
She obviously hates me and is jealous of my happiness with Percy.

Do you follow? Joan said Linda was being unprofessional and Linda responded by saying that Joan is unprofessional. That's where she crossed the line. Grrr. Must be cock-jealousy that's behind it. That. Is the only. Explanation.


James said...

Another person that is ALWAYS doing this, is Cliff Richard.

He once boasted about how he is obviously better than Elvis, because Elvis sold more records after he was dead than when he was alive, and Cliff had STILL overtaken his sales record in the UK.

Oh sure Cliff, and Elvis certainly had no influence on your career at all. Right.

Ben said...


An excellent post as normal, I enjoy reading them very much, so, as the cliche goes, keep up the good work!

However, I'm writing to mention this:

" "Legends!" is the story of two once-big movie stars, Sylvia Glenn (the bad girl) and Leatrice Monsee (the sweetie), who hated each other in real life with a passion. Now, many years later, with old age and poverty staring them in the face, a crass, opportunistic young producer named Martin Klemmer hopes to bring them back together onstage to ensure an audience for a new play he hopes to produce."

That's from the 'Variety' link you included within the post. I hope you noticed the remarkable similarities to the real situation! ;)


rivergirlie said...

this is fantastic! i was tempted to think, at first, that she was being funny. but the funniest thing is, that she clearly isn't! loved that bit about 'her enormous feet'. she doesn't miss a trick, does she?

Dave Gorman said...

Ben... I was aware of the similarities. What makes it worse is that Legends was first performed in the 80s with Carol Channing and Mary Martin in the lead roles. It got terrible reviews, toured but failed to make it to Broadway. Sound familiar?
The leading ladies drove the playwright to distraction and he ended up writing a book about it called Diary of a Mad Playwright.

They decided to revive a flop and repeated all of the same mistakes.

Except with the playwright (James Kirkwood) having passed away we get the Diary of a Mad Actress instead.

RachelC said...

She was not a happy women when writing this. Nothing was her fault at all.

Is the rest of the book like this is does she actually have some self-reflection in there?

The Kitchen Cynic said...

Also in this vein, Mike Read the DJ is announcing he is withdrawing from the race to be London Mayor in order to back Boris, over on Comment Is Free at The Guardian.


Ben said...


Indeed, the coincidences are many and it strikes me that this is one of those projects that is perennially doomed to failure. Seeing as things always come around again, I look forward to reading about a similar failing in another 20 or so years!

Off topic, I referenced you in one of my University Finals, in relation to your Googlewhack Adventure and the fact that the internet allows you to be who you like. They seemed to like it, as I got a decent mark in the exam! So congratulations on being officially academically referenced! ;)


Newbie said...

The funniest thing I have read for ages.

How on earth did you find it??

Ben H (Not the other Ben) said...

With it being the Daily Mail, I'm surprised there wasn't an added comment from them at the end saying "Joan was clearly the victim of a politically correct witchunt".
Great post as always Dave!