Poetry Corner

Today in 1972 the movie Cabaret staring Liza Minnelli and Michael York was released, yesterday I said goodbye to a good friend too soon: “Life is a Cabaret old Chum”

Caberet 2

Image courtesy of youtube.com



What good is sitting alone in your room?
Come hear the music play
Life is a cabaret, old chum
Come to the cabaret
Put down the knitting, the book and the broom
It’s time for a holiday
Life is a cabaret, old chum
So come to the cabaret
Come taste the wine
Come hear the band
Come blow that horn
Start celebrating right this way
Your table’s waiting
What could permitting some prophet of doom
To wipe every smile away
Life is a cabaret, old chum
So come to the cabaret
I used to have this girlfriend known as Elsie
With whom I shared four sordid rooms in Chelsea
She wasn’t what you’d call a blushing flower
As a matter of fact she rented by the hour
The day she died the neighbors came to snicker
“Well, that’s what comes from too much pills and liquor”
But when I saw her laid out like a Queen
She was the happiest corpse, I’d ever seen
I think of Elsie to this very day
I remember how she’d turn to me and say
“What good is sitting all alone in your room?
Come hear the music play
Life is a cabaret, old chum
Come to the cabaret
And as for me
And as for me
I made my mind up, back in Chelsea
When I go, I’m going like Elsie
Start by admitting from cradle to tomb
Isn’t that long a stay
Life is a cabaret, old chum
It’s only a cabaret, old chum
And I love a cabaret
Songwriters: Fred Ebb / John Kander
Cabaret lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc, Carlin America Inc
For Raymond

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2 replies »

  1. I love Cabaret, but I must admit was never fond of the Liza Mennelli and Michael York version which was too ‘cleaned up’ for my taste. I felt that Cumming revival (one of the longest-running Broadway revivals in history) was much truer to Christopher Isherwood’s ‘Goodbye to Berlin’ on which it was based. But it is quite gritty and does not idealise Sally Bowles as the Mennelli version did. Not to everyone’s taste. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KW5eFCFnW9c&list=PLrBEhoLJ_TN_rXUUxU_47xp4ErgbD7d1H

  2. I remember seeing ‘Cabaret’ when it first came out. For many years, I’d say it was my favourite film – now, I’d find it hard to say which is my favourite, of quite a few. It is forty-odd years ago! A lot of films, have come my way, since then. But ‘Cabaret’ I still see as something…extra. It has good music, is good visually ( with some ‘nods’ to the art of the time of ‘Goodbye to Berlin’). And……the messages ……I won’t call it the politics – the messages. How propaganda works. To be aware. To be aware when hatred is being built up. Be aware when neighbours start to ’disappear’ inexplicably. I still think it’s a wonder of a film, with many messages for our time, too.

    I honestly didn’t see Sally as being idealized – would you want to know her? I wouldn’t. She could be said to have a good heart, be a ‘rough diamond’, but, well, when it comes down to it, it’s all about her and for her. The little girl, abandoned by Daddy – still trying hard, too hard, to please her, absent, father. Adopting survival techniques in an uncaring world. The psychology is another strong aspect of the film.

    I don’t advocate the ‘dance and drink and screw, because there’s nothing else to do‘ ( Blur – Common People) approach – leads to too many deaths, breakdowns and ill health, but, yes, life is a cabaret, and……do, participate as much as you can and as much as you want to, remembering rule number one – do no harm. The lyrics of Common People, could be said to be Clifford Bradshaw’s approach – he can step in to it, then out of it – it’s not all that he has. Hmmmme – echoes of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s short story ‘The Rich Boy’, which became ‘The Great Gatsby’ – “Let me tell you about the very rich. The rich are different from you and me” – same era. Hmmmmm.
    I did wonder, if the choice of the name Bradshaw, was a reference to the travel guide books of that name, which were often an example of the rich taking holidays in other peoples ‘picturesque’ poverty.
    Blimey – I’m preaching – maybe as a response to Sally’s ‘let it all hang out‘ approach.
    A most excellent film, though, really, contains so much. “If you could see her through my eyes……………”

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