Thursday 27 May 2010

Mr Dante Fontana

"Get your bowler hat at Lock. Look around you. See who is around you. Get that hat at Lock. Buy your style of shoe at Lobb. It's the done thing. Stroll and walk around in shoes from Mr Lobb. Your umbrella straight from Brigg. Never never trust the weather ever. Get your brolly from Brigg. Then you'll find at Fortnum & Mason a beautiful red carnation. A moment of sweet fascination will linger with you. From Dunhill a pipe for the manly type. Get your ties each day the Piccadilly way. Gentlemen everything is just okay ..." Towards the end of the number Mr Dante Fontana the singer Lydia McDonald outlines how to get the perfect English gentleman look. Astonishingly 45 years on those establishments are still there in central London. The song itself comes from the 1966 film Fumo Di Londra, a vehicle for Alberto Sordi. Significantly the soundtrack was by Piero Piccioni, one of those Italian composers whose work became astonishingly hip and ridiculously sought after at the turn of the millennium. The film was a light comedy based around the Anglophile Sordi's quest to become the quintessential English gent but he gets caught up in the new swingin' London. There's the inevitable night club 'happening' scene, actually out at Eel Pie. Most of the vocals are provided by Lydia, the Cinecitta muse, but the great Julie Rogers (a Bermondsey girl) is featured too. The fascinating thing about the Italian soundtracks is that the music is extraordinarily addictive, without needing to see the films, and there is a temptation to become totally immersed in these sounds. There's a distinct similarity to the Bollywood soundtracks of the same era in that respect ...

No comments:

Post a Comment