The Main Foyer, Royal Festival Hall, London

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“Splash”: A Short History of the First Name “Madison”

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The romantic comedy Splash was released on March 9, 1984. On the poster, Daryl Hannah wore an oversize “I Love New York” T-shirt and reached up behind her to tousle the hair of a tuxedo-clad Tom Hanks, with the Hudson River and the twin towers of the World Trade Center in the background. “Allen Bauer Thought He’d Never Find the Right Woman… He was Only Half Wrong! Daryl Hannah played a mermaid, deeply obsessed with Tom Hanks’ character Allen Bauer, whom she saved twice from drowning. The nude mermaid travelled to New York City in search of Allen Bauer, in Disney Pictures’ first PG-13 rated film. The mermaid learned English in six hours by watching television in Bloomingdales. A sexually rapacious child-woman, she gasped in wonderment at street lights, music, and pens, a noble savage who ate lobster with her hands. She decided to call herself “Madison,” after the avenue, triggering the name’s meteoric real-life rise. “Madison’s not a name,” said Bauer, who had suggested “Jennifer, Joanie, Hillary, Linda, Kim, Elisabeth, Samantha.” In 1995, 6,000 Madisons were born in the United States, and by 2010, it was the eighth most popular name for baby girls.

Amy Pascal Did Not Enjoy the Movie ‘Aloha’

Screenshot (1107)After a 2014 hack of Sony Pictures Entertainment’s database, the former  Chairperson of the Motion Pictures Group Amy Pascal became known for her poetic (“It never/Not even once/ever works”) style of email communication. Following unsuccessful test screenings of the film Aloha, she expressed her disappointment and frustration at producer Scott Rudin, who didn’t once go to set, or help in the editing room, or fix the script. 

“Scores same as last time and
Way way worse in ny
It’s a wrap
There is no more to do
Cameron really never changed anything
People don’t like people in movies who flirt with married people or
married people who flirt
The satellite makes no sense
The gate makes no sense
I’m never starting a movie again where the script is ridiculous
And we al know it
I don’t care how much I love the director and actors
It never
Not even once
ever works

As much as I want movies
This is way worse
At least the marketing departments at both studios have something to sell
like looks big and glossy
We have this movie in for a lot of dough and we better look at that
Scott didn’t once go to the set
Or help us in the editing room
Or fix the script.”

The Birth of the Kray Twins

Me and My BrothersCharles Kray was seven years older than his twin brothers, the gangsters Ronnie and Reggie Kray. Growing up, they shared a bedroom in the east end of London, and Charles stared down at the twins when they were babies in cots. “Sometimes they looked up at me in a strange, adult sort of way, and I’d have this weird feeling that they knew all about me and what was going on around them,” he wrote. “Their dark eyes seemed to lack that childlike innocence.” Charles Kray was as devoted to his mother Violet as the twins were. He recalled the autumn day when his life changed forever. 

“In 1932 we moved to Stean Street, the other side of Kingsland Street. Just along from our new home was a stable yard, and the old man who looked after it let us kids play there. It was an exciting place and I spent a lot of time sitting on a wall, watching the man mucking out and grooming the horses when they came in after hauling delivery carts. I would go home smelling of manure and with muddy shoes. Mum would tell me off, but in a nice way. She never screamed and yelled like other women in the street…

One day a year later, when I was seven, I was encouraged to go out and play and not come back until called. Curious, and not a little put out, I watched the house from my wall for most of the day. There was a lot of coming and going and then, in the early evening, I was told I could go in. I went up to my mum’s bedroom and there they were.

‘Where did they come from?’ I asked.

‘I bought them,’ my mum replied.

‘But, Mum,’ I said. ‘Why did you buy two?’

She laughed.

It was a little after eight o’clock on 24 October 1933. My twin brothers had arrived.”

Charles Kray, with Robin McGibbon, Me and My Brothers: Inside the Kray Empire, 1988.

Ronald Reagan arrives in Moscow

Reagan in Moscow

Sunday, May 29, 1988

“Get away day– this time to Moscow, our 1st time ever to see Russia. We drove to the Presidential Palace where Pres & Mrs. Koivisto joined us for the drive to the airport. A brief goodbye visit in the airport V.I.P. then a goodbye message to our embassy people & on to A.F.1. We lunched on the plane & landed at 2 P.M.– now we’re 8 hrs. different from Wash. time. We were met by Ambas. & Mrs. Matlock & Pres. & Mrs. Gromyko– also our Ambas. staff plus family. Then the ride to the Ambas. house ‘Spaso House’–a one time castle. On the 20 min. drive 1st to the Kremlin where we were greeted by Gen. Sec. Gorbachev & Raisa– a review of the troops– the Nat. songs of both nations then his welcome to us & my reply. Nancy & Raisa took a tour of the Palace while he & I had a one on one visit. I introduced my favorite pitch–why he should give his people religious freedom. It was a good session & a nice way to launch the summit. Then we went on to Spaso House.

Our people had an idea about us going out on the street to be seen by the people–our goal a kind of set up where children could be photo’d with Disney type animals. It was amazing how quickly the street was jammed curb to curb with people– warm, friendly people who couldn’t have been more affectionate. In addition to our S.S. the KGB was on hand & I’ve never seen such brutal manhandling as they did on their own people who were in no way getting out of hand.

Back to Spaso House for the night.”

The Reagan Diaries, Ronald Reagan, edited by Douglas Brinkley, Harper Collins, 2007

Photograph by Fed Govt [Public domain], via Wikimedia Common.

Kingsley Amis Dreams About Margaret Thatcher

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“My devotion to Mrs T retains something of that initial physical bowling-over, in fact she has replaced the Queen as my dream-girl, using this phrase in its more literal sense of the female who, more than any other, tends to recur in my dreams. The last time she (Mrs T) and I met there it was in 10 Downing Street again, but a transfigured 10 Downing Street, in that mysterious way of dreams known to be that building without physically resembling the reality. She drew me apart, came close, came closer. This was going to be the big one.

‘You’ve got such an interesting face,’ her shade murmured with a softness I had never heard her use in life or any broadcast. Even as I dreamt I admired her charity and cunning in hitting on about the only epithet still applicable to my face that might be considered neither unkind nor blatantly untrue. Then, alas, in that other way of dreams, her image faded.”

Kingsley Amis, Memoirs, Penguin Books, 1991.