Monday, August 13, 2007

Just You Wait...

I was driving home Thursday night and, while waiting in the ferry line, I found my CD of the movie soundtrack of My Fair Lady in the door bin. I hadn't listened to it for a year or so, so I popped it in and turned up the volume.

I can think of no-one who approaches the lyric genius of Alan Jay Lerner (and Oscar Hammerstein [except, perhaps, Howard Ashman]). I was especially struck by how wonderful were the non-romantic songs in MFL.

For example, "I'm and Ordinary Man," in which Higgins is recounts the bliss of bachelorhood:
I'm an ordinary man,
Who desires nothing more
Than an ordinary chance,
To live exactly as he likes,
And do precisely what he wants...
An average man am I, of no eccentric whim,
Who likes to live his life, free of strife,
doing whatever he thinks is best for him,
Well... just an ordinary man...


Let a woman in your life,
And patience hasn't got a chance,
She will beg you for advice, your reply will be concise,
And she will listen very nicely, and then go out
and do exactly what she wants!
You are a man of grace and polish,
Who never spoke above a hush,
All at once you're using language
That would make a sailor blush,
Let a woman in your life,
And you're plunging in a knife,

Let the others of my sex,
Tie the knot around their necks,
I prefer a new edition of the Spanish Inquisition
Than to ever let a woman in my life.
Or the wonderful call-and-response between Higgins and Colonel Pickering in "Hymn to Him"
Why can't a woman take after a man?
Men are so pleasant, so easy to please;
Whenever you are with them, you're always at ease.
Would you be slighted if I didn't speak for hours?

PICKERING -- Of course not!

Would you be livid if I had a drink or two?

PICKERING -- Nonsense.

Would you be wounded if I never sent you flowers?


Well, why can't a woman be like you?

One man in a million may shout a bit.
Now and then there's one with slight defects;
One, perhaps, whose truthfulness you doubt a bit.
But by and large we are a marvelous sex!

Why can't a woman take after like a man?
Cause men are so friendly, good natured and kind.
A better companion you never will find.
If I were hours late for dinner, would you bellow?

PICKERING: Of course not!

If I forgot your silly birthday, would you fuss?

PICKERING: Nonsense.

Would you complain if I took out another fellow?


Well, why can't a woman be like us?

Why indeed?

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