Sunday 2nd April 2017

I’m writing this on the 3rd of April – Doris’ – what I thought was her 93rd but it turns out – 95th birthday! What a revelation. The Guardian newspaper even printed a copy of her birth certificate and put in a quote from Doris herself:

“I’ve always said that age is just a number,” Day said in a statement on Sunday. “I have never paid much attention to birthdays, but it’s great to finally know how old I really am!” The star of Pillow Talk, Calamity Jane, The Pajama Game and Move Over Darling is in excellent company: Hollywood mainstays Betty White, a close friend, and Carl Reiner will also turn 95 this year. “There has long been speculation and rumours about Doris’s age and we get this question alot; looks like we finally have the answer,” said Day’s spokesman, Charley Cullen Walters.

“The story I have heard the most is that at one point Doris was up for a role when quite young and her age may have been miswritten on the audition form. We don’t know if that’s correct, but if so it could’ve simply stuck for all these years.”
Day and White, Walters said, have long joked about White being two years older. White was born in January 1922. “Now we know that they are actually just a couple months apart,” Walters said.

I wish I had known yesterday then 93 would have been 95 – what a remarkable woman.
…so back to yesterday. I was thinking about the relationship of performer and audience after the show. Is it the audience that give you your nervous feeling or is it the pressure you put on yourself? The audience yesterday (as usual) were so attentive, and because we are honouring someone that everyone holds dear there is a feeling of celebration in the room. There are dark moments in the show but it’s the talent, the dedication the era that I want to embrace.
There was quite a change to the line-up this year. Spencer Brown was off on a blues cruise so we had the fine bass player Will Collier in attendance and a marvellous job he did indeed. Freddie was also off playing with the Ronnie Scott’s All-Stars in Gateshead so we had the effervescent Rory Simmons who was able to shoehorn the gig in-between playing with Jamie Cullum and Blur. Thankfully Simon Pearson was keeping impeccable time on the drums, Simon Golding was conducting the band on guitar and Arthur Lea was back on piano adding in his usual harmonic flourishes and interpreting Simon’s charts (“I can tell you’ve never been a piano player Simon!”) It was wonderful to welcome back my old singing partner Gavin Skeggs who wowed the crowd with his beautiful voice.

We debuted two new numbers: Por Favor from Doris’ Latin for Lovers album (Joe Sherman, Noel Sherman) (recorded November 9, 1964), which is a lovely number. What was interesting when I was learning it was how low in her range it must have been. I imagine that getting Doris to sing so low in her range was to get the intimacy and warmth – not that it sounds low when you hear Doris singing. The other number was from a video or should I say SOUNDIE that I found on youtube of a song (I presume it was written by Les Brown – correct me if I’m wrong) called My Lost Horizon. It was certainly written by a jazz musician and what is incredible is how Doris handles the melody as a 16 year old! We also swapped April in Paris for Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered.

I brought along two cakes: my usual strawberry Victoria sandwich and a coffee and walnut cake (I never realised before what a male cake coffee and walnut is!) I love to chat to the audience after the show which is why I continue to make cakes for the audience to enjoy (and yes of course I make them myself). One lady said that she was celebrating her 50th and during that year she was going to experience fifty new things and one of them was to go to a jazz club and she would be returning again. I met Andrew Pearce and Jodie Vinall, fellow performers so that was humbling. Yes, the Doris Day audience is a joy and may there be many more experiences.

                                   HAPPY 95th BIRTHDAY DORIS DAY!