I was looking at a track list for the Radcliffe and Maconie show to see who sang Travelling Light, a track I caught the end of in the kitchen one night last week; in the usual way (or rather, unusual for those two, but usual for most) the DJs never said who it was by. I knew the song (a small, brilliant epic of lost love, with brittle lyrics) but couldn’t remember the name of the artists. The answer was of course the excellent Tindersticks. It was while looking for this that I noticed that they’d played Mahogany on the same programme. Confessing a liking for Diana Ross is difficult for the non-gay man, but really I love her stuff, nothing more so than Mahogany (Do You Know Where You’re Going To?) with the possible exception of Touch Me in the Morning, (a small, brilliant epic of lost love, with brittle lyrical undercutting: We’ve seen how love can grow, now we’ll see how it dies). Each song poses difficult and searching questions and scenarios and the two appear, in my mind, to be linked:
Q: Where are you going to?
A: I’m going to touch her in the morning and then I’m going to walk away.
Mahogany was the title soundtrack theme to a movie of the same name, which I saw on a double-bill at the Gaumont Cinema, Tunstall, Stoke-on-Trent in the late seventies (in the back row, with my first girlfriend, of course – the following week it was The Deerhunter). Mahogany was on a double bill with her other film, The Lady Sings The Blues, a Billy Holiday biopic. They both attracted pretty poor press, and you can’t get either on DVD now (No, never released, is the advice given). In my memory, there is something sub-Shaft about Mahogany (which I remember preferring of the two movies). I can recall nothing about the story, I remember only street scenes in a run-down Chicago, but I found this clinical plot summary on a movie site:
Tracy, an aspiring designer from the slums of Chicago puts herself through fashion school in the hopes of becoming one of the world’s top designers. Her ambition leads her to Rome spurring a choice between the man she loves or her newfound success.
AND THEN, I FOUND THIS!