What a week this has been after losing two of my favorite British performers, both of them only 69 years old. I first heard an album by David Bowie in 1972 when I was a teenager. At the time I was into country-rock like The Eagles and Linda Ronstadt, so I didn't appreciate him right away. I watched his various transformations through the years and didn't become a huge fan until the 80s when I heard him sing the sublime song "Under Pressure," a duet he did with Freddie Mercury and Queen. It showcased the best of both of their voices. I've listened to it probably one hundred times and never get sick of it; I love the way he and Freddie trade off singing lead, egging each other on, encouraging each other to soar to the next level of unbridled emotions. I recently saw their performance in a YouTube video. Freddie is hot and sweaty, looking like he'd been on stage for a long time, offering his usual rousing set, and in walks Bowie, cool as a cucumber, in a green suit. Only Bowie could pull off wearing a green suit. So stylish! He looked the most handsome I'd ever seen him. Gone were all the Ziggy Stardust makeup and theatrics, and there he was, looking like a fashion model. He was "Oh, so very British."
And then, there's Alan Rickman--one of my favorite British actors. Sometimes it feels like I'm the only person on the planet who has not read and seen any of the Harry Potter books and movies. Everyone says Alan was great in it, and I believe it. His performance in Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility was what first got my attention. I was immediately smitten. It wasn't just his voice: it was his character. There's nothing more painful than to watch a young woman fall head over heels in love with the wrong man. We've all seen it: our sisters or our friends being so blind to reason that you want to shake their shoulders and say, "Wake up and smell the coffee!" In Sense and Sensibility, Marianne is forever mooning over the studly Willoughby and all the while she can't see the forest for the trees. Alan's character in the book, Colonel Brandon, has been there all along. Only after she almost dies does she realize his true worth: he has been by her side throughout her illness. He is the rock she needs to counteract her school girl way of looking at romance. So what if he's older and isn't as dashing as Willoughby. He is the love of her life and she's lucky to have him. Alan was such an awesome Colonel Brandon with his low and sexy voice. Forget about Mr. Darcy--I'll take Colonel Brandon any day. How about you?