Dame JOAN COLLINS

There are rare occasions in life that arrive and make us feel truly suspended in the moment, awestruck with excitement, elation or joy – from weddings, milestone birthdays, to the perfect Christmas morning, or a once in a lifetime trip to foreign climes … but for me, one such occasion was the fine September day that I met actress, author and show business legend, Dame Joan Collins.

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Two gilded armchairs and matching tables neatly dressed with candles, books and framed photographs set the stage for an intimate evening in the company of a true cultural icon, and as guests filed into The Lowry, Salford, for Joan Collins Unscripted, a large projection screen played rare and unseen personal cine, VHS and digital film footage from the megastars own personal collection whilst a very pleasant recording of Joan singing, lulled away the wait for ‘curtain up’.

“I made a record at the end of my marriage to Tony Newley, and it was called ‘And She Can Sing Too’ which was rather full of itself… and I sang eight of my favourite songs… and we discovered it a few years ago. There are many clips and home movies”

Joan Collins

Joan Collins Unscripted

As a filmmaker this couldn’t have been more up my street. I think that what we capture on film, in an candid and unforced manner with family and friends – it captures the essence of people as pure to character as possible, and as the years pass by, they become more treasured. Joan never looks more stunning and radiant than when relaxed in the company of those who she is closest to, and what a smile she has. It felt like a generous treat that Joan would share this beautiful and personal imagery with her guests. Gorgeous footage from her wedding reception, where she and Percy took their first dance, to holidays, family meals and get-together’s spanning the decades of her life, you know, the usual family archives… aside from the fact that THIS was Joan Collins.

Joan Collins

Then Joan stepped out with Percy to a rapturous applause from a packed theater of fans and admirers. I felt enormously lucky, it was just fantastic to be seated front row with my partner, and I think it’s safe to say that she had a few mega-fans in the house, because the energy and excitement was electric and everyone around me was thrilled… even emotional.

Joan Collins Unscripted

Percy took to the mic, to host and compère the evening. It worked so, so, well. They are brilliant together. It’s great that she has such companionship. Nothing can beat being in a unit that works. Anyway, he let us know what topics were understandably off limits in the lengthy open questions situation that was to follow, and my heart raced like a cornered rabbit at the very thought of speaking to Joan directly, in front of the entire theater, but I am an Aries and I never let my nerves override my enthusiasm – even if there’s a strong chance of my lips sticking to my teeth.

Percy sets the tone of proceedings.

Percy sets the tone of proceedings.

Joan has lead a remarkable and unique life and the questions were wide ranging and often delivered with great northern humor. Joan covered much ground – from early Hollywood through to present day. Through working relationships, freinds, family and the odd piece of advice and many interesting and impressive anecdotes from a career that has seen it all and shows no sign of stopping, having just wrapped a new feature film which is due for release in spring 2017 – THE TIME OF THEIR LIVES

.THE TIME OF THEIR LIVES

I loved it when Joan revealed that she and her sister Jackie watched French and Sunders ‘Lucky Bitches’ parody clips together and would laugh their heads off. One gets the clear impression that there has been a great deal of love, excitement and laughter in her life, and regardless of any lemons thrown her way, she seems to have always counted her blessings and toasted to it with lemonade. It is an outlook and strength that I admire, because life is never going to be a picnic in the park for any of us.

My own question concerned Damon Gough, the Manchester based singer who goes by the stage name of Badly Drawn Boy. Joan stared a music video for his track ‘Spitting in the Wind’ and I asked her how on earth that usual pairing had come to be, what she felt about the collaboration, because I was fascinated by this most peculiar juxtaposition of characters.

It appealed to me because I thought it was artistic and brave and she looks amazing in the video. Anyone who has seen my own work will notice that I love to film glamorous women, (I know, gay men and glamorous women is no newsflash) but I forget that sometimes actresses take on projects and move on, that perhaps they don’t remember everything too fondly – and I am laughing inside as I type because Joan really thought the whole thing ‘very very weird’, and recommended that ‘nobody look it up’, because it still haunts her…

Badly Drawn Boy

I was a little mortified by her answer… but now, well, watching the video again after her insights, seeing her bathing in soap suds, eating ice-cream in bed whilst crying into her bathrobe before getting dressed for an opulent dinner party – all alongside this scruffy beanie hat wearing, guitar waving, harmonica blowing Manchester lad…? Well it’s just too droll to think of how she felt, so don’t go and look up the rather charming and actually very beautiful video, Badly Drawn Boy feat Joan Collins – Spitting in the Wind.

Joan Collins

The second act started with a segment on DYNASTY. Joan came back onstage to the DYNASTY theme tune, ‘Oh god that music’ she said… but we had just watched an hilarious montage of Alexis’ one liners and the tour de force performance that Joan gave for eight years defined and personified one of the most unique decades of our times, in my opinion. She single-handedly turned a failing television program into a phenomena, and the crowd applauded with genuine warmth and affection because it has been unmatched and imitated ever since.

“That’s caviar Mark, not peanut butter” – Alexis

Joan Collins Joan Collins

There isn’t a line from Alexis that I cannot quote, no mannerism or nuance that I cannot mimic and it shielded me from bullies – but I won’t bore you with all of that because I am a grown man now, that was an age ago, and as Percy said, tongue firmly in cheek, ‘Telling Joan just how young you were when you first started watching Dynasty is just plain rude’, and again great laughter from everyone. There was such humor, style and wit, and before we knew it – the show was drawing to a close. Standing ovation lasted a while, of course. I think I whooped myself horse with my “we love you Joan’s” but there are still some dates available, so do go and catch it if you can.

BOOK TICKETS HERE – JOAN COLLINS UNSCRIPTED

Joan Collins

After the show I was invited backstage to meet Joan and Percy. Arranged by my friend, Alyn Waterman, Joan’s personal Makeup and Hair Stylist. It was an incredibly kind gesture being that Joan and he had been working all day, first in London for Loose Women TV and then via train to Manchester for the show. Long day by anyone’s standards… and to me, it meant the world. Hashtag understatement.

David V Barron and Joan Collins.

David V Barron and Joan Collins.

Joan is every inch the Hollywood Royalty that I imagined she would be. She has a self-confidence, energy and zeal that is remarkable to witness. Quick witted, sharp, and very aware – doesn’t mince her words of course, nor does she suffer fools to spare their blushes… all of which just adds excitement to the megawatt charm and gravitas that she radiates, and I am so relieved that I managed to speak to her without sounding like a bumbling, hyperventilating nelly, because I won’t lie, I was truly star-struck because there has been no one in the world I had dreamed to meet more than Dame Joan Collins, she is endlessly fascinating, inspiring and beautiful.

Joan Collins Unscripted

Joan Collins Unscripted

As Joan stepped her way back into her dressing room, delightful Percy holding the door, I thanked her for the opportunity to meet and share a few words. Her gaze upon me and her smile, it is something that I will remember for the rest of my life as a gift. When she smiles, smiles that natural, spontaneous and involuntary sort, well it is stunning to be on the receiving end of it, and with that flash of magic, Joan was gone.

Thank you so much Joan, Percy and Alyn XXX

Joan Collins and Alyn Waterman

Joan Collins and Alyn Waterman

4 comments

  1. Jenn Ellis says:

    Oh Dave I’m so happy and excited for you to be able to meet the wonderful Joan Collins. She is such a talented actress and wonderful author whom I have admired over the years. It must have been fascinating and interesting to get a glimpse of her personal life, career and public life. By your observations of the show she sounds like an intelligent, witty and lovely person who has gone through various life experiences with fun, courage, wisdom and determination. I hope some day she gets the opportunity to see your wonderful film creations/projects and it would be fabulous if she could collaborate with you in a film project in the near future. I can’t wait to see her next film “The time of their lives”. I have enjoyed reading this blog and learning a little bit about Dame Joan. It makes me want to see her wonderful stage show. Via your words I could practically feel your joy and delight in meeting one of your icons. The world needs more bright sparks like her to brighten our lives. Thanks Dave, Hugs xxx

  2. giano says:

    We agree with you that our lives are sprinkled by very special moments. And sometimes it seems that Life enjoys shuffling the signs that indicate the roads we walk on, to make these special moments happen in an amazinlgy surprising and casual way.
    And it seems that is what happened to you, meeting Joan Collins.
    We bet that when you, as a young boy (forgive us, Dame Joan!), were watching that charming icon, who was for you just Alexis Carrington, could ever have imagined to meet in the flesh that glamorous razor-like smile and glare!
    From your words, we can see the genuine and thrilled enthusiasm that filled your heart in meeting her, in that beautiful evening at The Lowry
    As always, we love your mastery in drawing a vivid living portrait of the event, with bright words and stunning pictures A few colourful brush strokes that made us feel there!
    We could see her untouched charm, her radiant smile, the sharp and lively repartee with her partner Percy, then her being a Diva in the answer she gave you about her guest appearance in Badly Drawn Boy’s video, and in your tête-à-tête meeting.
    A true Holliwood icon, as we have always imagined: Alexis Carrington, indeed!
    As always, thank you for taking us there with you, and sharing some glimpses of this amazing experience; to open the curtains of that glittering stage for us, and let us sit in the front row wih you; to leave that backstage door open, and let us enjoy that special moment you have dreamt of!

  3. Jennifer says:

    Wonderfully written, superb …. makes me want to see show thanks David x

  4. Linda says:

    I rejoice in your delight and awestruck glee. I observed your building excitement as the night grew near, only to have your dream of actually meeting her turn into a reality that exceeded your wildest imagination.

    Your in depth description of the evening gives me a feeling of having experienced it myself, and of course went directly to YouTube to see the video, Badly Drawn Boy, and understand why it “haunts” her.

    Its moments like this that bring a bit of sparkle to our everyday lives and may you have many more dreams come true.

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