Downtown monster

A creation spotted on the streets of downtown Buenos Aires:

BA monster

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memories of the ’70s – Scruples by Judith Krantz

9780517532539-us-300Using the old adage of an ugly duckling becoming a princess, Judith Krantz penned a fave mass market book of 1978: Scruples.

A magazine journalist for several years, Krantz decided to try her hand at a novel, finishing this first book in nine months in 1977.

The novel was published in 1978 by Random House in January, the same month Krantz turned 50.

Scruples focuses on the life of Wilhelmina Hunnewell Winthrop, a young Boston heiress who after the death of her Mother is raised by the housekeeper as her absentee Father focuses on his career in science.

Nicknamed Honey, the young child becomes a teenager almost adult who relies on food and when she finishes high school inherits $10,000 from an Aunt who encourages her to find herself.

Honey goes to Paris, and under the watchful eye of Lilliane, loses weight, learns Parisian style and returns home, now calling herself Billy. Transformed, she moves to New York City, goes to secretarial school and develops a friendship with Jessica, who teaches her about modern life and how to date.

Billy gets a job at Ikehorn Enterprises and ends up attracted to the elderly CEO who she marries. Moving to Bel-Air for her husband’s health, she feels isolated again like when she was a teenager, and ends up shopping away her days until her husband dies of a heart attack, leaving her a young, very wealthy widow.

Trying to overcome her guilt, Billy opens an exclusive boutique in Beverly Hills and launches the second part of her life with Valentine O’Neill as her designer, former photograher Spider Elliott as a stylist and the trio take over Los Angeles.

Billy meets director Vito Orsini and now has entered her new life as a Hollywood power broker as well as embroiled in the secrets and friendships of her life as part of the society elite.

Published in 1978, Scruples became a reader’s favourite, not garnering many critic reviews, but a popular purchase about transformation, society, wealth and fashion – landing the author the number one spot on the New York Times bestseller list as well as an overall bestseller in book trade magazine Publisher’s Weekly.

Two years later, the book became a mini-series, and was a TV success. To date, Krantz has sold more than 80 million copies of her books

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Bold face

Another portrait from the Jerusalem market by Solomon Souza:

bold face

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Old Jaffa Pisces

One of the street signs of Old Jaffa:

Old Jaffa street sign

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memories of the ’80s – Lean on Me by Club Nouveau

LeanOnMeCNThe late 1980s brought a few gems from the past back into vogue – like the classic song Lean on Me by Club Nouveau.

Written by Bill Withers, Lean on Me was released by the singer/songwriter as the first single from his second album Still Bill in 1972. It was his first and only number one single.

In the wake of the break-up of Timex Social Club, producer/singer Jay King formed Club Nouveau, mixing pop and swing to focus on a new vocally-driven sound to the ’80s pop sounds.

Singers Valerie Watson, Samuelle Prater, Denzil Foster and Thomas McAlroy made up the group, produced by Jay King and signed with Warner Bros. Records.

Releasing their debut album Life, Love & Pain in 1986, the third single was a cover of the Withers song, mixing pop, a cappella and ’80s beats. Lean on Me the ’80s version hit number two on the Billboard R&B charts.

Listen to their version here. The music video combines classic footage of dance with the band’s performance.

With the success of radio and music video, the song continued to be strong, and the group was nominated for a Grammy for Best R&B Performance, Best R&B Song and Song of the Year for Lean on Me, winning for Best R&B Song.

Club Nouveau went on to complete a second studio album but never achieved the same success, and still exist in the 21st century as performers.

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Market intensity

A portrait of an intense man in a Jerusalem market:

Intense man

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memories of the ’70s – Rich Girl by Hall & Oates

RichGirlHall&OatesThe late 1970s brought success to already popular Hall & Oates with the song Rich Girl.

Although rumoured to be about always-in-the-news heiress Patty Hearst, the song written by Hall was about a man.

He was an ex-boyfriend of Hall’s girlfriend at the time, Sara Allen. But knowing the song wouldn’t work with the title ‘Rich Boy’, Hall switched the gender to female.

The lyrics detail the lack of worry for a girl with money, someone who never has to stress about anything she wants in her life.

The second single from the album Bigger Than Both of US, the song was released for radio airplay in January 1977. Slowly heading up the Billboard charts, the song hit number one in late March 1977, the first number one single for the duo.

The catchy soft rock/blue eyed-soul song was popular on radio playlists and earned the song not only number one status in the US, but was also a hit in Canada and Australia, with a limited impact in Europe.

Bigger Than Both of US was released in August 1976, and also had a slow burn up the charts, but had steady sales. Rich Girl became the first of six number one singles for Hall & Oates over the next few years of the 1970s and 1980s.

 

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