What do Ivan the Terrible, Sean Connery, Elvis Costello and Claudia Schiffer have in common?
That’s right: they were all born on the 25th August, and so was Allan Pinkerton, founder of the famous Chicago detective agency. Mad King Ludwig of Bavaria who really wasn’t all that mad at all and who gave the world some of the best castles ever was born on this day as well, though I doubt he gave a rat’s arse who he shared it with.
Michael Rennie shares a birthday with them, and to Michael I have only this to say: Klaatu Barada Nikto!
Erich Honecker, who presided over the disintegration of the East German Politburo, was the only man who ever voted against himself in a vote of no confidence. A complete apparatchik, he had no idea what was overtaking him in 1989 and didn’t last long after the wall fell. Thankfully.
Vo Nguyen Giap, Vietnamese general, defeated both the French and the American invaders of his country, and inflicted a further indignity by outliving all the generals and politicians on the enemy sides, with the sole exception of Henry Kissinger, who remains. Vo Nguyen Giap is 98.
Erich Von Stroheim Jr, was born on this day as well. A complete bastard as a director and an utter fantasist as an actor, he spent his entire life pretending to be something he was not. Normal enough for Hollywood.
More actors: Van Johnson, Mel Ferrer, Richard Greene (Robin Hood) and of course, the inestimable Sean Connery who, at 79, is still making the ladies swoon. Tom Skerrit is an actor I always liked and it amazes me to think that he’s now 76. Surely not!
Well, there’s Freddie Forsythe, who spent a good portion of his life hiding from the taxman in Ireland as a beneficiary of Haughey’s ridiculous tax shelter for millionaire artists, and there’s Martin Amis, a writer I always enjoyed, who hits 60 today. Sixty!! Jesus. Time’s Arrow strikes home.
We have Conrad Black, world-renowned jailbird and crook, or Baron Black of Crossharbour, as he prefers to be known, and you can see why. There’s something about the words baron and black that simply demands to bind them together. He’s 65.
And then we have a few musicians. We have the great Willy DeVille who died only two weeks ago. With Mink DeVille, Willy played CBGBs for fifty bucks a night, alternating with the Ramones, Talking Heads, Patti Smith and Television. A giant.
Happy birthday also to Declan Patrick McManus, who needs no introduction, but let’s have a song from him in a minute anyway.
We have Leonard Bernstein who gave us West Side Story – a man who truly knew how to enjoy life and a hero to all right-thinking people.
And finally, in the musicians list for today, we have Billy Ray Achy Breaky Cyrus, of whom I’ll say no more.
Here’s Declan Patrick McManus.