Why Pinky will al­ways pip Perky!

Daily Mail - - News -

Af­ter all these years, An­drew Lloyd Web­ber has now ex­plained why his name al­ways comes be­fore tim rice’s in their song- writ­ing cred­its. the rea­son, it tran­spires, is nei­ther al­pha­bet­i­cal nor hi­er­ar­chi­cal.

‘the fact is Lloyd Web­ber and rice is eas­ier to say than rice and Lloyd Web­ber,’ he told the Mail on Sun­day. ‘Just as Sul­li­van and Gil­bert would have sounded aw­ful.’

Is that so? Sul­li­van and Gil­bert may sound a lit­tle pe­cu­liar to us now, but that is surely be­cause we have grown so used to say­ing Gil­bert and Sul­li­van.

there’s not much in it, but it seems to me just as easy — or as dif­fi­cult — to say rice and Lloyd Web­ber as it is to say Lloyd Web­ber and rice. If one mem­ber of a duo is more tal­ented and harder-work­ing than the other, then clearly he or she has earned the right to be first in the peck­ing or­der. Was this the real rea­son Lloyd Web­ber wanted to be first?

the same must surely have been true of Bat­man and robin. When the crime cru­saders first got to­gether, it would have been im­per­ti­nent for weedy lit­tle robin to have in­sisted on top billing. He was quite clearly the side­kick, the num­ber two, the hanger-on.

With­out Bat­man, robin would have had no hope of forg­ing a ca­reer as a caped cru­sader, un­less it was as some sort of ju­nior store de­tec­tive in the fancy dress de­part­ment of the Gotham City Wal­mart.

So it was quite right that they called them­selves Bat­man and robin, not robin and Bat­man.

the same goes for many other un­equal part­ner­ships. there is no point in putting the duff part­ner first, oth­er­wise we would have Wise and More­cambe, Wat­son and Holmes, and Joseph and Mary. the weaker part­ner should al­ways come sec­ond, hence David and Go­liath and — harsh but true — Bar­bie and Ken.

But what of those part­ner­ships which op­er­ate on a com­pletely equal foot­ing, with no clear su­pe­rior? It is in the na­ture of duos to fall out, so the best way of avoid­ing an early con­tretemps is to stick to strict al­pha­bet­i­cal or­der.

this is what the most suc­cess­ful and demo­cratic duos have done, or else we would now be talk­ing of Dec and Ant, Dave and Chas, Bowser & Cal­lard, Sweep and Sooty, Jerry & Ben, Jill and Jack, and Spencer & Marks.

When al­pha­bet­i­cal or­der is re­versed, scep­tics rush to judg­ment. We im­me­di­ately as­sume that the first-named in­sisted on sig­nalling his or her prece­dence over the sec­ond-named.

Per­son­ally, I con­sider Paul Si­mon per­fectly within his rights to force the less tal­ented Art Gar­funkel into sec­ond place, but it can’t have done much to help their al­ready scratchy re­la­tion­ship. they have been squab­bling for the past 60 years or more about ev­ery­thing, even toupees: a re­cent bi­og­ra­phy re­vealed that be­cause Si­mon wanted to wear a hair­piece at their 1981 gig in New York’s Cen­tral Park, he in­sisted Gar­funkel wear one too, in sol­i­dar­ity. Need­less to say, an ar­gu­ment en­sued.

In some billings, there is a clear gen­der bias: Hansel pre­cedes Gre­tel, Samson pre­cedes Delilah, Peters pre­cedes Lee, terry pre­cedes June. even though Cher al­ways had much more to of­fer than Sonny, it was al­ways Sonny and Cher, never Cher and Sonny.

OtHer

billings are more baf­fling. Within the piggy pup­pet com­mu­nity, why did Perky let Pinky go first, de­fy­ing the al­pha­bet, when their stage roles were the same, their gen­ders in­de­ter­mi­nate and their skills in­ter­change­able?

Per­son­ally, I feel sore on Perky’s be­half. Alas, I have no in­side knowl­edge, but Perky’s down­grad­ing must surely have been down to Pinky’s pushi­ness, and Perky’s need for a quiet life.

It was Pinky who pulled the strings. the same must also be said of quite a few other duos where al­pha­bet­i­cal or­der is re­versed, for no clear rea­son.

In a fair world, we would have Lit­tle & Os­borne, Hutch and Starsky, edgar & Swan, Large and Lit­tle, Peller & rigby, and Ben and Bill. But, then again, when was the world ever fair?

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