Daily Mail

Singer hit the wrong notes


QUESTION Did performer Jo Stafford sing out of tune deliberate­ly on an album?

The popular postwar U.S. singer Jo Stafford had a wicked sense of humour and loved to send herself up. She adopted various comic guises, one of which was as half of the lounge act Jonathan and Darleen edwards, in which her husband Paul Weston would play out-of-tune piano and she would sing off-key.

Stafford was one of the most technicall­y gifted vocalists of the postwar golden age of pop music. She was a classicall­y trained opera singer but preferred the popular stage.

She had a host of solo hits, such as You Belong To Me and Make Love To Me, and duets such as Candy with Johnny Mercer, Temptation with Red Ingle and My Darling My Darling with Gordon MacRae.

She had great fun performing comedy songs under the name Cinderella G. Stump with Red Ingle And The Natural Seven. In 1947, they recorded a hillbillys­tyle parody of Temptation, pronouncin­g it ‘Tim-tayshun’.

In 1952, Stafford married pianist, arranger and composer Paul Weston. his party piece was off- key piano performanc­es. Record executives George Avakian and Irving Townsend enjoyed them so much that they asked him to make an album.

Avakian named Weston’s character Jonathan edwards. This was an in joke: the original edwards was a fire-andbrimsto­ne 18th- century Calvinist preacher, author of the tract Sinners In The hands Of An Angry God.

Most of the 1957 album The Piano Artistry Of Jonathan edwards features solo piano, but Weston is accompanie­d by his wife on the tracks Autumn In New York, It’s Magic, Cocktails For Two and You’re Blase.

Tim Corrigan, Oxford.

QUESTION At a cost of $1.7 million to build, does San Francisco have the world’s most expensive loo?

The $1.7 million public toilet intended for a town square in the Noe Valley neighbourh­ood hasn’t been built yet. The

extraordin­ary cost illustrate­s San Francisco’s bloated bureaucrac­y.

Residents had long been campaignin­g for a public loo. Assembly member Matt haney secured the funding and scheduled a news conference to celebrate the fact. But when it emerged that the loo would cost over $1.7 million, there was a public backlash and the project was halted.

The constructi­on cost would be $1.05 million with building materials at $200,000 plus architectu­re fees of $300,000, project management at $175,000 and surveying at $40,000.

If it ever gets built, it won’t be the most expensive loo: the one on the Internatio­nal Space Station cost $23 million.

Back on earth, a 24-carat gold toilet at the hang Fung Gold Technology Group in hong Kong cost $5 million.

It is known as the Lenin Loo because its designer, Lam Sai-wing, was inspired by a quote from the communist leader: the best thing to do with gold is to ‘turn every bit of it into public rest rooms’.

Pauline Cooper, Staines, Middlesex.

QUESTION Was Vienna partitione­d in the same way as Berlin after World War II?

AS WITH Germany and Berlin, Austria and Vienna were divided into four zones after World War II.

This was for practical, rather than political, reasons as it allowed for a division of labour and resources between the four Allied powers — Britain, France, the U.S. and Russia.

Britain was allocated a zone in the south-west of the country comprising east Tyrol, Carinthia and Styria. Unlike Germany, Austria was not an occupied enemy country. Under the Declaratio­n of Moscow signed by the Allied powers in November 1943, it was treated as a victim of the Nazis, not as their ally.

In the early 1950s, my father’s battalion of the Middlesex Regiment was posted to Austria as part of the Allied army. The families of the soldiers, including my mother and I, lived in the small town of Zeltweg, 125 miles from Vienna.

The battalion provided detachment­s of soldiers for the garrison in Vienna for one month in every four.

Russia began the liberation of Austria when its soldiers crossed the border from Czechoslov­akia (as it was then) on March 29, 1945.

Communist Karl Renner was made the head of a provisiona­l government without the agreement of the other Allies. he was supposed to establish a government before the other nations could get troops into the country. Four regiments of NKVD troops (forerunner­s of the KGB) supported Renner.

U.S. troops crossed the border into Austria on April 26, 1945, followed by the British on April 29 and the French on May 8. eastern Austria remained in Russian hands.

While Vienna was divided into four zones, the city centre was patrolled by the ‘four-in-a- Jeep’ policy: one soldier from each of the four Allied nations. This helped to prevent the government area of Vienna from being divided militarily, as Berlin had been.

It also meant Russia couldn’t attempt to replace the democratic­ally elected government using military force. It could keep only the same number of troops in Vienna as each of the other three Allied nations, leaving it outnumbere­d.

The start of the Cold War, Korean War and the death of Stalin led to a gradual demilitari­sation of Austria by the Allied powers. From a 1946 peak of 255,000 soldiers, 150,000 of which were Russian, levels fell to 100,000 by 1953, with the Russians numbering 40,000.

The election of Julius Raab as Chancellor (prime minister) in 1953 meant Austria was steered away from the Western allies towards a neutral stance. This appeased the Russians, who were anxious that it shouldn’t become part of Nato.

Bob Cubitt, Northampto­n.

IS THERE a question to which you want to know the answer? Or do you know the answer to a question here? Write to: Charles Legge, Answers To Correspond­ents, Daily Mail, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5TT; or email charles.legge@dailymail.co.uk. A selection is published, but we’re unable to enter into individual correspond­ence.

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 ?? ?? Musical parody: Singer Jo Stafford
Musical parody: Singer Jo Stafford

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