Last night, on our way home from Rocky Horror, Jojo remarked that she couldn’t imagine queer culture before Rocky. Where did we gather? How did we find each other?
I thought it was an odd comment, so we talked about beatnik poetry readings and Harlem jazz clubs, and Jojo certainly knew about these, but she wanted to know about camp. Where did the campy gays gather?
So I talked about piano bars and supper clubs and Noel Coward. Jojo wasn’t familiar with Noel Coward, so I spent the rest of the car ride making her listen to songs from my iPhone, from Judy Garland signing “If Love Were All” to tracks from Oh, Coward like “Don’t Put Your Daughter on the Stage, Mrs. Worthington” and “Why Do The Wrong People Travel.”
When we finally reached “Mad Dogs and Englishmen,” Jojo started singing along. She didn’t know the name “Noel Coward,” but she knew the song. Her dad used to sing it to her when she was little.
So Jojo promised she would learn more about Noel Coward, and I promised I’d make her an old-fashioned mixtape (except, you know, on CD) of Coward’s best.
What would you include?