Monday, June 11, 2012

Music Monday ~ Hugh Laurie

Hugh Laurie is perhaps a surprising choice to feature on Music Monday, he's not known primarily for musical talent - except perhaps among his most avid fans. Today is his birthday though - so Happy birthday to him!

I'm not an avid fan of his, I have to say. In interview he seems like a nice enough guy, witty, self-depracating, unaffected, but his acting roles have left me cold, especially Dr. House. I don't like Stephen Fry, so have avoided anything Laurie has done with him. Hugh Laurie's music is all I'll spotlight in today's post - and brief notes about his natal chart.

In an interview on NPR at the time of release of his debut CD album Let Them Talk Laurie explained how he came to fall in love with the musical genre he obviously adores: the blues.
"I was not born in Alabama in the 1890s. You may as well know this now. I’ve never eaten grits, cropped a share, or ridden a boxcar. No gypsy woman said anything to my mother when I was born and there’s no hellhound on my trail, as far as I can judge. Let this record show that I am a white, middle-class Englishman, openly trespassing on the music and myth of the American south.

If that weren’t bad enough, I’m also an actor: one of those pampered ninnies who hasn’t bought a loaf of bread in a decade and can’t find his way through an airport without a babysitter. I wouldn’t be surprised to find that I’ve got some Chinese characters tattooed on my arse. Or elbow. Same thing.................. If you care about provenance and genealogy, then you should try elsewhere, because I have nothing in your size. "

He goes on to tell of early piano lessons, from age 6, which he hated. But one day on the radio he heard something inspiring:
"I’m pretty sure it was I Can’t Quit You Baby by Willie Dixon – and my whole life changed. A wormhole opened between the minor and major third, and I stepped through into Wonderland. Since then, the blues have made me laugh, weep, dance… well, this is a family record, and I can’t tell you all the things the blues can make me do...............New Orleans was my Jerusalem. (The question of why a soft-handed English schoolboy should be touched by music born of slavery and oppression in another city, on another continent, in another century, is for a thousand others to answer before me: from Korner to Clapton, the Rolling Stones to the Joolsing Hollands. Let’s just say it happens.)"
He then for many years studied the work of the blues greats: pianists, guitarists, vocalists.
"I tended to favour the piano over the guitar because it stays in one place, which is what I like to do. Guitars appeal to the footloose, the restless. I like sitting a lot." Even so he plays guitar, drums, harmonica and saxophone as well as piano.

So that's how a rather posh English actor came to release an album of blues music. He says music is liberating. After a day of work — "shouting, limping and pulling faces" — he goes straight to the piano, where he can sit for "10 minutes or five hours."

Wikipedia states that
Laurie has struggled with severe clinical depression, and continues to receive regular treatment from a psychotherapist. Blues music perhaps proves helpful in trying to disperse his darknesses, as it did decades ago for its creators.



I have a vague memory from long ago that skeptic James Randi (legend in his own lunchtime) had one of his frequent stabs at wounding astrology in an exhibition using two astrologers, Jonathan Cainer and A.T. Mann. I recall they were asked to describe Hugh Laurie's personality from his date of birth, while being unaware of his identity - I think that was how it went. There was then, and still is, no indication of what time of day Laurie was born. Therefore any interpretation of the natal chart would have to be fairly skimpy, due to the crucial missing ingredient. This happens often in the case of Brits; their times of birth are not routinely recorded. It's still possible to work from planetary positions in signs, and to hazard a guess at Moon's position. Which is all I can do here, and all that's really necessary to illuminate the two things predominant in the career of Hugh Laurie. Of course, it's easy for me because I know who I'm writing about - the two astrologers didn't.

Gemini Sun and Mercury = his versatility as an actor and musician,and his quick wit.

Leo Venus/Mars, Uranus and Moon (degree of Moon in Leo uncertain)= his draw to acting and show-biz.

Venus (planet of the arts) conjunct Mars(energy) can produce a charismatic individual who appeals equally to both males and females (not a terribly common trait by the way). Interestingly two other musician/actors have this conjunction in common: Kris Kristofferson and Sting, not necessarily in the same sign as Laurie, but Gemini and Leo are involved in all cases.

Saturn from early Capricorn is opposing Mercury in the last degree of Gemini - I wonder could this be a dampening factor reflecting his occasional depressions?


R J Adams said...

Like you I'm no great fan of Laurie's acting. The Laurie/Fry relationship must have had something, given its popularity, but whatever it was left me unmoved. I can tolerate Fry for his obvious intellectual abilities, but that's as far as it goes.
What surprised me was Laurie's musical talents. I had no idea he was gifted in that direction. Maybe, he chose the wrong career? ;-)

Twilight said...

RJ Adams ~~ We're on the same page, more or less here, RJ. for me it was the House character I didn't like - we watched a few of the early episodes but they soon became formulaic. Added to that hospitals are the last thing I want to watch masquerading as entertainment - for me they've meant only ever grief (times 3), or nerves. I suppose, as the series was so popular (as in Fry and Laurie), people saw something that was hidden from me -and the husband.

Laurie seems to be quite entertaining when he simply talks or writes - maybe he'd do well writing books too. :-)

Wisewebwoman said...

The $800,000 an episode Laurie was paid for House was astonishing. I felt the series faded badly with House's irritability irritating the heck out of me...:)
I remember in Lord Peter Wimsey (I think - did not web check) and loved him. Years ago.
I've been aware of his musicality for a long time now and was awaiting a CD release. Great, great stuff. I truly enjoy both his philosphy and his music and yes, his acting.

Wisewebwoman said...

PS and meant to add, T - he's already written one best seller and working on another.

Twilight said...

Wisewebwoman ~~ Yes, that sum is ridiculously excessive - though I suspect there are even worse/higher examples out there.

Already a writer too, eh? He's morphing into something of a Renaissance Man. Not unexpected for Sun Gemini types. :-)

Vanilla Rose said...

*Waving hand around* Tiny point of information. My time of birth was recorded on my birth certificate, because I was wise enough to be born in Scotland. You are thinking of England and presumably Wales when you refer to "Brits". Not sure about Northern Ireland.

In England, the time of birth is noted on the birth certificate for multiple births.

Twilight said...

Vanilla Rose ~~ Hi!
Ah! I didn't know that. Thanks!

"Brits" is a shorthand form for me, just as "Americans" is for those in the USA. Canadians and other North Americans sometimes point out the USA-ans are not the only Americans. So I acknowledge, happily that the English are not the only Brits. :-)