Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Secret Love

Here to enliven your Tuesday - a hideously cold and snowy one where we are - is the latest hit from Iran's fabulous goddess-in-exile, the extraordinary Googoosh.

The song is "Behesht" (Heaven in Persian), and as you can see it reinforces the singer's reputation as someone not afraid to ruffle feathers back in Tehran.  Although she was silenced by the '79 revolution and stayed out of the limelight for over 20 years, since 2000 she has claimed her place as a pre-eminent figure in her home country (albeit more or less underground), with the sizeable Iranian expat populations in Europe and North America, and more broadly with lovers of Eastern pop in general.  She stands with the Lebanese diva Fayrouz, and with the memories of past-but-still-vital greats such as Umm Kulthoum and Warda in terms of popularity in the region that runs from Gibraltar to the Hindu Kush.

Today, not just the forbidden-love aspect of this song, but every second of its video is a slap in the face of the regime - the suave nightclub setting, the chic couples, and of course her own mere presence.  The wide popularity of pop like this won't, of course, on its own, change a thing; still, I have to believe that just knowing that this world exists, somewhere, has to be a source of hope and inspiration in a place where it must look like a vision from another planet.

In addition, of course, Googoosh could also school a few Western divas I can think of in the art of self-presentation.  These days, only Dame Shirley Bassey is as reliably fabulous (I'd add Cher, but her few appearance in the last few months have me nervous about her wardrobe choices for her upcoming tour; Bette Midler may be Divine, but her Oscars dress was downright dowdy; and if Streisand doesn't dump those Donna Karan schmattes soon, she's going to obliviate all memory of her Irene Sharaff/Cecil Beaton/Scaasi  prime).


  1. "These days, only Dame Shirley Bassey is as reliably fabulous" Great quote!! :-)

    1. Why, Thank you, darlin'! There's no question that when it comes Star Quality, Dame Shirley is the gold standard.

  2. Wow. That was one powerful video - and what an utterly magnificent diva Miss Googosh is - I can see I am going to be spending the rest of this weekend seeking out more by this "First Lady of the anti-fundamentalist revolutionaries".

    Thank you for introducing her! Jx

    PS Dame Shirley Bassey is just fabulous. Full stop.