The blog of author Dennis Cooper

David Ehrenstein presents … The Cheese Stands Alone


“Strange how potent cheap music can be,” Elyiot quipped in Noel Coward’s “Private Lives” in which Noel co-starred with his alter ego Gertrude Lawrence.


(Noel and Gertie)

(Gertrude Lawrence “Someday I’ll Find You”)


Noel and Gertie really understood Cheese.

But what is about Cheese? It’s not good, but it’s not exactly bad either It’s not Camp — though it often border on it.

It’s appeal is emotional and weirdly asethetic — in a decidedly debased sense.

Like pornography “we know it when we see it” or in this case hear it.

The Queen of Cheese is undoubedly Bonnie Tyler.


(Bonnie Tyler)


Wiki says Bonnie Tyler (born Gaynor Hopkins; 8 June 1951) is a Welsh singer, known for her distinctive husky voice. Tyler came to prominence with the release of her 1977 album The World Starts Tonight and its singles “Lost in France” and “More Than a Lover”. Her 1978 single “It’s a Heartache” reached number four on the UK Singles Chart, and number three on the US Billboard Hot 100.

In the 1980s, Tyler ventured into rock music with songwriter and producer Jim Steinman. He wrote Tyler’s biggest hit “Total Eclipse of the Heart'”, the lead single from her 1983 UK chart topping album Faster Than the Speed of Night. Steinman also wrote Tyler’s other major 1980s hit “Holding Out for a Hero”. She had success in mainland Europe during the 1990s with Dieter Bohlen, who wrote and produced her hit “Bitterblue”. In 2003, Tyler re-recorded “Total Eclipse of the Heart” with singer Kareen Antonn. Their bilingual duet topped the French charts.

Her latest album Rocks and Honey was released in 2013 and features the single “Believe in Me” which she performed representing the United Kingdom at the Eurovision Song Contest 2013. Both “It’s a Heartache” and “Total Eclipse of the Heart” are among the best-selling singles of all time, with sales in excess of six million each. Her work has earned her three Grammy Award nominations and three Brit Award nominations, among other accolades.



(“Total Eclipse of the Heart” Bonnie Tyler)

(“I Need a Hero” Bonnie Tyler)


You can see the effect she had on housewives everywhere in this great scene from Bandits starring the great Cate Blanchett.


(Cate Blanchett Bandits)


When it comes to Cheese of the “Velveeta” variety there’s —


(“Feelings” Morris Albert)


Made even more memorable by Carol Burnett’s “Eunice”.


(Eunice sings “Feelings”)


And what was Disco all about anyway but Cheese ?


(“I Will Survive” Glora Gaynor)

(Barry White “Love’s Theme”)


But don’t think for a moment that Gran Opera is exempt — as this seminal scene from Diva shows us.


(Wilhelmenia Wiggins Fernandez Diva — La Wally)


Undoubtedly the Cheesiest of all music events is the Eurovision Song Contest.

Wiki sez “The Eurovision Song Contest (French: Concours Eurovision de la chanson), sometimes popularly called Eurovision but not to be confused with the Eurovision network that broadcasts it, is the longest-running annual international TV song competition, held, primarily, among the member countries of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) since 1956. The competition was based upon the existing Sanremo Music Festival held in Italy since 1951.

Each participating country submits an original song to be performed on live television and radio and then casts votes for the other countries’ songs to determine the most popular song in the competition. The contest has been broadcast every year for sixty years, since its inauguration in 1956, and is one of the longest-running television programmes in the world. It is also one of the most watched non-sporting events in the world,with audience figures having been quoted in recent years as anything between 100 million and 600 million internationally Eurovision has also been broadcast outside Europe to several countries that do not compete, such as the United States, Canada, New Zealand, and China. An exception was made in 2015, when Australia was allowed to compete as a guest entrant as part of the celebration of the 60th anniversary of the event In November 2015, the EBU announced that Australia was invited back as a participant in the 2016 contest after their success in 2015.Following their success again in 2016, Australia will compete again in 2017. Since 2000, the contest has also been broadcast over the Internet via the Eurovision website.

Winning the Eurovision Song Contest provides a short-term boost to the winning artists’ career, but rarely results in long-term success. Notable exceptions are ABBA (winner in 1974 for Sweden), Bucks Fizz (winner in 1981 for the United Kingdom) and Céline Dion (winner in 1988 for Switzerland), all of whom launched successful worldwide careers after their wins.

Ireland holds the record for the highest number of wins, having won the contest seven times—including four times in five years in 1992, 1993, 1994 and 1996. Under the current voting system, the highest scoring winner (and only winner) is Jamala of Ukraine who won the 2016 contest in Stockholm, Sweden with 534 points. Under the previous system, in place from 1975 to 2015, the highest scoring winner is Alexander Rybak of Norway with 387 points in 2009″.

Here’s the 1958 winner “Nel blu di pinto di blue” (aka. “Volare”) written and sung by frequent Pier Paolo Pasolini collaborator Domenico Modugno.


(Domenico Modugno “Nel plus di pinto di Bluu”)


And here’s Mega-Adorable Alexander Rybak —


(Alexander Rybak “I’m in Love with a Fairytale”)


“Eurovision” is a major annual event for LGBT’s all over the world — particulary in countries not at all friendly to the LGBT.

Et maintenant, le piece de la resistance du fromage.


(The KLF, Tammy Wynette “Justified and Ancient”)


You’re Welcome!



p.s. Hey. Today the maestro of many things who is technically known as Mr. David Ehrenstein regales us with this lovely and suggestive guest-post, which is your cue to pay extra-added attention and luxuriate locally today, and, of course, to say something back to David re: the post’s or in some other regard, please. Thank you, folks. And biggest thanks to Mr. E. ** David Ehrenstein, Ah, there you are. One more warmest thank you. My favorite Bonnie Tyler song is ‘It’s a Heartache’, which I think (?) just predates her embrace of complete cheese? Very interesting add/correction about the Coke’s vehicle. It makes all the difference in the world, funnily. Great, you on ‘Maurice’! You are boon central today. I’m excited to read it asap. Everyone, Please ice today’s David Ehrenstein cake by going here and reading his thoughts on the return of Merchant-Ivory’s film version of EM Forster’s great novel ‘Maurice’. Rewards await! ** James Nulick, Hi, James. Thank you. It’s true, and I hasten to say that France’s sweets are the royalist of the royals. Things sound suitably lovely there in Vancouver. Such a nice city, I think. I think the script of ‘Permanent Green Light’ is 60 pages. In our case, no, that ‘minute per page’ thing is absolutely for sure not the case. Our movie has lots of space in it that can’t be noted in script form. Oh, you’re already finished with the big V? Safe trip southwards. And a guest post would of course be wonderful of you to doand very, very welcome! Thanks, James! ** Steevee, My vibes and powers of luck are firmly on your side in this battle with the mysteries of what causes conking out. Did your re-viewing of ‘Fire Walk With Me’ bring anything new to the plate? I gave up on those download sites for good a couple of years ago. I don’t know a one that’s reliable at this point. ** Tosh Berman, Hey. Cool, great that you picked up ‘Boulders’ and ‘Mustard’! Was ‘McCartney’ the first big one-man band record? Makes sense. I know that Todd Rundgren started making complete control records pretty early on, early 70s, but maybe not first. Totally on board with your assessment of Roy Wood. His genius is so unique, and he’s so, so underrated, and I don’t know why. It’s very strange. ** Dóra Grőber, Hi! Thanks for crossing and sharing your fingers with me. I hope we’ll hear something one way or another today. We’re going to rehearse that scene today using the music track we want in hopes. It is really, really interesting to watch the script come alive. When we wrote it, we had very clear ideas of how the dialogue should delivered, and we’re sticking to that, but the actors are unique, rich people, so they flesh out the dialogue in ways we hadn’t expected. It’s super exciting. It’s like when it was a script, skeletons were delivering the dialogue, and now actual people are, if that makes any sense. Anyway, it’s very thrilling. What a perfect sounding day: reading and writing, sigh. Cool. Mine wasn’t as wildly busy as usual, mostly figuring stuff out via emails and phone calls with the location scout, decor people, assistants, etc. No crises, just more gradual movement forward. It is kind of a big shock to realize that by this time next week we’ll be on our way to Cherbourg for good, and that we’ll start shooting in just over a week. Yikes. How was Friday? Was it a Friday to remember? ** Grant Maierhofer, Hi, Grant. Thanks. I did get the pdf, and I’ll do something on the blog early next week. It might be a simple thing because I am literally without moments to spare right now what with the non-stop film prep, but I’ll do something. Everyone, there’s an excerpt from Grant Maierhofer’s awesome and recently reprinted book ‘Maurice’ newly online and readable by you. You on ‘Finnegan’s Wake’? Wow, interested. Okay, take good care, man. ** H, Hi, h! Thanks a lot. He is/was a wonderful writer. Oh, god, the flu. I’m so sorry. I’m living in terror that I’ll get sick because I literally can’t do that right now. The film prep is kind of insane, but it’s going mostly very well. I like my apartment, although it’s like a veritable train station these days. Take care. Feel much better! ** Marcus Whale, Hi, Marcus! What a sweet and great pleasure to see you! Did I ever tell you ‘face to face’ how much I loved your recent-ish album? It’s fantastic. I listen to it a lot. Major kudos! Thank you about the Munoz post. Of course it’s nothing but an honor to have it here. You good? What’s happening? ** Right. Now spend your brain cells and other faculties with Mr. E’s post until further notice, ‘further’ being until tomorrow at least. See you then.


  1. Is there a Bonnie Tyler greatest hits album that’s worth getting, because “Total Eclipse of the Heart” is one of my favorite ’80s pop singles?

    My demons got the better of me last night. I woke up after 5 hours and couldn’t get back to sleep, even after lying in bed and listening to 3 CDs. During the third one, I got so bored and sick of lying in bed that I decided to get up. I hope tonight goes much better.

    I’m trading a CD of that John Cale bootleg I mentioned recently for a copy of the unreleased Albini-produced version of Cheap Trick’s IN COLOR.

    Thanks to the ever-fucked-up NYC subway, I was not able to see TWIN PEAKS: FIRE WALK WITH ME last night. They just don’t seem to realize that there’s a need for actual service on evenings and weekends beyond running one train every 20 minutes. I waited 15 minutes for an F train, then it got to the point where I was going to be late even if the train immediately arrived, so I left the station and walked home.

  2. Noel Coward’s quote “Strange how potent cheap music can be,” is brilliant. Cheese’ in music is hard to define at times. At first, I thought ABBA was in that category. Alas, I was wrong. Hearing the ABBA catalog from the first to the end is an emotional depressing journey. And then there’s “The Singing Detective” and other Dennis Potter (genius) plays/TV that’s brilliant in how he uses ‘pop’ music to describe a landscape that’s horrifying. Never underestimate the power of (all) music!

  3. Dóra Grőber

    April 7, 2017 at 5:22 pm


    It makes a lot of sense, yes! I was kind of looking for the expression (or an expression like) “fleshing out” when I wrote to you yesterday. I can only imagine how thrilling it must feel to see all of your characters fill up with actual life and a real personality! I love to impersonate my own characters for the very same reason.
    I’m glad to hear no new crisis has risen and everything’s on track! It is very weird and exciting to think about how close the actual shooting is!

    I had a similar day as yesterday, except I was a bit more fruitful and I sent another piece to a lit journal. And I also started reaching out to a few artists to invite them to submit to SCAB. We’ll see; I hope for the best!

    Did you hear back from the musician? How was your day today?

  4. David, I never fail to be amazed by how much you know.

  5. @ David, I’m a lifetime devotee of pretty much all the stuff here. Not really cheese per se, but my own fave Eurovision tune is the 1965 winner France Gall – Poupee De Cire, Poupee De Son written by Serge Gainsbourg. Maybe that’s cheese to some but for me it’s 100% punk all the way.

    My cold had abated enough for me to make a very productive day of it. I got my hair cut, ordered the limited first pressing of the new Dopplereffekt LP and went to the Generator opening of Brodie Sim and Linda Bolsakova – A constellation is forming here.

    In between all that I had my first ever driving lesson and I’m happy to report that it was a success! Not exactly enjoyable and very much a work in progress, but still. My instructor is a Newcastle United fan and our football chat was good, plus he’s married to someone I used to work with. We just did a few circuits round an industrial estate with some other learner drivers finding their way around, and it was stressful but I left with a feeling of accomplishment.

  6. DavidE, Bravo, maestro. And to think, Dennis and I were just talking about WWE cheese the other day. I like the theme, really interesting.

    Dennis, Being beset is usually better than not being beset. Well, as long as you’re beset by good things.

    Where did I go? Nowhere. Just shit going on and taking up my precious fucking time. Nothing important but just stuff to take care of, everyday living stuff.

    Harry Styles’ first solo single, Sign of the Times, is out today. I really like it. It’s kind of surprising people because it’s like a combo Beatles/Bowie/Queen/Suede/Coldplay something or other and not necessarily the cheesy pop of a boyband. But it doesn’t surprise me, I called it a long time ago. That’s his shit, always has been.

    That’s my excitement for the year. Well…so far. 😛

  7. I saw a first-rate documentary by Joanna Arnow, i hate myself :.), at Anthology Film Archives. The film, which began a week-long run tonight, chronicles her dysfunctional relationship with a white man called Jim whose idea of a good time is going out to open mic nights at comedy clubs and bars in Harlem and using the N word. While this might sound like a bad mumblecore film, it’s extremely well-paced and quite funny, as sad as the proceedings often are. Anyway, the Q&A turned out to be the single strangest one I’ve attended. It went fine as long as a representative of the Brooklyn film series Rooftop Films interviewed Arnow. When questions were opened up to the audience, it became apparent that Jim was in the audience with several friends. One of those friends asked the first question, which was none too flattering to Arnow, and while she was talking, Jim jumped onstage so he could answer it. His answer suggested that while she made a good film, she didn’t make a real documentary. I was mortified by his obnoxiousness and his sexist behavior towards his ex-girlfriend, where he obviously wanted final word at an event that was supposed to celebrate her work. I walked out at that point. I had a question I wanted to ask Arnow, regarding her depiction of “hipster racism” and whether she thinks she may have been capturing the birth pains of the so-called “alt right” (the film was made 4 years ago and is only now getting a theatrical release.) I was not going to ask this question with a guy who struck me as the single best cinematic example of hipster racism I’ve ever seen onstage (although several people told me I should have had more courage and his decision to take the stage was greeted with many boos, almost all from women). I did hang around the lobby afterwards long enough to meet Arnow and ask her directly.

  8. Hi Dennis, glad you’re not feeling ill like me. When the flu hit me hard, it felt like explosion of trash bin with me in it. Surprisingly, I started feeling a lot better tonight, so I might go to the city tomorrow morning. Really want to read Herve Guibert’s Crazy for Vincent . Did you already?

    Ah, yes. Jose Esteban Munoz is amazing. His theoretical analysis sometimes feels light, but I think that’s a great move. He wrote about your work somewhere. Which was it? Do you perhaps remember?

    Glad your film prep is going well. Can you do any writing otherwise nowadays?

  9. Hey Dennis! Bad internet, but have a bar of connection now. Don’t know if you’ll see this before today’s post. If you do, yes, I’ll share my problems about Pond shortly. I had thought I’d first heard of the book from you, which was why I asked. Looking forward to today, will find somewhere with good internet to look properly this afternoon. David E – used to listen to a Bonnie Tyler-Meatloaf split album before I discovered Iron Maiden as a kid. Cheese. Best, Joe

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