Kate Dimbleby, skillfully supported by Naadia Sheriff on piano and backing vocals, presented her collection of Dory Previn songs Beware of Young Girls at the Crazy Coqs, a magnificent Art Deco cabaret club associated with one of my favourite restaurants, Brasserie Zédel, both worth visiting for the decor alone. I have long loved Dory Previn’s songs but they are so deeply personal that other singers have understandably rarely covered them. Kate Dimbleby gets round this by linking the songs with a description of the life of Dory Previn, so that we understand, for example, the background to the astonishing song My Daddy says I’m not his Child. It is not a Dory Previn impersonation, though. Kate links the songs to Dory’s life but interprets them brilliantly in her own way as a commentary on Dory rather than an impersonation. This was far more than a concert, more of a one person play with songs, carrying the small audience at this intimate club on a huge emotional journey. I loved being reminded what a superb songwriter Dory Previn was, and learning that after all that emotional upheaval, she married again, more happily, and lived to the age of 86.
I didn’t blog this before as I don’t usually review restaurants but this was an event. “Join us this Sunday, 14th July, to celebrate Bastille Day… we are offering a three course lunch or dinner for FREE to each and everyone who turns up dressed in a Blue and White Hooped Breton Shirt and a Beret. Moustaches are optional!” As the owner of a genuine Breton shirt (bought in France), how could I resist? For the price of a beret bought at our local market, I enjoyed the menu formule in the company of scores of similarly attired people. That was at 1:30, not the busiest time of day, so I’d guess that there were hundreds of us during the day. One table contained a whole family, all dressed to match, even their daughters’ dolls! Whether it’s Bastille Day or not, Brasserie Zédel is an extraordinary example of beautifully renovated Art Deco and remarkably good value. This wasn’t my first visit and won’t be my last.