Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Shazia's Week Columnist of the Year: Liza Minnelli Jiving like a Panther and Obama Condoms-Some Bits of History Can't Be Missed

Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Shazia's Week Columnist of the Year: Liza Minnelli Jiving like a Panther and Obama Condoms-Some Bits of History Can't Be Missed

Article excerpt

Nobody does recession like the Americans. Every street corner in New York has neon lights shouting, "Recession Special". I have never seen so many kebabs on sale. Only the Americans could celebrate a recession with flashing lights and turn it into a marketing opportunity.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

And they know how to celebrate. A few hours ago I was walking through Times Square; to mark his victory, people were selling Obama towels, posters, DVDs, books and trainers. But the most inventive that I saw was the Obama condom. People are selling condoms with an image of his head and the slogan: "Yes we can." I bought five boxes--the audacity of hope. Some bits of history just can't be missed.

I went to see Liza Minnelli on Broadway a few nights ago. I thought: "I've got to see her before she dies." There are certain people you have to see, because you don't know how much longer they're going to live, like Tom Jones, Barry Manilow, Barack Obama.

Watching Liza at the Palace Theatre has got to be the gayest thing I have ever seen. There is a recession, but not in the gay world. My gay friends from all over the world came for this momentous occasion, which was akin to the wedding of Charles and Di.

It was like a gay United Nations, and Liza, having married so often, seemed the appropriate compere. At 62, she was jumping and jiving all over the stage like a panther on Ecstasy. On the way out I overheard a woman telling her friend that Liza had had two hip-replacement operations. I can tell you they've definitely worked. It was like Lewis Hamilton winning the Grand Prix in Del Boy's van.

The beggars in New York have gone slightly upmarket since the last time I was here. There is none of this tie-dye, holes-in-shirt, dog-on-a-rope business; these beggars are hot. I have been approached by at least five women in two days who stand on street corners in businesslike suits, black court shoes, red lipstick, nice jewellery and say very politely: "Excuse me, madam, I was wondering if you have any spare money that you could give me? …

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