“I can only assume that the compulsion to make rhymes was born in me. It cannot have been hereditary for neither my mother nor father nor any of my forbears displayed the faintest aptitude for writing poetry or verse. There is no time I can remember when I was not fascinated by words ‘going together’: Lewis Carroll, Edward Lear, Beatrix Potter, all fed my childish passion.” –Noel Coward, English playwright, composer, director, author

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * ** * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I can well relate to the above, for I, too, cannot remember when I wasn’t fascinated by words — which is why writers fascinated by words fascinate me. Witty song writers such as Noel Coward, Cole Porter, Rodgers and Hart, and Gilbert and Sullivan were especially appealing to my young imagination, and remain so to this day.

And so it is that on this day, I am lyrical about wishing Happy Birthday (Dec. 16, 1899) to the late Noel Coward who, along with the others named above, inspired in me an appreciation for the music which set the standard by which I tend to measure subsequent music. It’s a high bar….and, to my mind, a timeless one, because they wrote songs which are (even when light as fluff) more or less timeless — outdated though they may sound to modern ears. More’s the pity, because that which cannot stand the test of time is, by definition, only good while it lasts — not unlike chewing gum (which, btw, I indulged in for years….forcing me to concede that there’s a time for everything).

But enough of my babble to chew on. Time to cut to the chase:

So much for fluff. Let’s turn to more serious stuff:

Here is one of my favorite Noel Coward songs

To end: A “Z” song (the “A” be for my APPLAUSE…and, I hope, yourz).