Diana in Savannah
Savannah. The setting of Midnight within the Backyard of Good and Evil. The occasions that unravelled across the fascinating characters in ‘The Ebook’ occurred 30 years in the past. However Savannah nonetheless revels in bigger than life individuals.
Within the coronary heart of the Victorian District is the Gingerbread Home, house to the marvellous musician Diana Rogers. Lavender’s Blue arrived over one sultry Sunday afternoon to satisfy Diana in her kitchen. Exquisitely clad in oyster pink – hat, lengthy gloves and actual shell earrings as well – she firstly entertained us together with her witticisms, selfmade sugared scones and a glass or two of bubbly.
Her home is a collectors’ paradise. Tables overflowing with classic finds glisten within the scorching daylight. Diana’s initially from Oklahoma. “All they do there may be watch TV and go to church!” she howls with laughter.
Rural life wasn’t for her. A classically skilled pianist and singer, her splendidly intoxicating voice, to not point out her superlative keyboard abilities, ensured that she was an prompt Blues hit in New Orleans. Quickly she outgrew even the jazz capital and it was off to the Large Apple.
In New York Diana deftly launched herself on the music scene. She performed and sang in any respect the highest inns and golf equipment: the Waldorf Astoria, Harry’s Bar, One Fifth Avenue, Home windows on the World…
Scorching in demand, Diana loved a protracted engagement at Nino’s in New York all through the Nineties. She carried out on the Madison Arms in East Hampton through the summer season months. Diana was flown over to London and Cornwall to carry out at personal events. She launched an album of hits on the finish of the Nineties that includes ‘I Know Him So Properly’, ‘La Vie en Rose’ and her personal composition ‘Center Class Princess’.
In 2003 she determined it was time for a brand new section of her life to start so it was off to the Deep South. She purchased a restored timber Victorian house on the pink azalea-lined East Gaston Road in Savannah.
“I nonetheless return to New York each couple of months,” she confesses. “Final time I used to be there I spent $2,000 on a hat. However it’s an actual good hat. My wardrobe takes up the entire prime ground of the home.”
Diana has absolutely established herself as a agency fixture on Savannah’s music circuit. She’s carried out in additional than a dozen venues and might at the moment be heard within the basement piano bar of The Olde Pink Home. In truth that is the place Lavender’s Blue first got here throughout her. Descending the steps from the fashionable restaurant above, we heard ‘Moon River’ in dulcet tones floating throughout the heavy night air. Quick ahead 48 hours and we’re in her home.
“Come on by way of to the parlour,” Diana waves. Preserving her gloves on – natch – she embarks on a one girl cabaret present, jauntily weaving her manner by way of the music of Cole Porter and George Gershwin earlier than celebrating the current day with Andrew Lloyd Weber and John Kander.
Diana reveals, “Imelda Marcos’ daughter lives subsequent door. And Jerry Spence, the hairdresser talked about in The Ebook is a frequent customer. ‘Honey, you could find me on web page 47!’ he tells everybody he meets!”
One other neighbour, Patricia, arrives. “She was massive in Washington!” Diana confides in a stage whisper. Diana performs a medley of Johnny Mercer songs. Exterior, a clap of thunder resounds throughout the gunpowder gray sky. Rain beats down closely on the veranda. However it would not dampen the decadent occasion spirit indoors.
Leopold, a grand tortoiseshell cat seems on the parlour door. “She guards the home!” exclaims Diana. The cat bought her title earlier than her gender was decided on the vets. “My workman Mr Tiles is constructed like Tarzan! He was upstairs doing work after I was away and he rang me sayin’, ‘I am unable to get down the steps! Your cat will not let me previous!’ Anyway, he needed to leap out the bed room window and slide down the porch roof!”
As we are saying our goodbyes late afternoon, Diana’s cellphone rings. Extra friends arrive. The occasion is simply getting began. A aggressive cacophony of church bells and thunder erupts but it surely goes unnoticed, drowned out by the echo of laughter, clinking of glasses and Diana upping the tempo with ‘All That Jazz’.