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MOULIN ROUGE: SOUNDTRACK

WHAT IF BAZ LURHMANN DIDN’T MAKE MOVIES . . .
[The following is a work of pure fiction. Any similarities between the character Buz Lemon and a successful Australian film director must be excused as the product of a hallucinogenic mind that is off with the green fairy—the sad result of either many years of absinthe addiction, or perhaps too many hours in front of a computer monitor writing film and soundtrack critiques.]

"Buz Lemon looks the goods. His suit is sharp and his famously slicked-back coiffure is strand perfect.

An electronic billboard loops videos and latest release promos from the summit of the edifice he is approaching. Inside, Buz makes for the elevator and presses ‘Penthouse’.

Upon reaching his destination he steps out of the elevator and is confronted by a blonde receptionist. She greets him with a flutter of mascara lashes and a rouge pout the size of a windmill.

“Go straight in, Mr. Lemon, he’s expecting you,” she purrs.

The office walls are replete with gold record plaques, and the décor styled with a lavishness that would have abashed the most dedicated Sybarite of Montmartre in its bohemian heyday. But there is one particular object that assails the eye. Buz is momentarily blinded by the glint of the impossibly polished mahogany of an impossibly gargantuan desk.

As his vision returns he observes that, perched behind the megalithic mahogany, one of the world’s most influential record company executives is sporting a pair of purple shades on his nose, and a pair of devastatingly glamorous legs on his lap. A nod from Purple Shades and the owner of the latter unravels them, revealing that they are even longer than the desk, as she makes for the door with a wink at Buz.

“Now let me see if I’ve got this straight,” says Purple Shades. “You’re suggesting we release a CD with Beck singing Bowie’s Diamond Dogs, Bowie singing . . . ahem . . . Nature Boy; an assortment of hip-hop artists giving Patti LaBelle’s Lady Marmalade the hip-hop treatment; Rufus Wainwright crooning between French and English and these pastiches . . . what are they again . . . Diamonds are a Girls Best Friend and Madonna’s Material Girl—ok I twig the Madonna connection—and then some Elephant Love Medley thing, including a twist on every love song penned from Kiss to U2. Oh, and lots of vocals by Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor even though they’ve never been known to record a note before. Have I got the gist?”

“Well in a manner of speaking. I mean it’s a post-modern blend of pop music and cabaret anachronisms to capture the zeitgeist and romanticism of late nineteenth century Bohemian Paris, and the universal tragedy of the Orphean myth,” explains Buz.

“Now listen Lemon, I’ll level with you,” says Purple Shades. “I can hear it already. Lady Marmalade’s a sure-fire radio hit; Bowie doing Nature Boy: that’s poignant and sort of ironic; Wainwright’s got a voice to break hearts, there’s no doubt about that; and I know the red-head and the Scottish lad have enough charisma to pull it off. But what’s the angle, Lemon? What’s the buz, Buz? What’s with the Elephant stuff, is this for a circus, or some other special release, or is it a soundtrack? Are you a ringmaster or a film director?”

“Er, neither. I’m just a guy who believes that the homogenous twelve-track, one-style
CD with nursery rhyme lyrics and no motif could do with a bit of imagination and direction. I know the ‘concept’ album is dated, but . . .”

Purple Shades is reaching for a switch, hidden beneath the mahogany: “Smithers,” he whispers in his best Montgomery Burns, “release the hounds.”"
Brad Green

Published June 14, 2001

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SOUNDTRACK CLIPS:
Nature Boy - David Bowie
Complainte De La Butte - Rufus Wainwright
Sparkling Diamonds - Nicole Kidman, Jim Broadbent, Caroline O'Connor, Natalie Mendoza, Lara Mulcahy
Elephant Love Medley - Nicole Kidman, Ewan McGregor, Jamie Allen

TITLE: Moulin Rouge

ID: 397603 338328

FMR

ARTISTS: David Bowie, Christina Aguilera, Lil’ Kim, Mya, Pink, Fatboy Slim, Nicole Kidman, Jim Broadbent, Caroline O’Connor, Natalie Mendoza, Lara Mulcahy, Valeria, Ewan McGregor, Alessandro Safina, Bono, Gavin Friday, Maurice Seezer, Beck, Jamie Allen, Jose Feliciano, Jacek Koman, Rufus Wainwright, John Leguizamo, Alka Yagnik, Massive Attack

SOUNDTRACK PRODUCER: Baz Luhrmann

TRACKS: 16

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