Stephen Hough, one of Britain’s greatest pianists, is also a great blogger and twitterer. As a lover of not just music but , to quote from his blog profile, theology, art, hats and puddings too, his views make for an interesting read. Another Hough passion is perfume. He’s written about it many times on his Telegraph blog and in the latest instalment he talks of another pianist, though somewhat different to M° Hough, who was also enamoured with scent:
At the height of his fame in 1956, Liberace was smeared by Cassandra (William Connor) in the Daily Mirror in a famous and nasty article which accused him, without saying as much, of being gay:
“They all say that this deadly, winking, sniggering, snuggling, chromium-plated, scent-impregnated, luminous, quivering, giggling, fruit-flavored, mincing, ice-covered heap of mother love has had the biggest reception and impact on London since Charlie Chaplin arrived at the same station, Waterloo, on September 12, 1921.”
Not only could this have caused him professional damage with his audience largely made up of adoring female fans, but more seriously it was to imply he was a criminal in British law at the time. The pianist sued the Mirror and won.
One of the points of evidence submitted in court to prove Liberace’s queerness was that he wore a woman’s perfume. “No, I wear men’s grooming products” parried the pianist in a bit of fancy footwork as deft (and daft) as it was perjurious. He was forced to go to his grave without being able to be honest about his sexual orientation having denied it under oath – an orientation which ironically had been the constant inspiration and fuel for his art in all its outrageous and wonderful forms.