Grandma Has 'No Regrets': Gay Guy/Straight Guy Regret Musical Divide

Straight Guy,

I've fallen behind on watching Britain's Got Talent, but someone tipped me onto last week's smash audition by Janey Cutler. Cutler, age 80, mother of 7, grandmother of 12, and great-grandmother of 4, needed some help finding her marks on stage, but her voice had no problem finding the back wall of the theater with a full-bore performance of "Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien." (That's "No Regrets" for you English speakers.) Go to YouTube to watch Cutler's performance.

I loved it: the song itself, Janey's full, big voice and her equally large pluck, and mostly that she's just doing her thing. Who needs regrets when you're 80?

"No, Je Ne Regrette Rien" was made famous by the iconic French chanteuse Edith Piaf, called the "Little Sparrow." (If I sound pedantic, it's because I know you have no clue who Edith Piaf is.) I wouldn't call Piaf a gay icon, but my people get drawn to songs like those she made famous. The sorrow and the resilience. The "better to have loved and lost" attitude. Watch a 1962 live performance of Piaf singing "Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien."

I get weary of the too fucking tragic to live stories of Piaf, Garland, Monroe. . . but they had amazing talent. The wrist slashing gets to be too much. Setting up this post, I've listened to Cutler's performance posted on YouTube at least a half dozen times and listened to 10 or more Piaf clips to find the best one. My neighbors probably think I've had a "break up/break down" weekend.

So, Straight Guy: Janey Cutler, feisty granny or big lunged hoot? What's you vote?

--Gay Guy


Oddyoddyo13 said...

W-O-W. Her voice was so strong! I loved the look of incredulity on her face when she was finished and everybody was cheering. :) Thanks GG, you made my day with this one.

Straight in Upstate said...

SG gives us gigantic boobs, you give us a Glasgow granny singing depressing French ballads. God, I love this blog.

What I love about people like Cutler and Susan Boyle is that they love to sing - sure, they went on the show, but they'd keep singing regardless of how it went. Sick of American Idol and people wanting to be millionaires - they don't want to sing, they want to be famous.

Straight Guy said...

Rock on, lady. I love the fact that she claims she's been hiding her talent in the "wee clubs and pubs" of Glasgow. Yeah, she has a hootish quality about her, but not the emasculating wit that makes me edgy.

One quibble, Upstate. Big American Idol fan here. I like that the premise is real. Some stars are made. Some leave in shame. Schlocky. But it happens live. Britain's Got Talent is so over edited, with commentary from the backstage hosts (in the middle of the number!) and a swelling score to let you know exactly how you should feel about each contestant. Meh.

And yes, GG. My Edith Pilaf knowledge begins and ends with La Vie En Rose. Bring one of her CDs to work on Monday. I said one. Don't bring all your albums, box sets, and b-sides.

Gay Guy said...


Glad to make your day. Yeah, I love this clip, too. Makes me wanna smile. Janey just loves the singing. But, maybe next time something a bit more upbeat?

Straight in Upstate said...

Totally agree about Britain's Got Talent. Thought I was watching the Susan Boyle clip again - the two hosts made the exact same comments, audience rose to feet at the same point in the song, etc.

My turn-off with AI is "stars are made." Never been much of a star person. For example, I found a Kinky Friedman compilation CD ("greatest hits" definitely doesn't apply to the Kinkster) a week ago and have played it three times a day since.

Spot said...

Absolutely loved her performance! Go granny! What a beautiful strong voice she has. Thanks for sharing the clip. I think she was wonderful, both when singing and when answering questions.


The Expatresse said...

The song is (was?) a veritable anthem in gay bars. At least when I was hanging out in gay bars in the mid-80s.

I'm not sure it's the best version I've ever heard, but she sings with such passion and heart. Over-edited, perhaps, but it is one of those "human heart" stories that restores your faith in your fellow man, and makes me get all weepy. In a good way.

I wanna party with Janey.

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