The Corner

Re: Been since 1943

Jay, you write apropos André Previn:

May I call you “’dré”? No? Sorry, Mr. Previn.

Actually, that’s “Sir André” to you, Nordlinger. My memory is that he became a British subject back in the early Nineties, and was knighted by Her Majesty. His official website uses the designation ”Sir André Previn” with pretty gay abandon.

Unlike you, I did get to interview the great man, many years ago, when I was very young and he was best known in Britain as a hugely popular if unlikely comedy star on the top-rated “Morecambe & Wise Show”. A few days after the interview (but before it was published), he wanted to get hold of me in a hurry to clarify a point and somehow managed to track me down at my parents’ pad, where I’d gone for the weekend. My mother was in the middle of berating me for pursuing a career in writing (waste of time, never going to get anywhere, should stop being such a layabout and get a proper job) when the phone rang. “Hello,” she said, and then after a moment a subdued “Oh, right.” She passed the receiver over: “André Previn for you.”

Perfect timing. I’ll always be grateful to him for that.

[UPDATE: Several readers write on the following lines:

In fact Previn is NOT a subject of a Commonwealth realm.  And while he was granted knighthood (KBE), the fact that he’s not one of the Queen’s loyal subjects means that he is also NOT entitled to use the style “Sir” – he may only use the post-nominal initials for his rank (the aforementioned KBE).

Hmm. Maybe someone should tell his agent.] 

Mark Steyn is an international bestselling author, a Top 41 recording artist, and a leading Canadian human-rights activist.

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