Mui-interview of those days

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Mingpao Weekly 895  Jan 5, 1986

Yam Pak taught Anita Mui how to protect her voice

Anita Mui's concert of 15 shows started on the last night of 1985 at Hong Kong Coliseum.

The night before the concert, on the morning of new year's eve, I saw Anita Mui.   She changed her normal image of never stopped laughing, she suddenly talked softly.  She frightened me as I thought she lost her voice, because I had to pay real attention before I could hear her.

Ah Mui explained: [I have to protect my voice.  At first I didn't know, then Yam Jei taught me method to protect my voice.]

 

Yam Jei is the famous Cantonese opera singer Yam Tsim Fai.  One is a Cantonese opera singer, one is canto pop singer, different areas, how one would teach the other.  Credit has to be given to Ah Mui's costume and image director, Eddie Lau.  Eddies knows Yam Jei well, so Yam and Pak privately have taught Ah Mui their secret method of protecting their voice.

Ah Mui said:  [One day, Yam Jei chatted with her in the phone.  I was so afraid that I would  be too nervous, and if I lose my voice then it will be real trouble.  So Yam Jei told me I have to speak softly, as long as people can hear me it is good enough.  I should never scream or shout.  Yam Jei also told me to boil a pot of water, then breathe in the steam from the hot water.  I do it accordingly everyday.  After breathe in the warm steam, I really feel very good.]

Yam and Pak also told Ah Mui, in order not to lose voice, the best way is keep on talking, but has to talk softly.  This is more effective than not talking at all.

But the organizers, the one in charge of Yiu Wing and the one of CA, think differently.  Ah Mui never has had any rest during the period.  She has to do rehearsal during these  days.  She gets up early to practice singing, for 6 hours.  Then she has to rehearse dancing, for 4 hours.  During the rehearsal she can't sit, so everyday she has to stand there for more than 10 hours. The one in charge of CA is afraid that she will be too tired, so during the concert especially before the concert, Ah Mui is not allowed to talk.

After the first show, Ah Mui planned to go to supper with the staff working at backstage.  Permission was asked from the General Manager of CA, So Hoi Leung, but Mr. So didn't like Ah Mui to go.  All begged him for Ah Mui, Mr. So said: [Must send her home by 12:00 mid night.] Then Ah Mui was allowed to go.

I asked her if she went to sleep right after she arrived at home, Ah Mui shook her head and said: [After I returned home, I had to watch the video tape, studied what dancing pose was good.  Though the concert has already started, I cannot stop, have to continue to give a good show.  I am most pleased that audience have reaction.  I don't want to cheat their money, and let them have that feeling.]

One of the monologues during the show is selected by Anita Mui, and CA is not notified before hand.  It is like this: [I know among those who come to see me, some want to see me how I die, to see if I can stand 3 hours, for 15 shows... but I won't fail, won't let them see me fail.  Even I get sick, I will leave it to happen at home...]

I thought she was kidding, but Ah Mui said: [It is true that there are such people.  I am sure about it.  But I will keep on going with my whole energy, even if I will die, I will die at home after 15 shows.  Those who wish me to fail will definitely be disappointed.]

After a while Ah Mui continued: [But I am very touched, lots of people help me.  I was not frightened on stage, but I blame myself as some dancing steps were not correct.]

Ah Mui told me another small secret: [During the first night, when I was singing "Walk My Road All By Myself", I wept secretly, tears came down, I wiped them away immediately.  I believe not too many people saw that.]  She is a strong girl, but when she sang the sad part, she cried.  This means: artistes are human beings too.

Besides Yam/Pak taught her how to protect her voice, Mui Ma, her sister Ann and her amah, almost the whole family have to take care Ah Mui, cooking soup for her.  Mui Ma is expert in cooking soup will deer茸, and Ah Mui is week, she can't take nourishment, so all kinds of soup have to be steamed.  Ah Mui is forced to feed on those soups for 2 months.

As Eddie Lau said he told Ah Mui to do push-up.  Ah Mui said: [No, didn't do jogging regularly either, very difficult to keep it consistent.  But everyday I went to gym, no matter how busy I was, I went to do exercise, for 2 to 3 hours.  See my muscles, very firm?]

I touched her thigh, and pressed a few times, really very firm.

[Huh, really very firm lar.] Ah Mui said proudly.

During the concert, people already saw Ah Mui's firm legs .  But Eddie Lau once told me, during the concert, Ah Mui would display her legs, arms and etc, so to prove that the rumors about her "tattoos" were not true.  However, this time, people only saw her legs, her shoulders, but not her arms

So I told Eddie Lau: [You didn't give the right merchandise.]

Eddie replied: [I did give the right thing.  That purple low cut suit, with a long shawl.  The shawl originally had to be slipped low at the back, so the 2 shoulders would be shown, then it would keep on slipping.  But Anita pulled it back again.  My original idea was changed, I don't understand why, maybe she was too nervous.]

Ah Mui was really too nervous.  She showed me her shoulders, there were 2 red marks.  Her low cut suit happened to be too loose at the bust, when she moved her arms, it looked like she had a false bust.  So she used 2 fish lines to hook it up, it became a halter. And she kept on pulling her shawl, so her shoulders could not be seen.

Talking about the costumes, the white suit she wears at the last scene, under that it is a gown studded with 1,250 stones.  I feel that this costumes is the most beautiful among all, but I didn't know it brought lots of trouble to Ah Mui and Eddie.

This suit is 80lbs, also the crystal ornament Ah Mui wears at the her wrists, each weights more than 10 lbs. Then the ear rings, and the diamond ring, the total weight of all these is heavier than Ah Mui.

All these ornaments were ordered by Eddie from London.  Each one is very special, cost HK$40,000 and it took one and half month to manufacture them.  Just about 10 pieces of ornament, but weights more than 100 lbs.

Also, in order to prepare this design, every time before Ah Mui will be lifted up to the stage, Eddie has to spread the skirt properly.  When he finishes, the staff would shout [The lift already up there lar], Eddie has to jump off the lift quickly.  So during every jump, he will yell: [Sooner or later I will become limp because of Ah Mui.]

Therefore he told me: [After the show of Anita Mui, I will retire, I didn't make much.]

[CA would not let you go.] I said.

[My goodness.  I must leave, I have to sell clothes too.  Enough, Roman, Lisa Wang, Leslie Cheung, and Ah Mui, I have worked for their shows already.  That is enough.  In 1986, I have to start selling my own clothes.]

There is another news about this concert.  Lai Siu Ting said: [Originally it was not planned to invite guests for Ah Mui's show.  But I had "too many mouths", I told the company: "Invite some guests, every night different guests."  The company immediately agreed and said it was good idea, so I was responsible to look for guests.  Though Leslie Cheung, Jacky Cheung, Kenny B, Lui Fong, Danny Chan all agreed to come, all are busy persons.  Though said that they wwill come, might not show up.  So I have to look for guests in the last minute.]

But Lai said: [So Hoi Leung is a good pianist, can ask him to play. piano.]

He added: [Originally Sam Hui agreed that he will come, but he has just gone to the hospital, how his condition is, or if he can come, nobody really knows.  But all those guests are really bonus for the show.]

《明報週刊》第895期    1986年1月5日

 

梅艷芳護聲秘方得自任白真傳

任姐教她勤煲水吸收水氣精華    仙姐謂陰聲說話勝於無聲緘默

欲露不露寧裸玉腿不袒藕臂    魚絲挽救裝胸作勢肩上留痕

梅艷芳的十五場個人演唱會,在八五年最後一夜,於紅磡體育館打響了頭一炮。

演唱會前一天,即除夕的早上,見到了她。阿梅一改平日在台下大笑姑婆的作風,說話忽然陰聲細氣的,嚇得我以為她失了聲,要豎起耳朵來聽才聽得真切。

阿梅解釋:「因為要護著把聲。我最初也不知道的,後來任姐教了我護聲之道。」

任姐就是名伶任劍輝,本來一個是粵劇大老倌,一個是偶像派歌手,風馬牛不相及。後來如何能授及受,就要多得阿梅的形象及服裝顧問劉培基了。蓋Eddie跟任姐稔熟,義不容辭,任白二人遂私相傳授了兩道獨步護聲秘方給阿梅。

未真正養精蓄銳

阿梅說:「那天任姐打電話給我,傾開偈,我說最怕就是緊張得滯,臨時失了聲豈不大鑊?於是仙姐就教我平日說話要放柔,不可傷了真氣,只要別人聽見便可,切不要大喊大吵。任姐則教我煲一煲水,在煲滾時吸收水上的蒸氣。我每天都照做,吸了很多熱氣,覺得果然幾好。」

任白又教阿梅,為保不失聲,最佳方法就是常開口說話,只要像先前說過的不傷中氣的開口,比起緘默護聲更奏效。

不過主辦機構華星耀榮的負責人可不是這樣想,因為阿梅這些日子以來,一直也有工作,並未能真真正正休養生息養精蓄銳。而連日來的綵排工作中,阿梅要大清早起來練歌,練六小時,跟著去排舞,排四小時,練歌排舞也是不能坐著練的,因此一天要站立十個鐘頭。華星的負責人怕她太勞累,因此演唱會期間,尤其是演唱前,都不許阿梅出聲。

第一晚演唱會過後,阿梅打算跟幕後的工作人員去宵夜,事前問過華星的老總蘇孝良,蘇先生不想阿梅去,眾人代阿梅求情,說:「頂多十二點之前送她回家。」阿梅始得被放人。

我問她是不是回家後立刻倒頭大睡以爭取睡眠時間,阿梅搖搖頭說不是:「回家後我還要看錄影帶,研究那一個舞姿好看。雖然演唱會已經開始了,但我不能停下來,要繼續做好,我最開心的是觀眾有反應,我不想呃他們的錢,令他們有欺場的感覺。」

 

只因唱到傷感處

 演唱會堥鉹中@段台辭是梅艷芳自撰的,事前並未知會華星。那一段大意是:「我知道今晚來睇我的人堶情A有些是想睇下我點死的,睇下點捱足三個鐘、十五場......不過我唔會衰俾這些人睇o既,衰也會做完返屋企至衰......」

我以為這是她的戲言,但阿梅說:「真有這些人的,我肯定。不過我會死頂,要死做完十五場回家大死,想睇我衰的人肯定要失望了。」

 歇了歇阿梅又說:「不過我很感動,幫我的人這麼多,我在台上一點也一不怕,唔識驚,就是怪自己有些舞步跳亂了。」

 還有一個小小秘密,阿梅告訴我說:「在第一晚,唱〈孤身走我路〉時,我偷偷地哭了,流了一行淚,趕快抹了,我相信沒有多少個人看到。」這個女孩十分要強,不過唱到傷感處,還是破例地在人流了少少眼淚,這就是說:藝人也始終是人呀。

 除了任白教路,梅媽媽與姐姐愛芳與梅姐(阿梅的女傭),差不多全家出動為阿梅熬湯補身。梅媽媽最拿手的就是清燉鹿茸,因為怕阿梅虛不受補,故此只能清燉,味道雖略為澀口,阿梅也迫得進補了兩個月。

至於劉培基說的要阿梅練掌上壓,阿梅這樣說:「沒有呀,跑步也只是間中在晨早跑,但很難維持。不過每天我都去健身院,忙極都抽時間去做exercise,做兩三個鐘,你試試我的肌肉是否好實?」

我在她的大腿上一試,還以為是她谷起來的肌肉,按了幾按,果然是堅挺有「料」。

「嘿,好o野卦。」阿梅得意洋洋地說。

 演唱會上,阿梅堅挺的肉腿大家已經見過,不過記得劉培基在早陣子耳語筆者,說阿梅在演唱會上將會破天荒地展露其大腿、玉臂等等,以澄清她的「紋身」傳聞。今次所見,腿是露了,可是獨見香肩,沒有玉臂。

 捉著Eddie劉說:「貨不對版喎。」

足八十磅的衣裙

Eddie攤大手說:「有呀,那套紫色低胸裝,外加那一塊長披肩,原定是滑落頸後,露出雙肩,然後慢慢滑下,阿梅輕輕以手拉番起的。但這個主意臨時變了樣,我也不明所以,大抵是她太緊張了。」

 阿梅的確緊張,向我展露了她肩上兩道深深的紅痕,原來她那套低胸裝胸前太鬆,一舉手就彈了開來,看上去蠻似「裝胸作勢」,於是她動手加了兩條魚絲勾著,變了吊帶裝。因為怕穿崩,便頻頻用手拉著披肩,致沒有玉臂可看。

說起服裝,阿梅在完場前穿的那一襲白衣,脫後堶推曀M是套鑲滿了一千二百五十粒石的曳尾長裙,筆者覺得那套衣服是全場之冠,卻不知道同時害苦了阿梅及Eddie。

先是阿梅,不單要穿這一襲足足八十磅的衣裙,還襯上腕上兩串水昌飾物,每串有十磅重,然後是兩串耳環,還有一隻套在食指上的碎鑽飾物,加起來的重量比阿梅的重量還要勁,正一妹仔重過主人婆。

 話說這批首飾是Eddie地從倫敦訂造的,每一串都別緻奪目,共花了四萬元和一個半月製造時間。才十零件首飾,共重不少於百磅。

 再說Eddie,他為了「張羅」這襲別出心裁的設計,每次在阿梅出前一刻,都要在慢慢旋轉上升出場的小舞台上跟時間鬥快。所謂「張羅」就真如花仔花女幫新娘鋪裙尾一般,鋪好了,工作人員大叫「個台升o左出去啦」,Eddie立刻從舞台躍下,每躍一次他就罵一次:「遲早俾阿梅害到我變跛仔。」


請嘉賓多口之過

於是他告訴我:「做完梅艷芳這個『騷』,我退休啦,又唔係賺得多。」

「華星才不會你走。」我說。

「大佬呀,我不走不行,我都要賣衫o架。夠啦,羅文、汪明荃、張國榮、阿梅的『騷』我都做過了,過足癮了,八六年開始要返去好好地賣衫。」

另一則關於演唱會的消息是這樣的,據黎小田表示:「阿梅的『騷』原不打算請嘉賓,但我衰在多口,同公司講:『請嘉賓呀,每晚不同呀。』公司猛說好主意,但請嘉賓的事就落在我頭上。大鑊啦,雖然張國榮、成龍、鍾鎮濤、呂方、陳百強都答應會來,但個個都係大忙人,隨時話o黎又唔o黎得,到時只好臨時拉人上去。」

 頓了頓小田又說:「唔怕,蘇孝良是鋼琴高手,到時一於拉伕。」

 他又說:「本來許冠傑答應了來,不過他入了醫院,情況如何,能不能來就不知道了。不過有嘉賓其實真是送的,是這個『騷』的bonus。」

文:陳也