Phil Collins (not the singer) was shortlisted this year for Britain’s prestigious Turner Prize for art. Born in 1970, Collins is best known for his playful video work, much of which examines how Western pop music interacts with foreign cultures. His recent New York exhibit featured teens from Istanbul singing karaoke versions of songs by the Smiths, and his 2004 installation, They Shoot Horses (pictured), featured seven-hour videos of Palestinian teenagers at a disco marathon. (The title references the 1935 novel They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?, also about a dance marathon.) One Turner judge remarked: “To call Phil Collins a prankster would be to underestimate the seriousness of his art.”
Phil Collins (not the Turner-shortlisted artist) was the drummer and singer for the progressive-rock band Genesis who released his first solo album in 1981. In his career, Collins, age 56, has recorded many No. 1 singles, including “Easy Lover,” “Groovy Kind of Love,” and “Sussudio.” (The title of “Sussudio,” which was ranked No. 24 on VH1’s 50 Most Awesomely Bad Songs . . . Ever is a nonsense girl’s name that Collins concocted.) Currently, Collins can be heard on Broadway; he composed the score to the new musical Tarzan. New York’s critic described the show’s music thusly: “livelier than, say, Lestat’s, but seems more striking for the chances it lets slip.”
Wilkie Collins (not Wendell Willkie, the 1940 Republican presidential candidate) was the author of a number of successful nineteenth-century “sensation novels,” now seen as precursors to modern suspense thrillers. Born in 1824, Collins was a longtime friend of Charles Dickens. His novel The Moonstone, published in 1868, is commonly credited as the first detective novel in the English language. Recently, Collins’s work was revisited on Broadway, in the form of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s adaptation of his 1859 novel The Woman in White. Of the production (since closed), New York’s critic asked, “How could a story so steeped in Victorian flavor end up so bland?”
The Tom Collins is a popular American cocktail made with gin, lemon or lime juice, sugar, and club soda. A variation on the gin sour, the Tom Collins is believed to have been invented in the mid–nineteenth century and named for the bartender who concocted it. (The John Collins, made with bourbon, is reputedly named for his brother.) Currently, “Tom Collins” can also be seen on Broadway; that’s the name of a character in Rent, the long-running musical about bohemian New Yorkers. Other variations include the Jack Collins (with applejack), the José Collins (tequila), and the Comrade Collins (vodka). Currently, there is no variation called the Phil Collins.