Saturday, 16 December 2017

Cytokynes, apparently

I slept in (with earplugs) till 3pm today...

Friday, 15 December 2017

Come on and do it do it do it

The dreaded Festering Season is almost upon us with a vengeance. Tinsel, glitter and Shakin' Bloody Stevens are everywhere. Last night it was the office "do", and there is just one full week of joy in the office before we disappear into our own little worlds and emerge the other side in 2018. The sooner the better!

It's time once again to get ourselves in a party mood, nevertheless [and we have a proper party tonight, as it is Our Sal's sparkly birthday bash tonight!], in the glittering company of the eternally tacky Legs and Co, flinging themselves around to the coolest-of-cool of dance choons - and to Thank Disco It's Friday!

Bohannon, Bohannon, Bohannon - we salute you.

Have a faboo weekend, dear reader!

Thursday, 14 December 2017

Stick them in the shredder, like Santa does

Simply throwing all Christmas cards into the bin unopened could save you up to four hours this Christmas, it has been claimed.

Time-saving expert Martin Bishop believes a million hours of festive fun could be gained nationally by putting cards straight in the recycling after squeezing them for possible money.

He said: “I hate to say ‘one weird trick’ but you take those cards and stick them in the shredder, like Santa does with the kids’ lists, and you’ll feel a real weight off your shoulders.

“Think of the time you’ll save buggering about opening them and putting them on a shelf.”

Bishop added: “You really don’t need to read Christmas cards, unless you especially like generic poems about robins and bells with a token greeting scribbled underneath. The ones hand-made by children or pensioners are especially poor.

“Although interestingly I did once get a card from my nan that had a racist drawing in it.”
The Daily Mash

Of course.

Bah Humbug!

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Santa's beard hairs, an assassin, the Boy, perfectly Frank, boarding school dorm fun, and an Agony Aunt

"And so here it is, Merry Polari,
Ev'rybody's having fun!"

So it was that I trolled off (on my own - although Bryanne and Simon arrived to keep me company) through the slush and the biting winds on Monday to the Southbank, for the very last outing of "London's peerless gay literary salon" in 2017 - A Very Polari Christmas! Unfortunately I had neglected to put my camera into my bag in the haze of getting ready to to go to work, so any pics here are courtesy of fellow Polari-ites...

Our host Paul Burston was gaily bedecked as a hipster Santa to open proceedings, managing to hold it all together despite spitting out beard hairs, wished us Season's Greetings - and, without further ado introduced our first reader (and Polari regular) William Parker.

Fellow "New-putt"-born Mr Parker read from us a couple of pieces from his as-yet-unpublished new work. Weaving together the childhood experiences of a lonely (gay) schoolboy, the trepidation he and and his chums feel using a Ouija board for the first time, and (as reflected in a series of flashbacks to her own childhood) the spirit they conjure up - bizarrely, that of Charlotte Corday, the woman who was caught up in the French Revolution and became notorious as the assassin of the vicious Jean-Paul Marat, his selection was bewildering, and yet very intriguing indeed...

Next to the stand was a real raconteur of the old school variety - Mr Ian Elmslie. Formerly "the Boy" of legendary cabaret duo Katrina and the Boy [who I saw perform at the now-defunct Market Tavern in Vauxhall waaaay back in 1991!], apparently he was born at the same hospital as Quentin Crisp; he certainly brought a little load of camp to the proceedings - resplendent as he was with immaculate maquillage and sparkly brooch [pictured above]!

He read for us (with all the voices!) a couple of pieces from his memoir (or, as he described it, "a series of thank-you notes") A Marvellous Party, featuring his meetings with the great and the good among his (and our) heroes, including Dame Julie Walters (whose appearance was subject to a running commentary by the local bric-a-brac shopkeeper and the theatre's charlady)... and Armistead Maupin:

Simply faboo, sweeties!

How could the delightful Miss Susie Boyt possibly follow that? Arriving on stage, top-to-toe in the most divine silver ensemble, and with her characteristically dry-as-dust delivery, she managed very well, methinks - especially as she opened with a little prize quiz. "Who is the only Oscar-winner, both of whose parents were also Oscar-winners?", she asked. "Liza Minnelli", I responded in a stage whisper - and promptly won a copy of her book Love & Fame (from which her reading for us was taken)!

And what a story this was - the convoluted escapades of our heroine, a media-type waiting at a posh hotel for her supposed celeb-interviewee (who, she knows after six hours, is never going to show up); she makes a rash decision to instead amuse herself by inviting an older stranger ("Perfectly Frank") she met in the bar to her room. Then she promptly spends the rest of the evening on the phone to her sister, going over and over the feelings they felt at their mother's funeral. Meanwhile, the disappointed stranger leaves - and we are left hanging, wondering what she's up to...

I cannot pay sufficient justice to Miss Boyt's talents - the audience was enraptured!

With all that ringing in our ears, however, it was time to brave the chill for a fag-break and a top-up at the bar.

Warming up the audience for the second half [metaphorically and literally; the room was cosier than the windswept walkways of the Southbank!], Paul - "robbed" of his Santa-suit - proudly introduced a "literary hero of his" to the stand, the remarkable Mr Tony Peake.

He read from us a few passages from his first new novel in 20 years North Facing, the blurb for which reads thus:
A novel of awakening and atonement, this exquisitely realised story revisits a seminal boyhood moment as it plays out - with unexpected and sinister consequences - against the backdrop of political upheaval in South Africa. For one long, intense week in October 1962, the Cuban Missile Crisis brought with it an East-West stand-off and the possibility of nuclear holocaust. On the other side of the globe, in Pretoria, a group of schoolboys scan the horizon for signs that the world is about to end. There is political tension here too, and the power struggles and cruelties of the boys mirror the corruption of a deeply divided country. Paul Harvey - sensitive, isolated, and desperate to fit in at school despite his English heritage - will do whatever is needed to please the class ringleader, Andre du Toit. Now in his sixties and living abroad, Paul is drawn back to South Africa to confront the unexpected and chilling consequences of this seminal boyhood moment - and the part he unwittingly played in the drama that unfolded.
At times teasingly erotic (just what was he prepared to do for Andre in the dorm in order to be accepted into the "gang"?) and funny (the older Paul encountering an "English countryside"-themed hotel in the midst of the lawless "badlands" outside Johannesburg), this has the promise of being a very good read, indeed.

But, of course, now it was time for the "true" Spirit of Xmas to take to the stage: the "Secret Santa" herself, "Aunty" Val Lee!

Reading a selection of hilarious "letters" from her "agony aunt postbag", she dished out a wealth of pithy (and often ridiculously awry) "advice" to all and sundry. With the laughter subsiding, she shed her "advice columnist" persona in favour of "VG Lee, Author" - to read for us a passage from her classic Always You, Edina.

The piece she focused us on was engrossing - the childhood memories of the book's protagonist Bonnie, and her daily attempts to impress the idol of her life: Joanna Bayliss, the most popular girl at her school; the games she invented, the glances they shared, the desperate yearning... and the contrast between her dreams and the reality of her home life, and her relationship with her no-nonsense Nan. Brilliant, as always!

And so, with the customary "curtain call" of all the evening's readers, another fantabulosa evening's literary entertainment came to a close - with resounding applause, as one might expect!

Now we have to wait till the itinerary for next year's Polari events is published before making plans for the next visit - hopefully it won't be too long a wait.

We love Polari!

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

People who enjoy this kind of cinematic orgy

Mmmm. They look nice and warm...

As the snow handed the baton to slush, and then a bitterly cold night turned it to ice, so we fully expect the entire country to grind to a halt by Wednesday. It always happens. One might expect that a nation that obsesses about the weather all the time might be a bit more prepared for - say - wintry conditions in winter, or heat in summer. But I digress...

Let's get away from all the "weather-bomb" bullshit, and lose ourselves with a suitably light musical interlude - courtesy of those super-cool bods over at Soft Tempo Lounge!

This time, the featured film is one of a most obscure level of trashiness, described by critic Brian Greene at Criminal Element thus:
I don’t suspect that many who watch this movie are really in it for the story. It’s the pure 70s camp features that make this film a giggle-inducing source of wonder for the B-movie enthusiast. There’s staples from the decade, such as outrageously wide shirt collars, unconvincing martial arts manoeuvres, oversize computing equipment, funky disco music (I need the soundtrack, desperately) and such. Other aspects of the movie likely to delight people who enjoy this kind of cinematic orgy include car and foot chases, cock-fights, psychedelic coloured lights, and laughably grave conversational tones spoken by outlandish characters involved in ludicrous doings.
Wonder Women sounds right up our street! Judge for yourself:

Music: Firebird by Neil Richardson Orchestra


Monday, 11 December 2017


I was somewhat misled by the "fake news" of Wikipedia this time last year, when I inadvertently paid tribute to a "centenarian" - when, in fact today is the 100th anniversary of the ebullient Pérez Prado, "The Mambo King"...

Regardless of such embarrassing errors - here is the man himself, in fine form this Tacky Music Monday, to cheer us up as we traverse the slush on our way to work...

Have a Mambo week, dear reader!

Dámaso Pérez Prado (11th December 1917 – 14th September 1989)

Sunday, 10 December 2017

Gotta get my gear out ready for a winter spill

Having spent all day yesterday with "our gang" - at one of our newest innovations, a "Film Club" - drinking vast quantities of alcohol, and watching hours of campery (the Technicolour remake of The Prisoner of Zenda, followed by The Grand Budapest Hotel), I was in need of a lie-in. No such luck, as the demon spawn upstairs decided that destroying furniture while screaming at the tops of their lungs was a good idea at 9am on a Sunday...

...and to top it all, the world turned white overnight (which will make a trip to the shops that little bit more tedious than usual)!

Hey ho. We might as well welcome the arrival of winter proper with a suitable number, courtesy of former Edwin Starr protégé turned Hi-NRG singer Mis Laura Pallas:

Let's hope I stay vertical.