Wednesday, 31 December 2014

There is nothing like one...



Arise, Sir John Hurt, Dame Kristin Scott-Thomas, Dame Mary Quant, Dame Esther Rantzen and Dame Carol Ann Duffy, and...

DAME JOAN COLLINS!

At last.

The Queen has awarded another clutch of the great and the good (and the not-so-good) in her annual New Year Honours list. Other notables include Emily Watson OBE; Sheridan Smith (who latterly portrayed Cilla on TV) OBE; Paul Cummins and Tom Piper (the men behind the poppies at the Tower of London), both MBE; novelist Ali Smith CBE; Meera Syal CBE; and Olympian Steve Cram CBE.

Now, here's our fave new Dame herself (in the company of our fave from last year's list Dame Angela Lansbury) and the late Dana Wynter, cynically "celebrating" another awards ceremony - the Oscars of 1959:



The New Year Honours List 2015 in full.

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

S-H-O-P-P-I-N-G



John-John and I are trawling the charity shops of affluent West London today.

Wish us luck...



There's a big bang in the city
We're all on the make
We're S-H-O-P-P-I-N-G, we're shopping


Indeed.

Monday, 29 December 2014

That's what we do all day



Having celebrated just this month the birthdays of two great Dames of the Realm, Dame Judi and Dame Maggie, on this Tacky Music Monday I couldn't resist featuring another...

An apposite song for the season - a central feature of the "Dear Ladies'" very own New Year Special (and no doubt it will be sung, with all the actions, at our own looming NYE party) - here's Dame Hilda Bracket and Dr Evadne Hinge with The Tiddly Pom!

All together, now...



Hinge and Bracket official website

Sunday, 28 December 2014

A year in culture, Dolores Delargo Towers style



As you might tell, I am in a retrospective mood, dear reader. Any summary of any year is bound to be somewhat subjective - so you will forgive, of course, my indulgence in what we experienced of 2014 rather than any wider picture.

In a year when we lost so many of our cultural icons (more of that later, no doubt, in my annual "roll-call" of those who died this year), sport and Strictly Come Dancing were considered serious topics of conversation even in the broadsheets, and the so-called "Culture Minister" Ed Vaizey remarked that he preferred Classic FM to Radio 3, what constitutes a "cultural highlight"? In our world, anything that doesn't involve pop music or politics, I suppose...

Those of you paying attention to my previous "review of the year" will note that references to "music" did not include the "classical" end of that extensive artform. Yet we did have some excellent moments of that kind. The aforementioned Pet Shop Boys Prom was indeed a fully featured part of the prestigious BBC Proms Season - and Vince'n'Neil's A Man From the Future was a masterful symphonic work, worthy of many a composer beloved of the regular denizens of The Royal Albert Hall during that three-month extravaganza. It was sublimely realised, in conjunction with the BBC Concert Orchestra conducted by Dominic Wheeler and the elegant narration of Miss Juliet Stephenson, and a ground-breaking event that I truly appreciated. It was also the only "true Prom" I attended.

The Proms season ends, as it does every year, with the triumphal flag-waving finale encompassing Land of Hope and Glory, Jerusalem and Rule, Britannia! And this year (as every year for along time), we made it to our usual great vantage point in Hyde Park to watch it beamed in on the live screens - and to take part in all its flag-waving adrenalin-pumping grandeur. This year, the "Britannia" part was sung with the fine voice of Roderick Williams, and on stage at Proms in the Park we were also treated to some beautiful operatic singing by Pumeza Matshikiza and Vittorio Grigolo.



I concluded the year with two more classical events: Bach and Wagner at St John's Smith Square and the BBC recording of their tribute to Ron Goodwin - which made for quite a mix in the classical canon.

And what of the theatre? 2014 turned out to be another fine year, with both major and minor productions that we thoroughly enjoyed. Of the latter, there was the thought-provoking and utterly fab Rachael's Café and the masterful one-man performance of Didn't You Used To Be Derek Jacobi?. Simon Callow's Being Shakespeare was magnificent, as was our recent adult panto-substitute Mrs Hudson's Christmas Corker.

Of our major theatrical events during the year, the new - and awe-inspiring - Menier Chocolate Factory production of Stephen Sondheim's Assassins was an absolute highlight. However the big event of the entire year was most definitely our pilgrimage to pay a deferential tribute at the feet of the great Dame Angela Lansbury in Blithe Spirit. A once-in-a-lifetime experience, never, ever to be forgotten!

Speaking of iconic figures in our cultural landscape, John Waters' This Filthy World, Vol 2: Filthier and Dirtier one-man show wasn't half-bad, either. In complete contrast, we were honoured to see and listen to the venerable Dame Joan Plowright in conversation.

We managed to get a bit of art'n'history-type culture (with a capital "K") in, too. Of course.

Not least of such events were our visit to see the sumptuous Cheapside Hoard, our "Night at the Museum" at the Fin de Siècle Fantasy Egypt open evening in the Petrie Museum of Egyptology, the preview of the British Museum's massive Vikings: life and legend exhibition, or any of the events associated with the cultural milestone that is LGBT History Month.

Every month (well, almost) our literary desires have been sated once again by the wonders of Paul Burston's Polari - "London's peerless gay literary salon". With headliners and guest stars as diverse this year as Christopher Fowler, Maureen Duffy, Ali Smith, Neil Bartlett, Paul Bailey, Mari Hannah, James Maker, Karen McLeod, Sarah Westwood, Alex Marwood, (Sophie Ellis-Bextor's mum) Janet Ellis, Tiffany Murray, VG Lee, Helen Smith, Matt Cain, Diriye Osman, Susie Boyt and Will Davis (and many more) on the bill, it is an utter feast for the brain.



As a personal high point, 2014 was also the year that I was thrilled to get my first ever book review in print in a national publication - that of the wonderful Rupert Smith's Interlude (in Beige gay magazine)!

At the "lower end" of the cultural scale, we are not massive cinema-goers. If we deign to go at all, this usually involves something from vintage Hollywood at the British Film Institute or the like. But there was one "must-see" that drew me and some of our gang out this year - the spectacular cinematic triumph that is The Grand Budapest Hotel. Simply marvellous, daahlings! I also went on my own to see the documentary film of the V&A's ground-breaking David Bowie Is exhibition, but that - including films on telly, of which we catch very few - was about it.

So what about television? Very selective, dear. We don't watch Sherlock, Game of Thrones, Dr Who, soaps or police/crime dramas, for instance. "Reality TV" shows and so-called "talent" competitions are anathema to us. The closest we get to being "hooked" on a serial is - in common with the rest of the world - Downton Abbey, and, for sheer camp entertainment value, Benidorm. Other than that, anything by Sir David Attenborough or Andrew Marr, documentary series fronted by the likes of Michael Portillo, Dr Lucy Worsley, Dr Janina Ramirez, Neil Oliver, Professor Mary Beard, Andrew Graham-Dixon or any of that triumvirate of "factual-programme-totty" presenters Simon Reeve, Dr James Fox or Alastair Sooke, quiz shows such as QI and Only Connect, and Gardeners' World and Antiques Roadshow will do nicely, thank you.

Two TV programmes that we did watch stood out from the rest. In the centenary year of Wales' "Number 1 Son" Dylan Thomas, the magnificently-cast ensemble reading of Under Milk Wood was an absolute joy from beginning to end, and possibly the best tribute the man could have received.

The televisual event of the year, however, must have been the accurate-to-the-last-mannerism portrayal by Sheridan Smith of that [pause for over-used cliché] "National Treasure", Cilla Black! If Miss Smith doesn't win an award for this, then there is no justice.



There's probably loads more I could cover (radio, for instance), but as with all such summaries, one has to stop somewhere.

However, there are more 2014 recollections to come - stay tuned!

Saturday, 27 December 2014

A year in music, Dolores Delargo Towers style



It's in the "bit in-between" - the pause for breath as the shops start to dispense with the tinsel and Shakin' Stevens and you start to wonder what to do with that mound of leftovers at the bottom of the fridge - that our thoughts turn to "reviews of the year that was".

Let's start with music.

I can't deny that 2014 was a bit underwhelming. Maybe it was just me (what with the distractions of the two of us at different times being "at risk of redundancy", and moving house in the middle of it), not keeping up with the newest releases - and certainly with all that was going on, I felt I rarely had the time or the inclination to listen to it all. However, there were some highlights...

Keeping up our long tradition here at Dolores Delargo Towers of live events, I did manage to tick off some significant musical "firsts", beginning with a marvellous evening with Miss Mari Wilson in Soho in January, and ending with Mr Adam Ant in November. We were humbled by the presence of the marvellous Chrissie Hynde with the Pet Shop Boys at the Prom for Alan Turing in July, and overwhelmed with glitter by Earth Wind and Fire at Proms in the Park in September.



On a much smaller scale, we had a fab evening of salsa courtesy of Jesus Cutino Y Son de Cuba at the sparkling Hippodrome, the effervescent Al Pillay saved the day at the end-of-LGBT-History-Month Ball, there was the fun of West End Live with Daniel Boys and Jodie Prenger, the "Evening with Noel Coward" courtesy of Stefan Bednarczyk, and Eve Ferret provided a showcase for the lovely Andy Bell. We missed: Prince in Camden, Kylie in Shoreditch, Dolly at Glastonbury, and of course the hyped-up musical event of the year - Kate Bush in Hammersmith. Hey ho.

But what of the musical world "out there"? Forty years on from the birth of Blondie and of Abba winning Eurovision? In a year where the charts were dominated by dross like Taylor Swift, Sam Smith, Ariana Grande and Ed Sheeran, a year when U2 mis-fired an album launch, Take That became a trio, Sinitta, Band-Aid and S-Club 7(!) made comebacks, and a Disney song (Let it Go) became an "anthem", was there any sign of salvation?



Well, several of "our kind of Divas" - albeit very different in style - had new albums to promote, not least Amanda Lear's tribute to Elvis, Marianne Faithfull's tribute to London, Dame Shirley Bassey's tribute to the songs no-one ever let her sing till she was old, and Kylie Minogue's tribute to... pop! To my chagrin, 99.999999% of all shopping this year has been focussed on improving our domestic surroundings here at Dolores Delargo Towers #3, and nary a CD nor a DVD has been purchased all year. In fact, since moving in we haven't even connected the DVD or stereo together. Most of our musical entertainment of late has been via the wonders of the interweb, and (despite the fact I was very, very lackadaisical about posting my usual "Pick of the Pops" musical round-up blogs during 2014) here are just a few things that piqued our interest...

We always love those sassy divas who can actually sing (as opposed to that dreadful wibbly stuff that Christina or Beyoncé or any X-Factor-wannabee does, or that hideous pseudo-"street-cred" rubbish that comes from the charts), and providing us with a well-needed dose of just that (as I featured in April) was Miss Kimberly Davis (with a significant degree of assistance from "musical producer of the year" Dave Audé):



...and another diva (with whom I have had a love-hate relationship over the years) with a classy set of pipes, Miss Mary J Blige pulled out all the stops with F For You:



Speaking of Dave Audé, his Aftermath (Here We Go) for the aforementioned Andy Bell was an absolute joy:



Possibly the weirdest - and most infectious - of this year's clutch of choons had to be I'm an Albatraoz by AronChupa (featured here in November):



Providing a harmonic novelty as well as delightful amounts of young male flesh, from July came the boys of Out of the Blue and their Shakira cover:



Speaking of totty, the ever-lovely Mika returned this year with a lavish video for Boum Boum Boum - and in French, no less...



Dear old Auntie Beeb pulled out all the stops (and all the stars!) for their ensemble version of God Only Knows:



Dance act success story of the year had to be the unpronounceable Kiesza, who seems to have captured the hearts and minds of critics and the buying public alike (most unusual these days) - here from March is her marvellous Hideaway:



Miss Róisín Murphy delighted us with her return early in the year, and she chose a magnificent tribute EP to some of our fave Italian crooners with which to do it:



On our return from Spain in February, we just had to delight our audiences with the simply filthy Sebastian Castro and his Bubble:



Unfortunately not as massive a success as we may have hoped, Princess Kylie's utterly wonderful Into The Blue needless to say remained a very welcome "ear-worm" for most of 2014:



Mr Jimmy Somerville's rediscovery of Disco with Travesty - as featured here last month - was not just one of 2014's most incredibly uplifting moments, but had the most brilliant video of the year, too:



There is, however, absolutely NO CONTEST when it comes to the "Song of the Year".





In 2014, when we gayers experienced some of the most virulent homophobia we had heard in a long time - not just from the usual selection of fucking horrible African dictators, American evangelists and Islamic psychopaths, but thanks to a coldly cynical state-sponsored effort by the most reprehensible world leader since the dark days of the mid-20th century, Vladimir Putin - it fell upon the sequinned shoulders of a remarkable bearded drag queen from, of all places, Austria to provide us with the most rousing song of defiance of the lot. Bigger than Eurovision, bigger than the combined forces of GaGa, Queen Madge, Cher and Dame Elton put together - 2014 was the year of Conchita Wurst!



Let's hope the musical world can come up with another eclectic selection in 2015 (and that I can concentrate harder on musical discoveries of the newer kind to share with you, dear reader...).

More cogitations on the year 2014 to come - stay tuned!

Friday, 26 December 2014

D'abord, j'ai eu peur





It may be Boxing Day, but it is still the end of the week, and - in my mind, anyhow - party time!

As my regular reader may already know, one of our most beloved camp divas (Gallic style) here at Dolores Delargo Towers is the one-time world-conquering club hostess and singer Régine - a woman for whom the epithet Grande Dame could have been invented.

Today is that formidable lady's 85th birthday, and so to celebrate let's dig out a most appropriate song for this prestigious anniversary, her massive club hit - a cover of the Gloria Gaynor standard, Je survivrai...

Merci ce est vendredi Discothèque!*



Régine Zylberberg (born 26th December 1929)

More Régine here, here, and especially here.

*PS that's "Thank Disco it's Friday" in French. According to Google Translate, anyhow.

Thursday, 25 December 2014

Season's Greetings from a Princess




It's not snowing here. There's not a cloud in the sky. But Princess Kylie's in the mood for it anyway...



So pleased she chose Let it Snow and not Let it Go (from Frozen).

What a crock o'...



It's traditional!



Ho Ho Fucking Ho, indeed. It'll all be over tomorrow...

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

It's been there all night long



Once again, it's almost upon us.

Once again, it's Bob Rivers time!



There's somethin' stuck up in the chimney
And I don't know what it is
But it's been there all night long
Well, I waited up for Santa all Christmas night
But he never came and it don't seem right
And there's something in the chimney
And it doesn't make a sound,
But I wish a you merry Christmas


Bah Humbug.

The Bob Rivers Show page

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Please, Santa...







Today's birthday boy Harry Judd.

Musician, apparently.

Cake, anyone?

[Mr Judd is a man not unaccustomed to taking all his clothes off for us gayers - as I have noted before!}

I used to have a lot of fun with this song ... then Madonna sang it



Continuing our countdown... this Festering Season wouldn't be complete without Eartha (who actually died on Xmas Day six years ago)!

Here she is in fine bitchy form, with her classic - Santa Baby. Of course.



Eartha Mae Kitt (17th January 1927 – 25th December 2008)

Monday, 22 December 2014

Ding-a-ling



Continuing our countdown till the dreaded Xmas - but looking forward to the fact that there are only three more days before the office closes for a whole week - to cheer ourselves up, we should sit back on this Tacky Music Monday and watch as Liza Minnelli goes completely bonkers - Ding-a-ling, indeed:



Of course, young Liza is playing "Snow White" to Cyril Ritchard's drag queen "Big Bad Wolf", and probably doesn't know she's about to be eaten...

Oh, it's all far too jolly for me.

Bah Humbug! And pass the Pall Mall.

Sunday, 21 December 2014

The darkest of them all


We're unlikely to see him in Benalmadena, more's the pity

It's Midwinter's Day. The darkest of them all.

However, the good news is - from tomorrow the days start getting longer again!

At Dolores Delargo Towers, our thoughts are not on the cold nor the dark, on "festivities" nor present-giving. No! Our annual holiday to Spain is booked for the first week of February, so all our thoughts are on "escape"...

Here to remind us what warmth and sunshine are like is another marvellous smooth classic ("She '73"), courtesy of Soft Tempo Lounge:



[Music: Soledad by Alfonso Santisteban]

Ah, that's better!

Make it spin



It's worth remembering that this Festering Season is not just one Middle Eastern cult's baby-worship celebration, it's also another Middle Eastern cult's season for spinning weird toys.

From South Park, here's the fabulously odd Broflofski family with Cartman and Stan to explain the whole business in their own inimitable fashion - Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel:



Oh, and just because I love you, here's a semi-naked man swinging round a stripper pole playing The Dreidel song on a clarinet:



And why not?

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Our kind of scheduling



Time for a bit of classic cinema, methinks.

I haven't checked the TV schedules over the Festering Season, as I fear I will be sorely disappointed - with the combined resources of the BBC, ITV, Channels 4 and 5, Sky and more cable channels than you can shake a stick at, what's the betting that whenever we switch the telly on, there'll be a murder, wedding, shocking revelation or tragic accident in all the soaps, repeats of Only Fools and Horses, makeover shows, festive parties with non-entities from The Only Way is Essex, or a Christmas special of Freaky Eaters - and I very much doubt there'll be much room for "our kind of movie"...

So let's allow the effervescent Steve Hayes, the "Tired Old Queen at the Movies", to show us a little of what we'll be missing - as he features Holiday with Katherine Hepburn, Cary Grant and Lew Ayres!



Nostalgic, moi?

Bonga, Bonga, Bonga



It is that time of year when all bets are off as to what rubbish will top the UK charts for the Festering Season. Undoubtedly it will be some codswallop by a warbler who won X-Factor or similar (who, by this time next year, will no doubt be appearing on Splash! or Celebrity Super Spa or another grotesque "reality TV" concoction).

However, it is also the season for newspapers to dig out some of the worst seasonal pop pap ever released, and, in the true spirit of Xmas, I thought I'd share a slew of absolute corkers.

How about The Cheeky Girls and Andy Newton-Lee [whoooo?] - Xmas-time Love?



Then there's Miss Cyndi Lauper's worst ever moment - her Christmas Conga:



And finally, if anyone ever thought the New Kids on the Block were "cool", surely that must have been dispelled by their Funky, Funky Christmas!



It'll all be over soon.

Friday, 19 December 2014

One slow descent into respectability









RIP Mandy Rice-Davies, tabloid-headline-setting dolly bird of the 60s and one of the "tarts at the heart" of the Profumo Affair that brought down Prime Minister Harold MacMillan and rocked his government, who has died aged 70.

Her notoriety (and that of fellow "model" Christine Keeler) lasted long after the names of many of the other "players" in the scandal had faded - with a leading role alongside David Bowie, Patsy Kensit and Ray Davies in Absolute Beginners, and - of course - a cameo in AbFab. She famously described her life as "one slow descent into respectability." But who knew she sang (after a fashion)?!

From her EP Introducing Mandy, hurriedly-released in 1964 after the trial, here is her version of the classic Close your Eyes:


Marilyn (Mandy) Rice Davis (21st October 1944 – 18th December 2014)

Feliz?



It's the last weekend before the Festering Season festivities really kick in.

The last-minute scramble for shit gifts, the last desperate office parties; the time that fam-i-lees clog the supermarket aisles with trolleys full of enough food and booze to feed the whole of a small African nation.

And never forget, Boney M are not just for Xmas, they're for life!

Feliz Navidad:


Thank Disco It's Friday! Roll on New Year.

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Reindeer games



The countdown begins.

From Dangerous Minds:
...a death metal version of “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” synced to old TV footage of Bing Crosby’s rendition. And why not? You’ve got to be sick of that deathless “Little Drummer Boy” with Bowie by now, right?


'Tis the Season...

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Leakage





Charlie Hides TV.

Of course.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Cox of the Day















Fuck, yeah. The Warwick Rowers.

They like to get their oars out for charity. For us gayers, too!



Suddenly I am interested in sport... Of sorts.

As the wise man said: "Pull thy oar, all hands, pull thy oar, till thou be stiff and red and sore," and: "Don't blow your load on the first stroke, fellas!"

The Warwick Rowers, raising money for Sport Allies, a programme to reach out to young people challenged by bullying, homophobia or low self-esteem.

Monday, 15 December 2014

Abbe days are here again



Another day, another dollar... It's back to work time again, and on this damp dark morning that's the very last place I want to be.

On this Tacky Music Monday, what we all need is a touch of the exotic - and yesterday's birthday girl Abbe Lane (together with then hubby Xavier Cugat), in glorious lurid Technicolour, is just the person to provide it!

Here's Me lo dijo Adela and Susana y yo. Apparently.



Have a good week, folks - it's only another six days till the days start getting longer again!

Abbe Lane (born Abigail Francine Lassman, 14th December 1932)

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Yearning, Ormskirk, revenge, Lea Salonga at McDonalds and a Jelly Baby Jesus



As my regular reader will no doubt be aware, I am no fan of this "Festering Season". Xmas for me is merely a few days off work; and weeks of trying to avoid Mariah Carey and Slade at all costs, with the whole world going absolutely crazy in supermarkets, department stores and pubs all around - for no particular reason except the chance to get utterly bladdered and stressed, all planning to spend a day trapped in a house with relatives they would prefer never to see in their life.

But there is one event that is always worth looking forward to at this time of year - A Very Polari Xmas! And so it was that Paul, John-John, Little Tony, Jim, Wayne and I (and hordes of fantabulosa literati) headed to the South Bank on Friday for the last outing of "London's peerless gay literary salon" for 2014. Our ebullient host Mr Paul Burston played "Santa" for the evening, as he proudly introduced us to a very special range of literary talent, indeed...



Yrsa Daley-Ward is "a model, actor and writer of mixed West Indian and West African heritage", and certainly strikes a stunning figure on stage. The poems she read for us from her anthology Bone were gorgeous, too - words of yearning, of love, relationships and difficult family relationships - not least this one, Not The End Of the World:



Utterly enchanting stuff - Miss Daley-Ward is a force to be reckoned with! You can read more of her poetry and buy her book via her Tumblr site.



Following that impressive start was the multi-talented Miss Rosie Wilby - once famously described by Diva Magazine editor Jane Czyzselska as a "lesbian Eddie Izzard". In my opinion, she is far funnier than that...

We last saw her at Polari way back in 2012. More recently she has turned her talents to writing, and her soon-to-be-published memoir is already short-listed for the Mslexia memoir award. Tackling subjects as disparate as life in Ormskirk, coming out as a lesbian, being a 90s BritPop singer and the perils of comedy clubs, she had the audience in the palm of her hand. We loved her! Here she is on The Science of Sex:





Speaking of favourites, the very lovely VG (Val)Lee is most definitely one of ours. Long-time Polari stalwart (both as performer and audience member), when it became clear that hers was going to be a special entertainment for our Xmas extravaganza, we were intrigued. When she arrived from the side of the stage dressed as the Virgin Mary, complete with "Jelly Baby Jesus" ("Famous people become representatives of famous brands; I am the new 'Face of Bassett's'", she said], we were cracking up...

After offering bowls of sweets around the room, we were treated to some snippets of Val's observations on life, the universe and the price of tea-towels. Here she is reading (as she did for us on Friday) her short story featuring regular character the fearsome Deirdre - Alpaca Moonlight:





That marvellous wordsmith Miss Susie Boyt - another Polari favourite - was up first after the "comfort break". Hers was a much weightier tale (perhaps a semi-autobiographical one, given the fact that she is the child of the controversial Lucien Freud, about whom much was written - not always complimentary - after his death), that of a man whose normally indifferent composure is driven to thoughts of revenge by the betrayal of his own father's reputation by his former friend and biographer.

It was fascinating to listen to her portray her main character's descent from insouciance to concern, as friends and colleagues start to offer him words of pity and his own period of mourning is rudely broken, into seething and almost uncontrollable rage. We were hooked!



But of course, there was a final treat in store - for every time Mr Jonathan Harvey heads the bill at Polari, we know it is going to be good. We were not disappointed, as he read (hilariously - as an eight-year-old girl) an extract from his newest novel:
I lived in Tring. Tring didn’t even sound like a proper place; it sounded like the noise the bell on my bicycle made. Sometimes I pronounced it with a mock French accent to make it sound more exotic. Tringue. Or sometimes Trinje. Some thought that was pretentious for an eight-year-old, but as Mummy said to the neighbours on more than one occasion, "She’s not exactly a conventional child"...

I was very excited about going to see Miss Saigon as I had borrowed the CD from the local library and knew all the words because I had sung along to them non-stop in my bedroom for two weeks, even though I wasn’t sure what half of them meant. Plus there was a lady in it called Lea Salonga, which had to be the best name in the whole of the universe. Mummy disagreed with me on this – she thought the best name was a crumbly old actress called Googie Withers – but undeterred, I would often practise signing "love, Lea Salonga" in my autograph book for hours. One day I was going to change my name to Holly Salonga and star in Miss Saigon, even though Mummy said that wasn’t a possibility because I wasn’t ‘oriental’ enough. She had said the same when the local amateur dramatic group were putting on The King and I and I wanted to be Tuptim.

My favourite song in the show we were going to see was ‘The Heat Is On In Saigon’. I had worked out a whole dance routine to it, using cushions, which I pretended were pom-poms, and lots of high kicks. I was beside myself with excitement that we were finally, finally going to experience it!

But first we were going to do something else incredibly exciting. After taking the train from Tring to London Euston, we were going to have a pre-theatre lunch at...McDonald’s!!!! I had never been before. We didn’t have one in Tring. They had them in Hemel Hempstead and Aylesbury and Leighton Buzzard, but not where we lived. I would get so jealous of other children in my class saying how brilliant their lives were because they’d had a shopping trip to Hemel and gorged on eighty-three Big Macs. I had never had that pleasure. Till now...

I bit into my Filet-O-Fish. Kasey Woodlands was right: it was like biting into heaven.

But then Mummy spoke...
Having found out she's actually adopted (that was what "Mummy" wanted to say), so her suspicions about her "boring" parents seemed true to Holly, and she - The Girl Who Just Appeared of the book's title - makes a decision to try and find her "real" parents. I bought the book (and Mr Harvey kindly signed it), and I can't wait to find out what happens next...

And with that - and all the joie de vivre of the final mingling, air-kissing and seasonal greetings to everyone we knew - the evening came to a close (followed, inevitably, by late drinkies at Halfway to Heaven).

A wonderful evening!

Unfortunately I will miss the first outing for Polari in the New Year on 30th January - featuring Stella Duffy heading the bill, with James Maker, Catherine Hall, John R Gordon and Persia West - as we fly to Spain at some ungodly hour the following day, which is a shame... However, there is plenty more to look forward to in 2015 including Christopher Fowler, Diriye Osman and the multi-award-winning Sarah Waters!

Polari

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Together we make history







Back in October I took part in a morning video shoot, with a horde of assorted hunks, ladies-with-sensible shoes, drag queens, trans women and the Mayors of Camden and Islington.







It was fun, if rather knackering; for a good cause.

At last! The finished result - our promotional video for Camden and Islington LGBT History Month in February 2015 - is edited and approved, and...

...here it is - Together (We Make History):



Camden LGBT Forum