Monday, 25 September 2017

The legs have it



Sharing, as she does, a birthday with such unlikely bedfellows as Heather Locklear, Dmitry Shostakovich, Ronnie Barker, Silvana Pampanini, Michael Douglas, Mark Rothko, Pedro Almodovar, Christopher Reeve, Fletcher Christian, William Faulkner, Will Smith, Catherine Zeta Jones, Jodie Kidd and Mark Hamill, the late, great Miss Juliet Prowse provides us with the perfect way to shake off those blues and get ourselves ready for another week of tedium...


Have a good one, dearies!

Juliet Anne Prowse (25th September 1936 – 14th September 1996)

Sunday, 24 September 2017

Give them a twist a flick of the wrist



Merely because the wonderful Paul O'Grady (under sufferance, I might add) played them on his Radio 2 show this evening, so I am reminded of the "wonder" that was Pinky and Perky - the squeaky singing pig-puppets that I remember so well from my childhood. So I just had to share...

First up, the song Mr O'Grady gritted his teeth through - their version of a traditional sing-along Music Hall standard:


...followed by something that I am not entirely convinced is the genuine article, but made me chuckle:


Facts:
  • The puppets were the creation of Czechoslovakian immigrants Jan and Vlasta Dalibor [Vlasta only died last year at the grand old age of 95], who apparently chose pigs because they are a lucky symbol in the Czech Republic.
  • Their vocals were sung by session singers such as Michael John and Mike Sammes [omnipresent backing vocalist in the 60s and 70s, whose harmonies appeared behind an eclectic range of artists including Olivia Newton-John, Ken Dodd, Engelbert Humperdinck, Tom Jones and even the Beatles; and whose Singers voiced the theme tune to Stingray and numerous advertising jingles], then speeded-up.
  • Appearing as guests on top-rated kids' classics such as Crackerjack, and in a succession of their own shows (both on the BBC and ITV), they were a massive staple of children's telly over three decades - and even appeared on a US television show alongside The Beatles and Morecambe and Wise.
  • Their double-side 1971 single Bridget the Midget/Rosetta was the very first record I ever owned [I have an excuse; I was only eight]!
  • For some bizarre reason only known to the type of unimaginative types that commission such things, Pinky and Perky were "reimagined" in 2008 as a CGI "cartoon" series. [Why?!]

Saturday, 23 September 2017

"Do" of the day...





...belongs to the esoteric, and ultimately forever-destined-to-be-a-"fringe"-artiste, Miss Danielle Dax!



Sadly, even I (a great aficionado of the music of the post-Punk, pre-Goth, "dressing-up" 1980s) needed to be reminded of her existence. But she is rather faboo, so I'm happy with the re-discovery...

Danielle Dax (born 23rd September 1958)

Friday, 22 September 2017

Golden dreams were shiny days



Oh dear. We've hit one of the dreaded landmarks at this time of year (the other being when the clocks go back next month) - the autumnal equinox, when nights and days are the same length. From now until March (gulp), all we have to look forward to is creeping gloom...

Sod all that, dears - we have a weekend in our sights, and the party starts right here!

...courtesy of a very appropriate song from Earth, Wind and Fire - so get your most outrageous multi-coloured and sparkly jump-suits out of your closets, and Thank Disco It's Friday!


Do you remember the 21st night of September?
Love was changing the minds of pretenders
While chasing the clouds away

Our hearts were ringing
In the key that our souls were singing.
As we danced in the night,
Remember how the stars stole the night away

Ba de ya, say do you remember
Ba de ya, dancing in September
Ba de ya, never was a cloudy day

Ba de ya de ya de ya
Ba de ya de ya de ya
Ba de ya de ya de ya de ya

My thoughts are with you
Holding hands with your heart to see you
Only blue talk and love,
Remember how we knew love was here to stay

Now December found the love that we shared in September.
Only blue talk and love,
Remember the true love we share today

Ba de ya, say do you remember
Ba de ya, dancing in September
Ba de ya, never was a cloudy day

Ba de ya, say do you remember
Ba de ya, dancing in September
Ba de ya, golden dreams were shiny days

Love bells was ringing
Our souls were singing
Do you remember, never a cloudy day


Have a great weekend, folks!

Thursday, 21 September 2017

And take your Pimms with you!


Smokers have reclaimed their rightful ownership of all outdoor territory surrounding pubs following a drop in temperature.

The end of summer means beer gardens have finally banished seasonal interlopers who are only outside because ‘it’s a nice place to be’, leaving al fresco nicotine dens to the hard-bitten ashen-faced addicts they were created for.

Roy Hobbs, a permanent fixture in the garden of the Red Lion in Stoke-on-Trent, said: “Go on, piss off and take your Pimms with you!

“They come out here, invading our domain with their smiles and their cheery conversations and their healthy skin tone. By August you couldn’t move for people drinking gin and tonic and playing Despacito on their phones.

“They didn’t respect our culture of puffing away in near-silence huddled under the heat lamps. They brought kids out here. Kids. Acting like it was made for them, not like Dave only cleared all the barrels and his Rottweiler out of here post-smoking ban.”


Hobbs added: “They’ve buggered off now until at least May. Our kingdom is our own again. Desolate, sunless and empty.

“Ah, that’s a lovely fag.”
The Daily Mash

Of course.

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

When you meet someone who doesn't follow all the rules it changes everything you do



Lordy. Another "pop idol" of my youth has turned 60 today - Miss Alannah Currie, one third of the incongruously-named Thompson Twins.

The "Twins" were one of my favourite acts in the heyday of "the decade of dressing-up", the 1980s - and this song was definitely one of my most adored things in 1983...


I hear you laughing in some other room
And it makes me feel locked out
You say my passion often stifles you
And you need to move about

But I was taught that boys need girls and girls need boys
You say that's not true
You'd rather fool around than be alone with me
Well, that's alright for you

Cause you got love, love
Love on your side
Cause you got love, love
Love on your side
Cause you got love, love
Love on your side
Cause you got love, love
Love on your side

I've bought you sentimental roses
But you gave them all away
I've played you all my favourite records
Then we spent the night in talking, talking all the time...

You sent me home
I was so surprised to find that after all
It doesn't hurt to be alone

Cause you got love, love
Love on your side
Cause you got love, love
Love on your side
Cause you got love, love
Love on your side
Cause you got love, love
Love on your side

Well all the things you say make perfect sense to me
Somehow I'm still unsure
Then I catch myself going through the same old rhapsody
RAP BOY RAP!

And I don't understand just what I'm doing to myself
I guess that's nothing new
Cause when you meet someone who doesn't follow all the rules
It changes everything you do

Cause you got love, love
Love on your side
Cause you got love, love
Love on your side
Cause you got love, love
Love on your side
Cause you got love, love
Love on your side


J'Adore!!!

Happy birthday, Miss C.

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

The blue dress didn't stay on long



There was a glimmer of warmth today, immediately followed by showery black clouds - and now that the sun has set, the sky is as clear as crystal (meaning it is going to be bloody chilly!). Welcome to autumn, indeed.

Never mind, let our minds wander once again, courtesy of the ever-faboo Soft Tempo Lounge, to more exotic and glamorous places... Such as 1960s Italy, in the company of a woman who could not behave more like a gay man if she tried - a cruisy pick-up while "walking the dog" in the bushes of a park, a shag, a disco, lots of booze and more shagging. Oh, those Bohemians!

This is worth it for the decor alone...


[Featured: Music for night people by Artie Butler]

Monday, 18 September 2017

Stealing people's mail



Sometimes it does seem like technology conspires against us...

After all the debacle with the blackmailing thieves of Photobucket laying waste to our blogs - see here and here - a new problem recently raised its ugly head in the equally sinister world of Microsoft. On the weekend Madam Arcati found he had not received any emails at all since at least midweek, which we reported to the geeks at the place laughingly called "the Outlook.com help desk" (who basically repeat the usual mantra of "clear your cookies", "check your Junk Mail folder" etc, etc) - then today found he could not send any emails either. I got home, and found the latter had happened to me...

Then I read the news headlines:
"We've identified that a subset of infrastructure was unable to process requests as expected, which caused general service availability to drop unexpectedly" Apparently.

"We've redirected requests to alternate infrastructure to restore service, and we're monitoring the environment while connectivity recovers." Whatever that means.

"Additionally, we're investigating an issue in which users are unable to send email messages."
So we weren't being "victimised" after all. I need not have spent days fruitlessly tweaking the computer, the browser settings and all that...

Pah.

At least Blogger is still "up" so I can have a rant...

Haha, you better believe it



Looking out of the window, it couldn't look more autumnal if it tried. On the whole, I'd rather be in bed...

Never mind, continuing a bit of a "theme" that developed over this weekend - OTT musical numbers from strange places - we're off to the Netherlands [I wish!] this Tacky Music Monday for something particularly mind-boggling to give us that "oomph" we need to wake up and get back to work!

Glass of "Champagne", anyone?


Have a good week, dear reader.

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Balkan-kan-kan



With the heart-warming news that Serbia's pioneering out-gay-woman Prime Minister Ana Brnabic has openly defied the traditionalist bigots of the Balkans by leading Belgrade's Gay Pride march, so I went on an exploration of my own - into the esoteric world of Serbian music.

And joy of joys - I discovered the simply faboo Olivera Katarina. In her day, the lady was the most popular singer-actress in the former Yugoslavia (and, allegedly, was "the only woman Salvador Dalí knelt in front of", after he attended one of her sell-out concerts in 60s Paris) - and she's right up our streets, dears!

Enjoy.

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Moda, vuelta izquierda



Having just booked our February holiday in Benalmadena, I feel in the mood for a celebration...

I know this sort of thing is usually much more at home on a Tacky Music Monday, but how can one resist the espectacular that is Raffaella Carra hosting a stage-full of crap flamenco dancers, children and safety gays, with a tribute to the music of Seville? Not me!


¡Hola, Raffaella! indeed!

Friday, 15 September 2017

Oh oh catch that buzz




The madness that is London Fashion Week has begun again - expect dozens of shots of bemused Londoners and tourists gawping at ridiculously-clad beautiful tall people milling around the Strand...

As we look forward to such a glittering weekend, to get the party started what could be more appropriate than one style icon (Grace Jones), paying due deference to another (Bryan Ferry)..?


Thank Disco It's Friday!

Have a good one, dear reader.

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Your (Magic) Fly's down



Timeslip moment again...

We have been unceremoniously ejected from the "Death Star" and dumped in the middle of September 1977 - Silver Jubilee year (again), the year of Punk, Jimmy Carter, the Tenerife air disaster, the National Front, Donna Summer, the "Son of Sam", Star Wars, Lynsey De Paul, Virginia Wade, the Vietnam-Cambodia war, and the births of Apple Computers, Orlando Bloom. Princess Anne's son Peter Phillips and Claire from Steps.

In the news this month forty years ago: the Voyager 1 space probe was launched off to the outer reaches of the Solar System (and is still there, sending signals back to Earth on its trek), the last guillotine execution took place in France, the Red Brigade continued its terrorism in Germany with the kidnap and murder of industrialist Hanns Martin Schleyer; in the ascendant: Freddie Laker (who launched his new budget airline Skytrain), Atari (which released its pioneering home video game console, soon-to-be-home of Space Invaders and Pac-Man) and Ford (whose Granada Mark II arrived on our streets); but the greatest of the Glam Rock trailblazers Marc Bolan was killed in a car crash in West London. In our cinemas: Smokey and the Bandit, New York, New York and Truffaut's The Story of Adele H. On telly: The Krypton Factor , It'll Be Alright on the Night, Secret Army.

And in our charts this week in '77? The world was still mourning the death of Elvis Presley, and his posthumous Way Down continued its five-week run at #1. Contenders to the top slot included David Soul Silver Lady (eventually to get there in October) and Jean-Michelle Jarre Oxygene; also in attendance were the aforementioned Miss Summer, The Floaters, Carly Simon, Candy Staton, Meri Wilson and Brotherhood of Man. But frustratingly held at the #2 slot again was this amazingly influential synth number by Space [surely the inspiration for Daft Punk?]...


Forty
Bloody
Years
Ago!

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Whatever next?


Fans of BBC show Strictly Come Dancing are unsure whether they could accept single-sex couples doing something as deeply heterosexual as ballroom dancing.

After judge Craig Revel Horwood predicted same-sex couples would appear on next year’s show, some ballroom dancing fans claimed it might make ballroom dancing appear somehow gay.

Stella-guzzling ballroom dancing fan Stephen Malley said, “I’m like most blokes in Britain. I like beer, birds and ballroom dancing.

“Now, I don’t have a problem drinking beer with gay people, or watching gay people play football but when it comes to ballroom dancing, I’ve got to draw the line.”


Fellow Strictly fan, Mary Fisher added: “Gay people doing ballroom dancing? Whatever next? Musical theatre? Ancient Greece? Grindr?

“They should stay where they belong, in the army or doing cage fighting.”
The Daily Mash

Of course.

Monday, 11 September 2017

Speaking of "bad dogs"...



I may be off another day (a bit of a catch-up after Saturday's Proms in the Park festivities), but I couldn't let a Tacky Music Monday go by without revisiting this one!

We saw Gilbert doing this song in the flesh in Hyde Park. He never mentioned the most famous of all "interpretations" of his biggest hit - can't imagine why not...

It's Pan's People and their canine friends, of course!


Told you once before
And I won't tell you no more
Get down, get down, get down
You're a bad dog, baby
But I still want you around

You give me the creeps
When you jump on your feet
So get down, get down, get down
Keep your hands to yourself
I'm strictly out of bounds

Once upon a time, I drank a little wine
Was as happy as could be, happy as could be
Now I'm just like a cat on a hot tin roof
Baby, what do you think you're doing to me

Told you once before
And I won't tell you no more
So get down, get down, get down
You're a bad dog, baby
But I still want you around, around
I still want you around
Hey hey hey

I don't give a damn
And I'd like you, if you can
To get down, get down, get down
You're a bad dog, baby
But I still want you around

Once upon a time, I drank a little wine
Was as happy as could be, happy as could be
Now I'm just like a cat on a hot tin roof
Baby, what do you think you're doing to me

Told you once before
And I won't tell you no more
So get down, get down, get down
You're a bad dog, baby
But I still want you around, around
I still want you around, mmm


The perfect combination to start a gloomy autumnal week, methinks - have a good one, dear reader...

Sunday, 10 September 2017

All day and all of the night



Wow. We had another excellent day of entertainment this year's Proms in the Park yesterday - in spite of the wind, the showers, the depleted number of attendees from "our gang", Tony Blackburn and all...

The closing party fo the extensive Proms season has long been a highlight of our social calendar here at Dolores Delargo Towers, serving as a most fitting end to the "Summer Season", and the herald of the "Autumn/Winter Collection" to come. For many years, we have attended en masse, but this year it was just Madam Acarti, Baby Steve, Houseboy Alex and I. We still managed to bring enough provisions for a siege, however, and had a hoot, to boot!



Having got through the security blockade (very early, considering the doors weren't supposed to open till 3pm), we made our usual dash and bagged a spot in our usual area close enough to the stage, but not hemmed in, and cracked open the booze. Oh, and food, too.



Holding court over the early section of proceedings was the annoying longest-serving DJ on Radio 2 Tony Blackburn. We ignored his inanity, as he introduced the opening act - the rather cute and immensely talented Hungarian pianist Peter Bence - a world record-holder for the most piano key hits in one minute (765) - who treated us to some examples of his mastery with a selection of interpretations of rock and pop hits by the likes of Sia, Queen and Michael Jackson. Like this one:




It did rain. Quite a bit, for a while. But the wind soon blew the black clouds away, in time for our next act.



After resounding applause, Mr Bence gave way to the universally popular and brilliant Texas! With a back-catalogue such as theirs - including Black-Eyed Boy, Summer Son, Inner Smile and (of course) the anthemic Say What You Want, and with the charismatic charms of lead singer Sharleen Spiteri, the audience was singing and dancing along. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed their set.

Up next was the very talented and energetic cast of the musical Five Guys named Moe [based around the boppy jazz music of bandleader Louis Jordan], which, with the incorporation of brilliantly choreographed and instantly recognisable numbers such as including Is You Is Or Is You Ain't My Baby? and Choo Choo Ch’Boogie, was excellent entertainment indeed!



Speaking of sing-and-dance-alongs... Our final act on the "daytime bill" was the one we had been looking forward to the most - those incomparable "party faves", Steps! We sang, we attempted their famous dance routines, we whooped and cheered! Celebrating twenty years this year since they first formed, they whipped us all into a frenzy with a cavalcade of hits such as One for Sorrow, Last Thing on My Mind, Story of a Heart (written by Abba!), After The Love Has Gone, Neon Blue and their barn-stormer Tragedy. [One comment on the whole thing, however - despite all the rehearsal (we heard Steps while we were queuing), why was the sound so shit? The BBC should be ashamed.] Here (with some very shaky hand-held phone-camera work by someone in the 40,000-strong audience) they are, performing Stomp:


As the screams from the audience subsided and the sun began to set, it was time for the break, and the inevitable trek to the loos. For the second half we had a far more sensible MC, the lovely Michael Ball who (inevitably) opened with a song. But it wasn't he who was the "proper" opening act. Oh, no - that honour went to the booming tonsils of the superb Sir Bryn Terfel, with a couple of fabulous numbers including the Welsh folk song Ar Hyd y Nos (All Through The Night).



But then it was his turn to give way to another "national treasure" - the powerhouse that is Elaine Paige! She sang (beautifully) an eclectic clutch of songs, including Radio Ga Ga by Queen, Piaf's Hymn to Love (If you love me, really love me), and As if We Never Said Goodbye from Sunset Boulevard. Sadly missing from the set were such "hand-wavers" as Memory, Don't Cry For Me Argentina or I Know Him So Well. Which left us feeling a bit deprived, really.

Bryn came back to the stage to perform a fabulously OTT rendition (complete with a milk churn as prop) of a song with which we all identify - If I Were a Rich Man from Fiddler on the Roof. Superb! Again, he handed over the baton - this time to that unlikeliest of '70s pop superstars, Mr Gilbert O'Sullivan. Never a "house favourite", nevertheless we all knew ever word to every song he performed - and sang with gusto to such "classics" as Matrimony, Nothing Rhymed and of course, the eternally popular Get Down:


This year, our "hosts" BBC Radio 2 celebrate fifty years as a broadcast station (previously known as "The Light Programme"), and here is the lavish celebratory video montage they put together for the occasion, which is fab:


[Needless to say, it was "Our Tel" Terry Wogan - long-time host of Proms in the Park - who go the biggest cheers.]

That over, it was time for our headliner, the legend that is Sir Ray Davies, erstwhile leader of The Kinks (looking slightly frail). Regardless, he managed to whip up a storm with a romping set of hit after hit, including Sunny Afternoon, Victoria, You Really Got Me, All Day and All of the Night, Dedicated Follower of Fashion, Days and, fittingly, Waterloo Sunset:


Brilliant!

However, of course, no "headliner" can compare to the riotous entertainment yet to come, as we transferred our attentions from park ("Hello Park!") to the Royal Albert Hall ("Hello, Hall!"), starting with a rather wonderful Finlandia performed by the BBC Symphony Orchestra [in celebration of the centenary of Finnish independence]. Then, without further ado it was time for the traditional Grand Finale - opening with the hugely popular "Sea Songs":


Swedish Wagnerian soprano Nina Stemme stormed onto the stage dressed as a Valkyrie to deliver Rule Britannia:


After the impassioned speech by conductor Sakari Oramo, we braced ourselves for the lung-bursting, flag-waving, foot-stomping final numbers - Land of Hope and Glory...


...and Jerusalem:


Thus, with fireworks, Auld Land Syne and the National Anthem, that was it. Farewell to another great evening, and farewell to summer...

Same time, next year?!

Saturday, 9 September 2017

To live so pleasantly



The sun is (finally) shining, and we're getting ourselves in order for the marathon Proms in the Park extravaganza today - with appearances from Gilbert O'Sullivan, Elaine Paige, Sir Bryn Terfel, Texas, the cast of Five Guys Named Moe, Steps...

...and Sir Ray Davies of the Kinks!

There is, of course, only one song I could play to get us ready for spending seven hours in Hyde Park...


And I love to live so pleasantly
Live this life of luxury
Lazing on a sunny afternoon
In the summertime
In the summertime
In the summertime


Not quite "summertime", but fingers crossed it'll stay fine all day!

Friday, 8 September 2017

Somewhere there's heaven



I may be off today (getting stuff in order for tomorrow's "end-of Summer-Season" spectacular, Proms in the Park!), but I always like to end any week in a certain fashion...

How about yesterday's birthday girl Miss Gloria Gaynor, resplendent in yards of silver lamé, performing a dance version of one of Ella Fitzgerald's signature songs?

Who am I to disagree?!

Thank Disco It's Friday!


Somewhere there's music
How faint the tune
Somewhere there's heaven
How high the moon?


Faboo.

Have a good one, peeps!

An open letter to Photobucket



Sent today...
Dear Mr Rupert Murdoch (and all his employees) at the late, dearly lamented Photobucket,

Ever since June 2017, when - without warning - you cancelled the links to literally thousands of my photos that were linked to, and formed the backbone of, my blogs - and did the same to millions of the site's users across the globe - you committed a heinous crime. In most legislatures, the withholding of something until a ransom is paid is called BLACKMAIL. To you, the withdrawal of a remote hosting service unless every user pays you almost $400 seems like "good business practice". You will never learn, will you?

When you and your acolytes at News Corporation took over one of the most popular social media networks in the world, MySpace, the arbitrary and spiteful changes you made there also alienated millions of users. Sound familiar? That site became a wasteland of abandoned profiles, and even though it exists in name today, was basically murdered - allowing one of your business rivals Mr Zuckerberg to "make a killing" out of your failure.

Now you have turned your "make money at all costs; stuff the people" philosophy to another of your acquisitions. For almost a decade I, and so many others, trusted Photobucket as a safe pair of hands for what more recently became known as "cloud storage" of my collated photos and images. Yes, people may have used its facilities to remotely link some of those photos to other sites, but this was done in the knowledge that the site permitted this function. Some, such as I, even paid you a subscription for greater bandwidth and storage, safe in the knowledge that Photobucket's business aim was to continue as one of the world's most popular picture sites.

It is no longer that.

I have painstakingly removed all links from my blog to your site. I have removed every photograph and video I ever uploaded. I have cancelled my direct debit. You will close my account forthwith.

And while you are at it, you can take back your disingenuous "International Customer Appreciation Weekend" email (with its appalling grammar and misspelt "IndepandAnce"). Take back your stupid slogans like "Welcome to the Family". I don't want to be related to you. Take back "for the love of photos" and "We are our history; We are our future".

You have stuffed your own business's "future". You are indeed "history".

Regards,

Jon

Thursday, 7 September 2017

Can, canned



I never was a fan of controversial "modernist" composer Karlheinz Stockhausen, nor of the experimental "Krautrock" band Can (the slightly warped product of two of Stockhausen's pupils). However, I was aware of Can's influence, and in particular that of their erstwhile "knob-twiddler" Holger Czukay, who died on Tuesday - not least for the fact that many an artist of the late '70s and early '80s in that eclectic genre known as "alternative music", such as Talking Heads, Public Image Ltd, Joy Division, The Fall, Julian Cope or any number of post-punk black-trenchcoat-wearers, cited him as an influence in their musical development; and in his time he collaborated on projects with the likes of Peter Gabriel, the Eurythmics, Jah Wobble, David Sylvian and Brian Eno.

Of course, there is only so much avant-garde experimental music that one can easily enjoy - I doubt I could sit through a whole concert/album by Herr Czukay at his most esoteric any more than I would, say, sit through an entire evening of a Laurie Anderson-Philip Glass "audio-visual project", Steve Reich's Desert Music, or Miles Davis at his most 1970s-"jazz-fusion" extreme. Lord knows, I've seen some strange stuff - most recently last year's perplexing "Bowie Prom" with Marc Almond, John Cale, Anna Calvi and Amanda Palmer - but I prefer my "oddest" musical experiences in bite-size chunks, on the whole.

Rather like this one...


RIP Holger Czukay (24th March 1938 - 5th September 2017)

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

He really wanted to be Patti Labelle


"An androgynous, cross-dressing, openly gay, African American, falsetto-singing, unapologetically flaming man-diva influenced primarily by church women, black blues singers, drag queens, hippies, and homos... Sylvester rode his marginality right into the mainstream: a star not despite the boundaries of race, gender, and sexuality he eagerly crossed but because of them.” - Joshua Gamson, The Fabulous Sylvester: The Legend, The Music, The Seventies in San Francisco

"His record label saw greater popularity for Sylvester’s stunning vocal skills, and pressured him to “butch up” his image. Defiantly, he attended meetings with executives in full-on drag." - Immortal Socialites magazine

"Despite the obvious magic he had with dance material, Sylvester never viewed himself as a disco act. You see, he really wanted to be Patti Labelle." - San Francisco Queer Cultural Center

"When people would ask him to label himself – gay rights activist, drag queen, etc. – he would say simply and proudly, 'I am Sylvester.'" - David Masciotra, Pop Matters
It would have been the 70th birthday today of the ultimate Queen of Disco!

All hail...






There will never be another...

Sylvester James, Jr. (6th September 1947 – 16th December 1988)

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Hurricane season

From Harvey...



...to Irma:


[An oldie - but goodie!]

The city's clamour can never spoil the dreams of a boy and goil



With the autumnal gloom continuing over London, as ever we dream of far-away places inhabited by carefree, glamorous people.

Thank heavens for Soft Tempo Lounge, I say..!


And... relax.

[Music: Stefano Torossi - Dolce Shake]

Monday, 4 September 2017

That's plain to see!



It's raining. The bloody foxes have discovered a route in and out of the garden via the bedroom windowsill (despite the "prickle strip" we have laid on it) so we have crashing and banging noises in the middle of the night, every night, at the moment - until I get a shotgun. And it's time to go back to work, and straight into a very dull meeting.

Ho hum. But life isn't all "kvetching"...

...it's Our Patron Saint of Shimmying Miss Mitzi Gaynor's birthday today! So on this Tacky Music Monday, let's once again give the floor over to the fantabulosa lady and her "safety gays":


Everybody loves my baby
But my baby don't love nobody but me
Nobody but me
Yes
Everybody wants my baby
But my baby don't want nobody but me
That's plain to see!


Now that, dear reader, is the way to start a week...

Many happy returns, Mitzi Gaynor (born Francesca Marlene de Czanyi von Gerber, 4th September 1931)

Sunday, 3 September 2017

Lock the doors. Tight!



The promised "warm, sunny weekend" hardly lasted more than yesterday lunchtime, before customary-for-the-UK grey skies enveloped us - today has actually felt cold. Oh, no! Autumn is looming...

Before we get too depressed, let us instead revisit a work of genius - here's house favourite band Scissor Sisters and the sublime Let's Have A Kiki - but with a touch of video-editing-magic, courtesy of the marvellous bods at Videodrome Discothèque!


Oh! That cheered me up!

Saturday, 2 September 2017

Delightful to hold


Our beautiful Ipomoea multifida

Having had a bit of a long lie-in, I awake to find glorious sunshine bathing us again, and the gardens here at Dolores Delargo Towers are saying "thank you".

As I get my arse in gear to actually get out there, however, let us raise a glass in honour of the 98th birthday today [yes! She is still with us] of the lovely Marge Champion, who, with her former husband Gower [they divorced in 1973; he died in 1980], revitalised the world of dancing in the Technicolor age in such films as Show Boat, Bye Bye Birdie and Hello Dolly, and this one...

Lovely to Look At, indeed!


Facts:
  • Miss Champion was the model for Walt Disney’s original Snow White.
  • Lovely to Look At is a remake of the Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers movie Roberta; Marge and Gower were originally asked to do a series of colour remakes of Fred and Ginger's classics, but they turned down the proposal.
  • Among many others who got their first break in Marge and Gower's sumptuously choreographed shows was none other than Miss Carol Channing, who Marge "discovered" in 1940.
  • In 2009, at age 90, Marge was still dancing - as featured in a television documentary on her friendship with dance partner Donald Saddler [watch it here].
Marjorie Celeste "Marge" Champion (born Marjorie Belcher, 2nd September 1919)

Friday, 1 September 2017

Let's go!



Phew! It's almost the finale to a particularly lonnnng week - and the weather is once again on our side, as we lookout on the prospect of blue skies all weekend.

I feel the party spirit in the air - and I think today's birthday boy Archie Bell (with his Drells, and some help from the Soul Train dancers, of course) has the right idea... Let's Go Disco, indeed!


Thank Disco It's Friday!

Have a good one...

Archie Lee Bell (born 1st September 1944)

Thursday, 31 August 2017

Twenty years of hurt









Time has flown.

As the headlines are full once again with pictures and recollections of one of the most-mourned women in history, twenty years on from the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, so the memories flood in.

There is little I can meaningfully add to the endless analysis of her legacy, so I return to what I said in this very blog ten years ago:
They say everyone can remember where they were the exact time they found out about the awful news about the death of Diana, Princess of Wales. And yes, I know exactly where I was... Waiting for a ferry early in the morning from Roscoff in Brittany to Plymouth, there was a hastily scribbled A4 sheet of paper pinned to the information booth - "Lady Di dead".

Not understanding the full implication of this, we went back to the car and my boyf at the time translated the local radio reports from French into English. It was true! Our Royal Princess, fashion icon and "friend" was indeed gone for ever - and ironically died in a car crash in the capital of this very country.

The journey home was peculiar. I felt the news had not yet sunk in - not just for me, but also for the hundreds of passengers on board, many of whom were obviously just learning the dreadful news from looking at the widescreen TVs in the breakfast lounge. The gradual stunned silence that fell over what would normally be a chaotic crowd of returning Brits and French back-packers was eerie.

It may be crass to say that Diana herself in any way changed our world, but her death certainly made the biggest emotional impact I have ever known upon the public in Britain and across the globe. International media had made her THE face of a generation, and in death Diana eclipsed any megastar status she could ever have dreamed about.

Many people can make accusations about a "conspiracy" surrounding her accidental death, or about "the real Diana", but in many many ways she continues to live on (in pictures) as the young, beautiful woman we want to remember - an ethereal spectre of a most unusual era in British history.
They were sad days...


RIP, Diana. We still miss you.

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

A robot that couldn’t even be arsed


Taylor Swift’s new song does not have deeper levels and is just a shit thing, it has been confirmed.

The singer’s latest release Look What You Made Me Do has prompted widespread speculation about hidden layers of meaning within its lyrical and visual content. However experts have confirmed it is simply shit.

Professor Henry Brubaker of the Institute for Studies said: “Is Swift swiping at some mysterious enemies, or rather reinventing herself as some classical archetype of the warlike goddess figure?

“Is this a piece of modern situationist art that toys with notions of identity and presents consumerist clichés in a smart post-modern way?

“It’s hard to say but I can definitely tell you it’s shit. Really, really shit. Like it was made by a robot, but a robot that couldn’t even be arsed.”


Responding to the song’s massive Youtube success, Brubaker said: “Well it has got sexy girls in it. You may not have noticed but internet users seem to respond quite well to that.”
The Daily Mash

Of course.

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

'Cause when you're down, bring your inner diva around



Oh.

Good.

Grief.

It's back to work time again - and after a three-day break in the sunshine, I am just not ready for this.

Hey ho.

At least there's some heart-warming news - Olympic athlete Colin Jackson has [and about bloody time, too!] finally decided to publicly "come out". And here, to welcome him - and to cheer our weary way back to the drudgery of the office - is one of my fave choons of 2011, the [sadly overlooked] classic, Sparkle (featuring the estimable tonsils of one of the stars of LaBelle, Miss Sarah Dash!


Crystal
Is it blinding you?
Diamond Studded
Only you can cut it
You shine
From within
Without anything

Don't ask, don't tell?
We gonna flaunt it
Give 'em all hell
Put a ring on it

And when its cold
You better bring your weather with you
Put your game face on
Stay strong
And sparkle
And when it's dark
Remember that the sunshine's in you
You got thunder, lightning, shine and sparkle

Is a star's shining brightly and you like it
Don't just step into its shadow
There's a fierce lion roaring in you and you know it
And he's coming out loud now

Divas
Liza
Chaka
Mariah
Even Gaga too
Sarah
Aretha
Madonna
Diana lives in you

'Cause when you're down
Bring your inner diva around
She will brighten, curtain up and sparkle
And when your low
You gotta just go on with the show
Put your mask on, make-up, smile and sparkle

And when its cold
You better bring your weather with you
Put your game face on
Stay strong
And sparkle
And when it's dark
Remember that the sunshine's in you
You got thunder, lightning, shine and sparkle

When the battery's down
Charger can't be found
All you've got is what you feel
The connection's out
You try to find another route
Life keeps on getting mighty real
No need for special effects
Simply reconnect
To all you can be thankful for
Between the spirit and the flash
Only you know what's best
It's a place you've been before

And when its cold
You better bring your weather with you
Put your game face on
Stay strong
And sparkle
And when it's dark
Remember that the sunshine's in you
You got thunder, lightning, shine and sparkle

'Cause when you're down
Bring your inner-diva around
She will brighten, curtain up and sparkle
And when your low
You gotta just go on with the show
Put your mask on, make-up, smile and sparkle


I try, I try...

Monday, 28 August 2017

He's gotta be fresh from the fight



Today is the centenary of that most amazingly imaginative graphic artist Jack Kirby, creator of The Fantastic Four, Dr Doom, The Incredible Hulk, The Mighty Thor, Loki, The Uncanny X-Men, Magneto, Iron Man, The Inhumans, Ant-Man and the Wasp, The Avengers, Captain America and the Black Panther, and many many more superheroes of the golden age of Marvel comics [of which I was a huge fan when I was a kid, and, truth be told, still am - although less so the movie versions]...

..it also happens to be the "last knockings" of another Tacky Music Monday [needless to say, on this Bank Holiday, almost entirely spent in the garden from arising this morning(ish), through the beautiful sunshine and sunset, till the cool of the night], and I have just the thing for Mr Kirby's birthday - how about an "oom-pah" band version of Dear Bonnie's most "heroic" masterpiece, for your delectation...?


Love it!

Sunday, 27 August 2017

I pour the drinks and crush the flowers



Timeslip moment again [to round off another delightful day's pottering in the sunny garden]...

Our Winnebago spaceship Eagle 5 has dropped us off in this week thirty years ago! In the news in late August 1987: the Hungerford massacre committed by Michael Ryan continued to engross the nation, as the death toll reached sixteen; the AIDS crisis was sweeping the UK; mass rallies in Estonia began its path towards full-scale rebellion against the USSR; the Order of the Garter was opened to women; in the ascendant were Michael Jackson (whose new album Bad went on to sell 35 million copies worldwide) and Lovastatin (the first of the cholesterol-reducing statins to be licensed for sale and use); but former "media darling" politician David Owen was in the doldrums (he had resigned as leader of the SDP after the party's decision to merge with the Liberals, and formed a breakaway party to limited success). In our cinemas: Lethal Weapon, Blind Date and An American Tail. On telly: The Ruth Rendell Mysteries; The Cook Report; sitcom Watching; and 24-hour telly began in the London and East Anglia ITV regions.

But what was in the charts this week in 1987? Hitting the the top spot for the first time was that eternal fave Rick Astley and Never Gonna Give You Up. Also in attendance in the Top Ten were such diverse talents as Sinitta, New Order, Linda Ronstadt & James Ingram, Def Leppard, Wet Wet Wet, Michael Jackson and Spagna.

But, held off the #1 position (and ultimately denied the honour by Rick's long reign) was this one [a song that, remarkably, I have never featured on this blog before, despite the fact we adore all the artists concerned] - this sublime collaboration between Pet Shop Boys and Dusty Springfield:


You always wanted a lover
I only wanted a job
I’ve always worked for my living
How’m I gonna get through?
How’m I gonna get through?

I come here looking for money
(Got to have it)
and end up leaving with love
Now you’ve left me with nothing
(Can’t take it)
How’m I gonna get through?
How’m I gonna get through?

I bought you drinks, I brought you flowers
I read your books and talked for hours
Every day so many drinks
such pretty flowers, so tell me
What have I, what have I, what have I done to deserve this?
What have I, what have I, what have I done to deserve this?
What have I, what have I, what have I…

Since you went away I’ve been hanging around
I’ve been wondering why I’m feeling down
You went away, it should make me feel better
but I don’t know how I’m gonna get through
How I’m gonna get through

You always wanted me to be something I wasn’t
You always wanted too much
Now I can do what I want to forever
How’m I gonna get through?
How’m I gonna get through?

At night, the people come and go
They talk too fast and walk too slow
Chasing time from hour to hour
I pour the drinks and crush the flowers
What have I, what have I, what have I done to deserve this?
What have I, what have I, what have I done to deserve this?
What have I, what have I, what have I...

Since you went away I’ve been hanging around
I’ve been wondering why I’m feeling down
You went away, it should make me feel better
but I don’t know how I’m gonna get through
How I’m gonna get through

We don’t have to fall apart, we don’t have to fight
We don’t need to go to hell and back every night
We could make a deal

What have I done to deserve this?


Thirty years?! Where did they go?

Saturday, 26 August 2017

Sing it, yeah!



For once, it's a beautifully sunny and warm Bank Holiday weekend! Usually we're in cagoules in the UK, but today we were bathed in sunshine as we toiled away at the extensive gardens here at Dolores Delargo Towers: tackling the benighted Fuchsia Gall Mite by judicious (and on some plants, drastic) pruning; watering and feeding; and generally tidying one's unruly bush...

The glorious weather is set to continue throughout the long weekend, with highs of 27C predicted for Monday. I'm with birthday boy Dr. Alban (who blows out sixty candles today) - let's Sing Hallelujah!



Dr. Alban (born Alban Uzoma Nwapa, 26th August 1957)

Friday, 25 August 2017

Relax



Thank heavens for that. It's almost the end of a most trying week - as I settle into the complexities and extraneous pressures of my new role, I am very grateful at the prospect of a long Bank Holiday weekend ahead!

To get the party started, how about an old, old fave? It's Miss Sheila and her B Devotion boys versus the sexy Mika [both Leos, incidentally - born on the same day, 18th August] and the song that always makes me think of holidays, Relax (Take it Easy):



Thank Disco it's (Bank Holiday) Friday!

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Vocal cords made of tweed



"My vocal cords are made of tweed. I give off an air of Oxford donnishness and old BBC wirelesses."



"Let's face it, I do not get offered the parts that Brad Pitt has just turned down."

"It's now very common to hear people say, 'I'm rather offended by that', as if that gives them certain rights. It's no more than a whine. It has no meaning, it has no purpose, it has no reason to be respected as a phrase. 'I'm offended by that.' Well, so fucking what?"

"Temperance is wickedness."




"Swearing is a really important part of one's life. It would be impossible to imagine going through life without swearing and without enjoying swearing... There used to be mad, silly, prissy people who used to say swearing was a sign of a poor vocabulary - such utter nonsense. The people I know who swear the most tend to have the widest vocabularies and the kind of person who says swearing is a sign of a poor vocabulary usually have a pretty poor vocabulary themselves."

"The beauty of the brain is that you can still be as greedy as you like for knowledge and it doesn’t show."

"I don't need you to remind me of my age, I have a bladder to do that for me."




Happy 60th birthday, Mr Stephen John Fry (born 24th August 1957)