Friday, 31 August 2012
It is frightening how time flies.
Can it really be fifteen years since the world woke to the chilling news of the tragic and dramatic death of our beloved Princess Diana?
It seems like only yesterday that I wrote of my memories of that awful day, a decade on...
Thank heavens that week is out of the way! It seems even a shortened week (thanks to the last bank holiday before Xmas on Monday) drags out mercilessly...
Never mind, let's get our party shoes on, curl our locks all casual-like, and boogie to the strains of the one-and-only Mr John Paul Young!
Love is in the Air? Or is it "Legs are in the Air"? Either way - Thank Disco It's Friday!!
Have a great one, whatever (or whoever) you do!
Thursday, 30 August 2012
"Look up at the stars, and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see, and wonder about what makes the universe exist. However difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at." - Prof Stephen Hawking
Just a couple of weeks since the main event (the Olympics) closed, and we were treated to another gloriously melodramatic opening ceremony last night, as the Paralympics came to town - in a big way (or, given its scientific theme, "Big Bang" maybe?)!
Not content to be the "poor relation", Jenny Sealey and Bradley Hemmings' event was never intended to be held up in comparison to Danny Boyle's opening extravaganza (nor even Kim Gavin's closing one), but the stops were all pulled out for what the organisers have been proudly promoting as the biggest Paralympics ever held.
Flying wheelchairs, explosions, giant umbrellas, giant books, giant navigational and scientific instruments, music by Orbital, Steven Hawking explaining the history of scientific discovery, what seemed like thousands of dancers, disabled and non-disabled - including a flaming whirling dervish - all brilliantly choreographed, with Sir Ian ("Serena") McKellen as Prospero (and Miranda, played by Nicola Miles-Wildin) holding the whole thing together, leading the bedazzled audience through the discoveries and ideas that contribute to "Enlightenment" (as interpreted, in keeping with one of the themes running through the previous two events, in the form of Shakespeare's Tempest). What more could you want?
I didn't watch the whole thing; I came in after the athletes were safely ensconced in the arena and the speeches were on, and in time for Her Majesty to open the shebang. Apparently I didn't miss a helluva lot except Prof Hawking accompanied by Rihanna (on tape), so that's OK.
Best bits of what I did see? The fabulous punky techno version of Ian Dury's anthem Spasticus Autisticus (as performed by a Dury-looky-likey in a wheelchair with his band from Graeae Theatre Company, including actor and ceremony host Mat Fraser on drums); the much-anticipated "apple moment" signifying the discoveries of Sir Isaac Newton, where the whole 60,000-strong audience was encouraged to bite an apple at the same time (what a crunch!); Prof Hawking wearing the same illuminated "clubbing specs" with lights on as the DJs; the fact that just about all the main players (featuring Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson and five other previous gold medallists) including Miranda and Caliban (but not "Serena") were airborne on strings at various stages of the action; the massive inflatable copy of the Alison Lapper statue that once stood in Trafalgar Square; the beautiful segue between opera singer Elin Manahan Thomas singing Handel and pianist Birdy with Antony & the Johnsons' Bird Gehrl; the re-lighting of that magnificent cauldron (the centrepiece of the Olympics); the gold, the glitter and the pyrotechnics.
Best of all was the arrival of the Paralympic flame - carried by wounded ex-Marine and future Paralympic hopeful Joe Townsend all the way down from the top of the gargantuan "Orbit" tower outside into the stadium, on a zip wire suspended hundreds of feet above the audience! Spectacular.
All this, topped off with a grand finale - before the enormous fireworks display - featuring the lovely Beverley Knight singing the anthem for dispossessed minorities of all flavours (gays, trannies, now disabled people) - I Am What I Am! It was indeed an excellent show...
Wednesday, 29 August 2012
A most fascinating debate has opened on The Guardian website today.
Esteemed gay author Philip Hensher (who was entrancing when he read from his own work King of the Badgers at Polari last October) has posted his review of a new book called How to Be Gay by David M Halperin. Here is an extract:
What does it mean to be gay? Is it enough, as many people think, just to fall into the sex-clinic's category of "men who have sex with men"? That is intended to include the closet case and the cottager who goes home to wife and children. There are plenty of people – increasing numbers, in fact – who are gay without having much to do with traditional gay culture. There are gay people who follow rugby and even play it – not necessarily in a pervy way – and those who genuinely quite like the New Statesman. Some gay men live their entire lives kitted out in beige anoraks. Some of them collect stamps and others work for engineering companies. Some of those men – gay but not Gay, as it were – regard the whole musicals-interior decoration-fashion-thing as a curious foreign language, not really worth learning. They have never said "Bona" or "fabulous" in their lives; the only musical they have ever seen is Phantom of the Opera, because their aunt took them. What their culture is, and whether it forms a unity, the cultural critic cannot, apparently, say. What he can be concerned about, it seems, is the culture of Gay, passed down through generations of slappers, propping up the bars of Soho in London, Chelsea in New York, and the Marais in Paris, all quarters which are now as dead as the proverbial dodo.
David Halperin has written an over-long book, more localised in its application than he seems fully to appreciate, about the aspects of being gay other than sexual choice. His thinking arrives courtesy of a course he teaches at an American university. Naturally, when a course in "How to Be Gay" was announced in the American mid-west, an army of enraged family-first campaigners rose up in taupe leisurewear to denounce Professor Halperin for wanting to recruit the innocent. The passages recounting this provide the most amusing sections of the book, as taupe leisurewear and its mental equivalents so often do. He admits that "American" is an unspoken adjective in much of what he has to say, including the title of the book – I guess "How to be an American Gay" would be an even more uninviting subject than the one he has chosen. Outside America, he reliably gets things wrong, suggesting that Bollywood musicals may represent the same sort of gay cult to Indian gay men that Sex and the City does to Americans – he's clearly never seen a film in a Calcutta cinema, or he would have noticed that the appeal is not a gay thing at all at its source. He's not even very good on opera, bringing up Aida as his prime example – if he knew any opera queens, he'd know that we are much more likely to be going to Tristan, Salome and Janacek. When I last saw The Makropoulos Case, the stalls were like Lo-Profile on a Friday night, packed with queens waving at each other, opera glasses in hand.
In fact, the limits of the book are set not just by the limits of his culture, but by his understanding of what culture might be, even just in America. His interests are not really in gay culture at all, but in gay taste, particularly in film and TV shows. He doesn't show much interest in gay meeting places – when he does record finding himself in a backroom, it is to talk about the porn playing to an accompaniment of 19th-century opera. He doesn't, amazingly, show any interest in clubbing, which I would say was a much more powerful expression of gay culture to recent generations of gay people than terrible old movies. He doesn't write about clothes, or gestures, or gait, or any of what identifies a gay man to another at 80 paces, or the syntax and vocabulary and slang which makes them mutually clear at closer quarters – I mean, you can't always be saying "Have you seen Mommie Dearest?" to strangers. Halperin pretends to be an outsider looking in, but you only need to look at the Earls Court, circa 1985 moustache ornamenting his face to realise that he's writing from well within his own culture, looking out, but not looking very far. Perhaps if you stand still long enough, you become an outsider, as the culture moves swiftly on, from Judy to Gaga.True to form, this has encouraged a healthy discourse among Guardian readers, which I have really enjoyed reading! Comments such as:
- "I have never believed anyway that what passes for most of gay culture is in any way radical. The pressure to conform to notions of what it means to be gay can be as suffocating (hell we in the past have managed to fetishize conformity to an extent that a whole generation of gay men self-identified as "clones") as the pressure to conform to the conservative white picket fence life."
- "At the most we can have a bit of fun with these stereotypes, by either embracing them or subverting them, but at the very least I think we have to accept that it does no good to outright deny them."
- "[I grew up trying]...to be a normal guy who shows no more stereotypically gay traits than my straight friends - but eventually [found] that this was leading to the exact opposite. I was consciously suppressing parts of the 'real me' to try to prove that the stereotypes were false."
- "I suspect some of the more mannered gay behaviour in the past may have been because gays were isolated and threatened. Things like polari - which sound really weird today, like something out of a 19th century fable - had their purpose. Today there is no particular reason for gay people to look or sound especially different to the rest of the population - unless they want to. But if they want to, then that's cool too."
I strongly recommend reading the whole thing.
I doubt I will ever read, let alone recommend in the same way, the book itself.
Many happy returns today to the lovely Miss Eddi Reader!
A fab singer with a quite successful solo career in her own right (I love Patience of Angels and her cover of A Town Without Pity), it is nonetheless for this song that she is most fondly remembered by the majority of us - guranteed to lift you out of even the stubbornest gloomy mood, here's Eddi and Fairground Attraction back in 1988 with Perfect:
I don't want half hearted love affairs
I need someone who really cares.
Life is too short to play silly games
I've promised myself I won't do that again.
It's got to be perfect
It's got to be worth it
Too many people take second best
But I won't take anything less
It's got to be
Young hearts are foolish
They make such mistakes
They're much too eager to give their love away.
I have been foolish too many times
Now I'm determined I'm gonna get it right.
It's got to be perfect
It's got to be worth it
Too many people take second best
But I won't take anything less
It's got to be
Eddi Reader MBE (born Sadenia Reader, 29th August 1959)
Tuesday, 28 August 2012
"I think I am going to explode at any minute if any more shit hits the fan today!" - Latrelle Williamson
At our friends Joe and Russ's barbeque on Sunday, Joe decided - being from Hicksville, USA stock himself - the best way to round off the evening was to treat us to a showing of the cult movie Sordid Lives, Del Shores's semi-autobiographical tale of dreadful family goings-on in Texas as the clan gathers for the funeral of the matriarch, starring Olivia Newton-John, Bonnie Bedelia, Kirk Geiger, Beau Bridges, Delta Burke, Ann Walker, Beth Grant and Leslie Jordan.
The absolute epitome of "trailer-trash" movies (originally a play - and with its "soap opera" scenarios, this is apparent), we the audience are hilariously thrust into the position of "fly-on-the-wall" observers in the domestic situations of these monsters - the trailer park where daughters Latrelle (Miss Bedelia) and LaVonda (Miss Walker) battle (over the dressing of the corpse with a fox stole in mid-summer), with Aunt Sissy (Miss Grant) holding them apart while trying (unsuccessfully) to give up smoking; the sleazy bar and its sleazy patrons (among whom is Miss Newton-John as a dykey country singer!); and the psychiatric institution in which the dead mother had placed her son for "de-homosexualisation" (“It ain't a-workin!”). But what characters and situations they are!
Not only do we know that the central character Ty (Latrelle's hunky son, played by Mr Geiger) is already in therapy as he prepares to go back home for the first time and face his awful mother as an out-gay man, but we also find that one of the bar patrons (GW, played by Mr Bridges) was having an illicit affair with the late matriarch, who died tripping over his wooden legs in a motel room. If that wasn't enough, his wronged wife (the pill-popping Noleta, played by Miss Burke) is best friend of the slightly crazy LaVonda - and the revenge they exact on the errant husband and his friends at the bar (in the style of Thelma and Louise) is a treat.
Best of all among these unhinged individuals is the fantabulosa "Brother Boy" (played with lipstick-smacking relish by that camp genius Leslie Jordan), who has spent the last 23 years of his incarceration in the aforementioned institution perfecting his tacky tribute act to Tammy Wynette, and persistently (to the frustration of the psychotic psychiatrist Dr Eve, played by Rosemary Alexander, who wants write a book on it and appear on Oprah) resisting all attempts to cure him of being a "home-o-sexual"!
There's more, but you'd need to see the movie for that. So much more, in fact, that the play/movie spawned a short-lived TV series that aimed to tell the story before the film's events took place - with the magnificent (and sadly-missed) Rue McLanahan as Mother! Here's just a small sample of the wonders to behold...
This was the first time I had ever seen this movie, although Joe has raved about it for ages, and I must admit I can see its camp appeal. Much in the same vein as the cult Aussie sitcom Kath & Kim, however, you really have to throw yourself into this bizarre (and alien) mindset in order to really appreciate every nuance.
And much in the same vein as other more obvious classics like To Wong Foo, Sordid Lives has taken on a life of its own as fodder for many participation parties (where the audience recites the lines) in gay bars in the US. I can just hear them now...
- Dr. Eve: "You have got to get over this Tammy Wynette fixation!"
Brother Boy: "Well, someone's got to carry on her legacy now that she's gone!"
Dr. Eve: "You've been doing this for twenty-three years! What was your excuse before she died?"
Brother Boy: "My mind's a blank."
- Sissy: "I don't care, quite frankly! I am tryin' to quit smokin'! And the two of you are gettin' on my nerves!"
- Brother Boy: "I think you are just an evil, bitter OLD, alcoholic sex FIEND who needs therapy yourself!"
- Sissy: "Good Lawd Latrelle. Don't you know better than to sneak up on someone when they're tawkin' to a corpse?"
- Brother Boy: "Now if you'll PLEASE excuse me... I have a show to do!"
Seeing this film was truly an mind-boggling experience - I recommend you try it!
Sordid Lives official website
Monday, 27 August 2012
It's a Bank Holiday - the last before Xmas - and it's also a Tacky Music Monday!
The Notting Hill Carnival is no doubt going to be in full swing today, regardless of the weather, and just to get us into that spirit of dancing and colour, here's a double-bill of the one-and-only Carmen Miranda (with Rebola Rebola and When I Love, I Love) to help get things moving:
I expect you all will be wearing fruit on your heads before the day is out...
Sunday, 26 August 2012
Louise, Babs, Dee Dee, Cherry and Ruth
Sad news today of the death of Louise Clarke, one of the founder members of the eternally kitsch Pan's People, stalwarts of the nation's most-missed TV show Top of the Pops (and guilty pleasure of the dads of the 70s). She was only 63.
Here's a typically glittering example of the talents of the troupe (properly dressed for once), as they have a bit of a wiggle back in 1974 to Barry White's You're The First, The Last, My Everything:
Another bit of my childhood gone. RIP.
Pan's People website
Saturday, 25 August 2012
"God! Give it to 'em. Let 'em feel it, taste it, smell it! It gives a little life to our play." Jeff Stryker
How very remiss of me...
I neglected to note that it was the 50th birthday on Tuesday (21st August) of the star of many an "art movie" that I, and generations of gay men, have enjoyed (again and again) over the years - the impressively (ahem!) talented Mr Charles Casper Peyton, better known to us afficonados of filth as Jeff Stryker!
Apart from his classics such as Powertool, Bigger Than Life, Busted, Santa’s Cummin’! and his "self-help" video How to Enlarge Your Penis, according to Wikipedia "he also tried his hand at acting, starring in a 1989 Italian-produced horror movie called After Death (Revenge of the Zombies), in which he was credited as Chuck Peyton and was seen in the short film Can I Be Your Bratwurst Please?
While I pop off to find a copy of that marvellously-titled, and obviously must-see movie, let us purse our lips and blow with Jeff - here shamefully keeping most of his clothes on - in this fab montage video, accompanied by the equally wonderful Presets This Boy's In Love...
Happy (belated) birthday to a rock-solid icon!
Jeff Stryker official website
Friday, 24 August 2012
Nursing a bit of a champagne hangover after a most unusual evening of smutty literary readings at London's first sex shop aimed at women (Paul Burston, Stella Duffy and Rebecca Chance at "Sh!" in Hoxton Square), we have a Bank Holiday weekend ahead to plan!
A good way to start is in the company of the Soul Train dancers, strutting their stuff to the classic Push, Push, In The Bush by Musique... I can almost smell the acrylic and hairspray from here!
Thank Disco It's Friday!
Have a great weekend!
Thursday, 23 August 2012
We have a centenary to celebrate today - Mr Eugene Curran "Gene" Kelly!
Mr K was never my absolute favourite male hoofer (that was of course Mr Astaire), and in my opinion many of his films are not as good as the sum of their parts (such as Singin' in the Rain or If You Feel Like Singing/Summer Stock (as it was known in the US)). Maybe it's just the fact he was so hefty that put me off a bit?
However, there is absolutely no doubt at all that when he hauled that non-dancer-like body into action, the man was a tremendously talented terpsichorian, and brought some of the most energetic and exhausting routines in Hollywood history into glorious being!
"If I was black and blue, it was Gene. If I didn't have a scratch it was Fred." - Cyd Charisse on how her husband would know with whom she had danced.Here's just one - with our Patron Saint Miss Shirley MacLaine, possibly the only female dancer who could really give Mr K a run for his money...
What a Way to Go, indeed.
Facts about Gene Kelly:
- His father was Al Jolson's road manager in the 1920s.
- MGM had promised him the starring role in Teahouse of The August Moon but cast Marlon Brando instead. This was the last straw for Kelly who left MGM soon after.
- He apparently had a fever of 103 degrees while filming the famous rain scene in Singin' in the Rain
- He famously danced on roller skates with Olivia Newton-John in Xanadu.
- Gene Kelly was dance consultant for Madonna's 1993 "Girlie Show" tour, and of course was name-checked by her in Vogue.
Gene Kelly (23rd August 1912 - 2nd February 1996)
Wednesday, 22 August 2012
Just in case anyone was wondering exactly what video the hackers "Anonymous" allegedly uploaded to the home page of the Moscow court that convicted Pussy Riot, I can put you out of your misery.
It was the rather horny video for Mrazish by that wonderfully outrageous Bulgarian bear Azis - who, I am proud to say, was one of our earliest "exhibits" when I launched Dolores Delargo Towers Museum of Camp!
Camp always gets its revenge, one way or another...
Timeslip moment again...
It is (remarkably) 35 years since this naughty little ditty arrived in the UK charts, eventually hitting No 6.
It's the lovely Meri Wilson and her adventures with The Telephone Man!
Unfortunately Miss Wilson was killed in a car accident in December 2002, having never had another chart success.
Tuesday, 21 August 2012
"With their pale painted faces, carefully sculpted dyed-black hair and heavy eyeliner, goths are not a common sight in the predominantly Muslim central Asian nation of Uzbekistan."
If that doesn't pique your interest in reading this article, nothing will!
Read more on the BBC
I found it fascinating...
And so, farewell Phyllis Diller, who died yesterday aged 95.
An inspiration for generations of comedians...
"Aim high, and you won't shoot your foot off."
"There's a new medical crisis. Doctors are reporting that many men are having allergic reactions to latex condoms. They say they cause severe swelling. So what's the problem?"
"Burt Reynolds once asked me out. I was in his room."
"Housework can't kill you, but why take a chance?"
"The only time I ever enjoyed ironing was the day I accidentally got gin in the steam iron."
"Tranquilizers work only if you follow the advice on the bottle - keep away from children."
Phyllis Diller (17th July 1917 – 20th August 2012)
Read my previous tribute to Miss Diller in 2010
Monday, 20 August 2012
The magnificent, the under-rated, the formidable British comedy genius Miss Yootha Joyce, most famous for her portrayal of Mildred Roper in Man About The House and George and Mildred, would have been 85 years old today.
We miss her.
Yootha Joyce (20th August 1927 – 24th August 1980)
After a splendid weekend of sunshine, with only one brief thunderstorm, it's a most depressing sensation to have to return to work for another week of ill-functioning air conditioning and general gloom.
Who better to cheer us up on this Tacky Music Monday but Miss Raffaella Carra, our Patron Saint of the violent hair flicks? She is fantabulosa, and we adore her...
[Rumore is an Italian word for "noisy"...]
Raffaella Forever website
Sunday, 19 August 2012
Saturday, 18 August 2012
It's truly glorious weather, I'm off to a barbeque at our friends' house in Fulham ("by-Sea" - tee hee), the garden is having a second flush of growth, and all is well with the world...
The perfect song by The Kinks - Sunny Afternoon:
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
I love the summer (when it finally arrives!)
Friday, 17 August 2012
More from the genius that is Charlie Hides!
It's the birthday tomorrow of the lovely Sarah Dash of LaBelle fame.
Any excuse, really, to play something from those magnificent space-age divas! I wouldn't even begin to suggest you try and dress like this as we celebrate the forthcoming weekend...
Thank Disco It's Friday!
LaBelle on AllMusic website
Thursday, 16 August 2012
I am well overdue another dip into the range of "newer" music that has caught my ear of late (far too distracted by marabou and bugle beads, I suppose!).
So without further ado, let's open the show with the long-awaited new one from an old favourite, the outest of out-gay Swedes Bimbo Boy with his latest - Die From A Broken Heart. Fascinating (and rather touching) gay video, too...
Staying in Sweden for a moment, here's something completely different (and simply gorgeous). It's Saint LouLou - remarkably described by Paul Lester in The Guardian as sounding "like a depressed tATu", which I think is a bit harsh) - and Maybe You:
With a rather catchy song and a cute video, here's Aussie duo Sun City with their single The Follower:
Returning to cool London, here's the (quite pleasing-on-the-eye) Kash and his remarkably 90s-electro-sounding new single Long Way From Home:
With a truly epic and surreal video, here's the electro-cool Julien-K and his magnificent new production Cruel Daze Of Summer - stunning stuff!
Rounding-off this cavalcade on a jolly note, here's someone who's been taking notes of our World Pride 2012 costume theme...
As ever, enjoy!
[And let me know your thoughts...]
There is only one Madonna.
Happy birthday today to Our Glorious Leader!
Madonna 2012 megamix:
Long may she reign, and more power to her for being the outspoken "thorn in the side" of bigots and homophobes everywhere...
Madonna hands out pink anti-homophobia wristbands at Russian gig
Madonna: three decades of political controversy
Wednesday, 15 August 2012
Tuesday, 14 August 2012
Photo: Polari Magazine
"Simon Cowell asked me to trim his beard. I didn't mind, though, she was lovely."
John-John and I went along to the home of off-beat cabaret The Royal Vauxhall Tavern last night, to see the fantabulosa "Dexter Clark: Celebrity Hairdresser" in his new
In the deep, dark recesses of social networking history, the now-even-sadder world of MySpace was awash with talent - poets, artists, blog diarists, fan-worshippers and comedians. Among the most talented of those, who became my "friend" (on and off line) was Dexter Clark. His salacious regular musings on the lives of the Z-list, from the perspective of a Mayfair hair-salon chair, were irresistible and I (and many others) looked forward to every instalment.
Roger Lloyd-Thompson's alter-ego Dexter has turned his indubitable talents to the stage of late - we went to see his debut appearance in Islington back in 2009 - and once again the likes of Katie Price ("Thick Up Top"), Naomi Campbell ("Dangerous Weave"), Kate Moss ("Chemical Streak"), Madonna ("Peroxide Raptor"), Tom Cruise ("Straight Back and Sides") and Kerry Katona ("Council House Bangs") got the adulation and admiration they so richly deserve...
"For us celebrities it’s all about Charity. I relax by caring. All my important friends are involved in some way in the caring business, mostly to do with animals; for Lulu ("Rusty Wire") it’s her collection of rabbits, Dale Winton ("Supermarket Sweep") enjoys dogging, and the lovely Anna Wintour ("Icy Bob") has recently bought an endangered animal sanctuary and is working very closely with all the animals – mostly floor length coats, but I know she’s planning some fur lined bikinis."He introduced us to the sponsors for his "lecture tour", including Arms for Iraq - "It's a children's charity", apparently specialising in prosthetics for war-torn countries - and God Hates Fags ("I haven't smoked for 48 hours thanks to them!"), to his lustre-glazed mystic talisman ("It's a cockatoo - I love a cock-a-too"), and let us into some of the secrets of his success, many of which will appear in his autobiography Tinted Love – Melton Mowbray to Mayfair ("I can't wait to read it!", he says).
And the "Dexter Empire" doesn't end there:
"I’m busy putting the finishing touches to my new fragrance. I’m so excited, you’re no-one these days without your own fragrance. All the celebs have them. Jeremy Clarkson – "Eau de Phobe". Lindsey Lohan – "Septum". Even Jodie Marsh has one – "Visage de Merde". Mine’s called "Flounce! For Men". It’s a subtle blend of melon, vanilla and Formica with an undertone of Paracetamol."He was excellent!
Sadly, none of Dexter's marvellous video diaries are online anymore - his YouTube profile has been deleted. However, here is just a mere snippet of the man's genius, courtesy of Homotopia:
We loved it - despite the minuscule audience at the RVT - and Roger/Dexter gave it his all!
Dexter Clark's Fabulous Head is on again tomorrow night (Wednesday 15th August) at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern.
Read a review of the show (at Leicester Square Theatre recently) by our friend, author Clayton Littlewood.
Dexter invites us into his lovely home, courtesy of Polari Magazine
Monday, 13 August 2012
We avowed sport-phobes still had to watch the Olympics Closing Ceremony - it was a must...
Certainly it was a bit of a mixed bag, but nonetheless this was an excuse for a party - perhaps one in which the stereo system is a bit knackered (the sound levels were atrocious!), maybe the sort of party where some unwelcome gatecrashers make a bit of a mess on your favourite carpet, but a party nonetheless!
Best bits? Stomp!; Fatboy Slim's octopus; the Spice Girls and their motorised zimmer frames; Annie Lennox and the magnificent gothic pirates; Eric Idle with roller-skating nuns, morris dancers and Welsh ladies with beards; Take That looking sexier than One Direction; Waterloo Sunset (despite Ray Davies's voice cracking up); Pet Shop Boys on futuristic tuk-tuks; the tributes to John Lennon and Freddie Mercury; the fireworks; Running Up That Hill; Darcey Bussell as the flying phoenix; the fact that most of the acts performed on moving vehicles; the sheer joy on the faces of the athletes themselves.
Could have done without? Jessie bloody J, Teeny Tiny Tears Tempah and the other one; Russell Brand's smirk; Muse; George Michael's new song; the pointless Only Fools and Horses reference; Ed bloody Sheeran; the fashion show that fizzled out; the long-drawn-out ushering of the athletes into the arena with repeats of the music we'd just heard.
"Ouch" bits? Annie's too-quiet microphone; the shock of seeing Liam Gallagher looking so haggard; Suggs singing flat; the Who singing "hope I die before I get old" when their average age is 72; Timothy Spall doing a really bad Churchill impersonation; Boris Johnson dancing.
WTF bits? The whole Brazilian section. [And who the fuck are Elbow anyway?]
Disappointments? No David Bowie or Kate Bush as rumoured; nothing from the punk era.
Blessed reliefs? No Elton John, Cliff Richard, Phil Collins or Paul McCartney.
Despite some bad reviews (to be fair, the closing ceremony could never stand up against the magnificent opening one), I think it was quite brilliant. We thoroughly enjoyed it! I think, if it achieved anything at all, the ceremony demonstrated in its eccentric mixture of diverse age-groups, cultures and styles of music and art, that Britain is a truly unique nation - and for that I am eternally grateful!
Watch the whole thing on BBC iPlayer (if it is available in your country, of course)
Highlights on The Guardian website