Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Silver wings, furry footballer sex, bears, weddings and Aleister Crowley



Whoo-ooo-ooo! It was the "Hallowe'en Special" Polari last night, and John-John, little Tony, Ange, Roland, Emma, Toby and I were waiting to be thrilled...





As ever, Mr Paul Burston opened proceedings at "London's peerless gay literary salon" in a suitably OTT fashion - with borrowed silver lamé wing-cape and Grace Jones-stylee devil horns and mask, he fluttered from the wings to introduce our first guest reader, "Mr Charlie Bauer" (why he'd want to name himself after a dead "ultra-left anarchist sympathiser" beats me). Mr Bauer, a scriptwriter for such hit series as Monarch of the Glen and assistant director of films such as Howard's End and Peter's Friends, read some rather nifty pieces from the superbly titled The Man Who Wanked His Way To Greece (a TV drama series in development with ITV), involving family intrigues and theft at a gay wedding, which warmed us up rather nicely.



Next, tackling a far more serious subject of gender dysphoria and the impact that "coming out" as a trans woman to friends and family has, with its unexpected discoveries, confessions and the impossible-to-recreate memories of past lives, Andie Davidson read a few of her works on the subject. Quite emotional stuff to take on board, but carrying some important messages for our mixed audience nonetheless.



However any feelings of melancholy were swept away with the inimitable arrival of that "Hurricane Sandy of bonk-busters", our favourite Miss Rebecca Chance (aka Lauren Henderson; she answered the question on her publishers' website "What’s your best quality?" with "I'm very modest.")!





Roping in, as is her wont, both her "gay husband" and Mr Burston into her sleazily salacious reading from the forthcoming new book Bad Angels, involving the refrigerated fur closet of a Russian oligarch (of course), a Premier League footballer not-at-all-based-on Wayne Rooney (of course) and his first gay sexual encounter with the apartment's hunky black concierge (of course) - complete with all the actions and groans. Very steamy stuff indeed; I needed some fresh air after that! And a change of pants.

Following the break, it was time for the evening's "big-hitters", starting with the formidable force that is Miss Stella Duffy, prize-winning author, writing in many different literary genres (fourteen books and counting), and all-round fab person.





In keeping with the night's Hallowe'en theme she opened with a chilling tale of a malevolent girl watching her older lover die, then keeping her finger in a box - which made the audience sit up a bit! - before treating us to an extract from her newest work The Purple Shroud, involving the book's heroine the soon-to-be-Empress Theodora witnessing her father being mauled to death by a bear. It sounds more grim than it actually was, for Miss Duffy's tales of Theodora (her first was subtitled "Actress, Empress, Whore") are fascinating and highly entertaining...



From one intelligently-researched and complex storyteller to another, as the superb Mr Jake Arnott - voted "one of Britain's 100 most influential gay and lesbian people" in 2005 - took to the stage.



He, too, is a fabulous reader as well as writer, putting on all the voices as he drew us into the tangled web of his new novel The House of Rumour, with its fascinating interplay between Bond author Ian Fleming, the satanist Aleister Crowley (who was also a central character in Mr Arnott's The Devil's Paintbrush, which he read for us at Polari back in March 2010), Rudolf Hess, a retired spy and a transsexual prostitute. I'm sure it all makes sense in the end - the official website gives little away either - but the extracts were brilliant in themselves. One of my cultural icons Mr Mark Lawson loved the book, which is a good enough recommendation for me!



The evening ended as ever with tumultuous and well-deserved applause for all concerned. But it wasn't quite over, as darling Alex ("journo-slut") Hopkins and Beige magazine were on hand all evening, filming, and I as well as many of the authors (including VG Lee and DJ Connell) and fans present were interviewed for a special feature they will be doing for Polari's fifth birthday next month.



I can't wait to see the (no doubt embarrassing) footage, nor can I wait for the big birthday event on 26th November - with Susie Boyt, Neil Alexander, Jeff Kristian and Cherry Smyth. Fantabulosa...

Polari at the Southbank

11 comments:

  1. Another fantabulosa event of a wonderful evening filled with friends and frolics! Viva! xx

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  2. Another wonderful blog. Funny and generous. DJx

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    1. Thanks again, darling! Polari is constantly astounding; I do love it so. Jx

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  3. Another superb blog from the wonderful Delores. I adore her! Much love, The "Journo-Slut" xxx

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    1. Praise indeed! As you wrote yourself: "It’s time for us to re-embrace our individuality. Camp does not equal weakness, but at its best defines something extraordinary, special and thought provoking. Used in the right way it has the power to move things on and build bridges. It celebrates difference, something which often seems like a pejorative word in today’s gay world."

      Vive Polari!

      Jx

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  4. And I thought MY spider gloves were fabulous.

    I have glove envy!

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    1. "A pure hand needs no glove to cover it." - Nathaniel Hawthorne

      Which rules both of us out. Jx

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  5. Another fabulous Polari evening. Such a diversity of delights presented to us from mesmerising poetry, cheeky bonkbusters with red underpants and dismembered fingers! Anyone know where I can get a copy of that Stella Duffy short story? xx

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    1. I am not absolutely sure but I think it was Ladies Fingers from "Necrologue:
      the Diva book of the dead and the undead".

      I may be wrong...

      Jx

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  6. Thanks Jon. I will follow that up. x

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