Friday, 30 November 2012

Laten we een feestje!



As the two weeks of my convalescence draw inevitably to a close, I have one more weekend to celebrate before returning to clerical servitude...

However, to lead us all into what is pay day weekend for many - and that means party!!! - we travel across the water to one of my favourite homes of ktsch, Holland. Here's the completely talented Doris and the Pins, with a double-bill of instantly recognisable "classics" (well one is, 'cos they stole most of it from another song)!

First, Shine Up (which doesn't resemble Funkytown at all):



And here's the inspirational lyrics of Dance On:



Thank Disco It's Friday!

I miss Amsterdam sooooo much.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Back in the USS Arse?



That certified fruit-loop Yoko Ono has turned her hand to a new range of clothing for men. Typically, she is publicising this by referring to her relationship with John Lennon (oh, really?), as apparently she sketched some of these for him to wear. He was a bit of a loony-tunes too, no doubt, but I somehow can't imagine [geddit?!] him wearing bumless trousers...



...or a male bra!



I expect we'll all be wearing these next summer.

Experience the full horror

Peculiar as can be



Lenny Kravitz is apparently going to play the late, troubled, Marvin Gaye in a new movie about the singer's decline and dramatic death.

Mr K is good-looking and black. That much is true.

However, to my mind his voice is most suited to that style of music called "heavy rock". Mr Gaye's voice simply oozed cool, sexy, soulful smoothness. Will this clash of styles be simply too much, I wonder?

Compare and contrast...

Lenny Kravitz - Are You Gonna Go My Way?:


Marvin Gaye - Ain't That Peculiar?:


More on this story from Rolling Stone

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Anyone for Ennis?



It's been a little while since I delved into the wondrous world of Scopitones (and usually I only tend to dredge the back-catalogue of these predecessors of the pop video for my regular "Tacky Music Mondays").

However, it is the 80th birthday today of a newly-discovered diva by the name of Ethel Ennis, and I have found this joyful little number of hers I've Got That Feeling for your delectation.

It's a fab song. It has showgirls. It has "safety gays". It has crap dancing. What more do we need?



During Ethel's long career she has sung with greats such as Benny Goodman, Cab Calloway, Count Basie and Duke Ellington, sang the National Anthem acapella at Richard Nixon's 1973 presidential inauguration, and performed at the White House for Jimmy Carter.

Frank Sinatra once described her as “my kind of singer.”

She's our kind of singer, too!

Ethel Ennis at AllMusic

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

New magazine on sale at all good supermarkets



Courtesy of the Daily Mash. Who else?

Prizes, surprises, gay horses, cami-knickers, schoolmarms and cocks in frocks





John-John, Ange, Emma, Paul and I had our glad-rags on (well, in Miss Bourgeois's case her best cami-knickers - very "Kit Kat Club"!) for the much-anticipated fifth birthday of Polari ("London's peerless gay literary salon", of course), hosted by "proud Dad" Mr Paul Burston (of course).







Once more resplendent in a flamboyant array of costumes, he introduced to our star-studded audience (including the very lovely Max Wallis, Steven Appleby, Lauren Henderson/Rebecca Chance, Carl Oprey/Charlie Bauer, [a Louise Brooks-bewigged] VG Lee, Toby Tobes, Peter Daniels, DJ Connell, Terry Ronald, North Morgan, Vicky Ryder et al) yet another fine ensemble of talent, for our delectation...



Opening the show, we had the welcome return of Mr Neil Alexander, whose pithy poetry is always a joy. Here are some examples:

I told my father by neilalexander

Cut by neilalexander

Fitlad by neilalexander

Fab!



Without further ado, it was the turn of a Polari virgin (although I'm not sure "virgin" is really in her repertoire!) - Mr/Miss Jeff Kristian, host of many a salacious evening at Soho's Molly Moggs cabaret bar, and TV celebrity drag queen-turned-author. His debut novel Where D'Ya Put Yer Willy? sounds an absolute hoot, from the piece he read. Just the novel's description alone is enough to make you giggle:
"Upon the sudden murder of Jewish drag queen Letitia Von Schabernacket, closeted Essex geezer Michael is left a small fortune and fifty per-cent shares in a notorious Soho drag club, Sugar Sugar. But to inherit, he must become a drag queen at the club for six weeks under the guiding hands of his new drag sisters Connie and Chastity, as they try to hide him from the violent Essex mafia and unravel the devious plan that’s hideously thrown them all together."
Camp as tits, dear! Apparently, the book began life a couple of years ago as a planned musical/radio show and evolved into print, and the songs from book will soon be available as an album on i-Tunes. Talk about multi-media!



Following the shower of sequins and lip-gloss of Mr Kristian, the equally flamboyant - in her "Swinging Sixties"-style "London Underground" frock - Miss Cherry Smyth grabbed our attention with her unique, thought-provoking and entertaining brand of poetry. Here she is in person, reading at a poetry event earlier this year:



The poems she read for us were a feast for the senses, and Ms Smyth is a lovely woman. Her latest poetry collection is Test, Orange available from Pindrop Press.



Paul was about to announce the fag-break, when it was his turn for a surprise! Our Ange, together with various cohorts among the "Children Of Polari" who use F***book (I don't, and I was not directly involved) had cooked up a big presentation for the fifth anniversary of Polari, and in recognition of Paul's sterling and tireless work in getting such a multifarious miscellany of authors and performers together to entertain us every month. Champagne, a card with specially-commissioned artwork by Jane Eccles (below), a book of photographs from Polari through the years, a t-shirt and much more in a "goody-bag" of treats. Applause all round, I think!



After the break (all-too-brief it turned out, as the queue at the bar downstairs - it has draught rather than bottled beer - meant I stumbled back in after the lights had gone down) it was time for another superb treat!



In an astounding pas de deux, BAFTA-winner Daniel Rigby (who was so brilliant as Eric Morecambe in the BBC dramatised biography Eric and Ernie) and writer Robbie Hudson gave a hilarious (and unexpected, as it was not on the Southbank's bill for the evening) performance of their Radio 4 comedy-drama Warhorses of Letters - a series of love letters between two gay horses(!) on opposing sides during the Napoleonic Wars. Of course. Letters that include this opening gambit by the love-struck Copenhagen:
"Dear Marengo brackets Napoleon's horse close brackets,

I've never written a letter like this before. You probably get hundreds of them and this one might never arrive anyway, because of the wars smiley face, but I would never forgive myself if I didn't send it and so here it is. I have seen pictures of you. You are literally an oil painting. I don't know how you could look so amazing with that dumpy Napoleon on your back.

...You are an Arabian too, aren't you? Maybe we are distant cousins even! That doesn't matter for horses of course. I am only two and you are at least twelve, but that also doesn't matter for horses, as you know. Anyway, people tell me I look older than two.

I am a racehorse. It is so lucky that I didn't become a warhorse, or we'd have been mortal enemies, and that would be a nightmare. The word nightmare always makes me think of lady horses that want to seduce me. Lady horses, or mares, are always trying to seduce me. They don't get very far.

Maybe you are only interested in lady horses brackets mares close brackets, but when I saw the pictures, my equine gaydar pointed due south wink.

I hope you reply.

Love,

Copenhagen, kiss kiss hoofprint
And so it goes on - excellent and hilarious stuff, indeed. We were in stitches!

The BBC apparently thinks so highly of it that the series - featuring Stephen Fry as the snobbish Marengo and Mr Rigby as Copenhagen - returns to the airwaves on Wednesday 28th November. Listen to some clips.



How does one follow that? With another "double-act" of course, as our headline reader Susie Boyt (she of the Judy Garland obsession that led me to be able to wear the diminutive diva's hat at Polari in February 2009) was joined by the effervescent Suzi Feay ["two Susies for the price of one!"] to play out the slightly twitchy conversation between a schoolmarm and one of her over-enthusiastic pupils. Here is just a snippet of the passage that she/they read from her forthcoming novel The Small Hours:
To know someone well without a scrap of evidence. Was there a hero bold who held Miss McGee’s heart? What, for that matter, was her daily lunch routine? Of course, it was probably vegetable soup, of a refined calibre, naturally, half a sandwich to follow, on some exquisite bread, but it wasn’t quite the same as actually knowing.

Of course, Miss McGee didn't for a second give anything away. Her garments, well fashioned from high class materials in plain shades, were almost extravagantly non-descript: skirts, jerseys, neat shift-style day dresses, shoes, nothing creased or mended or outlandish, yet what they said, these assorted, irreproachable clothes, depended on the way they were worn, and the way they were worn was exactly what it was impossible to read. There was nothing in her you could pin down: her hair of uncertain colour, her skin of indeterminate years. She was a sort of mouse de luxe; in fact she was Supermouse. She could be anything you wanted.

‘It’s nearly time, isn’t it?’ Harriet said. The clock’s black hands on the table between them could not tell a lie. ‘Nearly time,’ echoed Miss McGee, with an indulgent quarter smile.

And then Harriet could not wait a moment longer, her walls came down, her banks broke. ‘You, you’ve just helped me so much,’ she cried out to the woman opposite her who had loved her more than anyone she knew. ‘I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for you. Wouldn’t want to be. Thank you! Thank you so so much! I thought endlessly about a present, the perfect thing, but nothing seemed good enough –good enough! - and then, I suppose, what I’m certain I knew you’d most like from me was nothing at all, and so I reined myself in. Which doesn’t exactly come naturally, as you know. I do wish I’d brought something now. For my own sake in a way. When I act against my feelings I always get into hot water.’ She spoke the simple words as though a motto she had memorised.

Harriet closed her eyes briefly. Miss McGee had torn away great swathes of unfactual landscape, they had done it together. The colour of everything was compromised when the world failed you at every turn. Miss McGee saw this completely and she saw just as strongly that it wasn’t at all true. They resituated things, they resuscitated and reframed. They had a rampage. Both admitted after time that their subject had a lot of potential; this child they were raising together could be powerful and headstrong - some of its judgements were entirely tyrannical - but these could be good things.

‘And I saw such a beautiful bowl from the nineteen fifties, quite severe, architectural somehow, very dark brown with a thin white line beneath the lip. It was so discreet. And I very nearly got it for you. I would have done, but there was a tiny chip at the base I wasn’t happy about, thought it might tempt fate somehow. Not even sure what I mean by that. Send me scurrying back before the year was out perhaps. Wish I had got it now, perhaps it’s not too late, but anyway, for now, a million thank yous!’

Miss McGee moved her head a fraction. Was there a twelve degree upsurge in her thinnish, shallow smile? Was she about to utter, ‘De rien!’ or ‘The pleasure, my good fellow, was all mine?’ Or ‘Oh! Come Come, My Dear’. Miss McGee, intelligent, Kleinian, remote had never once called her My Dear. It would have been to them both utterly scandalous.

Harriet had not quite stopped talking. One minute twenty two, she saw.
‘It’s odd in a way but for years and years, when you think about it, I put my happiness completely in your hands, didn’t I? And for some of those years, probably for most of them you were the most important person in my life and I suppose, you know, what I’m trying to say, I think, is that’s a very big thing to lie between two people.’

Miss McGee nodded. ‘Yes it is,’ she said.

‘And I suppose, I can’t help thinking was it very, I don’t know, very mad of me almost to throw myself into things so, so fully, to give myself over to it so completely, the process? I mean I’m sure not everyone does that … Of course, obviously it may have helped things to work, helped the things we were talking about to … to take, but I don’t know…’

Miss McGee looked at her with a sort of shimmering frankness. ‘It was brave of you,’ she said. ‘It was very brave.’

Tears started in the suburbs of Harriet’s eyes. She spoke slowly and with emphasis. ‘Well, you say brave, but really it was you … what I mean is, it was you who made throwing myself into things seem like the wisest and the safest, seem like the only thing to do.’

There. There was their perfect ending gleaming lustrous before them.
Both women exhaled. Harriet blinked. All it would take now was for her to rise from her chair and murmur another thank you and issue a firm goodbye, then walk clearly and with strong direction out of this room once and for all. But, it transpired, there was a postscript. She was still sitting firmly in her seat. She had always been hopeless at secrets. Well that was not strictly true but - Besides, could you really, sensibly, squander your last thirty seven-seconds with the best person you knew?’
Intriguing - and brilliant!

It was not over yet, folks. It was time for the announcement of the winner of the Polari First Book Prize 2012! Suzi Feay joined Paul B and Linda Riley of Square Peg Media (who donated the £1000 prize) to make the presentation. And the proud winner - and he looked genuinely stunned by the announcement - is the lovely John McCullough, poet and author of the excellent collection The Frost Fairs. A well-deserved honour!



As Paul B said: "The judges were impressed with the polish and precision of the language, the confidence of the writing and the scope of the work. The Frost Fairs isn’t a one-note collection, but one that covers many themes and strikes many chords, from modern transatlantic relationships to hidden gay lives from the past. It’s also surprisingly mature for a first book - a debut which doesn’t feel like a debut.”

Here is just one poem from this fine work - and possibly one of the best evocations of Brighton I have read:
Reading Frank O’Hara on the Brighton Express
by John McCullough


I might believe we are stationary.
It’s only everything out there kindly
hurtling past, the grey verticals of Clapham
revealed as bars of a song. I might lend my ear
to catch cirrus chit-chat then touch down
at Gatwick and watch parked cars nuzzle
in tidy rows. Which reminds me to sort
my manners out, to raise a hand to waving trees
whizzing backwards, plastic bags in their branches
brilliant flags announcing carnivals
in Balcombe, Wivelsfield, Hassocks.

I could trill like a starling myself, bless everything
outside and within this case of human fireworks:
the silver-chained lads probing Burger King bags
like lucky dips; the Tannoy woman who is Our Lady,
surely, with a mobile altar of Ribena and Coke;
the suits with Guardians hiding Heat magazine.

I might realize Brighton doesn’t exist,
is being invented for our arrival,
the shops plugged in, the prom laid down,
the smiles carved in random pebbles
there where buses have names
so we can get knocked down by Dusty Springfield.

I could conjure up crowds auditioning
for the North Laine, all dreadlocks and posturing,
benefits and big schemes, with different kinds
of queen walking different kinds of dog –
vital clutter that dashes or repairs
Brighton dreams, that brings death or a boon
for the West Pier, swaying over the surf.

It all glides on towards salt-caked houses
and the united panes of Betjeman’s station,
though it’s not him but you, Frank, who I picture
in the station café, coughing your lungs out
above a latte as you eye the black waiter.

In just a moment I shall pass the gates
of heaven and find you,
my memories of travel left in the ticket machine
as we stroll out down Queens Road,
the sun on our skin, the sea shining so whitely
that we stop and stare and keep on staring.
Breath-taking.





With resounding applause for Mr McCullough, and for the evening's readers, it was time, reluctantly for the evening to end with the usual mingling - it is true what they all say, Polari is one of the best evenings in town, and the crowd is definitely one of the friendliest anywhere!

Our next outing (because of Xmas) is early - on 10th December, and among the crackers (geddit?) on the bill is Bethan Roberts, author of My Policeman. Many more will be announced soon, no doubt...

As always. I am looking forward to it!


UPDATE! (20:45): Just found out that "A Very Polari Christmas" will also include the delightful Helen Smith, Diriye Osman, the fantabulosa Marcus Reeves and... the return of the magnificent Celine Hispiche!

I'm looking forward to it even more now!

Polari

I'm a bashful child, beginning to grow



Timeslip moment again...

In a chart of thirty-five years ago this week that included such diverse singles as Holiday In The Sun by the Sex Pistols, Heroes by David Bowie, You're In My Heart by Rod Stewart, 2468 Motorway by Tom Robinson Band, Yes Sir I Can Boogie by Baccara and We Are The Champions by Queen, everyone's favourite Swedes Abba were holding onto the top (but the imminent arrival of Wings Mull Of Kintyre was soon to put a stop to that, for what seemed like six months).

So let's jolly ourseleves up on this miserable, grey day with the hit that took them there in November 1977 - The Name Of The Game. Everyone knows all the words, so sing along!



I've seen you twice, in a short time
Only a week since we started
It seems to me, for every time
I'm getting more open-hearted

I was an impossible case
No-one ever could reach me
But I think I can see in your face
There's a lot you can teach me
So I wanna know

What's the name of the game
Does it mean anything to you
What's the name of the game
Can you feel it the way I do
Tell me please, 'cause I have to know
I'm a bashful child, beginning to grow

And you make me talk
And you make me feel
And you make me show
What I'm trying to conceal
If I trust in you, would you let me down
Would you laugh at me
If I said I care for you
Could you feel the same way too
I wanna know

The name of the game

I have no friends, no-one to see
And I am never invited
Now I am here, talking to you
No wonder I get excited

Your smile, and the sound of your voice
And the way you see through me
Got a feeling, you give me no choice
But it means a lot to me
So I wanna know

What's the name of the game
(Your smile and the sound of your voice)
Does it mean anything to you
(Got a feeling you give me no choice)
But it means a lot, what's the name of the game
(Your smile and the sound of your voice)
Can you feel it the way I do
Tell me please, 'cause I have to know
I'm a bashful child, beginning to grow

And you make me talk
And you make me feel
And you make me show
What I'm trying to conceal
If I trust in you, would you let me down
Would you laugh at me, if I said I care for you
Could you feel the same way too
I wanna know
Oh yes I wanna know

The name of the game

Monday, 26 November 2012

Glitter, smoke, mirrors, punks, pole-dancing and multitudinous costume-changes



“Polari is a gay-themed salon of interest to anyone remotely interested in culture, whatever their sexual bent. Paul Burston’s achievement in consistently bringing together writers and performers who will stimulate and inspire is remarkable” - Patrick Gale

“Polari brings together the best of new and established LGBT writers and puts them right where they should be – at the heart of the capital's arts scene, on the swanky South Bank. Always fun, always thought-provoking: a guaranteed good night out” - Sarah Waters

Today will mark a milestone for that most "intelligent" of gay evenings - it is the FIFTH anniversary of Polari ("London's peerless gay literary salon") tonight!

I have been attending for four of those years. However, even before I ventured to my first, I had in fact experienced some of the thrill of Polari-type evenings - having already attended during 2008 an LGBT History Month event called "Between the Covers", a retro-electro-dance night called Electrosexual, and one of the sadly-missed House of Homosexual Culture events "The Lavender Library" (ironically, given Polari's current residence, at the Southbank), all hosted or co-hosted by Mr Paul Burston.

And I am so glad we did venture to what was to become my regular monthly dose of literary stimulation back in September 2008 - for among the wonders on that particular Polari evening were my first encounter with the magnificent Sebastian Horsley (RIP), and the unprecedented sight of a room so full of the "gay glitterati" (Bette Bourne et al) that even Marc Almond struggled to get in and soon left...

Here, (at a later Polari) is the marvellous pairing of Mr Horsley and our favourite diarist Mr Clayton Littlewood:



Over the years, I have seen some sights, I can tell you! Stiletto-wearing men, Fenella Fielding, riot grrls, rock chicks, various shades of trans, performance poets, nudity, Celine's Music Hall turns, Molly Parkin, glitter, smoke, mirrors, punks, pole-dancing and multitudinous costume-changes. Who could forget the tribute by Paul and Rupert Smith to Miss Grace Jones?



Or getting the chance to wear Judy Garland's hat?!



Or indeed (one of) Mr B's striptease(s) while introducing Dan Mathews of PETA to the stage?



Here's some Homovision TV footage from 2009, of Paul talking about Polari:



And finally, saving the best till last, here's little ol' moi (among others) being interviewd by Beige magazine - giving a very camp analysis of what Polari means to me...



Five glorious years - long may it reign! [Click on the "Polari" tag at the foot of this blog, and check out all fifty of my reviews.]

Tonight's Polari not only features the announcement of the winner of the Polari First Book Prize 2012, but also readings from Susie Boyt, Neil Alexander, Jeff Kristian and Cherry Smyth. I can't wait (bruised leg or no bruised leg)!

Memories and Marsha



"Do not accuse fate. Do not speak of injustice. He belonged to the solemn race of men whose lives unfold too quickly to their close." - Jean Cocteau

A personal one today.

Fifty years ago on this date, a man I loved was born. His name was Garry, and we spent almost six wonderful years together.

We met in 1991 as I was recovering from an abusive relationship that had left me emotionally scarred. He lifted me out of it with a combination of sex, travel, compassion and joie de vivre. The latter was manifest, as we knew from the outset this was not destined to be forever. The time-bomb that had cut a huge swathe through the 80s gay world was there, lurking. But we didn't let it stop us!

During those all-too-brief years, we travelled, we partied, we enjoyed. Even when all that was visibly left was a six-stone shell where a gorgeous man had been, he was indefatigable, demanding I bring brochures for far-off lands to his (hospital) bedside for our "next trip". There was to be no "next trip".

Sixteen years down the line since his death, and fourteen and a half happy years into a fabulous relationship with Tony ("Madam Arcati"), the memories always remain - not as prevalent, obviously, given time and distance. However, we always toast "absent friends" every New Year. Garry will always have a major place in my heart, and the hearts of those who met him. Happy birthday, darling.

Of course, by now the man himself would have yelled at me for being so fucking maudlin. He'd want me to carry on the party. And so, in the company of one of his favourite Hi-NRG artistes, we shall!

On this Tacky Music Monday, here's the fantabulosa Miss Marsha Raven and Catch Me (I'm Falling In Love):



It doesn't get much tackier...

Sunday, 25 November 2012

The quintessential Englishwoman









We bid a sad farewell today (at the ripe old age of 92) to one of the great beauties of the silver and small screens, the lovely Dinah Sheridan. Her most memorable films - decades apart - included Genevieve (1953) and The Railway Children (1970); she also went on to become a household name in the BBC sitcom Don't Wait Up (with Nigel Havers and Tony Britton), and even featured in the 20th anniversary Doctor Who special (The Five Doctors).

I always thought she was an utterly charming screen presence, and she will be sadly missed.

Facts about Dinah Sheridan:
  • Although generally thought of as the "quintessential Englishwoman", she was actually born Dinah Nadyejda Ginsburg of Russian-German parents (who also changed their name to Sheridan when showbiz fame beckoned).
  • Her daughter is Jenny Hanley, who kids of my generation fondly remember as a presenter on the children's TV programme Magpie.
  • Her son is Sir Jeremy Hanley, former cabinet member in John Major's government and member of the Privy Council.
RIP.

Dinah Sheridan (17th September 1920 – 25th November 2012)

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Give me more, more, more, more, more



Until I spotted that it was this fabulosa singer's (54th) birthday today, I had actually forgotten all about Carmel!

I loved this song when it was first released twenty-eight years ago, and again when I lived in Plymouth fifteen years ago - one of our traditions on a Sunday lunchtime in the United Services pub was to put on some Latin-fused music to cheer and chill the punters. Here's More More More (with a video directed by none other than Lindsay Anderson):



Carmel and her band also pushed a lot of my buttons back in those confused coming-out days of the 80s with Bad Day:



And now I find that the lady is back on tour after a break of several years - London, Paris, and, er, Stockton-on-Tees! It would be excellent if I could nab a ticket...

Happy birthday, indeed.

Carmel (McCourt) on Wikipedia

Playing to type



How my mind works, part #397 in a series...

News this week of the demise of typewriter production in the UK prompted me to dig this one out of the vaults!

It's a classic performance of The Typewriter Song (and more besides) by the late, forever-missed, pioneer of the drag queen scene in London - the one, the only, Her Imperial Highness Regina Fong!



We were privileged to see the drag dignitary live at the equally legendary Black Cap in Camden (one of London's longest-serving gay bars) not long before Reg's death in 2003. Drag queens at The Cap still perform an annual Regina Fong Gala as a tribute, and the pub's roof terrace is named in her honour.

I featured early footage of Regina with the Disappointer Sisters (from 1975!) in my tribute to drag queen history back in 2008.

RIP, Regina.

RIP, the Brother typewriter.

Friday, 23 November 2012

Put your love to the test



Good news from Russia!

(From JoeMyGod blog):
Today a Russian court dismissed charges against Madonna brought by a local Orthodox Church group who claimed that her violation of the ban on "promoting homosexuality" would cause the nation's birth rate to plummet because all the boys would become lustful cockmonsters. Or something.

"On Thursday a court St Petersburg ruled against the plaintiffs, members of various conservative groups who argued that Madonna's comments violated a new law banning the promotion of "homosexual propaganda" to minors and would lead to the destruction of the nation. Violation of the law is punishable by fines of up to 500,000 roubles (£10,000).

During a day-long hearing, the court examined YouTube footage and was shown screenshots of Madonna's Facebook page as proof that the material girl was crazy for gay rights. "I am here to say that the gay community and gay people here and all around the world have the same rights – to be treated with dignity, with respect, with tolerance, with compassion, with love," Madonna said during the performance in August, as concert-goers waved gay pride flags and flashed pink wristbands the pop star had handed out as symbols of support.

The claimants argued that Madonna's performance would adversely affect Russia's birthrate and therefore its ability to maintain a proper army. They cited posts on the Facebook page condemning the law as proof she had prior knowledge of the potential criminality of expressing herself."
Let us hope that the judicial dismissal of this abhorrent and ridiculous law may signal a change for the better in Russia. Something has to be done to challenge bigotry. Someone has to make a difference. Full marks to Our Glorious Leader for being a catalyst.

Cue for a song, methinks!



[Thanks to the lovely Henry at Barbarella's Galaxy for the tip-off!]

Will accept a young trainee



It's Le Weekend looming once more, folks! And we know what that means...

It's time once more for some hot-pants-swaying, wig-wearing funky ladies to lead us to the party - and this week it's the turn of the fantastically-attired trio who called themselves Honey Cone, and their plaintive cry for a man through the Want Ads. Who are we to stand in their way?

Thank Disco It's Friday!



Have a great weekend!

Thursday, 22 November 2012

"We are not used to seeing a penis"



Do you find this shocking?

...or this?



Or any of them?











I like to think that male nudity is natural and pleasant (even if the "New Puritans" of San Francisco disagree - but that's America, where "moral outrage" is a money-making scam trend). We tend to think of Europe as being rather progressive where nudity is concerned.

However, apparently the Nackte Männer exhibition has caused quite a stir under the starched petticoats of the burghers of Vienna.

Read more on the BBC.

Tobias Natter, the director of the Leopold Museum said:
"It's quite unusual for an exhibition to focus on the depiction of the male nude. Surprisingly we had many exhibitions dealing with the female nude body, but so far never an exhibition which features the male nude. Somehow it is a taboo.

"On the other hand, we see that the male nude is getting a new presence in modern contemporary society. He is now on posters, he is on stages, he is getting more and more normal."
Erich Kocina of Die Presse newspaper said of the outrage:
"We are not used to seeing a penis - I think that is the main problem for people”
Ain't that the truth?

Nackte Männer: Nude men from 1800 to the present day is on at the Leopold Museum of Art until 28th January 2013.

Letting the days go by



The lovely Miss Tina Weymouth, groundbreaking female bassist, songwriter and producer celebrates her 62nd birthday today!

Let's take another trip down memory lane, and listen to some of my favourite songs to which she contributed her talents over the years...

Talking Heads - Once In A Lifetime:


Tom Tom Club - Wordy Rappinghood:


Tom Tom Club - Genius of Love:


Talking Heads - Road To Nowhere:


Talk about a blast from the past.

Love them all - and adore Tina!

Tina Weymouth biography at the Talking Heads site

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Muzica noua



Time, methinks, to open the musical Pandora's box once more. I start this selection of the newer music that has taken my fancy with a real jolt to the senses!

Possibly the weirdest, most eccentric performance I have seen in ages - here's the completely mad Romanian artiste Ysan Roche and her conceptual film "Carnivorous Concubinage" for her new single Bass Gun. Be afraid...



Coming as a blessed relief after that slice of avant-garde, the official new single mix by Stuart Price of Pet Shop Boys' next single Memory of the Future has just been premiered on Radio 2, and is rather hypnotic and soothing - it is released on 31st December:



Let's take the beat up a few notches, with the latest from the man with the most unlikely real name (Orlando Higginbottom) and band name, to boot - it's Your Love by Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, and it's totally catchy!



This lady by the name of Janina Gavankar is apparently famous, appearing in some TV programmes I have never seen (True Blood, The "L" Word). She is also a singer and musician, and this, her new single Waiting for Godot is an intriguing musical odyssey indeed (even if she does pronounce it "gu-doh")...



Speaking of anthemic, The Answer, the latest from the super-cool Avec Sans has a hook that gets right inside the brain, if you let it:



If you love (as I do) your music a bit electro-retro-80s-stylee, then this collaboration between DJ Kris Menace and the legend that is Miss Kittin, Hide is simply perfect - I love it!



At last, we have the new release by our dear friend the amazingly multi-talented Mr Marcus Reeves (who we most recently saw at Gay Lifestyles) - three cheers for the fantabulosa Black Tears:



And finally... Something I just heard last night on Radio 3 (of all places - but it was on their Late Junction slot, not one of their classical music programmes). It's fantastic. It's fun. It's DelaDap and their Georgian Lession 1-6 - all together now!



As always, enjoy - and let me know your thoughts!

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Boy Band revisited



Today is the 50th birthday of yet another 80s trouper, Steve Alexander.

Who?

Mr Alexander was not only a drummer for Duran Duran (after Roger Taylor and others left), but played on the classic White Lines by Grandmaster Flash and Melle Mel. He has worked with artists as diverse as Boy George and Jeff Beck...

... and he was a member of Brother Beyond!

Any excuse to take a trip down memory lane...

Can You Keep A Secret?


The Harder I Try:


The current line-up of Brother Beyond will be playing the rescheduled Stock Aitken and Waterman Hit Factory Live (now subtitled "Christmas Cracker") on 21st December at the O2.

It's not all pants...













...but thankfully, much of it is.







Happy (belated) 70th birthday to Mr Calvin Richard Klein (born November 19, 1942)

Official Calvin Klein site