Monday, 31 December 2012

A New Year's Eve disaster



As we hurtle towards the New Year's Eve countdown, what better way to ramp up the excitement than with a well-overdue visit from Mr Steve Hayes, aka "Tired Old Queen At The Movies!?

He has chosen a most appropriate disaster for us to share:



Happy New Year? It can only be better than theirs...

The Poseidon Adventure

Kissing the old year out



It may well be New Year's Eve, but here at Dolores Delargo Towers, it is still a Tacky Music Monday!

So let us start the festivities a little early with the McGuire Sisters (RIP Dorothy in 2012) with the perfect sentiment, Let's Start the New Year Right:



This is exactly how I expect tonight's party to be...

Sunday, 30 December 2012

Fire up the smoke machine and put on your heels



In general 2012 was not one of the best as far as our musical tastes here at Dolores Delargo Towers were concerned. An awful lot of the new music around was of the tawdry, "urban", deadly dull and mindless kind. Even some of the hoped-for new music from established artists - George Michael, Mika, Robbie Williams, even the Pet Shop Boys - was underwhelming (even though I have featured the latter many times during the year, I cannot bring myself to count any of their songs as highlights). Much of the music that really made an impact was old stuff (given the fact it was the Jubilee and the Olympics, which relied heavily on nostalgia, this is not a surprise), including the wonderful reunion of Marc and the Mambas at the Meltdown Festival, and much of Kylie's musical output (if rehashed with an orchestra).

Nevertheless, as is my wont at this time of year, I have selected twenty songs - with a little difficulty - that perhaps represent the best (in my opinion) this wet, gloomy year had to offer. So here goes...

Despite the fact we in the UK had absolutely no summer at all to speak of, in June we had a glut of choice music all of a sudden. One of the choicest was Mr Cosmo Jarvis and his incredible performing groinage - with Love This:



Another mid-summer fave was a little Gallic number by Dombrance featuring Sourya - The Witch:



Fabulously kooky Melbourne duo Parralox returned with the very entertaining single Sharper Than A Knife, first featured here in September:



That eternal pop hopeful from Blackpool Little Boots launched herself into the world of Disco back in July, with very pleasing results - it's Headphones:



Our Glorious Leader Queen Madge threw everything into promoting her new album MDNA during 2012, yet the pop world (tainted by eternal sniping from GaGa-ites and ageist journalists alike) failed to be set alight by any of it - despite her triumphant Superbowl appearance. The highlight of Madonna's musical year for me was Offer Nissim's remix of Girl Gone Wild (featuring the ever-gorgeous Kazaky), which I featured back in May:



Speaking of powerful camp gay icons, the music world here at Dolores Delargo Towers would be somehow incomplete without Amanda Lear - and, true to form, back in February she delivered the goods with the magnificent La Belle et la Bete:



A debut single that really caught my imagination was Solomon Grey's Firechild, as featured in November:



The Scissor Sisters made a very welcome return to form in April with the fantabulosa Only The Horses. [Sadder news followed towards the end of the year, when they announced they were "pursuing solo projects" for a while. No, not splitting up, of course.]



If ever there were to be an obvious successor to the Sisters' crown, it would be the ever-wonderful Hot Chip - who bounded back into our lives in June (a productive month it seems) with the fantabulosa Night and Day:



One of the most catchy (if possibly the least cool) tracks of the year was another from June, in the form of the folksy tones of Rumer and P.F. Sloan:



The ever-reliable Young Professionals treated us to a rather fab new number earlier this month - Be With You Tonight:



We missed seeing the decadent-sounding Mollyhaus at the Big Gay Lifestyles Show this Autumn - shame - I still love their Love Machine (as featured in May):



Speaking of the Gay Lifestyles expo, it would be churlish of me not to feature one of the highlights of that day, our friend Marcus Reeves's stunning new single Black Tears:



Once again from June, the superb Irrepressibles treated us to a new musical outing (and a semi-nude video to boot) - here's Arrow:



One of my fave Welsh arists Bright Light Bright Light had a killer of a song out in October - I loved it, it's Feel It:



It fell to one of the "old-timers" Miss Gloria Estefan, however, to provide us with the style and decadence we want and need from a dance number - her superb Hotel Nacional from way back in February was a treat!



Still echoing through my brain from November - courtesy of the incredible tonsils of Haringey's finest, Adele - is the theme to another of Britain's reasons to be proud during 2012, the new James Bond film Skyfall:



THE musical memory of 2012 for me has to be seeing our beloved Princess Kylie on stage for the first time at (one of the rare sunny days this year) Proms in the Park! Celebrating all year her 25th anniversary - with appearances for the Jubilee and many other guest slots on stage, film and TV, and an "Anti-Tour" of b-sides and rarities to boot - Miss Minogue's Abbey Road Sessions album is sublime, as is this, the single (featured in October) Flower:



Almost, but not quite, my favourite song of the year is Georgian Lesson 1-6 by the mad-as-hatters DeLaDap (as featured in late November):



However - and this is unusual for me to have two tracks by one artist in my favourites of the year - but there can only be one triumphal anthem for 2012. It just had to be the magnificent Scissor Sisters and Let's Have a Kiki!!



"And work and turn, and hu-hu-honey!"

Happy New Year!

[Let's hope it's a better one for music.]

2012 RIP



As 2012 draws to its gloomy, wet close, it is time to remember all those familiar names and faces we lost during the year. There are a lot of names on the list...

[Click on the links for my tributes to many of them]

Ronald Searle (English author, St Trinian's)
Eve Arnold (US photographer)
Bob Holness (UK TV producer and host)
Johnny Otis (US musician and record producer, "Godfather of Rhythm and Blues")
James Farentino (US actor - Dynasty)
Colin Tarrant (British actor - The Bill)
Etta James (US blues diva):

Something's Got A Hold On Me

Nicol Williamson (Scottish-English actor)
Jimmy Castor (US soul singer)
Dorothea Tanning (US surrealist artist and muse)
Ben Gazzara (US actor)
Whitney Houston (US wibbler)
Dory Previn (US singer-songwriter)
James Whitaker (English Royal correspondent)
Ken Goodwin (English comedian)
Frank Carson (Northern Irish comedian)
Davy Jones (English singer - Monkees)
Philip Madoc (Welsh actor)
Jocky Wilson (Scottish darts champion)
Earl Scruggs (US banjo musician)
Bert Weedon (English guitarist)
Norman St John-Stevas (Lord St John of Fawsley, UK politician)
Robert Sherman (US songwriter - Disney films)
Jack Ashley (Baron Ashley of Stoke, UK politician and disability campaigner)
Adam Yauch (US singer - Beastie Boys)
Brian Hibbard (Welsh singer - Flying Pickets)
Susan Tyrrell (cult US actress):

Witch's Egg


Richard Adler (US producer and composer - Pajama Game, Damn Yankees)
James Grout (English actor - Inspector Morse)
Yitzhak Shamir (former Israeli prime minister)
Nora Ephron (US screenwriter and film director)
Vidal Sassoon (English hairdresser and 60s trendsetter)
Donna Summer (US disco diva)
Robin Gibb (English-Australian singer, songwriter and BeeGee)
Nolan Miller (US fashion designer)
Ray Bradbury (US sci-fi author)
Victor Spinetti (Welsh actor-comedian)
Eric Sykes (English actor-comedian)
Ernest Borgnine (US actor)
Tony Scott (English film director - Top Gun)
Celeste Holm (US actress)
Sir Alastair Burnet (English journalist and TV newsreader)
Jean Morton (English children's TV personality - Tingha and Tucker)
Angharad Rees (Welsh actress)
Simon Ward (English actor - Young Churchill)
Mary Tamm (English actress - Dr Who)
Geoffrey Hughes (English actor - Eddie Yeats in Corrie)
Frank Wilson (US songwriter and producer)
Maeve Binchy (Irish author)
Carl Davis (US soul music producer)
Tony Martin (US crooner, Mr Cyd Charisse):

Prologue from "Pagliacci"

Gore Vidal (US author, social commentator and wit)
Chavela Vargas (Mexican singer)
Sir Bernard Lovell (UK astronomer)
Marvin Hamlisch (US songwriter and composer)
Anna Piaggi (Italian fashion writer and style icon)
Helen Gurley Brown (US author and editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan)
Scott McKenzie (US singer - San Francisco)
Phyllis Diller (US comedian and gay icon)
Nina Bawden (UK author - Carrie's War)
Neil Armstrong (first man on the Moon)
Allan Horsfall (UK gay rights activist)
Max Bygraves (UK comedian, singer and all-round entertainer)
Hal David (US songwriter and composer)
Terry Nutkins (UK naturalist and TV presenter)
Dorothy McGuire (US singer - McGuire Sisters)
Derek Jameson (UK journalist and TV presenter)
Michael Hurll (UK TV producer - Top of the Pops)
Andy Williams (US singer):

Music To Watch Girls By


Herbert Lom (Czech-English actor - Pink Panther)
Sylvia Kristel (Dutch actress - Emanuelle)
Clive Dunn (UK comedian and actor - Dad's Army)
Joe Melia (English actor)
Han Suyin (Elizabeth Comber, Hong Kong writer)
Richard Robbins (US composer - Merchant Ivory films)
Bill Tarmey (English actor - Jack Duckworth in Corrie)
Dinah Sheridan (English actress)
Larry Hagman (US actor - Dallas)
Oscar Niemeyer (Brazilian architect)
Dave Brubeck (US jazz maestro)
Ravi Shankar (Indian musician)
Sir Patrick Moore (English astronomer, TV presenter and eccentric)
Jenni Rivera (Mexican singer)
Kenneth Kendall (English TV newsreader and presenter)
Jack Klugman (US actor - Quincy)
Charles Durning (US actor)
Gerry Anderson (English producer, director and writer - Thunderbirds)
Sir Richard Rodney Bennett (UK composer and pianist)
Norman Schwarzkopf (American general)
William Rees-Mogg (UK journalist, former editor of the Times)
Fontella Bass (US soul singer):

Rescue Me

RIP, all...

Saturday, 29 December 2012

"Totty of the Day" #2 - double the fun!













Mr Ewan McGregor is not the only one to wet my whistle today...

Happy 40th birthday Mr Jude Law!

I spoil you bitches sometimes.

Dame Kate and Totty of the Day!



Arise, Dame Kate! - well not quite, it's Kate Bush, Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE), but it is a long-awaited honour for one of the UK's most successful female artists in history...

To celebrate, here is not merely my fave Kate Bush song, but my favourite pop song ever - Running Up That Hill:



Among a hefty list of New Year Honours announced today are (of course) Olympians - among whom are Sirs Bradley Wiggins and Ben Ainslie, fellow CBEs Jessica Ennis and Mo Farah, Ellie Simmonds and Andy Murray OBE - but not the maestro of the opening ceremony Danny Boyle (who apparently turned down the offer of a gong); Sir Quentin Blake (illustrator), Arlene Phillips (choreographer) and Tracey-fucking-Emin CBE, and Stella McCartney OBE...

...and über-totty (and dream houseboy here at Dolores Delargo Towers) Ewan McGregor OBE!











New Year Honours in full

Friday, 28 December 2012

Now come on down and do what you've gotta do



We're one step further towards seeing off what, in retrospect, has been a bit of a crap year for moi.

It is however the end of another week, and we have our parties to plan! Let's do it in style with the (unusually) classily-dressed Legs & Co and their unique interpretation of Don't Leave Me This Way by Harold Melvin and the Bluenotes...



Thank Disco It's Friday!

Have a good one...

Thursday, 27 December 2012

"I'm not making this up, you know!"



Ever wondered about the mysteries of grand opera?

Ever thought that Wagner's Ring of the Niebelung was impenetrable?

Here's another of today's birthday girls - whose centenary (unbelievably) I missed celebrating last year - Miss Anna Russell to make it all that much clearer for us.

Enjoy! (It's worth it...)







Anna Russell was a magnificently talented woman - in my opinion, one of the funniest of all the one-woman-show comediennes this side of Hermione Gingold, she was actually a trained pianist, wind instrumentalist, composer (she studied under Vaughan Williams) and singer who discovered early on in her career that her true talent lay in operatic parody. As well as Wagner, she laid comedic waste to the likes of Gilbert and Sullivan and the pretensions of operatic divas in a variety of singing styles.

Some po-faced devotees of Wagnerian opera publicly challenged her right to lampoon the great master, to which she replied: "I merely tell the story as accurately as possible and play the bits of music exactly as written. I can't help it if the story is absurd." In a significant show of support, however, the saintly Birgit Nilsson (one of the most lauded "Brünnhildes") recommended her students to listen to Russell's analysis of The Ring before tackling it.

Miss Russell was born in London, lived in Canada, and retired to Australia, where she died at the ripe old age of 94.

RIP.

Anna Russell (27th December 1911 – 18th October 2006)

[Thanks once again to Muscato for the reminder]

For the love of Irene



Over at Dolores Delargo Towers Museum of Camp, we celebrate once more the glory that was Marlene Dietrich. Sharing the same birthday in 1901, however, was an actress and screen presence celebrated for many different reasons.

Irene Handl was one of those many character actresses for whom the over-used phrase "national treasure" might have been coined. She was eternally cast to type as the chirpy Cockney, the battleaxe, landlady, housekeeper or long-suffering wife in movies as diverse as Brief Encounter, I'm Alright Jack (and several other Peter Sellers movies), The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes, School for Scoundrels, A Kid for Two Farthings, Spellbound, Make Mine Mink, two "St Trinians" films, two "Carry Ons", several "Confessions"-type soft-porn comedies, The Italian Job, Stand Up Virgin Soldiers and even the Sex Pistols' The Great Rock'n'Roll Swindle! Top that with myriad theatre and telly appearances in sitcoms (such as For The Love of Ada), sketch shows (often alongside the greats such as Frankie Howerd) and occasional dramas, hers was a very long and full career indeed.

We adored her. Here are just a few samples from the screen career of the marvellous Miss Handl:







Irene Handl (27th December 1901 – 29th November 1987).

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Thematic splendour no more



Never mind Xmas. It's been quite a couple of weeks for clearing the "list of people still alive" from our "Dead or Alive" list. In the past few days alone Kenneth Kendall, Jack Klugman, Charles Durning and Gerry Anderson have died - and Richard Rodney Bennett too...

Here's the musical moment for which perhaps the latter will most be remembered - the score for the classic Murder on the Orient Express:



Sir Richard Rodney Bennett (29th March 1936 - 24th December 2012). RIP.

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

It's traditional...



Ho, indeed.

Have a great time, bitches! No matter what today means to anyone, we've passed the Solstice, so it's all uphill from here. Roll on Spring, I say!

Read my exposé of the history of some Xmas traditions from last year.

Read my potted history of the Santa known as Claus from 2010.

Monday, 24 December 2012

Some things I hope don't turn up under the tree tomorrow




It's SOAP!












You made it a drag



It may be the Festering Season, it may be Xmas Eve, but some bitches are still working (at least for one more day!). I am rather hoping I'll be able to slope off early but who knows, with the Victorian workhouse ethic that operates in my office?

So, on this Tacky Music Monday we celebrate the final day in my Xmas countdown in the estimable company of The Supreme Fabulettes, with their new song that was written for them by Boy George - You Ruined My Xmas:



That cheered me up! Briefly.

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Dear Santa...







...it's not too much to ask for, is it?

More Tom Daley

The house smells funny



We're almost there...

Here's a lovely traditional song I always like to hear around this time of year:



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

There's somethin' stuck up in the chimney
And I don't know what it is
But it's been there all week long
Well the dog keeps barkin' up the chimney flue
And we don't know what we're gonna do
'Cuz there's somethin' in the chimney
And it doesn't move around
And it's been a week since Christmas

There's somethin' stuck up in the chimney
And I don't know what it is
But it's been there all month long
Well, it's jammed up tight above the fireplace
Now the house smells funny, such a big disgrace
That there's somethin' in the chimney
And it doesn't talk at all
And it's been there since last Christmas

There's somethin' stuck up in the chimney
And I don't know what it is
But it's been there all year long
I'll been waiting up for Santa like I did last year
But my brother says, he's already here...
And he's stuck up in the chimney
And he doesn't say a word
And he'll be there every Christmas


Bob Rivers, of course.

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Baby, it's cold outside...



...one lick, or two?

Hairy balls - hoo, ha!



Continuing our countdown to the "day of over-indulgence", it's time to let the carol-singers have a go - it's Dolores Delargo Towers' fave hairy homosexuals BearForce 1 with their Christmas is Here medley!



And as a bonus, here's the boys' eternal party anthem - always on the playlist at soirees round here...



BearForce 1

Friday, 21 December 2012

Glitter balls



I think I'll take a break from the Christmas music countdown - this morning at least - mainly because if you trawl (as I do, dear chums, just for you, at the end of every week) the archives of the genre we call "Disco" for Xmas jollies, the results are just too, too awful to even contemplate...

So instead, let's let our eternal sweethearts of glitterball-tastic dance choons The Ritchie Family unwrap their Xmas prezzies a little early...

It's a Man's World, indeed. And as we plan our final parties before the Festering Season, aren't we eternally grateful for that?!



Thank Disco It's Friday! Have a good one!

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Show us your Privates!



Madam Arcati and I trolled through the rain to go and see the much-anticipated opener for Michael Grandage's season of short-running plays at the Noel Coward Theatre - the "play with songs", Privates on Parade. We have both seen the film (with Dennis Quilley and John Cleese), and were curious how such a tongue-in-cheek satire would translate to the stage.

Of course, another main attraction was the prospect of seeing the multi-award-winning Simon Russell-Beale CBE (whose repertoire has over the years tended towards Shakespeare, Ibsen, Chekhov and Shaw rather than drag) donning the fishnets and Cuban heels to play the leading role of Acting Captain Terri Dennis, all dubious double-entedres and motherly queeniness. But "play it" he certainly does!



Brilliantly capturing the bittersweet and bizarre spectacle of a mincing theatrical queen somehow ending up in charge of a motley troupe of keen but naive (and largely gay) army entertainers, in the middle of guerilla warfare in the crumbling colonial outposts of Malaya, Mr Russell-Beale shines out as brightly as the sequins on his frocks. His set-pieces, uproariously "impersonating" Marlene Dietrich, Carmen Miranda and even Vera Lynn, were pantomime perfection. Yet behind each and every one, the subtleties and sadness of the situation (the futility of the struggle to prop-up the British Empire, the corruption, the waste of young lives) filter through - not least in our favourite number, the show-stopper Could You Please Inform Us (Who It Was That Won The War?), in the style of Noel Coward.



The aforementioned army troupe - the "players" of the Song And Dance Unit South East Asia (SADUSEA) - provided some excellent supporting campness, too (even if their vocal arrangements could probably do with a bit of polish). It is in the boys' individual back-stories that the pathos begins to unfold, to take the glitter out of the lurex a little. Joseph Timms is the play's pretty-boy hero Private Flowers, whose progress from "virgin soldier" to "career soldier" is both charming and chilling. At first it is the charms of the company's solitary female member, the half-Welsh half-Indian Sylvia (Sophiya Haque), for which he falls, but by the end, his first love is the British Army and a conventional life...

The unlikely (and ultimately doomed) relationship between the scent-wearing Charley (Harry Hepple) and the constantly-swearing - and still married - Len (John Marquez) provides waspish banter, sentimental moments and desperate tragedy in turn. The pathetic self-assurance of the geeky "Erica" (Brodie Ross), with his refusal to cope with the truth of his fiancee's betrayal, and the false bravado of the "straight man" of the group Kevin (Sam Swainsbury) are also beautifully played out.

In one of the best-written roles, the song-and-dance ensemble have to contend with a loony, bible bashing Major (played by Angus Wright with a much less madcap air than John Cleese but nonetheless subtly deranged) whose rabid desire to defend the Empire from the Commies creates far more danger than any of the jungle inhabitants. Of course, it is his intervention that directly destroys the carefully built-up cosiness of their little theatrical "bubble", and leads us to the story's emotion-tugging denouement. In fact, throughout the action, there is a dark side looming. The military camp's silent Asian attendants are obviously plotting subterfuge throughout. The soon-to-be-late unlamented bullying Sergeant Major (Mark Lewis Jones) is a wife-beater, a thief and a gun-runner, selling beautifully-made British armaments to the very guerillas whose insurgence his men are disastrously atempting to put down. There is definite sense that everyone is trying to run away from something (whether it is Sylvia's dreams of living in Britain, or Captain Dennis's warnings about the UK's growing persecution of the gays back home) - and showbiz is the only escape!

Despite its shocking moments, and its sometimes uncomfortably blunt exposure of the stupidity, racism, homophobia and arrogance of post-war British attitudes, this is definitely not a gloomy play. There's a musical duet between two ostensibly straight hunks about masturbation fantasies, a nude shower scene (the privates were definitely on parade, much to our delight!), lots of silly jokes, great songs, and as much camp humour as the Paul O'Grady Christmas Show, for gawd's sake!

This show provides more class in one or two of its carefully-delivered quips than in the whole of most of its theatrical competitors.

We loved it!



Privates on Parade - book today!

O Tannenbaum



As the countdown to Xmas continues, and I still have some shopping left to do - which means braving the hordes of the great unwashed - here's an appropriately tasteful little number from the annals [sic] of "Mr Hanky the Christmas Poo":



Even that is better than Wood Green Shopping City.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Ho Ho Ho



Continuing my countdown to THAT day...

Here he comes...:



Indeed.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Xmas, my ass



One week to go and it'll all be over for another year.

I suppose I'd better start my usual countdown in this Festering Season - and in a most appropriate way, methinks!



Merry Kiss My Ass, indeed...

Monday, 17 December 2012

A new step every day



It's another Monday - and, because Xmas falls on a Tuesday, not the last one before the great lock-down.

To cheer our spirits on this Tacky Music Monday as we head for a week of gloom, false jollity, and stupid colleagues wearing reindeer antlers and/or flashing ties in the office, here's a clip that I always find uplifting - it's Georges Guetary and his feather-clad tiller girls, in I'll Build a Stairway to Paradise from An American in Paris:



How life should be...

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Eurovision and Hallelujah



As if things weren't already turning bad for the Eurovision Song Contest - I reported previously that Poland, Portugal, Greece and Cyprus are either not participating or at least have threatened not to, and more recently Turkey, Slovakia and Bosnia Herzegovina have announced their withdrawal - but now comes the ghastly news that a bloody Salvation Army band is poised to represent Switzerland at next year's Eurovision Song Contest in Sweden.

Read the BBC article

I hate the Sally Army. I know they run homeless shelters and all that, but I also know they do it with a blanket in one hand and a Bible in the other. They oppose booze and pubs, yet are always rattling their tins in them at this time of year. I particularly hate their brass-band "Hallelujah-chorus" busking. Thankfully they don't have bells like they do in other countries, otherwise I would be tempted to shove it where the sun don't shine.

Most of all, however - and this is where I do hope the Eurovision organisers step in and block them from entering - I hate their abject homophobia. They are the self-styled "God's Army", and to them all buggers are sinners, to be blamed, not pitied.

From the The Rational Wiki
The Salvation Army officially maintains that homosexuality is a "sin" and that gay people should be celibate and has refused charity money or assistance to gays. George W. Bush exempted the organization from anti-discrimination laws despite federal funding. They also threatened to move out of New York City after a city ordinance ruled that all organizations receiving funding from the city would be required to pay benefits to the spouses of gay employees. A state court ruled that Mayor Michael Bloomberg did not have to enforce the ordinance. As a result, a number of LGBT activist groups have boycotted the Salvation Army.

In 2012, an Australian Salvation Army official called for all LGBT to be "put to death", during an interview discussing the Army's manual Salvation Story: Salvationist Handbook of Doctrine. A number of Australian celebrities and groups have called for a boycott of the Salvation Army.
According to the report, they may yet not succed in entering. Political songs are forbidden and it is thought the Salvation Army's Christian affiliation may fall foul of the Eurovision rules.

Good.

ILGA article on the Sally Army

The Eurovision Song Contest will take place in Malmö, Sweden, on 18th May 2013.

"I fear on the whole, an ingénue role would emphasize her squint"



On the splendid occasion of that eternally inspirational icon of camp Sir Noel Coward's birthday, I think it appropriate to revisit the things I had to say on the occasion of his 110th anniversary in 2009:
It was for a very good reason that he was known as "The Master". His wit, camp, style and poise genuinely did epitomise a whole era of British life -through his plays, songs, music, acting, performance and sheer panache.

His stage productions including Cavalcade, The Vortex, Hay Fever, Private Lives, Design for Living, Present Laughter, Bitter Sweet and Blithe Spirit, and films such as Brief Encounter are forever embedded in the psyche as examples of what represents "Britishness" in classic 20th Century drama.

UK society (and indeed high society - among his close friends were Prince George, Duke of Kent, and Lord Louis Mountbatten) adored him so much that there was an almost universal decision to ignore his gay lifestyle and his long-term relationship with Graham Payne. ("There are still a few old ladies in Worthing who don't know", he said.)

After all, his film In Which We Serve and songs such as London Pride had been offically sanctioned as a major contribution to the war effort, and in real life he worked on behalf of the the Secret Service for much of WW2... The rest is history, as Sir Noel continued to be an internationally beloved dilettante until his death in 1973.

So without further ado, here is a cavalcade (geddit?) of the Master's finest moments...
Nina:

Noel Coward in Havana:


London Pride:


Mrs Worthington:


Noel Coward Society

Saturday, 15 December 2012

And I just cant hide it



Having finally been restored - after almost 48 hours - to the wonders of the interweb this afternoon, courtesy of a nice young gentleman from Virgin Media with nimble fingers, I note that no-one missed me.

Hey ho.



On checking things that may have passed me by while away, I stumbled across this fab - if brief - trailer for the new movie by that camp Spanish genius Pedro Almodóvar.

It's called I'm So Excited. It's a musical. It is set in the midst of a mid-air disaster. It's lead characters are trolley-dollies. Antonio Banderas is in it. It just has to be good!



I'm So Excited on IMDB.

Friday, 14 December 2012

FreeCell and Birdsong



The never-ending saga of our internet connection continues, as I got home yesterday to find our service was down - again! So I spent an evening obsessively playing FreeCell like it was 1998.

Never mind, eh? The Virgin Media engineer was at the house when I left for work this morning so hopefully we'll be back to normal later [although judging by previous experience I am holding out no hope of this]. I am posting this in work, trying to avoid being overlooked by the bosses :-)

And so, we have the end of another week to celebrate - in a suitable glittery fashion, of course. And who more glittery than the Supremes? OK, this track I'm Gonna Let My Heart Do The Walking from 1976 is hardly one of their most familiar or most lauded - six years on from the departure of Miss Ross, and five years since their post-Diana chart success - but it captures the spirit of the girls' final lurex-clad, defiantly harmonic days as they succumbed to the excesses of the Disco era.

It is almost a tribute to Miss Cindy Birdsong, too, on the eve of her 72nd birthday. I say almost, for by this stage of the game the feuding between Miss Birdsong and Miss Wilson had reached such a nadir that although Miss Birdsong sings on this single - and on all the tracks on the High Energy album (her last as part of the group) - her replacement Susaye Greene appears on the album cover and in this video.

Enjoy the last dying embers of a legend...



...and Thank Disco It's Friday!

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Where the action is



Time once more, my pretties, for some of the newer music I have taken a shine to lately!

I am thoroughly sick and tired of waiting for the new Cher video to accompany her much-leaked single (from her first new studio album in a decade) Woman's World, so here is the fabulous Charlie Hides instead:



And here is the single itself (audio only). It's rather reminiscent of Strong Enough, but that's no bad thing...



To compensate for the distinct lack of Cher-herself-ness, how about a little twisted gay burlesque? Thought so. Here's this year's Steve Strange/Jobriath wannabee, the performance artist known as Garek - Save The Queen, indeed!



I know I have featured Parralox - and this song - before, but I could not resist re-posting when I saw their brand new video for Sharper Than A Knife. It's rather fab:



Thanks again to the lovely Henry over at Barbarella's Galaxy, I have discovered the brilliant new release from that rather electro-tastic Danish combo Electric Lady Lab (here with Kato). With an excellent video to boot, they're Alive:



Another welcome return for the ever-fabulosa Young Professionals, who have become a firm fixture in my musical tastes over the last couple of years. With its customary (but unfortunately this time very brief) cameo from our fave gender-bender Uriel Yekutiel, the video features a fashion parade of the "fire on ice" collection by French designer Jean-Charles de Castelbajac. It's their new single, Be With You Tonight:



Saving the kitschiest for last - a discovery that has filled me with great joy, especially as we have a long-awaited week in Benalmadena to look forward to in the New Year! Here is another of those pound euro-shop-divas that Spain seems to specialise in, a sort of cross between Amanda LePore and Dana International, it's the enigma that is Yurena with her new single Go:



As ever, enjoy - and let me know what you think...

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Bye, folks!


"The Ancient Mayan calendar speaks of 12-12-2012 as the end of times as we know it, and the beginning of a new cycle of evolution for planet earth, humanity and the cosmos."
So that means today (or maybe 21st December, depending on which way round some people interpret the numbers) is offically (if you're a Mayan, that is) the End of the World!

We've been there before, of course. Knowing the tabloids' joy at using this kind of story to fill their pages, I am sure we will again.

Here's Miss Skeeter Davis (again) to cheer us up as we hurtle into oblivion...



I've started on the gin just in case :-)