Saturday, 31 August 2013

Shut that door!







One of the most successful camp (yet never "out" gay) comedians the UK ever produced - and "national treasure" - Mr Larry Grayson would have been 90 years old today.

Without him, his camp catchphrases ("Shut that door!", "What a gay day", "Seems like a nice boy", "Look at the muck in 'ere" and "Ooh, I've come over all limp") and his endless coterie of name-dropped (but never seen) friends including "Everard", "Slack Alice" the miner's daughter, "Pop-it-in Pete" the postman, "Apricot Lil" the jam factory girl and "Once a Week Nora", would such mincing stars as Julian Clary, Dale Winton, Graham Norton and even such legends as John Inman have been so accepted?



Like his contemporaries Kenneth Williams, Charles Hawtrey, Dick Emery and Frankie Howerd, Larry made campness an entertainment artform via revues, stand-up and variety shows. Unlike them, however, he was almost 50 by the time he got his biggest (TV) break.

Here, from a tribute show [all five parts are available on YouTube], is a hilarious selection of examples of the genius that was Larry Grayson:



He was a lifelong friend of the matriarch of Britain's one-time second most successful (after Coronation Street) soap Crossroads, Miss Noele Gordon [read my blog about her] - they even played a trick on the papers by pretending to be engaged - and here are a few more examples of Mr Grayson's craft, wherein he continually name-checks the great lady:



Facts about Larry Grayson:
  • Born William Sully White, his mother was unmarried and he was initially brought up by friends of his mother who had two daughters. His foster mother died when he was six and he was subsequently raised by the younger of the two daughters, Florence. Throughout that time his real mother regularly visited and he knew her as Aunt Ethel.
  • He started his career singing bawdy songs in workmen's clubs, and later donned a wig and a frock and became a female impersonator using the stage name Billy Breen.
  • He eventually called himself Larry Grayson, taking the surname from the actress Kathryn Grayson.
  • Late in his career, his act was spotted by impresario Peter Dulay, who brought him to London, where he appeared in revue, panto, at Danny La Rue's nightclub and even at the London Palladium. It was here he made the jump to television, after being spotted by Lew Grade who gave him his own ITV show. From there, of course, he became the UK's top-rated television star in the 80s when he took over The Generation Game, and history was made.
Larry Grayson (31st August 1923 – 7th January 1995)

Larry Grayson obituary in The Independent

The ideas man



“Men die but an idea does not.”"

Responsible for shows such as Brigadoon, Gigi, An American in Paris, Royal Wedding, Camelot, Paint Your Wagon, On a Clear Day You Can See Forever and My Fair Lady; songs including I Remember It Well, Take Care of This House, Almost Like Being In Love, Come Back To Me, If I Ever Would Leave You, On the Corner of the Rue Cambon, One More Walk Around the Garden, Wand'rin' Star, The Night They Invented Champagne, Show Me, I Could Have Danced All Night and hundreds more - Mr Alan Jay Lerner, who was born 95 years ago today, was a powerhouse of the great American musical tradition.

He collaborated with great composers such as Kurt Weill, André Previn, John Barry, Leonard Bernstein, Burton Lane and Charles Strouse, but - of course - it was for his five-decade partnership with Frederick Loewe that his name will forever be remembered.

Here is a small selection of Alan Jay Lerner numbers, in celebration...

Fred Astaire and Jane Powell, goofing it up on How Could You Believe Me When I Said I Love You When You Know I've Been a Liar All My Life from Royal Wedding:



The incredible tonsils of Dame Shirley Bassey on If I Ever Would Leave You:



And finally - the classic combination of Bing, Frank, Peggy and Louis, with a never-to-be-repeated version of I'm Glad I'm Not Young Any More:



Facts about Mr Lerner:
  • In his fifty-year writing career, he won three Tony Awards, three Academy Awards, two Golden Globes, the Johnny Mercer Lifetime Award for lyric writing and a Kennedy Center Honour.
  • His show Lolita, My Love (with John Barry), which opened and closed in 1971, lost $900,000, much of it Mr Lerner's money. Its lead song was Going, Going, Gone.
  • Andrew Lloyd Webber wanted Alan to write the lyrics to The Phantom of the Opera (he did write Masquerade), but he had to leave the project due to the effects of an undiagnosed brain tumour.
  • He turned down an invitation to write the English-language lyrics for the musical version of Les Misérables.
Alan Jay Lerner (31st August 1918 – 14th June 1986)

[My tributes to Mr Loewe are here and here.]

Friday, 30 August 2013

You know you’ve got only one chance



As the long, warm summer continues here in London, it is worth remembering this is nothing compared to summers past.

In this week thirty-seven years ago, the UK experienced a phenomenon - the first rain fell in almost four months! The Summer of '76 has indeed become a bit of a legend. The average temperature over the whole summer (June, July, August) was 64F (17.77C), and for 15 consecutive days from 23rd June to 7th July inclusive, temperatures reached 90F (32.2C). As a child, I loved it! We ate more ice cream than I ever had in my life.

Another person who must have loved it was a certain Miss Tina Charles, who was one of the best-selling artists (and certainly the most successful UK female artist) of that year - two hit albums, a Number 1 single (I Love To Love) and two Top Ten hits; one of which was this one...

So let's pull on our very best frilly midi-dresses, flick our locks and wiggle along with Tina - and Dance Little Lady, Dance... Thank Disco It's Friday!



Tina Charles on Wikipedia

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Shhhhhhhhhhh!



As we welcome the news that Europe's largest public library is about to open in Brirmingham, our friend and fellow Polari-ite, author Helen Smith has drawn my attention recently to a new kind of "superhero", if one hardly likely to be portrayed by the likes of Famke Janssen in lycra - a librarian who is so lauded she has her own action figure!

Miss Nancy Pearl is indeed some kind of "hero". In this world of trendy, ten-second-memory, instant commentary, instant self-publishing, she has taken on the challenge of championing the far more gratifying world of books - to an American audience ostensibly more obsessed with reality TV and making complaints about nipples on telly than reading.



Starting with her native Seattle, where she became something of a local celebrity on radio and in the papers for her campaigns, she really caught the attention of the wider public with her advisory guides to good reading, snappily-titled Book Lust. Such was the attention she garnered by her dogged championing of often out-of-print titles that none other than the world-conquering Amazon agreed to re-publish six novels from her lists every year, in print and electronic formats!

As a former librarian myself, I applaud the lady's efforts in support of the (printed) written word. Too many libraries have tried to turn themselves into "one-stop-shops" for web-based information sourcing and research (glorified "internet cafés"), while running down their actual physical book collections. Miss Pearl speaks out - loudly - about redressing the balance in favour of the book itself as something to enjoy.

"The role of a librarian is to make sense of the world of information. If that's not a qualification for superhero-dom, what is?" - Nancy Pearl

Here's a most appropriate number as a tribute to the plucky Miss Pearl - what else but Marian The Librarian from The Music Man?



Nancy Pearl official website

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Guilty pleasures of the Soul









Confession time. I have to admit that despite his perceived "naffness", I have always loved David Soul - who celebrates (gulp!) his 70th birthday today - for his classic 1970s music.

Guilty pleasures, I suppose, but these two alone are great songs...

Going In With My Eyes Open:


Silver Lady:


Facts about Mr Soul:
  • He was the UK's best selling artist in 1977, and Starsky and Hutch was one of the most popular police drama series of the decade.
  • David has been married five times and has five sons and a daughter.
  • He starred (in French) with Anne Giraudau and Line Renaud in the television miniseries Les filles du Lido in 1995.
  • As well as playing the original lead in Jerry Springer The Opera, he also starred in the West End revival of Mack and Mabel.
  • In September 2004, David became a UK citizen.
Happy birthday, David!

David Soul (born David Richard Solberg, 28th August 1943)

Read my tribute to Mr Soul on his 65th birthday.

El tango te espera



"El tango te espera" [Tango waits for you] - Aníbal Carmelo Troilo

Simply because the ever-wonderful, ever-eclectic BBC Radio 3 played a version of this song this morning (I am at home off work with this bloody frozen shoulder), I felt a little Tango might brighten the mood...

Here's the beautiful Pasion by Rodrigo Leao and Lula Pena:



Sigh.

I wish I could move like that.

(Or at all, presently, where my arm is concerned.)

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

A Woman's World, Bitch!



The lyrics to Cher's Woman's World - as read by Jackie Collins?!



Campness abounds...

Thought for the day



Yee-ha!

Monday, 26 August 2013

As a boy



It may be a Bank Holiday, but here at Dolores Delargo Towers it is Tacky Music Monday all the way...

Here's some groovy yé-yé music to brighten up our morning, courtesy of today's birthday girl Chantal Renaud (here looking remarkably like Susannah York's lesbian character from The Killing of Sister George auditioning for Star Trek), and Comme un garçon:



Mlle Renaud progressed from covering French pop songs to be the wife of former Quebec Premier Bernard Landry, apparently.

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Hazy sophistication


Norman Hartnell, arch sophisticate

It's a strange day indeed. The garden is all bent and broken after yesterday's and this morning's storms, and all of a sudden the sun is blazing. Ah the joys of a British summer.

I, unfortunately, have developed a painful "frozen" shoulder and am currently meandering in a Nurofen Plus haze - so my plan to sort the wreckage out is somewhat unlikely to happen.

Instead, I think I'll play something soothing and carry on feeling slightly sorry for myself.

Here's a shining example of "how life should be", "The Sophisticate":



Music: Ich Schlafe Mit Meinem Moerde by Martin Böttcher.

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Eastern eye



We're off for a guided tour of the fantastic Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology today, and I can think of few better ways to spend a damp, humid afternoon.

To accompany the day's adventure, let's take a musical trip to a more modern Egypt (in happier days, given its current civil strife), and have a bit of a bop with one of their finest singers Sa'd El Soghayar - surrounded as he is (and we would like to be) by the cream of Egyptian totty and some rather camp ladies - and Ya Rab Kol El Banat Tetgawez:



Youm sa'eed!

Indeed.

Friday, 23 August 2013

Sunshine and Herbie


We love the sunshine

The last Bank Holiday weekend of the year until Xmas hoves into view, and Britain applauds the fact that at least some of it (mainly today, unfortunately) is going to be warm and summery.

Let's celebrate the start of this long party weekend by splaying our black wide-collar shirt outside our white polyester suit, strapping on the vocoder and harmonising along with the wonderful Herbie Hancock and his classic sultry summer hit from this week in 1978, I Thought It Was You...

Thank Disco It's Friday!



Happy memories.

Have a funky weekend, dear reader!

Herbie Hancock official website

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Oh, no, my friend...



As we discover that the ever-classy Beyonce managed to spend £1,500 on fried chicken last weekend, there is only one song that I think is appropriate...

Kit & McConnel - Nando's:



Indeed.

Nando's chicken restaurants

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

I lose myself in the beat of the drum



After almost a year since the song was first leaked (I featured it in December 2012, and it had been around for ages before that), Cher has finally released the official HD video for her single Woman's World.



Was it worth the wait?

Answers on the back of a postcard to the usual address...

Cher official website has details of the forthcoming album Closer to the Truth, which is due out (allegedly) on 24th September 2013.

And the world will be a better place



Birthday girl Miss Jackie DeShannon appears to have got herself trapped in the middle of a provincial flower show...



Jackie DeShannon (born 21st August 1944)

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

I've got the key to another way



Timeslip moment...

Two decades ago, Bosnia was in the midst of its civil war, UK politics was rocky - John Major's government was on the back-foot over unemployment and the Maastricht Treaty, and "sleaze" was apparently everywhere (Asil Nadir, tax scams in big business) - the IRA was still bombing, and the Channel Tunnel, MI5, the James Bulger and Stephen Lawrence murders and Princess Diana were making the news headlines.

It was also a great year for dance music. From this week in August 1993, here's the Urban Cookie Collective and their massive club classic The Key The Secret!



Still sounds good today. Even if it makes me feel old.

Monday, 19 August 2013

Monday is a drag



A sunny Monday. Is there anything in this world that makes me want to go to work less?

Sigh.

Let's have a bit of outrageous Italian TV to cheer us up this Tacky Music Monday - in the company of Lino Banfi and Christian de Seca. Tacky drag-a-go-go...



Have a good week, peeps!

[Thanks again to Madam Arcati for this one!]

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Totty of the Day



The very lovely (and recently out-gay) Mika celebrates his 30th birthday today...









I always have had a soft (or is it hard?) spot for him.

My favourite Mika number is this, a song that always evokes thoughts of holidays - it's Relax...



Took a ride to the end of the line
Where no one ever goes.
Ended up on a broken train with nobody I know.
But the pain and the (longings) the same.
(Where the dying
Now I’m lost and I’m screaming for help.)

Relax, take it easy
For there is nothing that we can do.
Relax, take it easy
Blame it on me or blame it on you.

It’s as if I’m scared.
It’s as if I’m terrified.
It’s as if I scared.
It’s as if I’m playing with fire.
Scared.
It’s as if I’m terrified.
Are you scared?
Are we playing with fire?

Relax
There is an answer to the darkest times.
It’s clear we don’t understand
But the last thing on my mind
Is to leave you.
I believe that we’re in this together.
Don’t scream – there are so many roads left.

Relax, take it easy
For there is nothing that we can do.
Relax, take it easy
Blame it on me or blame it on you.

It’s as if I’m scared.
It’s as if I’m terrified.
It’s as if I scared.
It’s as if I’m playing with fire.
Scared.
It’s as if I’m terrified.
Are you scared?
Are we playing with fire?

Relax
Relax


Facts about Mika:
  • He was born Michael Holbrook Penniman, Jr. in Beirut, to a Lebanese mother and an American father.
  • As a child in Paris Mika was trained by Alla Ardakov (Ablaberdyeva), a Russian opera professional, and he has a vocal range of three to five octaves.
  • He was winner of the BBC's Sound of 2007 poll, and won the BRIT Award for Best British Breakthrough Artist in 2008.
  • After much prevarication about "labelling" his sexuality, he finally came out as a gay man in a magazine interview just over a year ago, in August 2012.

Mika (born 18 August 1983)

Bladmuziek



Another quick compilation of the latest "newer" music to cross my conciousness is due, methinks...

I first heard this wondrous number a couple of months ago, but, still pondering on all things Dutch after our fab weekend in the 'Dam last week, I realise I haven't yet featured the latest from Holland's finest (and house fave here at Dolores Delargo Towers) Miss Caro Emerald. It's a bit of an anthem for my life. It's Liquid Lunch...



Taking a trip from the sassy campness of the Netherlands to the electro-dance music wonderland that is Sweden, here's the new single from the lovely Oh Land - Renaissance Girls. It's rather hypnotic:



One that was introduced to me (once again) by the lovely Henry at Barbarella's Galaxy, with one of the cleverest videos I have seen in a long time, is the rather fab Safe and Sound by Capital Cities:



Father Tiger, a gay LA duo led by the incredibly cute singer Greg Delson, has released a most catchy new single First Love (a portion of the iTunes proceeds of which will be donated to fight for marriage equality in the USA). You really must watch this wonderful video through to the end...



Cranking things up a level, here's a sexy new production by former Kazaky collaborator the Greek wannabee-sex-bomb Andreas for his new single Another World. Meaty, beaty big and bouncy - I love it!



We have been in mourning here at the Towers since we learned that the uber-kitsch BearForce 1 had split up. However - joy of joys! - their former singer, Belfast-born Robert Brown, now known as Circuit21, is back in business, with a remix of his new single - a cover of the EG Daily Hi-NRG classic Love in the Shadows - by DJ Cahill, no less. This is truly fabulous...



And finally... after a gap of 22 years, the long-awaited third release in the Music of Quality and Distinction series from the Martyn Ware (of Heaven 17 and early Human League fame) side project British Electric Foundation has been released! These collections - the first of which way back in 1982 is an all-time fave, and was responsible for the massive relaunch of Tina Turner's career in the 80s - feature contemporary artists providing a new "spin" on old (and often obscure) songs.

With its spooky themed video, from Music of Quality and Distinction volume 3 Dark (which also features Sandie Shaw, Andy Bell, Boy George, Sarah Jane Morris and Green Gartside among others) here's our very own Kim Wilde covering Stevie Wonder's Every Time I See You I Go Wild - fang-tastic!



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

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Your groove I do deeply dig







Heavens.

In the stress of adapting back to the world of work and all that goes with it after Amsterdam, I neglected another "fabulous at fifty" birthday on Thursday...

Many (belated) happy returns to a true example of a "triumph of art over nature" - it's Lady Miss Kier!



The chills that you
Spill up my back
Keep me filled with
Satisfaction when we're done
Satisfaction of what's to come

I couldn't ask for another
No I couldn't ask for another

Your groove I do deeply dig
No walls only the bridge
My supperdish, my succotash wish

I couldn't ask for another
No I couldn't ask for another

Groove is in the heart
Ah-ah-ah-ah
Groove is in the heart
Ah-ah-ah-ah
Groove is in the heart

The depth of who to groove
moves me too, I'm seein' who
we're going through too, hard nasty, who woo

I couldn't ask for another
No I couldn't ask for another

DJ Soles, it's time to roll
I've been told, he can't be sold
he's not vicious or malicious
just lovely and delicious

I couldn't ask for another


Lady Miss Kier

Friday, 16 August 2013

Unrespectful?



Russia's top female pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva thinks it is "unrespectful" [sic] that any athlete competing in the Winter Olympics (due to be hosted by that increasingly fascist regime) should dare to show solidarity for gay people who suffer bigotry and state-sponsored hate under new laws in her homeland.

How bloody dare she!

According to this so-called "Olympic Ambassador", it is OK for Russia to endorse bullying and open discrimination against its own LGBT citizens, on the basis of "banning propaganda of 'non-traditional sexual relations'”.

Showing exemplary respect for her fellow man, Miss Isinbayeva declared:
“If we allow to promote and do all this stuff on the street, we are afraid about our nation because we consider ourselves like normal, standard people.”

“We just live with boys with woman, woman with boys. Everything must be fine. It comes from history. We never had any problems, these problems in Russia, and we don’t want to have any in the future.”
Let me point out to the unlovely Yelena a few of the things that have happened recently to "normal, standard people" in Russia who just happen to be gay:
  • This year, there have been at least two killings motivated by anti-gay bias in the country, including
    • A 23-year-old Volgograd man whose skull was smashed after he was raped with beer bottles.
    • A gay man in a village on the Kamchatka peninsula on Russia's eastern coast who was stabbed and trampled to death by three men, and his body set alight.
  • In June Moscow Pride co-Founder Nikolai Alekseev was physically and verbally attacked by three skinheads who shouted "Fuck off to Europe you faggot".

  • In May, a gay activist was attacked in front of Moscow's State Duma. Six more were detained last month after attempting to stage a protest outside a children's library in the Russian capital.

  • Russian legislator Vitaly Milonov, an outspoken proponent of Russia’s Orthodox Church, who drafted the anti-gay bill, has branded gay people "perverts," and has accused LGBT activists of colluding with Western governments to convert Russian children into homosexuals.

Thankfully, some Olympic athletes are standing firm in their statements of solidarity with gay people. From the Independent:
American 800m runner Nick Symmonds, who won silver in his event on the same night as Isinbayeva leapt to her gold... {said} he would dedicate his medal “to my gay and lesbian friends back home”.

Responding to Isinbayeva’s comments, Symmonds said: “It blows my mind that a young, well-travelled, well-educated woman would be so behind the times. She said ‘normal, standard people’ in Russia? Guess what – a lot of these people with Russian citizenship are normal, standard homosexuals. They deserve rights too.”

Today, two Swedish athletes, Emma Green Tregaro, a high jumper and former World Championship bronze medallist, and 200m and 400m runner Moa Hjelmer, both painted their nails in rainbow colours in a public show of support.
I just might do the same.

And you can dance, for inspiration



Reasons to be cheerful: it's the end of my first few days back in work after Amsterdam, the Vivien Leigh archive - including her diaries, which I hope are salacious - will go on show at the V&A next year, and it's The Queen's 55th birthday today!

Many happy returns to Madonna Louise Ciccone, Our Glorious Leader, and let us all get Into The Groove...



Thank Disco It's Friday!

Madonna

Thursday, 15 August 2013

One more covered sigh



Timeslip moment again...

Thirty years ago this week, one of my favourite songs in the world entered the UK charts.

It is significant for a number of reasons:
  • It forever evokes thoughts of sultry, beautiful summery weather - it was sweltering in 1983, as I recall.
  • Emerging from the ashes of The Jam, The Style Council managed what many "post-post-punk projects" did not, and became almost as successful and respected as their predecessor.
  • With its homoerotic video, evoking the zeitgeist of the wildly popular Brideshead Revisited, this was the first time that I ever found Paul Weller sexy. Definitely a factor in my coming-out the following year.
As Britain has actually had one this year for a change, here's the highly appropriate Long Hot Summer...



I play out my role
Why, I've even been out walking
They tell me that it helps
But I know when Im beaten
All those lonely films
And all those lonely parties
But now the feeling is off-screen
An the tears for real not acted, anymore

Im all mixed up inside
I want to run but I can't hide
And however much we try
We can't escape the truth and the fact is

Don't matter what I do
It don't matter what I do
Don't matter what I do
Don't matter what I do
Don't matter what I do
cause I end up hurting you

One more covered sigh
And one more glance you know means goodbye
Cant you see thats why
Were dashing ourselves against the rocks of a lifetime

(in my mind different voices call)
What once was pleasure nows pain for us all
(in my heart only shadows fall)
I once stood proud now I feel so small
(I dont know whether to laugh or cry)
The long hot summer just passed me by.


Simply gorgeous.

The Style Council

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Just what the world needs



From the BBC:
All 823 of Barbara Cartland's novels, including 57 previously unseen works, are to be published as a result of a new distribution agreement.

The collection includes 160 manuscripts the prolific romance novelist left behind when she died 13 years ago.

Branded The Pink Collection, 103 of those works have already been made available via the author's website.

It will be accompanied by The Eternal Collection, made up of dozens of existing titles, and a Spanish language collection.
Barbara Cartland official website

More Barbara Cartland at The Dolores Delargo Towers Museum of Camp

While you were away



We have only been away for a slightly extended weekend, but in that short time what have we missed?

That favourite of busybodies everywhere, the "anti-smoking crusade" took another pathetic turn. As usual The Daily Mash has it nailed.

The British dispute with the way Spain is behaving over Gibraltar continues. Let us hope that means the cost of holidays on the Costa del Sol start to come down - we are planning to get there again next February...

WordPress - the supposed biggest rival to Blogger (although I personally hate their interface) - removed an exposé by a trainee journalist on the vile fascist homophobic group calling itself "Straight Pride", supposedly as a response to a claim over US copyright law, and is now battling accusations of censorship.

We must have been awake on Monday night, but somehow managed to completely miss the massive Perseid meteor shower that was apparently visible over Europe and the Northern Hemisphere. If one of the bars or the sauna in Amsterdam had a glass roof I suppose we might have caught it.

Worst of all, we lost not one, but two of our most beloved divas here at Dolores Delargo Towers...

On Thursday, the night before our flight when we were staying with the boys in Essex, the lovely kooky-eyed portrayer of many an "outsider" role - and camp icon (if, for nothing else, her roles in Airport and Trilogy of Terror) - Miss Karen Black departed to Fabulon. Here she is singing in her own inimtable way; with an all-girl grunge band, of course:



And then on my actual birthday - although we wouldn't have noticed, as we never switch on the news or read a paper when we're away - came the very sad news of the death of Miss Eydie Gormé (who I only recently featured on the occasion of her husband Steve Lawrence's birthday)...



[PS Miss Gormé features as our latest exhibit in the Dolores Delargo Towers Museum of Camp]

RIP both.

Now we're definitely back to reality.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Grachten, cocktails, broodje and Angela Lansbury



We had a fab time in Amsterdam!

We toured the grachten...



We drank...



We sang...



We did the infamous "Kylie Wave" to All The Lovers...





We ate (mainly broodje, with the occasional pannenkoek)...



And drank...



We paid tribute to Angela Lansbury (we all wore badges with "I am Angela Lansbury" on them - it's an in-joke amongst our gang)...



...and to Tante Leen...





And drank some more...



Thanks to Madame Arcati (Tony), Hils, Crog, Baby Steve, Alex, TJ, John-John, Russ, Joe, Paul, Jim, Ange, Alistair, Mark, Johnno and Ramon [and to the hosts at the Golden Bear Hotel, Café Rouge, De Spyker, Café Americain, Café t'Mandtje, de Engel van Amsterdam, Café De Barderij, Café René and the Queen's Head - plus, of course, to all the splendid men of the Thermos Sauna] for making it all so very, very memorable indeed...

In all, the absolute best way I could possibly have spent my 50th birthday!

Friday, 9 August 2013

Kleine jodeljongen



And so, dear reader, by the time you read this we should be well on our way for a well-deserved weekend - for my 50th birthday tomorrow - in the city of all cities, Amsterdam! I really cannot believe it has been three years since we were last there (I used to go at least once, if not more times, every year).

To celebrate, I have chosen some examples of the type of music we go there for!

We love an old-time pub sing-a-long. Over here, it is in in the tradtion of Music Hall tunes (Roll Out The Barrel, Oh What A Beauty, Down At The Old Bull And Bush, Let's All Go Down The Strand, that sort of thing).

In Holland, this tradition is called "Levenslied" ("Songs about Life").

And here are some of our beloved masters of that genre...

Manke Nelis - Kleine jodeljongen:


Wim Sonnenveld - Aan de Amsterdamse Grachten:


Tante Leen - Mijn Ouwe Amstelstad:


Johnny Jordaan - Geef mij maar Amsterdam:


Ik houd van Nederlandse muziek!

"Normal" service will be resumed on Tuesday...

Thursday, 8 August 2013

When green was cool



We couldn't really do a countdown to our Amsterdam trip without dipping at least once into the delights of the Eurovision Song Contest. It's almost as if Dutch oompah music and Eurovision were made for each other...

As this marvellous performance - from 1972, an era when green clothing was cool, and when all men simply had to look like Engelbert Humperdinck and all women like Sally Geeson - by Sandra & Andres proves. It's Als het om de liefde gaat [which according to the announcer means "What do I do?"].

All together, now!



Indeed.

Sandra Reemer

Dries Holten ("Andres")