Friday, 31 January 2014

I'm running free



I have been saving this up for a special occasion - and what better reason to feature Our Princess Kylie's (much-publicised) brand new single Into the Blue than now, as we head towards the land of sun, sea, sand and sangria? Into the blue, indeed...



I drew the smile upon my face
I paved the road that would one day leave me lonely
No angel's too good to fall from grace
If she lets go of whatever keeps her holy

But I'm still here holding on too tight,
To everything that I left behind
I don't care if this world is mine
Cause this is all I know

When I got my back up against the wall
Don't need no one to rescue me
Cause I ain't waiting up for no miracle
Yeah, tonight I'm running free
Into The Blue, Into The Blue
With nothing to lose, Into the blue

I'm not ashamed of all my mistakes
Cause through the cold
I still kept the fire burning
These memories that I can't erase
Always remind me I'm on an endless journey

But I'm still here holding on too tight
To everything I left behind
I don't care if this world is mine
Cause this is all I know

When I got my back up against the wall
Don't need no one to rescue me
Cause I ain't waiting up for no miracle
Yeah, tonight I'm running free
Into the blue, into the blue
With nothing to lose
Into the blue

I'll go where nobody knows
Wherever the wind is blowing
Even if I'm alone

When I got my back up against the wall
Don't need no one to rescue me
Cause I ain't waiting up for no miracle
Yeah tonight I'm running free
Into the blue, with nothing to lose
Into the blue.


It's a fab sunshine single, and I sincerely hope we'll be hearing a lot more Kylie on our week in Spain. She usually does provide the soundtrack for our holidays!

Kylie Minogue.

Of course.

Medallion hijack



I am on my first day of leave today, getting ready to go to Essex - one of the friends we are going to Spain with, Baby Steve and his other half (who is a teacher so can't join us, boo hoo) live conveniently close to Stansted Airport, and it is from there we fly.

However, I couldn't just up and leave without adhering to a long-standing tradition every weekend here at Dolores Delargo Towers... So, without further ado, let's hear from Spain's finest funky disco band Barrabás and their hit Hi Jack to steer us towards our holiday tomorrow.

This clip has everything - bad hair, beards and sideburns, satin shirts and medallions, flared trousers in infeasibly awful pastel tones, freaked-out dancers dressed in nylon salad-vegetable-coloured outfits. It's perfect - Thank Disco It's Friday!



Have a good weekend folks, shivering in the storms.

Barrabás on Wikipedia

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Swan protests!


Ballet dancers join Amnesty International activists during a photo call outside the Russian embassy in London on Wednesday. The dancers performed parts of Swan Lake before handing in a petition asking that Russia’s President Vladimir Putin “end his assault on freedom of expression and gay rights in Russia”.

From the BBC:
The UK government is to give extra funding to gay rights groups operating in Russia, amid concerns that homophobic attacks are increasing.

The Winter Olympics starts next Friday in the resort of Sochi, but a law against the "promotion" of homosexuality has overshadowed the event.


We'll see if even sexy swans can make any difference...

El corazon robando



Our holiday in Spain is only two days away now, and of course we are getting excited - it is such a long time since we had some sunshine in the UK. I can't wait...

Speaking of sunshine, here's a lady who can cheer anyone up - Senorita Mayra Verónica Aruca Rodríguez!

OK, so she is Hispanic rather than actually Spanish, and OK, she is a Simon-bloody-Cowell protégé and former - ahem - "model", but on hearing her infectious new single Mama Mia, I am prepared to forgive her anything!



Ay caramba! Roll on the holiday.

Mayra's official website

[Thanks again to the lovely Henry at Barbarella's Galaxy for highlighting this one.]

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Fame at last?



I may not be worthy of appearing on the cover like the lovelies above (nor, if truth be told, the print edition), but for the second year on the trot, my article to promote Camden and Islington LGBT History Month has been published by those lovely people at Beige Magazine on their website!

I even have a flattering "standfirst": "The persecution of LGBT people in Russia makes this year’s LGBT History Month more important than ever, says the inimitable Dolores Delargo."

And you can read it here - LGBT History Month – We are going, are you?

Apparently Camden and Islington's celebrations throughout February 2014 - as of today, more than 65 local events and counting! - make this the world’s largest local programme for LGBT History Month.



For further information about Camden and Islington LGBT History Month, read my previous blog.

Nuestra Señora de las plumas



Our holiday in Spain creeps ever closer, and methinks it is about time in this countdown to revisit an old favourite of ours.

Senorita María Jiménez (for it is she) is a magnificently eccentric creature - as I related in a previous blog, her voice was likened to "Bob Dylan singing flamenco", and her outspoken attitudes and eccentric clothing meant she was always in the news in Spain.

Here she is as a young woman, working her tits off in what appears to be a promo for the Spanish tourist board - it's Se Acabo:



...and here she is again, a little older but utterly fabulous. It's our fave clip of hers, and I make no apologies for featuring it again - it's Con dos cama vacias:



She's apparently not been well lately, and we wish her a speedy recovery, so she can keep on entertaining us with such campness!

María Jiménez on Wikipedia

My previous blogs about her may be found here and here

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Me supo dulce como la miel



As we count down the days to our week in the sunshine (we fly on Saturday), it is worth celebrating the fact that Spain has always been the proud purveyor of the kind of catchy music that brings us cheer, no matter what the time of year.

This makes them eminently suitable for the Eurovision Song Contest - as demonstrated in this remarkable performance from 1990 (it's one of my favourite Eurovision moments).

Encountering what might have been a disaster for a less sassy pair of performers - as, first act on to the stage, the sound system failed - the girls of Azúcar Moreno merely brush it off with sublime flair, and make a triumphant return to perform their fab song Bandido!



And recently, after six years of not speaking to each other, the sisters are back together performing.

Me encanta!

Monday, 27 January 2014

Más bonita



Tacky Music Mondays are a long-serving tradition here at Dolores Delargo Towers, and inevitably (just to cheer us up) serve to showcase divas (or wannabees) with big hair/voices/shoes, perhaps some gender-bending, preposterous dance routines involving tight-trousered "safety gays", and loads of arm-waving, gesticulating and over-emoting.

Or - as we start our countdown to our much-needed holiday in Spain on Saturday - in the case of the late, great Spanish flamenco star Rocío Dúrcal, all of the above in one appearance!

This is a badly-cut clip from her movie Más bonita que ninguna, but the camp extravaganza starts around four minutes in...



Rocío Dúrcal on Wikipedia.

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Dance, there's no tomorrow



Hot off the presses (and eternal thanks to Mr Paul O'Grady who played this tonight on his fab show on BBC Radio 2), I discover that none other than Dame Shirley Bassey has a new single out on 24th February!

With the unbeatable combination of the Dame's voice, one of the coolest DJ/musicians of the latin-trance-dance crossover sound (with hits such as Sunchyme, Dream to Me and Carnaval de Paris) Dario G and a remix by the camp masterminds behind Almighty Records, aka 7th Heaven, this is magnificent!

We Got Music, indeed.


Roll the dice, spin the wheel,
Relax, it's no big deal.
Attack, sustain, don't delay,
Release your mind, it's time for play.

Temperature's hot and risin'
I think you Know what's on my mind.
Dance, there's no tomorrow,
I can see a look in your eyes.

We got people, we got music,
Lots of lovin', lots of dancing.
Don't be shy, just feel the rhythm.
Maybe tonight, there's romancing...


The Bassey Blog

Heeeere's Googie!



"I was born with this voice."

"So was Yma Sumac!"


What better way to lift the spirits on this miserable wet Sunday than with a trip back to 1976, and an interview (by Gavin Millar for the BBC's Arena Cinema) with the lovely Rita Moreno ("Googie Gomez") and Richard Lester (the director) about one of my fave films of all time, The Ritz?

Here's Doug! Here's Tiger! And heeeere's Googie!"



I feel better already...

The Ritz

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Central Line reverie, ex-pat fetishism, Big Sister, angry poet standing and a movie stars' petting zoo



With a little nod to its past, Polari was relocated to a previous home (the Weston Pavilion) at the Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, last night, and we (Paul, little Tony, Jane, Emma, Toby, Wayne, Alex and I) were somewhat hemmed in by the crowd - we had forgotten how spoiled we have been in the capacious surroundings of our regular room on Level Five - but (inevitably) the heat of the smaller room gave our host Paul Burston the perfect excuse (as if ever he needs one!) to strip down to his beach-wear to show off his tan from his recent trip to Brazil (with hubby Paulo). And so it was with envy we looked on, pasty white and umbrella-bearing, as he opened proceedings for the first Polari of 2014...



Without further ado Paul introduced our first reader to the stage - Anya Nyx, novelist, writer, poet and artist, and proud wearer of wildly psychedelic tops.



Her new work in progress, which she is writing under the name Tanith Nyx, is described as "a lesbian-fantasy-adventure novel dealing with love, death, time travel and unicorns" (with a working title Palace of the Butterfly Bird). The extract she read for us delved into a mysterious time-travelling fantasy-world, in which women appear to be in charge of a "Big Sister"-dominated type of society, controlled from the top by regular uploads to a government computer of the dreams of its population. Entangled within this eerie dominatrix matriarchy, our lesbian heroine flirts with the powerful High Priestess... Anya's mainstream work is in teenage fiction, and it will be interesting to see if this novel with its gay theme, when finished, will capture that same audience.



Next to the podium was the very cute performance poet, fiction writer and educator Keith Jarrett - not to be confused with the American jazz pianist and composer, as he explained in his first poem about identity; other poems he read covered such diverse subjects as the country of his roots the Dominican Republic, race, language, and the Central Line(!)...and then there was this brilliantly funny one - A Gay Poem:



We loved it!

However, a treat of the highest campery was in store next when the marvellous former rock singer, collaborator with The Smiths and winner of the Polari First Book Prize in 2011 (none other than Julie Burchill described his memoir Autofellatio as "think Gloria Swanson in Sunset Boulevard finally finding Mr DeMille on her doorstep and you've got it. But with better shoes.") Mr James Maker - hot-foot from his home in Valencia in Spain - took the mike, to première a passage from his new work Axed Pat, due to be published this autumn.



A marvellous insight into the secrets of ex-pat suburbia, his tale (read in his customary deadpan Mancunian manner) involved the hypocritical scorn of a woman about the nudism of her gay neighbours in their Spanish settlement - yet the woman and her husband's excessive propriety conceals a lie that tells the truth; for in fact, their entire relationship has involved pandering to hubby's kinky fetish for her wearing a succession of plastic macs as a sexual kick! Hilariously funny and insightful, I can't wait to read it... [I did say to Mr Maker I thought his reading was akin to the "reincarnation of Elsie Tanner", and he seemed overjoyed at the compliment.]

Meanwhile, as an adjunct while we wait, here's Mr Maker's latest musical effort - a cover of an old Spanish torch song, Un Año De Amor:



After suitably sufficient break for a fag, a trip to the bar and a bit of a catch-up with some of the regulars (DJ, VG, Paul, Bryanne, Simon, Anni, Suzi and the rest) and the evening's readers, it was time to return to our seats for part two.



Opening the show was another "newbie", and a complete wake-up call, the angry "slam" poetry of Joelle Taylor, who, in addition to performing also co-ordinates numerous educational programmes and young poetry networks, working with some of the UK's most disadvantaged communities. The video for her Last Poet Standing (which was among the poems she read for us) has even been circulated to schools as a teaching aid. And here is is:



All very in-yer-face. I did feel - uncomfortably at times - however, that some of her polemic may have actually been directed at us, the decidedly non-"street" audience at the Southbank..

Finishing up with customary aplomb, I was delighted at the return of Mr Christopher Fowler to our stage - a writer whose work I have always admired (his blog alone is a joy to read). He is the multi award-winning author of over 30 novels and 12 short story collections, and his latest work includes the War of the Worlds video game with Sir Patrick Stewart, a graphic novel, a Hammer Horror radio play, the memoir Film Freak and the comedy-thriller Plastic, which took six years to get published.



It was from the latter two that he read extracts for us - the first, some wonderfully gossipy moments from his earlier career in the back-of-house end of the British movie industry, including the embarrassment of badly thought-out premières:
Film premières in the UK are much slicker affairs than they used to be.

Never ones to go in for subtlety, distribution companies once staged embarrassingly literal publicity stunts for their films until Hollywood executives stopped them. During the première for ‘Hair’ at the Dominion Tottenham Court Road the unimpressed audience was pelted with flowers, while the ushers were made to wear beads and long wigs that made them look like crazy old tramp-women. For the megaflop ‘Can’t Stop The Music’ we were encouraged to attend on roller skates, but the theatre had a steeply raked floor and everyone fell over. The distributors thought carefully about the latter, putting ‘music’ and ‘England’ together and coming up with a Morris dancing display outside the cinema.

The première of the killer-rodent movie ‘Willard’ was preceded by a giant red-eyed rat being driven about London on the roof of a window-cleaner’s van, while the vomit-inducing ‘Mark Of The Devil’ had its logo printed on sick-bags. More recently, the ‘Sex And The City’ première party housed its four leads in mocked-up movie sets separated by white picket fencing, like a kind of movie stars’ petting zoo. ‘Come on, we’ve stroked Sarah Jessica Parker, let’s go and feed Carrie-Ann Moss now!’
Hilarious stuff - but his second reading was a somewhat darker affair. When one gets a line in a novel like "My name is June Cryer, and I am a dead housewife", one just has to sit up and take notice! A tale of domestic infidelity, shopping obsession and art theft, Plastic sounds fantastic! [You can read the full intro to the novel that Mr Fowler read for us on his blog.]



With the customary photo line-up (everyone was encouraged to take photos - most done (brilliantly) by the lovely DJ (Diane) Connell - as our regular photographer Krys was unwell), that was, unfortunately it for another month. But what a bloody good start to another Year of Polari!

Next month's outing (on 28th February) is an LGBT History Month special, and features VG Lee, Rose Collis, Musa Okwonga, Jonathan Broughton and Colin Bell. It will be fantabulosa, and I can't wait!

Polari

Friday, 24 January 2014

If you want more, more, more, more



Daaahlings, the weekend is almost upon us - just one more week to go and we will be jetting off to the sunshine! Tonight we have the first Polari of 2014 to look forward to, it's pay day, and all is right in the world.

Especially if we grab the biggest can of Elnett in the world, tease our hairdos to the ceiling, and kick up our silver-strappy-sandal-clad heels in the company of the ever-wonderful Pointer Sisters (whose founding member Anita celebrated her 66th birthday yesterday).

Let's Jump for joy, and Thank Disco It's Friday!



Pointer Sisters official website

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Because I know it's amazing



Time, Laydeez'n'Germs, for my first selection in 2014 of the newer music that I have stumbled across recently, presented here for your delectation...

Let us open this shebang with a trio of Russian tarts pop performers calling themselves Serebro, and the totally infectious slab of Eurotrash that is Mi Mi Mi;



Not actually brand new, but new to me, the Gothenburg Gadjos are apparently Scandinavia’s hottest Balkan beat band. I love this type of music, and here is my pick of their crop - it's Osman Aga:



From Sweden to Canada, here is the latest from the very strange Austra, with their bewilderingly creepy video for the new single Hurt Me Now:



White Prism - aka Aussie singer Johanna Cranitch - takes us on a bit of a retro 80s trip with her new single, the esoterically-titled Song 52. Sort of "Sally Oldfield meets A Flock Of Seagulls", I reckon:



Upping the ante with a song that just about sums up most weekends for me (ha ha), here's Brighton's finest - and it is good to have him back! - Fatboy Slim with Riva Starr and Beardyman, and Eat Sleep Rave Repeat!



Now here's a novelty - a Mary J Blige song that I am rather keen on! Here she is, teamed with BRIT Awards nominees Disclosure, and F For You. [Eternal thanks to Kevin at The Lisp blog for this one!]



From the funky to the sultry, here's a soothing number (with a fab video) by Kyla La Grange - it's Cut Your Teeth:



Many, many moons ago (back in 2011, actually) I featured the maddest-of-mad bands by the name of Hi Fashion, and their very wonderful I'm Not Madonna. Well, I am glad to report that the fruit-loops have not gone away - and here's their newest, it's the fabulous Pupusa!



Last but not least [thanks, Jason at Night is Half Gone blog for drawing my attention to it!], and just because this is utterly magnificent, here's another song of theirs from a couple of years ago that is likely to become an anthem here at Dolores Delargo Towers... It is Amazing:



I don't care if you don't like my hair
Because I know it's amazing
And I don't give a damn if you don't like my tan
Because I know it's amazing
And I don't give two hoots if you don't like my boots
Because I know they're amazing
And I don't give a shit if you don't like my tits
Because I know they're amazing

Ah, amazing. Ah, Ah, amazing.
Ah, amazing. Ah, Ah, amazing.
Ah, amazing. Ah, Ah, amazing.
Ah, amazing. Ah, Ah, amazing.

I don't give a crap if you don't like my hat
Because I know it's amazing
And I don't give a poops if you don't like my hoops
Because I know they're amazing
I don't care if you're in my underwear
Because it all feels amazing
And I don't give a fuck if you think I suck
Because I know I'm amazing

Ah, amazing. Ah, Ah, amazing.
Ah, amazing. Ah, Ah, amazing.
Ah, amazing. Ah, Ah, amazing.
Ah, amazing. Ah, Ah, amazing.

I don't give a hurl if you say you like girls
Because I know that you're gayzing
And I don't give a bung if you say that you're hung
Because you're probably praising
And I don't give a fart if you say that you're smart
Because you're boring and lazing
And I don't like dicks 'cause I like chicks
And you know that's amazing

Ah, amazing. Ah, Ah, amazing
Ah, amazing. Ah, Ah, amazing
Ah, amazing. Ah, Ah, amazing
Ah, amazing. Ah, Ah, amazing


Phew! I think they are my favourite band of the moment...

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

Thought for the day

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Gentle finger waves



A Margaret Whiting moment...

Just because.



Pennies in a stream
Falling leaves from a sycamore
Moonlight in Vermont

Gentle finger waves
Ski trails down a mountain side
Snowlight in Vermont

Telegraph cables, how they sing down the highway
As they travel each bend in the road
And when people meet, in this romantic setting
They're so hypnotized by the lovely...

Evening summer breeze
Sweet warblings of the meadowlark
Moonlight in Vermont...


Margaret Whiting on Wikipedia

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Voice of the Beehive



Yesterday was - according to the more sensational of the tabloids - "Blue Monday", apparently the most depressing day of the year.

Our little gang was anything but "blue" last night, however. For (thanks to Wayne) we (Paul, little Tony, Bryanne, Simon and two more of Wayne's chums) had tickets to see none other than The Neasden Queen of Soul herself, Miss Mari Wilson singing her own interpretations from the songbook of our most mourned Patron Saint of Soul, Miss Dusty Springfield!





I had never been to the Jazz Café at Pizza Express in Soho before, and it is everything one might expect of its name... Occupying an atmospheric dark basement space that must at one time have played host to some of the more - ahem - "colourful" characters who traditionally inhabited our city's entertainment heartland [although not for very much longer if the bullies and vandals of Westminster Council have their way!], the ambience is utterly suited to intimate cabaret shows. And it serves pizza, of course.

Thus, as we finished off our over-priced Italian street-food, the divine former beehive-wearer took to our stage and captivated us from the outset. Miss Wilson is so loveable, so utterly down-to-earth in the way she engages her audience in chit-chat and asides, it is always a jolt to the senses when she opens her mouth and those marvellously powerful-yet-smooth jazzy vocals take over.



Dusty's music really does suit Mari's voice (unsurprisingly in 2000, Mari was the obvious choice to portray our diva in the hugely successful nationwide tour of Dusty the Musical). All of our favourites were here - I Close My Eyes and Count to Ten, Son of a Preacher Man, The Look of Love, I Just Don't Know What to Do with Myself, In Private, Son of a Preacher Man, Some Of Your Lovin', Am I The Same Girl?, Spooky and Brand New Me among them, and she did every one proud in the course of her two-hour set.

Among the highlights were her sublime, slow re-interpretation of I Only Want To Be With You, a truly spine-tingling rendition of Goin' Back, the most beautiful version of How Can I Be Sure?, and, best (and campest) of the lot - her melodramatic arrangement of Twenty-Four Hours from Tulsa, which gave her fab pianist an almost "Liszt-ian" moment, as with crescendo after piano crescendo, she twisted every emotion to its fullest ("I hate to do this to you; but I love somebody new. What can I do? And I can never, never, never...go home again..."). I was left utterly breathless. Sheer genius.

This was an unforgettably wonderful evening, and a bloody good way to start off the "Social Calendar" for 2014!

Here is Miss Wilson with just two of the numbers she sang for us last night:

How Can I Be Sure?


I Close My Eyes and Count to Ten


Mari Wilson official website

Monday, 20 January 2014

Krazy Kalimba



Groan. Another weekend is gone, and gloom descends...

Not so fast! Not while our Gallic Patron Saint Dalida (who would also have celebrated her birthday on Friday, alongside Eartha and Betty) is here to entertain us!

Here she is in a remarkably perplexing performance on this Tacky Music Monday - complete with a troupe of safety gays wearing full-face masks and a grinning semi-naked man with a horn - of a song that was probably more familiar as a Boney M track, it's Kalimba de Luna:



Have a good week... (I'm off to see the marvellous Miss Mari Wilson tonight, singing her unique tribute to another Patron Saint Miss Dusty Springfield - so at least that is something to look forward to!)

Dalida (born Iolanda Cristina Gigliotti, 17th January 1933 – 3rd May 1987)

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Stop stop stop Putin



The rumblings of anti-gay sentiment across the African continent and in Eastern Europe continue, but (hearteningly) more and more people are speaking out in opposition to the situation in such benighted countries as Uganda, Nigeria, Cameroon and, of course, with less than three weeks to go until the Sochi Winter Olympics, Putin's Russia.

Principle 6 of the Olympic Charter states that “Any form of discrimination with regard to a country or a person on grounds of race, religion, politics, gender or otherwise is incompatible with belonging to the Olympic Movement,” and the International Olympic Committee has confirmed that this includes sexual orientation. But in Russia, you can now be fined or arrested for speaking publicly about gay, lesbian, bi or trans issues. The new laws have fuelled a massive surge in anti-gay violence within the country.

To up the pressure on the vile dictator and his cronies, those clever people at the leading campaign organisation All Out have come up with a particularly effective-sounding campaign:
Athletes making political statements or gestures at the Games could be punished under the Olympic rules. But we've got a clever way around that. We're only asking them to publicly show their support for one of the Olympics' very own rules – Principle 6, which says no discrimination is allowed.

Snowboarder Belle Brockhoff has signed up, and so has the entire Australian men's bob-sled team! But we'll need more Olympians to publicly support Principle 6 and Russia's lesbian, gay, bi and trans people.

Athletes are in a unique position to make a difference right now – they could talk about Principle 6 at press conferences and interviews, and wear Principle 6 t-shirts when rules allow, to broadcast our message around the world.

President Putin has recently shown he's worried that global outrage about anti-gay laws and human rights abuses could ruin his Olympics. He changed his mind about banning protests at the Olympics site, and he released high profile political prisoners including Pussy Riot.

He wants the Olympics to be about showing Russia off to build political power and attract corporate dollars.

We can put that at risk, if we get the whole world talking about Russia's anti-gay laws instead. The outcry could be enough to get them to reconsider the laws.
To sign up to this excellent campaign, visit the All Out website at: http://www.allout.org/p6-GB

Merhandise and further information is available at: http://www.principle6.org/.

Please support the Principle 6 campaign!

And here is Dutch drag diva Dolly Bellefleur to reinforce the message in her own inimitable fashion:



There lives an evil man in Russia nowadays
He supports a law against lesbians and gays
Most people look at him with terror and with fear
'Cause he pulls the strings like a wicked puppeteer
It’s distressing how he is suppressing homosexuality
In the name of love we are protesting: Set our sisters free.?
Stop stop stop Putin – Drop your law at the Kremlin – Love is no crime it’s not a disease
Stop stop stop Putin – Your plans are so poisoning – For all the Russian LGBTs.


Indeed.

Everyone's critiquing



"Just look at all the awards shows now. It has turned into a catwalk. You have to be wearing a certain designer, a certain dress, and everyone's critiquing." - Portia de Rossi

The non-stop madness of "Awards Season" is everywhere in the media at the moment - the Golden Globes are over, but excitement is building for the BAFTAs next month and The Oscars in March. Meanwhile, in the real world...

Let's enjoy an appropriately-themed musical interlude (courtesy of the ever-wondrous Soft Tempo Lounge) - and transport ourselves back to the days when stars were stars - it's Hollywood Lament:



[Music: Daydreams in the Night by the Stan Kenton Orchestra and Voices]

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Totty of the day









...not bad for 110.

And what a sweet couple he and Randolph Scott made!









Cary Grant (born Archibald Alexander Leach, 18th January 1904 – 29th November 1986)

Dumbing down


Culture is reaching a point of maximum dumbness, it has been claimed.

Researchers at the Institute for Studies have warned that it will soon be impossible to dumb down news and entertainment media any further.

Professor Henry Brubaker said: “Most television is about cooking, the paranormal or poor people having arguments. The news is just opinions punctuated with pictures of ‘extreme weather’.

“The only books being published are ghost-written celebrity biographies or thrillers about serial killers called things like ‘The Face Collector’. Apart from that people just read lists of ’10 facts about muscle growth’ off websites.

“The problem is that although our culture cannot get any stupider, human intelligence may continue on its downward trajectory.

“The result will be a world in which nobody understands anything. Even a film about The Rock driving a jeep into explosions will leave viewers confused and angry at its pretentiousness.”


However TV channel boss Mary Fisher said: “Don’t worry, I’ve just commissioned 'Jamie & Jimmy’s Paranormal Antiques Auction Sex News'.

“And I’m confident we can go even lower. We must keep striving to find new depths of idiocy.”
The Daily Mash.

Of course.

Here's Kingsize Taylor and the Dominos to sing about it:



[They were a real band]

Friday, 17 January 2014

She doesn't care



It may well be a "Betty White Day", but I haven't - of course - forgotten that another party weekend is looming, and thank heavens for it!!

I also have not forgotten that it would have been the birthday today of the magnificent and very sadly missed Eartha Kitt.

So, without further ado, let the Mistress lead the way in the celebrations with the appropriately-titled I Don't Care (with its amazingly camp video) - and Thank Disco It's Friday!



Eartha Mae Kitt (17th January 1927 – 25th December 2008)

Have a great weekend, peeps!

[January is indeed "Diva Month" (Bowie, Bassey, Charo, Pola, Merm, Betty - and Dalida, Dolly, Misha and Tallulah to line up...}]

A word from our sponsor...



...it's a Betty White Day!



Many happy returns to our "Golden" Patron Saint, who celebrates her 92nd birthday today!

Betty Marion White (born 17th January 1922)

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Awright, Dave?





We bid a sad farewell to the eternal "character actor" Roger Lloyd-Pack, best known to millions as "Trigger" in one of Britain's longest-serving comedies Only Fools And Horses, who died today.

Real-life dad to the actress Emily Lloyd and on-screen dad to David Tennant in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, he had a long stage as well as TV and movie career - I saw him as "Sarah the Cook" in the Mark Ravenhill panto Dick Whittington in 2007, but he cemented his acting credentials in latter years in Shakespeare productions at The Globe Theatre.

However, he will forever be immortalised as a nice-but-dim roadsweeper...







RIP.

Roger Lloyd-Pack (8th February 1944 – 15th January 2014)

Rock-a-bye baby





That's enough to knock the "maternal instinct" out of most people!

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Ay Ay Ay!



It may not be Tacky Music Monday, but it is our beloved Queen of Cuchi-Cuchi Kitsch Charo's birthday...

So, without further ado, to celebrate let's all do the Conga!



María del Rosario Mercedes Pilar Martínez Molina Baeza - a triumph of art over nature!

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Living on a dream ain't easy



The year 1984 was a good one in my life - still a fresh-faced ingenue, I embarked on a series of significant changes that made me feel a lot better about my lot. During the next twelve months, I left my first (dreadful) job, enrolled in journalism college, and finally - after years of inner turmoil - in the autumn I came out.

Meanwhile, thirty years ago this week, none of those momentous events had yet come to fruition. But I was (ever so slightly) in lust with Mr Paul Young (and his "Fabulous Wealthy Tarts") - and here's his chart hit from February 1984, Love of the Common People.

"Ay-y-aye-y-aye!"



Living on a dream ain't easy
But the closer the knit the tighter the fit
And the chills stay away
Just take 'em in stride
For family pride.


Paul Young official website

Monday, 13 January 2014

Chanel suits, fast cars and super-powers no more





And so, farewell to the beautiful Alexandra Bastedo, who died yesterday aged just 67.

When I was young, The Champions was one of my favourite TV shows, and Miss Bastedo was, to me, the coolest person on the planet. I wanted, desperately, to be her - all Chanel suits, fast cars and super-powers.

Another piece of my childhood, gone. I am very sad.



RIP

Alexandra Bastedo (9th March 1946 – 12th January 2014)

The Champions

Taco Music Monday?



Darkness still envelops us alas, but the signs of Spring are bringing us hope - all our bulbs are poking through the soil, the birds are singing their tits off, 2014 calendars are half-price, Easter Eggs will be on the shelves soon, and the new series of Gardeners' World is only a fortnight away...

To bring more cheer to our hearts as we head off to work again this Tacky Music Monday - here's today's birthday girl the fabulous Miss Gwen Verdon and her bizarre Mexican Breakfast:



Fun to watch; probably not so tempting to eat, I imagine.

Have a great week, folks!

Gwenyth Evelyn “Gwen” Verdon (13th January 1925 – 18th October 2000)

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Warm thoughts...



It is a mere three weeks to go until we will be sunning ourselves in a beach bar on our annual pilgrimage to Spain, and I cannot wait!

Here's a most appropriate musical interlude (courtesy of the ever-wonderful Soft Tempo Lounge), Girls of Summer '64.

Personally I prefer the boys of summer... Watch out for the red Speedos - he could have someone's eye out with that thing!



Music: de Brincadeira by Mario Castro Neves and Samba S.A.

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Killer Nun



The 93rd anniversary today of the birth of British actress Kathleen Byron - best remembered for her role as the erotomaniac nun-gone-bad, chasing demure Deborah Kerr around that fantastical mountain-top convent (having changed her habit for lipstick and a scarlet dress) with murder (and lust) in mind, before plummeting to her death in Black Narcissus - gives me the perfect excuse for another dose of the marvellous Tired Old Queen At The Movies!

Here is Mr Steve Hayes enthusing (as only he can) about that movie:



Miss Byron was no coenobite in real life either, allegedly, according to her obituary in The Telegraph:
[Director of Black Narcissus and several of Miss Byron's films] Michael Powell was named as co-respondent in her divorce suit in 1950. He insisted that he had always had a special respect for her "ever since she pulled a gun on me". He apparently remembered the incident well, giving it some prominence in his autobiography. "It was a revolver", he recalled, "a big one, US army issue, and it was loaded. A naked woman and a loaded gun are persuasive objects, and I have always thought that I deserved congratulations for talking myself out of that one."
She denied it, of course.

Her career was a long one after that impressive(!) start - apart from three Powell-Pressburger films she had roles opposite such stars as Margaret Lockwood, Jean Simmons, Robert Taylor, Deborah Kerr (several more times) and Anthony Hopkins, and numerous "character" roles in productions for British studios such as Hammer Films and on television. She was so admired by Spielburg that he specifically cast her as the title character's mother in Saving Private Ryan.

Kathleen Elizabeth Byron (11th January 1921 - 18th January 2009)