Saturday, 31 January 2015

Vamos!



By the time you read this, dear reader, we will (hopefully) be in mid-air en route to the sunshine of the Costa del Sol.

Here's the traditional soundtrack to our departure - Vamos a la Playa by Righeira!



"Normal" service will be resumed in a week or so...

Friday, 30 January 2015

We should go, go, go, go, go, go



On the eve of our holiday we are bubbling with excitement, and in even more of a party mood than normal!

In keeping with the "Spanish" theme of this week (even though the group is French-Caribbean and the song was written by a Belgian), here's a fantabulosa band I haven't featured for a few years - it's the Gibson Brothers and Que Sera Mi Vida.

Don't try these costumes at home, folks!



Thank Disco It's Friday!!

This time tomorrow, we'll be on the plane to the sunny Costa del Sol...

Gibson Brothers on Wikipedia

Thursday, 29 January 2015

She will not cry



The irresistible lure of sunshine is getting closer...

Time, methinks, for one of our favourite Spanish divas to take el escenario!

Here's the magnificently fierce Seňorita Monica Naranjo, and No voy a llorar [I will not cry]:



And, of course, I need no excuse to feature (yet again) the best thing to come out of Spain since manchego - her classic slice of campery, Amor Y Lujo!



Y Viva Espaňa!

Y Viva Monica Naranjo!

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Feather blessings



In our continuing countdown to our forthcoming Spanish holiday, it is time, methinks, for a taste of true Andalucia, birthplace of that most magical of musical styles - Flamenco!

Well, I say "true".

As true as it gets when we're talking about the toothsome and completely loco Señorita María Jiménez, loud and proud exponent of the art of copla, and one of our favourite feathery-outfit-wearers here at Dolores Delargo Towers...

She's Bienaventurados ("Blessed"):



Oh, I feel better already!

We adore María Jiménez.

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Un delizioso diversione



We're taking a little diversion away from our countdown to our Spanish holiday today...

But, darlings, I think you'll forgive us - as we take a little drive with Sophia Loren (courtesy of Soft Tempo Lounge, of course):



Divine.

[Music: Vida Bandida (Longe de Você) by Mario Albanese]

Monday, 26 January 2015

Forever and ever?



Not quite.



RIP Demis Roussos, unlikely object of lust for a generation of women, and eternally remembered as the "soundtrack to the long hot summer of '76"...

Flores en Lunes



Oh dear. Monday again.

Never mind, only four days to go and I am on leave, then Saturday at stupid o'clock we will be on a flight from Stansted to Malaga!

On this Tacky Music Monday we continue our countdown to Spain in the company of the very special Senorita Rocío Dúrcal! Taking a lead from our adored Sara Montiel (who sang this first), she's flogging flowers while showing her knickers (as you do) - Los Nardos, no less...



Que tengas una buena semana!

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Och Aye! Thought for the day...









...Kilts.

You're welcome.

[Tonight is Burns Night]

Fang-dabi-dozi!



We're continuing our countdown to Spain today, and it's the turn of a favourite band we haven't featured for a while - the magnificent Fangoria!

It may be nowhere near Hallowe'en, but that's not going to stop the terrifyingly startling Alaska and her chums. They're in full haunting mood - forgive their Desfachatez [impudence]...



Facts about Alaska:
  • Born Olvido Gara Jova in Mexico, of Spanish/Cuban exile parents, she apparently told her mother when she was a child that she would love to be a boy just to be gay.
  • Her earliest bands Los Pegamoides and Dinarama were heavily influenced by punk and post-punk bands such as Siouxsie and the Banshees and Depeche Mode; on forming Fangoria her musical style changed more towards electro-dance.
  • Alaska is widely regarded in Spain as a "gay icon" and is a fervent supporter of Madrid Gay Pride.
  • She had a starring role as Bom in the Pedro Almodóvar film Pepi, Luci, Bom y otras chicas del montón.
Fangoria official website (in Spanish; of course)

Saturday, 24 January 2015

A privilege?



A legal landmark, obviously...

Courtesy of the BBC:
A court in Germany has ruled in favour of a man's right to urinate while standing up after his landlord demanded money for damage to the bathroom floor.

The landlord, who was seeking €1,900 (£1400; $2,200), claimed the marble floor had been damaged by urine.

But the Düsseldorf judge ruled that the man's method was within cultural norms, saying "urinating standing up is still common practice".

There is some debate in Germany about whether men should sit or stand to pee.

Some toilets have red traffic-style signs forbidding the standing position - but those who choose to sit are often referred to as a "Sitzpinkler", implying it is not masculine behaviour.

Judge Stefan Hank agreed with an expert's report that uric acid had caused some damage to the bathroom's floor.

But concluding, he said men who insist on standing "must expect occasional rows with housemates, especially women" but cannot be held to account for collateral damage.

"Despite growing domestication of men in this matter, urinating while standing up is still common practice," he added.
With that remarkable news, here's an appropriate number - It's a Privilege to Pee by Christina Morrell (from the worst-named musical ever, Urinetown):



'Scuse me, I must go...

Friday, 23 January 2015

Tie her up! Tie her down!



At last, the weekend is looming - but, alas! There are another three days to go before we get paid... I could weep.

Not for long, however (unless you count tears of laughter) for, as we start our countdown to our much-needed holiday in Spain - a week tomorrow - here's some choreography to die for, as only the Spanish know how!

Before she was given a slight air of respectability by Pedro Almodóvar (in his warped "love story" Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!, alongside the gorgeous Antonio Banderas), Senorita Victoria Abril was a somewhat underwhelming singer (who even attempted to represent her homeland in the Eurovision Song Contest) and dancer, appearing on variety shows on Spanish TV. She also had a bit of an acting career; her films included the wonderfully-titled La muchacha de las bragas de oro (Girl with the golden panties).

Here she is, panties and all, ably assisted by her wiggling troupe of satin-clad safety gays, with an - ahem - interesting interpretation of Light My Fire (or "Lait, May Faire", as the caption would have it)...

Thank Disco It's Friday!



Have a good weekend.

¡Estamos anhelo de nuestras vacaciones!*

[*according to Google Translate this means "We are looking forward to our holiday...". It may mean nothing of the sort, of course.]

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Trash, me and you



Stuart Heritage in The Guardian is celebrating news about a new televisual highlight imminently heading to our screens:
Amid all its troubled antiheroes and fatalistic gunplay, the golden age of television has been desperately short of one thing: trash. Not your common or garden, lowest common denominator, mass market, light entertainment crap – switch on your TV after 5pm on any given Saturday and you’ll practically drown in the stuff – but knowing, high-drama, campy trash. Trash such as Footballers’ Wives and Desperate Housewives.

We’ve come close – Scandal is clearly preposterous but takes itself slightly too seriously, and House of Cards perpetually seems seconds away from turning into a full-scale Frankie Howerd parody of itself – but it has always been hard to shake the feeling that most modern showrunners have been too busy eyeing up prestige to fully commit to trash.

Thank God, then, for Mark Schwahn and his forthcoming series The Royals. It is an American-made drama about a present-day British royal family. Liz Hurley plays the Queen. Joan Collins plays the Queen Mum. If those last 11 words didn’t immediately fill your heart with uncontrollable joy, there’s a good chance that you’re a lost cause.


Do we share his enthusiasm? Hmmmmm.

From a purely camp perspective, this could well have that "Showgirls Effect" - whereby a really bad movie became a cult, beloved of drag acts and "quote-a-long-a" parties for many years - but maybe that's an ambition too far.

Will I watch it? That I very much doubt. I'll just wait for the fall-out...

The Royals premières on Sunday, March 15th at 10pm on E!

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Radiate...



Just got in after a day of hauling my arse (so to speak) to either end of London. Today I had a meeting in Wembley (north-west London, in the shadow of the very impressive National Stadium), which, thanks to the usual mayhem of technical problems on the Tube in cold weather and the rush hour took me two hours to get to - even though, as the crow flies, it's probably no more than six miles from Dolores Delargo Towers...

So, having spent all day in that bleak wilderness - and as Wembley's on a Tube line that would actually take me into town with one quick change - I thought I'd cheer myself up and finally get to see the Chris Stein photo exhibition Negative: Me, Blondie, and The Advent of Punk at Somerset House on the Thames before it closes on Sunday (last-minute, moi?), which was excellent. Of course.

As I am now in a suitably "Blondie-fied" mood, here's a rather natty little video tribute to Miss Debbie Harry that someone has put together, with the highly appropriate, and still haunting even after all these years, Fade Away And Radiate:



Read my feature on the Chris Stein/Blondie exhibition at The Dolores Delargo Towers Museum of Camp.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

What my heart yearns for now



It's time for another little trip in the TARDIS...

Let's head back thirty years to this week in 1985, when there was not only a Prince (with his 1999/Little Red Corvette double-A-side) and a Queen (Madge, with Like A Virgin) in the charts, but also - King!

Proud mullet-wearers and the originators of that all-too-brief fashion for painted Doc Martins, here's their big hit - a staple of retro radio stations everywhere - Love & Pride:



That's what my heart yearns for now - love and pride.
That's what my heart yearns for now - love and pride.

Start your journey early or maybe later
get your boots on

Look for rainbows
it's cloudy

Take your hairdryer
blow them all away.

In you I've found a story I want to keep hearing.
In you I see all colours
not just black or white.
In you I find a reason and hope for all dreamers

You are my fill
you're my supply of love and pride.
That's what my heart yearns for now - love and pride. . . .

Knowing
sensing
seeing
eating
sleeping
that's just being.
Touching
testing
loving
wanting and taking

more love and more pride.
In you I've found a story I want to keep hearing...

I'm taking it round the world - some love and pride.
That's what my heart yearns for now - love and pride...
That's what my heart yearns for now - love and pride!


King on Wikipedia

Monday, 19 January 2015

You too can write a great West End score



When we last saw Kit Hesketh-Harvey on stage way back in 2010 it was as part of the long-running (and infamous) Kit & the Widow. Richard Sissons (the Widow) has since moved on, back to his roots as a classical composer and arranger, and instead Mr Hesketh-Harvey has formed a new partnership with his (other) long-term song-writing collaborator James McConnel. Intrigued at how the new combo might work, Al, Mark and I were overjoyed last night to land tickets to see Kit & McConnel in their new regular residency at one of my favourite new London cabaret rooms, the "Crazy Coqs" at Brasserie Zedel.

As one reviewer put it: "[Mr] Hesketh-Harvey, all eloquent Noël Coward wordplay and satirical skewering, remains the focus." This indeed he does, and we, placed right at the front adjacent to the stage, were transfixed (not least by the revealing tightness of his trousers, but that's another matter entirely). He is a consummate camp cabaret artiste - summing up his passion for the art-form ("at one point it was just me and Dillie Keane manning the barricades; it's so pleasing to see venues like this popping up again", he said) neatly, we thought, with his anthem I am Cabaret.

However Mr McConnel - even if he was the butt of jokes about his resemblance to Hugh Grant - proved to be a more than worthy cabaret partner. As well as singing a number of songs in the evening's repertoire, his shining moment came when he composed (then and there) a wonderful improvised piano piece based merely on musical notes relating to the name of someone picked out of the audience (a "party trick" that apparently Franz Liszt was famous for performing).

Speaking of repertoires, theirs is certainly a wide-ranging one - veering in style from chanson to waltz to aria (Nessun Dorma in Punjabi, anyone? Fab!), from patter-songs to heart-rending ballads (such as Kit's very moving - and angrily anti-war - tribute to a surfing acquaintance who was killed in Afghanistan).

It is of course - in a similar vein to the aforementioned Miss Keane and Fascinating Aida - for their on-the-ball satirical numbers that we adore these boys. And with songs about the forthcoming election, Fifty Shades of Grey, closet racism, Pippa Middleton, and about fighting terrorism with toothpaste, tweezers, nail scissors and all the other things which irritatingly get seized at airports these days (in the name of "safety"), we were not disappointed.

New Labour got it in the neck with the excellent The Wrong Miliband:



There was even a song about the recent surprising statistics that sexually transmitted diseases are becoming an increasing problem amongst older people...



Some old faves were there, too. One of their very best numbers is the scarily accurate piss-take of Andrew Lloyd-Webber's penchant for nicking tunes from classical composers and passing them off as his own: You too can write a great West End score - steal it from somebody else!"



Inevitably, the show would not be complete without their ode to Nando’s chicken restaurants (with apologies to Abba’s Fernando):

"There was something in the food that night
That wasn’t right
At Nando’s."




Utterly wonderful, from beginning to end.

Kit & McConnel official website

Kit and McConnel "Over the Yardarm" Sundays at Crazy Coqs

That ain't what it takes to love me



"I went into a restroom in Los Angeles years ago, and this girl said, ‘Oh, I want you to tell me, does that really hurt?’ I was like, ‘What? Does what hurt?’ She said, ‘Like, when they take your ribs out.’” Dolly sounded incredulous. ‘Take my ribs out? I was just gonna order ribs for dinner! What are you talking about?’ And then she said, ‘Wait, didn’t you and Cher have your ribs taken out to make your waists look little?’ I said, ‘No, my waist is little because nothing grows in the shade!’"

"I know I look totally artificial, but I'd like to think I'm real where it really counts."


It's the Patron Saint of Rhinestones, Miss Dolly Parton's birthday today. Yee-hah!

To ease ourselves out into the cold of this Tacky Music Monday, here's the lady herself (dressed as Lolita with a lollipop!), duetting with Jim Stafford on Spiders and Snakes:



Have a good week, y'all...

Dolly Rebecca Parton (born 19th January 1946)

Sunday, 18 January 2015

We're doomed apparently



From the utterly wonderful Me-Me-Me TV:
This man here, who likes to keep his whites Persil white, is Yahya Jammeh, who, when he’s not getting busy with the Vanish, is the President of Gambia, a highly functioning, highly lovely country that is ‘protected by God’, God as usual doing an excellent job.

Apart from thinking that AIDS can be cured by bananas and undisclosed herbs (maybe parsley but could be basil, pronounced the English way), he also thinks that the world is doomed because of gays. (Come on God! Sort it out, for fuck’s sake!)

‘Let me make it very clear,’ he said, picking up on David Cameron’s habit of making everything very clear, ‘…that if they…’ and by ‘they’ he means any country that has got round to stuff like having democracy and stopping the whipping of children for being possessed by witches… ‘If they think that they can be homosexuals and want to impose homosexuality on the globe, they are doomed.’

Honey, we’re not just thinking we can be homosexuals, we’re putting quite a bit of hard graft and elbow grease into it. What do you take us for? Amateurs?

‘They say I am intolerant…’ he went on (‘they’ may have a point), ‘and that homosexuals are a minority that is being oppressed in this country…’ Well, to clarify, a law was recently passed where ‘aggravated homosexuals’ (that means you’ve done it more than once) are given life imprisonment…

‘All the religious books condemn homosexuality…’
Except the ones about fairies at the bottom of the garden, thank you very much… ‘And there is a so-called power of democracy that says that homosexuality is a right…’ Is it us, or is he starting to ramble on and not finish his sentences?

‘All empires before collapsed not at the time they were weakest, but at the peak of their might and when they equated themselves with the almighty Allah. So this evil empire of homosexuals will also go down the dirty drain and garbage of hell.’

Well, what’s it to be? The dirty drain? Or the garbage of hell? Don’t make us choose!
The man's an lunatic. No wonder there was a recent (unfortunately failed) attempt to stage a coup to overthrow him.

Meanwhile, those open-minded souls at Thomas Cook are still offering holidays there.

No thanks.

Saturday, 17 January 2015

A cougar, I am not







"Animal lover that I am, a cougar I am not. All my life, even as a kid, I have preferred men older than I am. Unfortunately, today I don't think there is anyone older than I am!"

"Let's say I meet someone I find attractive. I have to keep reminding myself of how old I am, because I don't feel like I'm that old. I fight the urge to flirt and try to shape up. No fool like an old fool."

“My answer to anything under the sun, like ‘What have you not done in the business that you’ve always wanted to do?’ is ‘Robert Redford’.”


It's Betty White Day again!

She's 93 you know...

And she's still hot!



Facts:
  • She holds the Guinness World Record for Longest TV Career for an Entertainer (Female) - 74 years (and counting) in show business.
  • She was christened "Betty" specifically because her parents (of Danish, Greek, English, and Welsh descent) didn't like many of the nicknames derived from "Elizabeth."
  • She received her her first Emmy nomination in 1951 (for a show called Life With Elizabeth); since then she has been nominated 21 times (so far), winning five times - and her nomination in 2014 (for Betty White's Off Their Rockers) means she has the record for longest span between first and latest nomination.

Betty Marion White Ludden (born 17th January 1922)

Friday, 16 January 2015

You and me can dance so free



It was a "toss-up" (as always) whether to showcase the lady's talents (in her spiritual home) on a "Tacky Music Monday" or here... But a decision was made.

So, as we hurtle "a little bit closer" to the weekend, let us shimmy our way through the rain and storms in the company of the "Cutchi Cutchi Queen" herself (whose birthday it was yesterday) - the indomitable Charo!

She wants to Dance A Little Bit Closer - and who are we to stop her? Thank Disco It's Friday!



Feliz compleaños, María del Rosario Mercedes Pilar Martínez Molina Baeza, aka Charo (born 15th January 1951)

Footnote:
  • Charo famously said of Lady GaGa: "I don't like it when somebody copies somebody and just adopts it like their own idea. I can tell you, to me, Lady Gaga is Madonna with diarrhoea."

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Thought for the day


A rock
A pair of morons scaled a sheer rock face for reasons that make no sense whatsoever.

The two men, who are both Americans obviously, spent 19 days showing off on the side of a mountain, even though no-one cares in the slightest.

Climber Kevin Jorgesen probably said something like, ‘wow, that was totally awesome!’ before being hugged by a bunch of hyperactive weirdos who think watching television is a ‘waste of time’.

His climbing friend Tommy Caldwell would no doubt have added something about an ‘adrenalin rush’ as if that is something you are supposed to be proud of.

The two men will now probably be paid a million dollars to appear in an advert for a car or an insurance company or some chocolate.

Meanwhile, it has been suggested that someone should tell them to get a proper job and stop being such a pair of arseholes all the time.
The Daily Mash.

Of course.

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Diamond life, lover boy



A rather interesting little "timeslip moment" today.

For, as I traversed in my time machine back 25 years to this week in 1990, I spotted a new entry in the charts for a little-remembered one-hit wonder; a group of cute tight-trousered chaps going by the name of Halo James.

Here's their one and only hit - Could Have Told You So:



So far, so novel. It's always good to have a "gawd, I had completely forgotten that song" moment. Happy to oblige.

On further investigation, however, I found that Mr Ray St. John, a founder member of that ill-fated boy-band had more strings to his bow than just this pleasant little ditty. Not only did he work with Haddaway, Gabrielle and (remarkably) Snoop Dogg, but he also wrote this worldwide smash hit for Miss Sade:



No need to ask
He's a smooth operator


...so it would seem.

Halo James on Wikipedia

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

The hills are alive to the sound of back-slapping



The eternal "yawn-fest" that is America's Grammy Awards may well be livened up this year by the the news that Madonna is the first performer confirmed to appear live again at the event next month. But should we expect anything else worth watching? I doubt it.

Grammys are the kind of awards that mean very little to anyone outside corporate America. Winners in the past few years alone have been incomprehensible - Bruno Mars or Lady Gaga for "best" vocal? Rihanna "best" at anything (except stripping)? "Best contemporary Christian music"? Jay-Z, Jay-Z, Jay-Z..? Bleurgghh!

It is also confusing because of the sheer volume of "artists" who you'd never recognise if you tripped over them in the street. Carrie Underwood? Taylor Swift? Put either in a line-up with a selection of bit-part actresses from Hollyoaks and we'd never be able to identify them. One of the most successful artists in the awards' history is Alison Krauss ("Whoooo?"). I can safely say I wouldn't know a single thing she has ever done. A funny comment I heard today was: "I thought Ariana Grande was a font!"

But hey ho - it provides an excuse for recording industry moguls to hold a lavish get-together once a year, ignore the plebs, and congratulate eachother for another year of price-fixing, manipulation of sales and pursuing "piracy" into people's bedrooms, so that's OK then.

Here is Queen Madge with an appropriately-titled song (that she sang at the 1999 ceremony), Nothing Really Matters:



I realise
That nobody wins
Something is ending
And something begins


Indeed.

Madonna is to perform at the Grammys on 8th February 2015.

Monday, 12 January 2015

The Creator!



"I always put in scenes that contain humour. I guess that’s the way I write."

Sad news of the death of Brian Clemens, the genius behind such timeless "tongue-in-cheek" British television action series as The Avengers (it was he who cast Diana Rigg to replace original star Honor Blackman), The Professionals, and many, many more, has prompted me to reprise (in parts) a blog I posted five-and-a-half years ago.

Here's a fabulous selection of theme music from shows Mr Clemens created or for which he wrote. It's quite a significant cross-section of seminal series indeed...

The Protectors!:



The Adventurer!:



The Baron!:



Danger Man!:



The Avengers!:



The New Avengers!:



The Professionals!:



And possibly my favourite (theme, not show) - The Persuaders!:





RIP Brian Horace Clemens OBE (30th July 1931 – 10th January 2015)

Mrs Fosse, at your service



One of the greatest Broadway dancers of the latter half of the 20th century, Mrs Bob Fosse Gwen Verdon would have been 90 years old tomorrow.

So on this Tacky Music Monday, as we struggle through the drizzle to work again, let us wallow in her magnificent talents - here she is with her bowler-hatted safety gays in a number I think may be called On a Day like Today, choreographed by her hubby...



Have a good week, dears.

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

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Thoughts for the day



“I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it.”
- Voltaire

“Give me the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience, above all liberties.”
- John Milton

“Most people do not really want others to have freedom of speech, they just want others to be given the freedom to say what they want to hear.”
- Mokokoma Mokhonoana

“Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freeness of speech.”
- Benjamin Franklin

“My own opinion is enough for me, and I claim the right to have it defended against any consensus, any majority, anywhere, any place, any time. And anyone who disagrees with this can pick a number, get in line, and kiss my ass.”
- Christopher Hitchens

"No one has the right to live without being shocked. No one has the right to spend their life without being offended."
- Philip Pullman

“The moment you say that any idea system is sacred, whether it’s a religious belief system or a secular ideology, the moment you declare a set of ideas to be immune from criticism, satire, derision, or contempt, freedom of thought becomes impossible."
- Salman Rushdie

The million-strong "solidarity march" in Paris.

Saturday, 10 January 2015

You try explaining 80s television!



Congratulations to Britain's best-loved brainy person Stephen Fry on his engagement to the cute Elliott Spencer, 30 years his junior. Typically, there has been a lot of sniping from narrow-minded idiots.

As ever, one commenter has the wisest words on on the subject:
Most relationships with an age gap fail because of differing children’s television references, it has emerged.

Experts believe the main challenge facing those with younger partners is having to constantly explain obsolete cartoon and puppet-based Saturday morning programming.

Relationship counsellor Donna Sheridan said: “Sadly, no relationship can withstand a hugely detailed description of 'Fraggle Rock' or how He-Man’s cat was cowardly until he zapped it with his sword.

“People in their 30s report seeing their partner’s eyes glaze over as they chatter enthusiastically about Chock-a-Block only to find the person they thought was their soulmate doesn’t even know who Derek Griffiths is.

“And as for 'Rude Dog and the Dweebs', forget it.”

Company director Roy Hobbs said: “My girlfriend’s a lot younger than me, but everything was fine until I did an impression of BA Baracus and she called me a racist.

“I then had to spend 14 minutes outlining the plot and characters of 'The A-Team'. She was like ‘why would anyone in trouble call some mentally ill men who live in a van?’.

“That was the moment our love died. The sex was awesome but I knew I had to get out.”

The Daily Mash.

Of course.

Friday, 9 January 2015

The answer's "no", by the way



Because the weekend is looming after our first full week in work after New Year, and I am in a whoop-de-doo charitable mood, I thought I'd pay due homage to the ludicrous-yet-remarkably-successful Rod Stewart, who (scarily) celebrates his 70th birthday tomorrow [I am no great fan of the scruffy "Mod"].

What better way to get us in the party mood than with his tenuous venture into Disco (a move that some people often add to the list of contributory factors to that great musical genre's demise), and his eternal question - Da Ya Think I'm Sexy?

Thank Disco It's Friday!



To pay adequate tribute, however, I cannot neglect this marvellous piss-take by Kenny Everett:



Roderick David "Rod" Stewart, CBE (born 10th January 1945)

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Sits like a man, but smiles like a reptile



It’s our icon David Bowie’s birthday today – and just look what someone has come up with as a tribute…

From Radio.com:
David Bowie was well known during the early stages of his career for some of the music world’s most unusually angled teeth this side of, say, Pogues singer Shane McGowan. Of course, Bowie’s crooked teeth are a relic of the past, replaced by the time the ’90s rolled around with a mouthful of gleaming, snow-white incisors.

Some people aren’t willing to let Bowie’s oral history go gently into that good night, though. Painter and sculptor Jessine Hein has fashioned Bowie’s old dentures into a mould, made of acrylics, plaster and paint.

And why not? They were as much a part of the Bowie legend as his zany outfits, an indispensable part of his Ziggy Stardust and Thin White Duke personas.

Though these teeth aren’t (yet) available for sale, it’s some kind of relief to know that they’re out there, somewhere.


The perfect gift for the man who has everything?



David Bowie (born David Robert Jones, 8th January 1947)

A flying Attenborough in the Bat-Cave



As Vicki Power, writing in The Express put it:
Few people would be willing to dangle 250 feet in the air on just a few ropes. Even fewer would do it in order to allow a massive swarm of bats to fly around their head deep in a Borneo cave.

But then again, not many people are Sir David Attenborough.
How true.

On Monday evening, Madam Arcati and I were privileged to get to see the great man in person, on the occasion of the launch of his new technologically-advanced nature documentary Conquest of the Skies, with its focus on the flight of birds, bats and insects. I managed to get tickets via the BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) website, one of the rare occasions when their events are open to the hoi polloy - and just in time, it would seem, as the entire Princess Anne Theatre (the Academy's prestigious venue on Piccadilly) was packed to the gunnels.

We watched a specially put-together episode and highlights from the series, in full 3D, which was remarkable; my first ever film where things fly out, around and past your head - the sparrow-hawk vs starlings and the hummingbirds being particularly spectacular. Then the man we had all come to see took to the stage for a panel discussion.

Sir David simply oozes charm and affability, and, despite his great age (and evident deafness) he is as sharp as a razor in his observations. Being a born adventurer - he informed us that as a youngster he was an avid rock-climber, which explains his lack of vertigo - it was obvious how much he really enjoys the chance to get out in the thick of it, to observe the natural world and its wonders first hand.

Dangling in that bat cave, strapped into a chair and accompanied only by a flying 3D camera called an "octocopter":
“I’m sitting up there for about half an hour before the bats are due to fly and of course after a few minutes the blokes on the ground forget you. You’ve got a lot of time to think ‘That rope’s very thin’ and ‘What are they doing down there? Playing cards? What about me?’ It was challenging.

“It did occur to me that maybe a bat would hit the octocopter and if they did, would it fall and which way would it fall? Would it be coming my way?”
Thankfully no disasters befell him.

His love for new gadgetry, technology and techniques of filming obviously tempted this "archetypal BBC man" away to the arms of Sky TV - commissioners with deeper pockets - and the production company Atlantic for this series. Among their innovations (as well as "octocopters" and 360 degree 3D and "4D" cameras) is the highest quality computer generated animation (CGI). Sir David loves it, but has reservations because nature programmes, in his opinion, simply have to be honest - otherwise even the "experts" such as he may be fooled:
“The plain fact of the matter is that actually we can now produce an image of an animal doing absolutely anything we wish.

“The audience are not silly. They will become more and more aware that that’s the case.

“The good intentions of the producer and the person who presents it is absolutely one of the most valuable things we have.

“The Life of Pi for example. I’m in the business and I was taken in by the story until suddenly I saw this tiger moving towards the actor. I do know a bit about tigers and I suddenly thought ‘you’re a bloody fool, what are you thinking?’ And it took a long time for me to realise this is CGI."
Whether tramping through boggy undergrowth to watch a stag beetle take off, or riding in a speeding boat dodging the flapping wings of swans less than a foot away from his head (semi-tame birds, he revealed, who are "imprinted" with their owner's voice so they follow the boat), his enthusiasm is like that of a child at Xmas.

He is indeed a treasure. We adore him, and this evening was a great treat.


Me at BAFTA

Conquest of the Skies Trailer:


Conquest of the Skies - the Story of Evolution:


Conquest of the Skies - Swan Adventure:


Conquest of the Skies - Bat Cave Sequence:


Conquest of the Skies is on Sky 1 and Sky HD

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Polka-dotty



Gloom is all around us. Everyone has re-entered the reality of January: the Festering Season is indeed truly over, all the Xmas trees have gone to the tip - or to the lions! - the train fares have gone up, we don't get paid again for weeks, the weather is wet and miserable, and the central heating in the office has broken down again (as it always does in winter)...

Time for a bit of a cheer-up, methinks, as we take a little trip in our time machine back thirty years.

Here's the dolly duo of one-hit-wonders who called themselves Strawberry Switchblade, new entry in the charts of this week in 1985, with the excellently chirpy Since Yesterday:



Just close your eyes and then remember
The thoughts you've locked away
When tomorrow comes you'll wish
You had today

And as we sit here alone
Looking for a reason to go on
It's so clear that all we have now
Are our thoughts of yesterday

If you're still there when it's all over
I'm scared I'll have to say
That a part of you has gone
Since yesterday

And as we sit here alone
Looking for a reason to go on
It's so clear that all we have now
Are our thoughts of yesterday

Well, maybe this could be the ending
With nothing left of you
A hundred wishes couldn't say
I don't want to

And as we sit here alone
Looking for a reason to go on
It's so clear that all we have now
Are our thoughts of yesterday

It's so clear that all we have now
Are thoughts of yesterday


Strawberry Switchblade on Wikipedia

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

An extraordinary true story, indeed



A great start to the New Year, courtesy of "The Land of the Free".

From Pink News:
The cover for the American DVD release of Pride has removed all mention of homosexuality.

The film, about a group of gay and lesbian activists who rallied in support of striking miners in the 1980s, was released in the UK to acclaim last year.

However, the US DVD cover makes a number of shocking changes, entirely removing homosexuality from the story.

Firstly, the film’s synopsis has been changed to state the film is about “a group of London-based activists”, removing a mention to sexuality.

The synopsis states: “PRIDE is inspired by an extraordinary true story. It’s the summer of 1984 and much of blue-collar Great Britain is on strike.

“For one tiny Welsh village, the strike brings unexpected visitors – a group of London-based activists who decide to raise money to support strikers’ families and want to make their donations in person."


The text appears to be an edited version of the film’s original synopsis providing more context to American audiences while failing to mention homosexuality.

The original synopsis said: “PRIDE is inspired by an extraordinary true story.

“It’s the summer of 1984, Margaret Thatcher is in power and the National Union of Mineworkers is on strike, prompting a London-based group of gay and lesbian activists to raise money to support the strikers’ families.

“Initially rebuffed by the Union, the group identifies a tiny mining village in Wales and sets off to make their donation in person…”


A picture on the back cover has been digitally altered from a widely-circulated promotional image – removing a sign stating ‘Lesbians & Gays Support the Miners’.

The original image is below:



Now you see it, now you don’t:


Hmmm.

From the soundtrack to the film, here's the Fun Boy Three with an appropriate number - Our Lips Are Sealed:



Can you hear them?
Talking about us
Telling lies
Well, that's no surprise


Pride - the movie

Monday, 5 January 2015

Raffaella-tastic



OK, 2015 has started in earnest, and it is back to work time for the majority (although I was in on Friday, the office was quite deserted) - so, on this first Tacky Music Monday of the New Year, let us start as we mean to go on!

What better way than in the capable hands of our magnificent Italian Patron Saint Raffaella Carrà and her gay sicurezza, with tomorrow's birthday boy Adriano Celentano, in one of the campest dance routines ever?

It's the unpronounceable Prisencolinensinainciusol:



All together, now!

Have a good week (if that is humanly possible)...

Sunday, 4 January 2015

Charm and offence in equal measure



"Laughter, silliness, bravery and four letter words sung in glorious harmony." - Liza Pulman

"More wit, cutting edge lyrics and uber-glamour than you can shake a stick at." - Adèle Anderson

"Charm and offence in equal measure - what else?" - Dillie Keane

Yes! The girls of Fascinating Aïda are back, and we were overjoyed to go and see them at the Queen Elizabeth Hall on the South Bank on Friday evening [as part of the celebrations for our friend Jim's birthday, which culminated in verrrry late drinkies after his party last night; I didn't get in till 4am]. I couldn't think of a better way to kick-start the social calendar for 2015...

With a combination of classic numbers - such as the brilliant YouTube mega-hits Dogging and, of course, Cheap Flights ("There's no such fecking thing as a fecking flight for 50p") - some rather fabulous new material and the bang up-to-date satirical Bulgarian Song Cycles (taking a well-aimed pop at everything from the Kardashians to the Royals to George Osborne) it was all we could have expected and more. Expert harmonies, hilarious moments as well as serious heart-string-tugging material (the poignant Look Mummy No Hands, Old Home and Little Girls in Pink in particular), the girls of "FA" are three of the most talented variety artists in the business.

Ever ones to take the piss out of themselves as much as anything else, their opening number about death We’re Next was a great start. Our sides were splitting at the pastiche hip-hop routine Down With The Kids, Adèle's deeply dark Song of Genetic Mutation, and Dillie's ‘Allo, Bonjour Monsieur! (with its refrain about safe sex: "Where is your Johnny, now?"). FA show favourites The Health & Safety Executive and Taboo were brilliantly pithy as always, and we loved the bitchiness of some of the newer material such as Spending Nigel’s Bonus, Joyce and Boomerang Kids.

The highlights for me were twofold. Adèle's song about her transition from boy to woman Prisoner of Gender was utterly marvellous - I first heard it last year, but it was great to see it performed live. As once commentator put it; "it must be the only song out there to rhyme “thin and runty” with “I read Bunty”...

Best of all, however, was Liza's beautiful and heartfelt song about the nervousness and hope that surrounds a divorcee on her first "date" - Out of Practice. This song alone knocks spots of most West End shows' "torch songs"; it was utterly delightful.

What a great evening.

Here's the girls' "encore" number on Friday - a very hilarious (and rude) Christmas Song:



A compilation of songs from the show (as available on their new DVD) is available here [for some bizarre reason, this video cannot be embedded...]

And, finally, I simply can't resist posting Dogging again:



The girls are at the Southbank Centre until 11th January 2015, then they're off again up and down the UK - check their website for details.

Saturday, 3 January 2015

2014: a Gay Year?



It's been quite a year in "gaydom"!

In 2014 we experienced some of the most virulent public homophobia of recent times – legislation denying gays our right to exist, persecution, abuse and physical violence - in a variety of countries across the world (notably, once again, in nasty regimes such as Uganda, Gambia and Nigeria), and yet we also saw some very positive moves indeed in many places; a contrast in attitudes between East and West, between “developed” and “third world” countries reflecting a precarious global political situation that made the headlines for other reasons.

Not least of these was, of course, the seemingly unstoppable rise of that most medieval pseudo-religious (but ultimately power-hungry and politically-motivated) movement, Islamic fundamentalism. With swathes of the Middle East falling to the rabid psychopaths of ISIS/ISIL or whatever they call themselves (and some grotesque public shows of "strength" by beheading innocent aid workers; how brave of them), and the outrages committed in Nigeria and Pakistan by the madmen of Boko Haram and the Taliban against unarmed schoolchildren, needless to say gay people were simply another “easy” target of their anti-Western ideology and violence.

In a reaction to this "fundamentalist" wave, countries across the Islamic world formerly considered "moderate" issued crack-downs and threats against us. Authorities in Cairo launched a televised raid on a gay bath-house; British tourist Ray Cole was jailed in Marrakech, then released thanks to political pressure for the "crime" of being gay (no word on the fate of his boyfriend, however); the world's richest man The Sultan of Brunei had a "Damascene conversion" to Sharia law with capital punishment for "sodomy" being introduced under his dictat; and Qatar, currently engaged in buying-up London and soon-to-be host of the World Cup, was exposed as a regime that issues barbaric punishments upon gay people.

However the mad bigotry of Islamic fundamentalism is almost expected in such turbulent times. More worrying for the West - mainly because of the political and military strife that hit Ukraine in 2014 on the border of Western Europe, with Russia becoming the "wolf at the door" yet again - was the wave of hatred that emerged from the regime of Vladimir Putin in Moscow. Hosting the Winter Olympics at Sochi while at the same time espousing the re-criminalisation of homosexuality, pseudo-religious anti-liberalism and expansionism, the political backlash was massive. Thanks to petitioning by activists (I signed!), a raft of Olympic sponsors publicly denounced the anti-gay laws (including AT&T and Coca-Cola), UK Prime Minister Cameron, French President Hollande and US President Obama and other world leaders refused to attend in person (the US delegation included three out-gay athletes to represent the country instead) and, too late for the Games themselves, the Olympic committee finally voted to include 'sexual orientation' in its charter, explicitly granting protection to all lesbian, gay and bisexual athletes in the future.

Our very own city of Glasgow hosted the “less controversial” Commonwealth Games later in the year. However, this just served to expose the fact that 42 of the members of that august institution who took part still have anti-gay discriminatory laws in force. Thank heavens for Scottish-born John Barrowman, whose very public kiss with one of the hunky kilted dancers at the event's opening ceremony hit all the headlines in an effort to expose this inequality.



There was good news across much of the Western world, nonetheless. Equal marriage – considered by some to be a bastion of gay rights [personally I sometimes despair at the “hoo-ha” that surrounds this single issue when there is still so much bullying and harassment yet to be tackled, but I digress] - became legal in the UK in March, and there was a rush to “take the plunge”, with Islington Council opening its registry office overnight in order to get the first “I do” at midnight. So very trendy. When the law was extended in December to allow couples to “convert” a civil partnership into a marriage, first in was retail consultant and broadcaster Mary Portas; and Dame Elton and David Furnish were not long after. London’s Southbank Centre went loopy for it, with their "Festival of Love" - a two-month celebration of the Same Sex Couple Act. "The Big Wedding Weekend" featured seventy couples, gay and straight, young and old, marrying or renewing their vows on the stage of the Royal Festival Hall, including our friends Emma and Toby – a grand day out it was, too!

In America, state by state, slowly but surely the remnants of anti-gay legislation are being repealed - same-sex marriage is now recognised in at least 35 states (and Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico), although the legislative process is tedious and there are a number of appeals and counter-appeals pending. Gay-friendly legislation also came into force in such diverse countries as Finland, Malta, Estonia, Northern Cyprus, Luxembourg, Mexico and Croatia, and Latvia's foreign minister Edgars Rinkēvičs made the decision to publicly “come out” during a press conference.

Despite efforts by the new Pope to force a debate on gay issues amongst his clergy, the Catholic Church (arguably the most powerful religious organisation in the world) remains stubbornly priggish about any moves towards liberalisation. Slowly, slowly, can it change? Our hero Peter Tatchell, a long-time critic of Papal bull(shit), continued to keep up the pressure on all religious leaders in his “annual state of the (gay) nation” address in November, pointedly-titled Organised religion is the greatest global threat to human rights.

Speaking of idol worship, in September five of the UK's top footballers - from one of the highest-ranking clubs in the UK, Arsenal - lent their public support to this year's anti-homophobia in sport campaign, Rainbow Laces. Add to this the “comings-out” this year (shamefully, this only makes four “out” players, with Robbie Rogers of LA Galaxy and Anton Hysen in Sweden) of German international footie star Thomas Hitzlsperger and the lovely Liam Davis of minor league Gainsborough Trinity Football Club, Britain’s traditional home of macho culture seems slowly but surely to be approaching “tolerance”. It’s just the fans to convince, now…

Other notable coming-out declarations during the year included X-Men actress Ellen Page, singers Sam Smith (one of the top-selling artists of the year) and Lee Ryan (of boy band Blue), American football star Michael Sam, Olympic swimmer Ian Thorpe and, possibly most influential of all, the chief executive of Apple Tim Cook.

And what of OUR gay year? [Isn’t every year gay for us?, I hear you say…]

It begins with LGBT History Month throughout February, of course. Events we enjoyed included:
We always pay homage to the International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHo) in May, even if only by wearing the symbolic orange ribbon – and, even though I am no longer chair of the Islington LGBT Forum, all offices across the council had them on display for staff and visitors to take; I was thrilled to see so many people wearing them.

Of course, the GREAT DAY of the Season is the one thing we always plan for every year. It’s our “Gay Xmas”… Gay Pride in London! This year, our chosen theme was Shocking Pink. I think we were rather pink...



I think we shocked!

All things being somewhat "circular", the year's specifically gay events concluded with the final "director's cut" of the promo video - in which I was a participant - for LGBT History Month 2015. And here (once again) it is:



All this, and one of the biggest box-office smashes of the year was the film Pride - and Conchita Wurst became Queen of Fuckin' Everything!

A gay year, indeed.

Roll on 2015...

Read my other blogs looking back at 2014:

Friday, 2 January 2015

Ooh from head to my toes



It's my first day back in work after the extended break. Bizarre, I know - one day, then another weekend.

Speaking of weekends... Still feeling the after-glow of our grand New Year's Eve party, there is still partying to look forward to (I'm at Fascinating Aida tonight, and a celebration "do" tomorrow, both for our friend Jim's birthday) - so what better way to celebrate than with a trip in our magic time machine back thirty-five years?

For this week in 1980, the ever-lovely Nolans (newly evolved from their origins as close-harmony-singing "good Catholic girls" The Nolan Sisters, having discovered the joys of Spandex) first entered the UK charts with the song that would forever remain a staple of family weddings and nights at G-A-Y nightclub even to this day - it's I'm In The Mood For Dancing!

Thank Disco It's Friday...



I'm in the mood for dancing, romancing
Ooh I'm giving it all tonight
I'm in the mood for chancing
I feel like dancing
Ooh so come on and hold me tight

Dancing, (dancing) I'm in the mood, babe
So let the music play
Ooh I'm dancing, (dancing) I'm in the groove, babe
So get on up and let your body sway (body sway)

I'm in the mood for dancing, romancing
You know I shan't ever stop tonight
I'm in the mood for chancing
I feel like dancing
Ooh from head to my toes
Take me again
And heaven who knows
Just where it will end

So dance, yeah let's dance, come on and dance
Dance, yeah let's dance, come on and dance

Ooh I'm in the mood for dancing, romancing
Ooh I'm giving it all tonight
I'm in the mood for chancing
I feel like dancing
Ooh so come on and hold me tight

Dancing, (dancing) just feel the beat, babe
That's all you've gotta do
I can't stop dancing (dancing)
So move your feet, babe
'Cos honey when I get up close to you (close to you)

I'm in the mood for dancing, romancing
You know I shan't ever stop tonight
I'm in the mood, I'm in the mood
I'm in the mood to dance
Yeah let's dance, come on and dance!


They just don't write lyrics like that any more.

Actually, they probably do.

The Nolans on Wikipedia

Thursday, 1 January 2015

RIP, 2014



Once again, it has been quite a year for saying fond farewells to some of our most cherished actors, actresses and other notables.

Among those who died this year:

Elizabeth Jane Howard (British writer)
Phil Everly (US singer, Everly Brothers)
Simon Hoggart (British journalist and broadcaster)
Christopher Malcolm (British actor, AbFab)
Ariel Sharon (Israeli statesman)
Alexandra Bastedo (British actress)
Roger Lloyd-Pack (British actor, Only Fools And Horses)
Richard Shepherd (US film producer, Breakfast at Tiffany's)
Lord McAlpine (British politician)
Sir Chris Chataway (British athlete, Roger Bannister's pace-maker in the 4-minute mile record)
Claudio Abbado (Italian conductor)
Pete Seeger (US folk singer/songwriter)
Maximilian Schell (Austrian actor)
Philip Seymour Hoffman (US actor)
John Horsley (British actor, The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin)
Shirley Temple (US child actress and politician)
Sid Caesar (US comedian)
Ralph Waite (US actor, The Waltons)
Malcolm Tierney (British actor, Brookside, Lovejoy)
Maria von Trapp (Austrian singer, last of the Von Trapp Singers)
Alice Herz-Sommer (Czech pianist, last surviving Holocaust victim)
Beatrix Miller (former editor of British Vogue)
Alain Resnais (French arthouse film producer)
Jimmy Ellis (British actor, Z-Cars)
Peter Callander (British songwriter, Billy, don't be a Hero)
Bob Crow (British trade unionist)
Sir Anthony Wedgewood (Tony) Benn (British politician and former Cabinet Minister)
Clarissa Dickson Wright (British TV chef)
L'Wren Scott (US fashion designer, Mick Jagger's girlfriend)
Kate O'Mara (British actress)
Frankie Knuckles (US DJ and legend)
Bob Larbey (British TV comedy writer, The Good Life)
Mickey Rooney (US actor and comedian)
Peaches Geldof (British socialite, Bob's daughter)
Sue Townsend (British author, Adrian Mole)
Gabriel Garcia Marquez (Columbian author)
Edna Doré (British actress, EastEnders)
Bob Hoskins (British actor)
Efrem Zimbalist Jr (US actor)
Leslie Thomas (British (Welsh) author, The Virgin Soldiers)
Sir George Christie (British philanthropist, owner of Glyndebourne Opera House)
HR Giger (Swiss artist and sci-fi designer, Alien)
General Jaruzelski (Polish communist dictator)
Maya Angelou (US poet and civil rights campaigner)



Barbara Murray (British actress)
Rik Mayall (British comedian and actor)
Martha Hyer (US actress)
Little Jimmy Scott (US singer)
Sam Kelly (British actor, Porridge)
Gerry Goffin (US songwriter and producer)
Casey Kasem (US radio DJ and television host)
Francis Matthews (British actor)
Eli Wallach (US actor)
Patsy Byrne (British actress, "Nursie" in Blackadder)
Bobby Womack (US singer)
Eduard Shevardnadze (Georgian politician, former Soviet Foreign Minister under Gorbachev)
Tommy Ramone (US punk musician)
Lorin Maazel (US conductor)
Leee Black Childers (US photographer, Andy Warhol, David Bowie)
Elaine Stritch (US theatrical star and icon)
James Garner (US actor)
Dora Bryan (British comedienne and actress)
Ross Burden (New Zealand TV chef)
Kenny Ireland (British (Scottish) comedy actor, Benidorm)
Mike Smith (British radio DJ and TV presenter)
Charles Keating (British actor, "Rex Mottram" in Brideshead Revisited)
Robin Williams (US comedian and actor)
Lauren Bacall (US actress and legend)
James Alexander Gordon (UK broadcaster)
Licia Albanese (US opera singer)
Albert Reynolds (Irish statesman)
Sir Richard Attenborough (British film producer, director and actor)
Sandy Wilson (British lyricist and writer, The Boyfriend)
Bill Kerr (Australian actor and comedian, Hancock's Half Hour)
Joan Rivers (US comedienne and TV host)
Magda Olivero (Italian opera singer)
Richard Kiel (US actor, "Jaws" in the Bond films)
Sir Donald Sinden (British actor)
Ian Paisley (British (Northern Irish) politician and bigot)
Bob Crewe (US songwriter and producer, the Four Seasons)
Philip Somerville (British Royal milliner)
George Hamilton IV (US country singer)
Christopher Wray (British entrepreneur and lighting retailer)
Angus Lennie (British (Scottish) actor, "Shughie McFee" in Crossroads)



Polly Bergen (US actress)
Deborah Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire (last of the Mitfords)
Dannie Abse (British (Welsh) poet)
Gaby Aghion (French fashion designer, founder of Chloé)
Sheila Tracy (British radio presenter)
Lynsey de Paul (British singer/songwriter)
Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier (Haitian dictator)
Geoffrey Holder (US actor, voodoo priest "Baron Samedi" in Live and Let Die)
John George Vanderbilt Henry Spencer-Churchill, 11th duke of Marlborough
Tim Hauser (US singer, Manhattan Transfer)
John Holt (Jamaican reggae singer, wrote The Tide Is High)
Raphael Ravenscroft (British (Scottish) saxophonist, Gerry Rafferty's Baker Street)
Lynda Bellingham (British actress and TV personality)
Gough Whitlam (Australian statesman)
Oscar de la Renta (Dominican/Spanish couturier)
Alvin Stardust (born Bernard Jewry, British glam rock singer and actor)
Jack Bruce (British musician, founder of Cream)
Acker Bilk (British Trad Jazz musician and singer)
Warren Clarke (British actor, Dalziel and Pascoe}
Glen Larson (US TV producer, Alias Smith and Jones, Quincy)
Jimmy Ruffin (US soul singer)
The Duchess of Alba (Spanish grandee)
Richard Pasco (British actor, Drummonds)
Ian McLagan (British musician, The Small Faces)
Baroness PD James (British crime writer)
Cherry Wainer (British pop organist, "the female Liberace")
Jeremy Thorpe (British politician, scandal-hit former Liberal Party leader)
Queen Fabiola of the Belgians
Tom Adams (British actor, The Onedin Line)
Virna Lisi (Italian actress)
Mandy Rice-Davies (British "model", central figure in the Profumo Affair)
John Freeman (British politician, diplomat and broadcaster)
Billie Whitelaw (British actress)
Joe Cocker (British singer)
Jeremy Lloyd (British comedy writer, Are You Being Served? and 'Allo 'Allo!)
David Ryall (British actor)
Luise Rayner (Austrian actress, 1st Oscar-winner)

And the final word, as always, goes to Stritchy...



RIP, all.