Sunday, 25 June 2017

Glory and Cloggz

Ipomoea purpurea (Morning Glory) "Kniola's Black" in the Gardens here at Dolores Delargo Towers

It's not often that we say "I wish it would rain" here in the UK. But when the skies are so grey and the air is so humid (despite the wind), it really could do with a bloody good thunderstorm to clear the air... Despite everything, I still managed to enjoy a good old potter in the garden today - planting a few climbers for the fence and on one of our two "obelisks" in the main beds.

On the other, the faboo Morning Glory above has already taken hold with a vengeance, and we have another half-dozen seedlings to go in to accompany it - utterly beautiful (even if, as its name implies, it only puts on this stunning show in the morning, and the flowers are closed and gone by noon)!

As ever, my soundtrack soundtrack all day has been Radio 2 - mainly 80s throwbacks and, of course, easy listening. Like this lot!

Here's a double bill from The Cloggz:

Love 'em!

Saturday, 24 June 2017

Fly me to...1968?

He needs to cool down a bit

As our unexpected heatwave gives way to humid, muggy conditions with a distinct threat of rain, so we need to find a way to escape.

And what better way than on a 1968 BOAC trip across the USA...

...courtesy of those geniuses at Soft Tempo Lounge..?

Support Soft Tempo Lounge today!

Music: Message by Piero Piccioni and Lydia MacDonald
Intro music: Call Me by the The Kessler Twins

Friday, 23 June 2017

Is it really magic in the air?

And so the weekend finally beckons - fingers crossed, now that our remarkable heatwave is over and cooler breezes waft over the UK, that it stays sunny!

Speaking of "sunny", it is (gulp!) the 60th birthday today of the charismatic Mr Leee [sic] John, the campest showman of the 80s "funk revival". With acres of gold lamé, and plenty of gyrating male flesh, he and his band Imagination certainly - ahem - captured the imagination in the 80s. Not least with this one...

Thank Disco It's Friday, and let's hope it isn't all Just An Illusion!

Searching for a destiny that's mine
There's another place another time
Touching many hearts along the way, yeah
Hoping that I'll never have to say
It's just an illusion, illusion, illusion

Follow your emotions anywhere
Is it really magic in the air?
Never let your feelings get you down
Open up your eyes and look around
It's just an illusion, illusion, illusion

Could it be that it's just an illusion?
Putting me back in all this confusion?
Could it be that it's just an illusion now?
Could it be that it's just an illusion?
Putting me back in all this confusion?
Could it be that it's just an illusion now?
Could it be a picture in my mind?

Never sure exactly what I'll find
Only in my dreams I turn you on
Here for just a moment then you're gone
It's just an illusion, illusion, illusion

Many happy returns, Mr Leslie McGregor John (aka Leee John, born 23rd June 1957)

Thursday, 22 June 2017

The Apocrypha of St Nigel

War, Famine, Pestilence and Death have a fifth companion known as Stupidity, experts have discovered.

The find was made in an obscure passage in the Apocrypha of St Nigel, a little-known fifth-century Saint who is patron of talking loudly in pubs and deliberately driving your car into a tree.

St Nigel was martyred after falling down a manhole to the sound of a host of angelic sad trombones.

Bible expert Tom Logan, from the Institute of Studies, warned the discovery suggested the end times might be upon us.

He said: “The passage in question makes a direct reference to the ‘last trump of doom’ when Stupidity would ride forth to bring manifold miseries upon all the lands of the Earth.

“In his left hand he held a great scroll upon which were uncounted numbers of unsourced memes which reinforce thine prejudices, and when opened it rained forth a plague of fatuousness upon humanity.

“And all comments threads followed after him.”
The Daily Mash

Of course.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

The temperature's rising, it isn't surprising

It's the longest day of the year - Midsummer Day - and the weathermen have predicted it's going to get even hotter than even the last few days (which have been scorchers). If the thermometers reach 34C, it will officially be the hottest June day in Britain since the fabled "Summer of '76"!

Here's an appropriate number, methinks, for a Heatwave...

We're having a heat wave,
A tropical heat wave,
The temperature's rising,
It isn't surprising,
She certainly can can-can.

She started a heat wave
By letting her seat wave
In such a way that
The customers say that
She certainly can can-can.

Gee, her anatomy
Makes the mercury
Jump to ninety-three.

We're having a heat wave,
A tropical heat wave,
The way that she moves
That thermometer proves
That she certainly can can-can.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Here's a house, here's a door. Windows: 1 2 3 4, ready to knock? Turn the lock – It's Play School

They're dropping like flies...

The star of Play School and Play Away [the show that launched the career of Jeremy Irons, Tony "Baldrick" Robinson and many others], the voice of Trumpton, Camberwick Green and Chigley - and yet another fondly remembered part of my childhood - Brian Cant is dead.

Proud possessor of one of the most soothing and friendly of voices in broadcasting, he, much like his contemporary and also recently departed John Noakes, was the beloved "friend" of generations of children from the 1960s to the 1980s.

So come along, children - sing along!

RIP Brian Cant (12th July 1933 – 19th June 2017)

Monday, 19 June 2017

Aaah, voglia di ballar con te!

After a weekend that involved paying tribute to one "triumph of art over nature", it is time to applaud another!

Lord knows we need some cheering up in order to drag ourselves out of the glorious sunshine into the morbidly boring confines of the office - but, on this Tacky Music Monday, who better to provide that cheer than yesterday's birthday girl Signorina Raffaella Carrà?

She's Ballo, ballo-ing her tits off!

Have a good one, peeps...

Sunday, 18 June 2017

"Frying tonight!"

We've had a bit of a hectic weekend, all told - topped off by spending five-and-a-half hours in the blazing sunshine (the hottest day of the year so far) revisiting the magnificence of Kew Gardens today...

But yesterday afternoon was spent in far different surroundings - the Phoenix Artist Club, a gloriously atmospheric (and "typically Soho") basement members' club under the Phoenix Theatre. And what would possibly draw us away from the delights of hot'n'steamy London in midsummer?

An audience with the timeless siren Miss Fenella Fielding, of course!

Now in her 90th year, Miss Fielding is one of the most captivating of "English eccentrics", and, although frail, remains utterly composed, witty and adroit. Most famous for her on-screen "posh vamp" roles in such movies as Drop Dead Darling, The Old Dark House, and, of course, her most famous role as "Valeria Watt" in Carry On Screaming, nevertheless her long, long acting career has encompassed many stage roles of a "weightier" (if wildly disparate) nature - including in plays by Ibsen, Shakespeare and Henry James, a one-woman show on the life and works of Collette, a musical version of Ronald Firbank's Valmouth, a dramatised performance of the letters between Nancy Mitford and Evelyn Waugh, and revues written by Harold Pinter(!) and Peter Cook.

And it was for her sumptuous reading of chapters from her memoir (named after the most-quoted line from Carry On Screaming - "Do you mind if I smoke?") that we devoted our Saturday. She has all the gen" on many of the famous names of theatre and film - she turned Fellini down for a role he was chasing her for; and worked with numerous stars of her day including Ron Moody (who encouraged her early career), Kenneth Williams, Dirk Bogarde, Tony Curtis and Janette Scott. Yet, had her parents (particularly her father) had their way, she would never have got to RADA, nor landed the parts in revue that began her career. One of the anecdotes she gave us was of her experiences of running away, ending up in rather swanky yet Bohemian digs in Mayfair, and how her mother and auntie finally caught up with her (as she was in the bath!).

Other pieces she read included her time as a tutor for drama students - imparting such invaluable advice on "technique" as how to sit in a chair on stage without fumbling, performing in panto, and how to successfully do an "audience aside"; and she also treated us to some little vignettes of Fenella the naive schoolgirl, such as this one:

This was a superb event, and we loved it!

  • Miss Fielding was turned down the role of the first female "Avenger" opposite Patrick McNee, in favour of Honor Blackman.
  • In The Prisoner, hers was the voice of the Village Announcer throughout the series.
  • She was the voice of "the Blue Queen" in cult children's classic Dougal and the Blue Cat.
  • Her older brother (also still alive) is the Tory peer Lord Feldman.
Fenella has one further date in the series of readings to promote her memoir, but she has many more plans up her sleeve and shows no sign of stopping - all the news is, or will be, on her official website.

Saturday, 17 June 2017

And you wait and wait and wait

Among a slew of awards bestowed by Her Maj in her 2017 Birthday Honours - in addition to Dames Julie, June and Olivia - were several other familiar faces:
  • JK Rowling, Sir Paul McCartney, television cook Delia Smith and designer Sir Terence Conran become members of the Order of the Companion of Honour.
  • "The Big Yin" becomes Sir Billy Connolly.
  • Mezzo soprano Sarah Connolly is also made a Dame.
  • Awarded the CBE: singer Sade; illustrator Raymond Briggs (Fungus the Bogeyman); author Andy McNab.
  • Awarded the OBE: actress Patricia Hodge; broadcasters Gloria Hunniford and Natasha Kaplinsky; actress Sarah Lancashire; entertainer David Walliams.
  • Awarded the MBE: pop stars Ed Sheeran and Emeli Sande; boxer John Conteh; Radio 3 presenter Sean Rafferty.
...and the lovely Sandie Shaw is made an MBE for services to music and charity!

HM The Queen's Birthday Honours 2017

Friday, 16 June 2017

Chuck all your worries and toss your thighs

It's another splendid, sunny and warm morning - and it looks as if this summery weather will continue throughout the weekend. Yay!

In preparation for the party mood ahead, let's join birthday boy Mr Gino Vannelli, his excellent poodle-perm and his incredible performing groinage, and have a good funk...

...and Thank Disco It's Friday!

People come on and do it right
Shake your behinds like dynamite
Chuck all your worries and toss your thighs
To be tame is a pain when you realise

You gotta move
People gotta move

Shake all your brains and pump your heart
Show all the world what you are
You come on for right, you come on for wrong, you come on for zeal
'Cause the tones of your bones makes you feel

You gotta groove
People gotta move


Enjoy the sunshine, sweeties!

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Unwittingly drinking instant coffee

Boutique festival Latitude will allow attendees to test their coffee for purity and bean quality, it has confirmed.

In a move designed to safeguard its clientèle from poor quality hot drinks, coffee testing stations will be positioned around the festival and operating on a ‘no questions asked’ basis.

A Latitude spokesman said: “While we don’t encourage coffee drinking, we acknowledge it does happen, especially if people have had a hard week working in London and need an extra boost to make it through Mumford and Sons.

“The important thing is safety. A lot of street level coffee isn’t even single origin, let alone single estate.

“In some cases people could be unwittingly drinking instant coffee or even that Mellow Bird’s stuff which has powdered milk already in it.”

Marketing consultant Nikki Hollis said: “Last year I scored a bad coffee at Latitude. It seemed fine at first but I developed a bitter taste in my throat while walking from a Zadie Smith talk to see a reformed 90s shoegaze band.

“I was sweating like a pig during Joanna Newsom’s set which I’m sure was because of toxins or something.

“Stay safe people, and don’t let non-artisan beans ruin your weekend.”
The Daily Mash

Of course.

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Soft Tempo fugit

Stunning Coreopsis in the Gardens of Dolores Delargo Towers

I have been all day at a training course. More horrible news fills the media.

However, the weather is glorious - and we thank heavens for Soft Tempo Lounge to calm the mood...

The wonderful creatives at STL are currently appealing to the public for support to develop and expand their "Easy Listening Empire" - and heaven knows we need them these days more then ever!

You too can become a "Soft Tempo Patron" - visit

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Totty of the Day

...birthday boy, the very lovely Chris Evans [not the "ginger minger"]!

Christopher Robert Evans (born 13th June 1981)

Monday, 12 June 2017

Pull out the stopper, we'll have a whopper

Monday again? Oh, dear...

Despite the fact I am not heading for the office this morning, today and tomorrow are dedicated "study days" for the latest useless qualification I am supposed to get for work. So it's just as bad. Worse, in fact, because there is the permanent temptation of the garden to hand. At least I can smoke at my desk, however!

Plus, I have access to the best soundtracks for my studies - such as anything featuring birthday boy Mr Vic Damone [a great survivor; he blows out 89 candles today]! On this Tacky Music Monday, here is the man himself as part of a "crooner triumvirate" with Mr Andy Williams and Mr Bobby Darin, and their Broadway Medley:


Have a good week, y'all!

Vic Damone (born Vito Rocco Farinola, 12th June 1928)

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Everybody's at a chem-sex party except me

Mr Bourgeois and Ms Maurice are among the most unconventional of all the artistes we might have expected to encounter at the venerable Wilton's Music Hall - a venue that over the years has played host to such eccentrics as Champagne Charlie, Dan Leno and Marie Lloyd, as well as such modern-day off-beat characters as Frankie Goes To Hollywood, Marc Almond and Camille O’Sullivan.

Described variously as "guerilla cabaret", "sequin-clad satirical weirdos", "audaciously aloof and scintillatingly strange", they certainly lived up to all of the above when we went to see them on Friday...

"So there’s this weird battle throughout the show, as we’re trying to deal with this valid viewpoint of 'OK, we really want to connect with everyone. But also, we’re cunts.'"

It is really impossible to describe the experience. A delightfully cute glitter-and-glam-queen and a deadpan B52s-esque musical accompanist (and duettist, of course), cavorting off into their own wonderful fantasy world. Part panto, part alt-cabaret, part Music Hall turn, sort-of-satirical... and definitely outré!

The eyelash-and-beehive duo's show was titled How To Save The World Without Really Trying, and - through various very offbeat diversions, including digs at the government, Britishness and (hilariously) "Maurice" going off on one about MEN ("kill 'em all!"; sung in a crazed, tongue in cheek way, of course), attacks on social media fanatics and even casting doubts about their own naïveté - ended up with their mutual decision that the answer's all down to love...

...or maybe mobile phones...

...or both...

...or is it hedonism? More like it...

Regardless what may be the answer - this was a faboo night of campery, and we loved it!

If you ever get the opportunity, you simply must...

Bourgeois & Maurice

Saturday, 10 June 2017

Thought for the Day

Be still, my beating groin heart!

Friday, 9 June 2017


I could sit and watch this all day

Oh dear. In these times of uncertainty, it's the worst of all possible results - a hung parliament (again).

There really is only one way to usher in a weekend with that news ringing in our ears...

Thank Disco It's Friday!

Thursday, 8 June 2017

What happened, what happened, Yolanda?

There's nothing on telly but politics. It doesn't look good, either.

Time for a little light musical interlude, methinks...

...with the fabulous Pink Martini!

¿Dónde estás, dónde estás, Yolanda?
¿Qué pasó, qué pasó, Yolanda?
Te busqué, te busqué, Yolanda
Y no estás, y no estás Yolanda
Y no estás, y no estás Yolanda

Me dicen que paseabas
en un carro Yolanda.
Muy guapa y arrogante
y todos te silbaban.

Si un día te encontrara,
no sé que puedo hacer.
No sé me vuelvo loco
si ya no te vuelvo a ver.
¿Dónde estás, dónde estás, Yolanda?
¿Qué pasó, qué pasó, Yolanda?
Te busqué, te busqué, Yolanda
Y no estás, y no estás Yolanda
Y no estás, y no estás Yolanda


Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Vote Pussy!

It may not be anywhere near as tortuous and long-drawn-out as in America, but I am heartily sick of this bloody General Election and will be very glad when it's all over and done with tomorrow!

It's time for a random diversionary tactic...

Je suis oh-so-hot
Vous-voulez my twat?
S'il vous plait

French bitch
Vous-voulez my twat?
S'il vous plait
You're wasting your time
Saw my man, so she felt the need to scratch an itch
Je suis oh-so-hot
Vous-voulez my twat?
S'il vous plait
You've given her candy and you've given her snow
But the dirty little motherfucker won't let go

French bitch
Je suis oh-so-hot
Vous-voulez my twat?
S'il vous plait
You're wasting your time
Saw my man, so she felt the need to scratch an itch
Je suis oh-so-hot
Vous-voulez my twat?
S'il vous plait
You've given her candy and you've given her snow

She got the man on fire
She's all these thoughts like a pacifier
She wants her legs much higher
But if she gets too close, then she's gonna expire

If Miss Pussy Tourette were standing for Prime Minister, I would definitely vote for her..!

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

I graduated years ago

From the BBC:
The world's most valuable alcoholic beverage company is setting up a university to allow hundreds of students to study the science of liquor.

The Chinese state-run Kweichow Moutai company is to open Moutai University in the city of Renhuai in the country's southern Guangzhou Province as soon as it receives its accreditation from the Ministry of Education, the South China Morning Post reports... the Chinese liquor industry has long suffered a skills shortage, and the university is seen as a means of attracting new recruits.

Kweichow Moutai brews the fiery Moutai (also known as Maotai) brand of liquor, which is often called China's national drink, and it is a popular beverage at state functions.

According to the Post, Moutai University won't be the first in the country to offer unusual courses. Elsewhere, students can study crayfish preparation, lotteries, or the science of hot noodles.
"To me, education is a leading out of what is already there in the pupil's soul." - Miss Jean Brodie

Monday, 5 June 2017

Night, Night, Gromit

Oh dearie me - hot on the heels of dear old Johnny Noakes, two more stalwarts of classic British TV have gone to that great goggle-box in the sky....

Roy Barraclough (who died last week) was a veteran of old-school repertory theatre (in those halcyon days when people had to slog for years before fame beckoned; unlike today when it appears all one needs to do is appear on a reality telly programme). Once he did make the jump to television, he made his name primarily in comic roles - and his spirit of self-deprecating humour made him perfect for the part of Alec Gilroy in Coronation Street, perpetually sparring with his wife Bet (née Lynch) and Rovers Return patrons alike. But it was for his long comedy partnership with "national treasure" Les Dawson for which he is most loved by us aficionados of camp innuendo - not least for his recurring part as "Cissie" to Les's "Ada":

Far more gentle was the comedy of Peter Sallis, whose death was announced today. Having trained at RADA just after the War, he had a lengthy stage career and numerous character roles on telly before (finally) in 1973 he became a household name playing "Clegg" in the BBC's longest-ever running comedy series Last of the Summer Wine. He was the only actor to appear in every single episode, until the series finally ended in 2010. To international audiences, however, he was far better known as the voice of "Wallace" in Wallace and Gromit, from which this is a classic scene:

RIP, both.

Roy Barraclough MBE (12th July 1935 – 1st June 2017)

Peter Sallis OBE (1st February 1921 – 2nd June 2017)

Let Me Make You Smile

We really do need something to make us smile, after the horrors of this weekend.

What could be more diverting on this Tacky Music Monday than the combination of Miss Betty Grable, a bevy of loincloth-clad Muscle Marys and a rendition of Let Me Entertain You from Gypsy..?!

Diverting, indeed.

Have a good week!

Sunday, 4 June 2017

A pause for thought. Again.

Prime Minister Theresa May:
"Seven people have died as a result of the attack, in addition to the three suspects shot dead by the police. Forty-eight people are being treated in several hospitals across London. Many have life-threatening conditions.

On behalf of the people of London, and on behalf of the whole country, I want to thank and pay tribute to the professionalism and bravery of the police and the emergency services – and the courage of members of the public who defended themselves and others from the attackers...

...In terms of their planning and execution, the recent attacks are not connected. But we believe we are experiencing a new trend in the threat we face, as terrorism breeds terrorism, and perpetrators are inspired to attack not only on the basis of carefully-constructed plots after years of planning and training – and not even as lone attackers radicalised online – but by copying one another and often using the crudest of means of attack.

We cannot and must not pretend that things can continue as they are. Things need to change...

...while the recent attacks are not connected by common networks, they are connected in one important sense. They are bound together by the single, evil ideology of Islamist extremism that preaches hatred, sows division, and promotes sectarianism.

It is an ideology that claims our Western values of freedom, democracy and human rights are incompatible with the religion of Islam. It is an ideology that is a perversion of Islam and a perversion of the truth.

Defeating this ideology is one of the great challenges of our time. But it cannot be defeated through military intervention alone. It will not be defeated through the maintenance of a permanent, defensive counter-terrorism operation, however skilful its leaders and practitioners.

It will only be defeated when we turn people’s minds away from this violence – and make them understand that our values – pluralistic, British values – are superior to anything offered by the preachers and supporters of hate...

...While we have made significant progress in recent years, there is – to be frank – far too much tolerance of extremism in our country.

So we need to become far more robust in identifying it and stamping it out – across the public sector and across society.

That will require some difficult and often embarrassing conversations, but the whole of our country needs to come together to take on this extremism – and we need to live our lives not in a series of separated, segregated communities but as one truly United Kingdom...

... Since the emergence of the threat from Islamist-inspired terrorism, our country has made significant progress in disrupting plots and protecting the public.

But it is time to say enough is enough. Everybody needs to go about their lives as they normally would. Our society should continue to function in accordance with our values. But when it comes to taking on extremism and terrorism, things need to change...

...As a country, our response must be as it has always been when we have been confronted by violence. We must come together, we must pull together, and united we will take on and defeat our enemies."

Saturday, 3 June 2017

A camp Incredible Hulk, or Love in a Mist?

From the weird and wacky Alchemy Works:
The name of this plant [Nigella damascena] comes from a legend about the Emperor Frederick I (1125-1190), who drowned in a shallow Turkish river as he was leading a Crusade. According to the story, he was seduced by a water spirit with green hair who drowned him in the hip-deep water. This plant sprang up at the shore and displays the water spirit's hair... This magic herb is also known as bride-in-hair from the Renaissance tradition of a bride going to her wedding with her hair down to signify her virginity (lots of Maiden stuff going on here). We normally think of Venus-ruled plants as aids to love spells and such, but this legend hints at a great feminine power. The alchemist and physician Geber recognized this plant's power when he named it as an ingredient in his red elixir. Some of love-in-a-mist's other common names - jack in prison, love-in-a-tangle, and devil-in-a-bush - show that airy-fairy love spells can be as binding and as powerful as the worst hex or curse... In the Victorian language of flowers, which better fits with how this plant can be used for love charms, love-in-a-mist means "kiss me" or "you puzzle me."

...In India, the seeds are used as a sachet to keep bugs out of clothing. Rubbing them releases the scent of strawberry jam, which is what its essential oil smells like. The seeds are used in cooking - flavouring for curry and a sprinkle on bread - and supposedly taste like nutmeg but are nowhere near as good as those of its relative, Nigella sativa (black cumin). At one time the seeds were roasted and an ill person breathed in the "fumes" to "drie the braine," and it is mentioned by Dioscorides and Theophrastus for digestive complaints.
And from the far more practical (and wonderfully tongue-in-cheek) Higgledy Garden:
Nigella is a national favourite flower, a country garden staple, reliable, quirky and undoubtedly beautiful. Though she is a fleeting mistress... staying for a few short weeks before eloping with the vicar and flowering no more.

But what blooms they are, powder puff flowers in white, blue and pale purple relax amongst cool fern like foliage. The flowers soon turn into balloon-like pods with purple stripes. The pods have ‘horns’ which is where it gets another of its common names, ‘Devil in a Bush’.

I love this change it has from flower to pod, it’s nothing short of bonkers and reminds me somewhat of a camp Incredible Hulk.

Here in the extensive gardens of Dolores Delargo Towers, this "fleeting mistress" has sown itself about liberally, and adds a beautiful, frothy understory to the drama of the tall Delphiniums and Foxgloves. And, by happenstance of nature, rather than design, they complement that jonquil-yellow Aquilegia perfectly.

And it looked particularly beautiful in today's glorious sunshine.


Friday, 2 June 2017

It's a bedside mystery

Oh what a relief! Another weekend is hoving into view - and not a moment too soon...

To get ourselves into the mood, let's slip into a blush pink jumpsuit made entirely of man-made fibres, check that it bulges in all the right places, and twirl!!

...just like the faboo Tavares (whose founder member "Chubby" celebrates his birthday today) - Thank Disco It's Friday!

Who stole my baby
Everyone in the room looks shady
Who stole my girl from me (Yeah)
Who took my honey
I know the motive was not funny
It's a bedside mystery (Yeah, yeah)

Hey, where's the phone to call Sherlock Holmes
[Somebody took my baby]
I've been framed by what's his name
And he's gettin' away Charlie Chan, see if you can
Help me find those two, won't you
Where were you on the night of the 12th
[I was by myself]
She went dancin' in the dark,
Somebody stole her heart Ellery Queen if you're so keen
Won't you help me find my sweet thing (Yeah, yeah)

Who stole my baby
Everyone in the room looks shady
Who stole my girl from me (Yeah)
Who took my honey
I know the motive was not funny
It's a bedside mystery

They don't write lyrics like that any more... [Or maybe they do? I cannot deny I have no idea what anyone in "the charts" is on about.]

Have a great weekend, dear reader.

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Kosher meat

No idea what this is all about, but it certainly looks like a buffet I wouldn't mind sampling!

It is (of course) the latest fantabulosa promo video for "Arisa" gay club in Tel Aviv.

[Note to self: must book Tel Aviv for next holiday...]

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

An indestructible Captain, a very friendly lion, the ring-a-ding-a-ling-a-list king, Zebedee and TC

The death of children's telly stalwart John Noakes has put me in rather a nostalgic mood.

All day I have been humming various themes from long-lost programmes of yore.

Including these [and I wonder whether anyone out there remembers any of them?]...

Arthur (The King of Camelot):

The Magic Roundabout:


The Herbs:

Top Cat:

Captain Scarlet:

Banana Splits:

Hector's House:

Happy memories.

Tuesday, 30 May 2017


Lord knows we need cheering up as the realisation dawns that the long weekend is over, and we have to gather our skirts and get back to work...

Trust those "funny Europeans" to provide the answer. How I stumbled across the amazing talents of the band called Passengers is beyond me - but with this stunning performance of their "hit" [dunno - it must have been, somewhere] Casino, at least I can drag myself back to the grindstone with a smile on my face...

Or something.

Have a good one, folks!

Monday, 29 May 2017

Reunited with Shep at last

Oh dear. Very sad news.

Another little bit of my childhood has slipped away - with the announcement of the death of that most iconic of children's television presenters, the lovely John Noakes.

The longest-serving presenter of the enduring classic Blue Peter - favourite TV programme of many generations of children since it began way back in 1958 - he was the friendly face that was always there for me, from toddler to teenager [he started on the show in 1965 and left in 1978]. In the world of kids' programmes - where presenters either feel the need to be zany'n'wacky, or else a bit schoolteacher-ish - he was the sort of daredevil, jolly bloke that behaved like an overgrown schoolboy; always climbing things, messing with things that go "pop", or handling creatures that were a bit scary or just out-of-control [like his pet dog/up-stager "Shep"]. The sort of person you wanted to be when you grew up.

Everybody adored him.

Two years ago, when he went missing from his home in Majorca (and was found only slightly hurt, having fallen into a ditch), it was revealed he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's. Such was the love for the man in the British collective consciousness that his plight made the TV news headlines,and the front pages of many newspapers.

However, it is for his on-screen antics that we love him the most, including climbing Nelson's Column, jumping out of aeroplanes, baring his bruised bum after he came skidding off a bob-sled, and, of course... THAT elephant! Here are a few highlights that have been hastily put together by some kindly YouTuber:

RIP, John Noakes (born John A. Bottomley, 6th March 1934 – 28th May 2017)

You gotta swing your hips, now

It may be a Bank Holiday (our last till the end of August). It may be threatening rain again. However, it was the birthday yesterday of Our Princess Kylie - so to lift our spirits this Tacky Music Whit Monday, here's not one, but two versions of her chirpiest, silliest number, The Locomotion!

Compare and contrast...

First, the official video:

This is what she did with it for the Fever Tour:

Belated birthday wishes, Miss Kylie Ann Minogue, OBE!

PS - scary thought: her original version of that song was released THIRTY YEARS AGO this July...

Sunday, 28 May 2017

I've come to watch your flowers growing

Rosa Veilchenblau in the Gardens at Dolores Delargo Towers

It isn't often that we generally say we love something without a prick - but for our utterly gorgeous thornless violet-blue rambling rose Veilchenblau, we will make an exception! Remarkably for the grim North London housing estate in which my office is sadly located, I spotted this beauty overhanging the back garden of one of the maisonettes opposite reception and in autumn 2014, I took a few hardwood cuttings (it's a rambler - more of the plant is outside the garden than actually in it). In a small pot of gritty compost on the floor outside the back door, one of them overwintered and rooted successfully, and began to grow.

Two-and-a-half years later, its leading branch is eight feet long - we trained it along the fence behind the bench - and has produced [with not insubstantial assistance from the services of the hoverfly larvae, of course] seventeen sprays of these beautiful blooms (and four more further down the plant)! Plants never cease to amaze and astonish.

Speaking of astonishment... Despite torrential downpours interspersed with that kind of stifling heat one tends to get when it is overcast - today I managed to get some shopping in, and even some pottering in the garden (as we did all day yesterday, and no doubt will be doing all day tomorrow), albeit mainly sat inside the greenhouse avoiding getting soaked. As is my wont (especially on a Sunday, when Radio 2 is at its best) I spent it in the company of showtunes and easy listening numbers...

...including this one! [The reason for the astonishment? This video is the first time I have ever seen the group in the flesh; and all of a sudden I realised where the brilliant Mike Flowers Pops got the inspiration from.]

It's Harpers Bizarre with The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy):

Slow down, you move too fast
You got to make the morning last
Just kicking down the cobble stones
Looking for fun and feelin' groovy
Hello lamppost, what cha knowing?
I've come to watch your flowers growing
Ain't cha got no rhymes for me?
Doot-in' doo-doo, feelin' groovy
Got no deeds to do, no promises to keep
I'm dappled and drowsy and ready to sleep
Let the morning time drop all its petals on me
Life, I love you, all is groovy

And so it is.

Saturday, 27 May 2017

The Ice Queen

"There is a fun, flippant side to me, of course. But I would much rather be known as the Ice Queen."

Gulp. Our Patron Saint of Fishnets, Miss Siouxsie Sioux is 60 years old today!

I have always adored Siouxsie. Ever since first seeing her on Top Of The Pops strutting like some unearthly Amazon to Hong Kong Garden, I just knew she was something very different; an awesome talent with an awesome stage persona, and excitingly scary. As Ben Hewitt in the Guardian put it so succinctly: she has a "macabre mystique". Siouxsie was second only to Debbie Harry among my adolescent icons.

Irredeemably photogenic, hers has to be one of THE faces of the 20th (and any other) century - instantly recognisable. Her musical legacy, too, is wide-reaching and well recognised. Without her (and the Banshees), there would be no "Goth movement". Her songs have been covered by artists as diverse as Massive Attack and Red Hot Chili Peppers; myriad artists - from Morrissey to PJ Harvey, from Bono to Sinéad O'Connor, from Courtney Love to Ana Matronic - have all paid their due homage to her influence.

There is only one Siouxsie.

And thank heavens for that! Here are some of my choices from her vast repertoire...


Right Now:

Peek-a-Boo (Spec Goth Disco Edit):


Dear Prudence:

However, this remains my all-time favourite (and is among my top tunes ever) - Happy House:

Many happy returns, Siouxsie Sioux (born Susan Janet Ballion, 27th May 1957)

Friday, 26 May 2017

I Like It, uh-huh, uh-huh

Britain enjoyed a full minute of optimum sunshine this morning before everyone started moaning about the heat.

The moment happened when everyone was either commuting or already in work, giving nobody opportunity to actually savour it before being stuck inside for a long, sweaty day.

Marketing executive Tom Logan said: “Sunshine’s great in theory. But when it’s nippy getting into work then a slow-roasted hell by lunchtime, I have to question the point.

“It’s basically treason if you’re British and don’t spend every single available second outside when the temperature exceeds 20 degrees, but I’m sweating cobs and my sandwich tastes of suncream.

“It’ll be baking when I finish work. It’ll be stifling when I go to bed tonight. And tomorrow’s Saturday, so it’ll be raining.”

The only people able to enjoy the balmy minute were old men on their way to buy a newspaper and schoolchildren playing truant.

72-year-old Norman Steele said: “Ah, wonderful to be out here with the rays playing gently on the sun-dappled pavements.

“Oh, minute’s over. Now it’s too hot.”
The Daily Mash

Of course.

Some of us Brits adore the sunshine, however...

...and we also adore The Sunshine Band!

It's a Bank Holiday weekend, too - so it's goodbye to the office till Tuesday. Yay!

Thank Disco It's Friday!