Tuesday, 19 June 2018

An open invitation


Men who insist on dressing provocatively by wearing kilts are basically inviting people to stick cameras up them, it has been claimed.

Upskirting fan Francesca Johnson said: “If they want to parade around in public wearing next to nothing, then it’s an open invitation for a pervert like me to shove my smartphone up there.

“I’ve going to a wedding in Scotland this weekend so it’ll be wall-to-wall kilts. They don’t have to wear them, they could dress modestly, but if they’re choosing kilts, they’re choosing the extra attention.

“Don’t play the ‘it’s my family tartan’ card when we all know you’re just a burly 46-year-old little minx.”


She added: “I suppose I could choose not be a predatory sex pest, but it’s easier for me to blame them instead of examining my own sinister creepiness. Plus me and my mates have got a bet on who can get the most photos of actual knobs.”

Kilt wearer Tom Logan said: “Is she really going to get some sort of sexual thrill from looking at a very bad quality picture of my pants? She needs to get a fucking life.”
The Daily Mash

Of course.

Any excuse, really, for some gratuitous "up-kilt" shots...







The "real" story.

Monday, 18 June 2018

Ma che vacanza é







Another day, another wartime baby... Yesterday we celebrated the 75th birthday of one "Queen of Sequins", Barry Manilow. Today it is the turn of another; as to our amazement we discover that none other than Our Patron Saint of Dramatic-Head-Flicking Signorina Raffaella Carrà has hit the same milestone!



Raffaella Carrà is 75?!! Fuck.

On this Tacky Music Monday, let us celebrate the divine madness of the great lady. She was simply born to occupy our traditionally OTT start-the-week spot - fabulous costumes, frenetic choreography, safety gays and all - so here's a double-bill for your delectation...



Buon compleanno, tesoro!

Raffaella Carrà (born Raffaella Maria Pelloni, 18th June 1943)

Sunday, 17 June 2018

High up where the stallion meets the sun







"Here's proof that if you live long enough, anything is possible."

"I never wanted to be a performer, that was not one of my goals. I wanted to be a musician and that was that."

"My hair was slicked down with a parting. But that was before I discovered the blow-dryer. Now I'm fabulous."

"I think my music is like anchovies - some people like it, some people get nauseous."

"My goal was always to be involved in music that would outlive me. And maybe that's actually happening."


Many, many happy returns [and best wishes for a full recovery from his recent illness] to Mr Barry Manilow, who is 75 years old today!

The man who became most famous for his sequinned jump-suits and coiffured hair, the ultimate "Mr Showbiz" of his generation also happens to be a trained pianist and composer, and wrote some of the most enduring pop standards of the late 20th century, including Mandy, Can't Smile Without You, Bermuda Triangle, Looks Like We Made It, Copacabana, I Made It Through the Rain, and this one...


Spirit move me
Every time I"m near you
Whirling like a cyclone in my mind

Sweet Melissa,
Angel of my life time
Answer to all answers I can find

Baby I love you come, come
Come into my arms
Let me know the wonder of all of you
Baby I want you,
Now, now, now and hold on fast
Could this be the magic at last?

Lady take me
High upon a hillside
High up where the stallion meets the sun
I could love you
Build my world around you
Never leave you till my life is done

Baby I love you come, come
Come into my arms
Let me know the wonder of all of you
And baby I want you
Now, now, oh now, oh now and hold on fast
Could this be the magic at last?


A classic, to be sure...

Barry Manilow (born Barry Alan Pincus, 17th June 1943)

Saturday, 16 June 2018

Just because...



...the magnificent Fuchsia Bella Rosella - with its 4-inch blooms, the biggest of all cultivars - is looking so utterly splendid in the extensive gardens here at Dolores Delargo Towers, I thought I'd revisit a house fave song from a few years ago...

Let us wallow in the madness of the utterly fantabulosa Hi Fashion!


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

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

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

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

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

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


And it is.

Friday, 15 June 2018

Uh huh, I like it, Uh huh, I like it


Purr, Baby, purr!

Waves of relief are washing over us, as we hurtle once more towards another weekend - and, unlikely as it seems for the UK, another sunny one...

So let us don our most golden satin flares, as much lurex and sequins as we can lay our hands on, crimp our hair till it screams, grab a passing dancing safety gay - and boogie along with Belle Epoque! Thank Disco It's Friday!


Have a glittering one, dear reader...

Thursday, 14 June 2018

Enough of the nonsense



I don't know what they're like in other places across the globe, but betting shops over here have a reputation for being the last home of the lost, the odd, and the somewhat shifty "older bloke" - a type that would hardly be likely to be concerned with the well-being of us gayers.

However, top scores go to one of the biggest gambling chains on the High Street, Paddy Power, who - recognising the loathsome homophobic record of Putin's Russia, host of the Football World Cup which starts today - have launched an awareness campaign of unprecedented candour. For a betting shop...


According to its spokesman:
"Given they invented Russian Dolls, you’d be forgiven for thinking Russia wouldn’t have an issue with women being into other women.

"Likewise, their appreciation for bears is one shared around the world by the LGBT+ population, so it really is astonishing that they have not used their stewardship of this tournament to champion LGBT+ inclusivity.

"As a result, we’ve stepped in to help. When Russia 'Put-in' a goal, we’ll Put-in £10,000 to Attitude magazine’s Foundation, who will use the funds to make football more LGBT+ inclusive. I cannot wait to see the LGBT+ community get behind the Russians – or the Russians’ baffled reaction."
Indeed.

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Thought for the Day



Indeed.

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

The buzz of buying shit


We get it, you like Primark, says New Look
New Look is to refocus on selling shit clothing dirt-cheap because that is apparently what Britain wants.

The high street retailer admitted its current lines had not caught on with customers because they were priced in double figures and capable of surviving three washes.

New Look CEO Carolyn Ryan said: “The clothes we sell are fairly crap already, obviously. We’re not Zara. But the market has shown that they are not crap enough.

“From now on it’s £6 hoodies that unravel on contact with air, black tops that fade to a washed-out grey on the way home, and jeans that come pre-distressed simply because they’re so shoddily made.

“From now on you can leave with a bulging bag of New Look clothes and not worry about wearing any of them, because that’s not what you care about anyway is it? You just want the buzz of buying shit.

“Plus this makes it easier for the teenage girls behind the counter to direct their utter, crushing contempt for you. Which is their main job.”
The Daily Mash

Of course.

The "real" story.

Monday, 11 June 2018

Seems as though I'll ever be blue



It's bloody Monday again.

Groan.

Hey ho. Yesterday would have been the birthday of one of our greatest Patron Saints, Miss Judy Garland - so let's cheer ourselves up on this Tacky Music Monday with a rather faboo song'n'dance number, with Our Jude escorted up and down a fairytale staircase by a whole plethora of safety gays, some lovely dancers in chiffon, a parade of ladies in (very) big hats, with choreography by Busby Berkeley, and a song by Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein III. How much more camp do you want it??!!


Have a good week peeps. I won't.

Judy Garland (born Frances Ethel Gumm, 10th June 1922 – 22nd June 1969)

Sunday, 10 June 2018

How life should be...



...well, maybe not with furniture quite like this:


Cocktail, anyone?

[Music: Franco De Gemini - Sulla Riviera]

Saturday, 9 June 2018

Arise...





...Dame Professor Mary Beard, historian,TV presenter, latter-day "national treasure" and all-round British eccentric. We love her no-nonsense style of presenting the "insider details" from history in a clear-headed and un-patronising manner; we also admire the fact she appears to be fairly fearless in a variety of circumstances - when she gets abused on Tw*tter she chooses to talk to her abusers rather than enter into a war with them, and she even went on an "Election Blind Date" with that other (now recently deceased) eccentric, Peter Stringfellow!

Further congratulations today go to all the other recipients, including (among 1,057 names on HM The Queen's Birthday Honours List) Companion of Honour Dame Kiri Te Kanawa; the aforementioned (over at the Dolores Delargo Towers Museum of Camp) Dame Emma Thompson; Sir Kenny Dalgleish, Sir Simon Schama; Commanders of the Order of the British Empire Bamber Gascoigne, Tom Hardy, Ken Follett, Kate Adie and Jeanette Winterson; Officers of the Order of the British Empire (our Patron Saint) Fenella Fielding, Monty Don, Lucy Worsley, Keira Knightley, Debbie Wiseman and Brian Cosgrove; and Members of the Order of the British Empire Ms Dynamite and Gary Wilmot.

My Damehood was obviously lost in the post. Again.

Read the full Birthday Honours list

Today is also notable as a celebration of one thing we hold dear, for it is indeed World Gin Day!

And here's a suitably-named artiste with whom I think we should raise a toast...


Cheers!

Friday, 8 June 2018

Farewell to the leopardskin



And so, farewell then, Mr Peter Stringfellow - that most flamboyant of entrepreneurs; the King of the Clubs (he ran music venues in his native Sheffield and Leeds from the early 60s - booking acts that included Rod Stewart, The Beatles and The Stones - before relocating to London to found his Soho "gentlemen's clubs" empire), his relentless talent for self-promotion made him a fortune, as well as carving himself a niche among Britain's long, long list of "famous eccentrics". His refusal to update his trademark mullet 'do, the gold and the bling, the velvet and the leopardskin, the occasional whiff of scandal, his numerous relationships with "dolly-birds" - he was as familiar a face in the tabloids as many genuine "stars". More often than not he was photographed with them, anyway!

Among his many lesser-known ventures was his launch of regular gay nights (on a mega-scale) at his flagship venue, The Hippodrome on Leicester Square, and his founding of a record company. Combining the two things quite neatly, his biggest signing was none other than the eternal gay icon Miss Dusty Springfield. Although she only recorded one song for Hippodrome Records - a slow number (albeit written by Donna Summer) called Sometimes like Butterflies - she did appear live at the club, to the joy of her mainly gay audience:


To round off in an appropriate vein, here's another Dusty number that is somewhat more fitting for our traditional end-of-week sign-off (as well as The Hippodrome dance-floor) - so why not hairspray yourself into oblivion, get your hands in the air, and Thank Disco It's Friday - with Baby Blue!


RIP Peter James Stringfellow (17th October 1940 – 7th June 2018)

Thursday, 7 June 2018

Meet me in another world, space and joy



Lordy - sixty years ago today, the much-missed Prince Rogers Nelson was born!

The archetypal flamboyant icon of mid-80s to mid-90s pop [alongside Queen Madge, of course], he evolved from the shadow of his idol Rick James into the mega-successful, adored superstar whose death was so widely mourned across the globe. He was not merely a performer, singer and musician, however; he was a brilliant songwriter, too.

And, by way of a tribute to his genius, here are several examples of how his compositions became massive hits for other people:

First up, the one that always makes me cry...


...lightening the mood somewhat, a clutch of much more uplifting choons...



...the classic - here featuring an artist who shares a birthday with The Purple One, Sir Tom Jones (Tom Jones)...


...and finally, the man himself:


RIP Prince (7th June 1958 – 21st April 2016)

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Tell me what you see


Gorgeous Aquilegia in the extensive gardens here at Dolores Delargo Towers.

It's the birthday today of the former Mrs Paul Weller, a singer who deserved a much bigger and better career than she had - Miss Dee C Lee.

Here is her only major hit - but what a song!


Many happy returns, Dee C. Lee (born Diane Catherine Sealy, 6th June 1961)

Tuesday, 5 June 2018

Whatcha gonna do about it, whatcha gonna do?


Even with loads of lurex and glitter, 1973 still looked bleak.

Timeslip moment again...

The papers today are full of reminiscences about the tumultuous end of the 1960s (this being the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Senator Bobby Kennedy).

However we, dear reader, have been unceremoniously catapulted by our trusty TARDIS to a mere five years later, in 1973 - a continuing Cold War world; the year of Watergate, the final end of the Vietnam War, the escalation of the Arab–Israeli conflict, the "Three-Day Week" (with its associated power cuts), civil unrest in the US and France, and of Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon.

In the news forty-five years ago this month: a plane crash at the Paris Air Show destroyed 15 houses, killed all six people on board and eight more on the ground (three of them children) and severely injured sixty people; Princess Anne became engaged to Captain Mark Phillips; the Greek military junta abolished the country's monarchy; President Richard Nixon began a series of talks with Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev; the IRA killed six people and injured 33 others with two car-bombs in Coleraine in Northern Ireland; and in the ascendant were Donald Wetzel (inventor of the ATM/cashpoint machine) and The Rocky Horror Show (which premièred at the Royal Court Theatre in London), but we bade a sad farewell to the legendary Nancy Mitford. In our cinemas: Live and Let Die; Travels With My Aunt and That'll Be the Day. On telly: the ground-breaking series The Ascent of Man presented by Professor Jacob Bronowski; Esther Rantzen's That's Life; and children's sports programme We Are the Champions.

And in the UK Charts this week in June 1973? A bit of a Glam-rock kick, it would appear, with Wizzard at the top slot, Suzi Quatro and Sweet in the running, and Gary Glitter slithering his way down the listings; there were a raft of classics including Albatross by Fleetwood Mac, Perry Como's And I Love You So, Stevie Wonder's You Are the Sunshine of My Life, Stuck In The Middle With You by Stealers Wheel and Lou Reed's Walk On the Wild Side; and also in attendance were Nazareth, Tony Orlando and Dawn, Medicine Head and The Partridge Family. And then there was this one - which I remember as clear as day: as a nine-year-old in junior school, on a residential field trip up the Brecon Beacons in the typical Welsh drizzle-that-passes-for-summer, singing along to the infectious sound of 10CC...


I went to a party at the local county jail
All the cons were dancing and the band began to wail
But the guys were indiscreet
They were brawling in the street
At the local dance at the local county jail

Well the band were playing
And the booze began to flow
But the sound came over on the police car radio
Down at Precinct 49
Having a tear-gas of a time
Sergeant Baker got a call from the governor of the county jail

Load up, load up, load up with rubber bullets
Load up, load up, load up with rubber bullets

I love to hear those convicts squeal
It's a shame these slugs ain't real
But we can't have dancin' at the local county jail

Sergeant Baker and his men made a bee-line for the jail
And for miles around
You could hear the sirens wail
There's a rumour goin' round death row
That a fuse is gonna blow
At the local hop at the local county jail

Whatcha gonna do about it, whatcha gonna do?
Whatcha gonna do about it, whatcha gonna do?

Sergeant Baker started talkin'
With a bullhorn in his hand
He was cool, he was clear
He was always in command
He said "Blood will flow;
Here Padre
Padre you talk to your boys..."
"Trust in me -
God will come to set you free"

Well we don't understand
Why you called in the National Guard
When Uncle Sam is the one
Who belongs in the exercise yard
We all got balls and brains
But some's got balls and chains
At the local dance at the local county jail

Load up, load up, load up with rubber bullets
Load up, load up, load up with rubber bullets

Is it really such a crime
For a guy to spend his time
At the local dance at the local county jail
At the local dance at the local county jail

Whatcha gonna do about it, whatcha gonna do?
Whatcha gonna do about it, whatcha gonna do?


Timeless!

[Note of interest: A rumour spread around in their heyday that they named themselves 10cc because the term represents the amount of semen in an average male ejaculation (or a little bit more). This is apparently an urban myth; their name was chosen by their then manager Jonathan King arising from a dream he had about a band that became successful with that name.]

Monday, 4 June 2018

Mierda



Groan. It's here.

My alarm has awoken me at an ungodly hour (the sort of hour I feel I should be just coming home from a club), and I have to steel myself for the horrors that await in the office. There will inevitably be tons of work left over that no-one has touched, and we still have this shitty "reorganisation" going on, which means at some stage I will once more be facing an interview to save my own job.

And the fucking lottery numbers haven't come up. Again.

Hey ho - let's venture back to Spain (if only!) for a little smattering of 60s yé-yé nonsense on this Tacky Music Monday...

...here's the completely fruit-loop Silvana Velasco and her gays de seguridad!


She's faboo, but: ¡Me cago en todo lo que se menea!

Sunday, 3 June 2018

The ideal


Our Dryopteris fern is other-worldly.

Ho hum. Back to work tomorrow, peeps, after a fortnight of indulgence - a glorious holiday in Spain, and a week developing the extensive gardens here at Dolores Delargo Towers.

Tony Bennett sums it up, methinks...


Oh, the good life, full of fun
Seems to be the ideal
Mm, the good life lets you hide
All the sadness you feel


Sigh.

Saturday, 2 June 2018

Play for me, Gypsy!


We'd love to grow one of these in the extensive gardens here at Dolores Delargo Towers.

Another day - and a lovely hot and sunny one! - in the garden.

I'm spending more time outside at the moment than actually in the flat, which is no bad thing - it's just the Gypsy in my soul.

Speaking of which, how about a triple-bill of utterly fabulous Gypsy Jazz to add to this merry mood..?




Perfect.

Friday, 1 June 2018

It don't matter


The splendid Hesperis matronalis in the extensive gardens here at Dolores Delargo Towers

I have been making the most of the fact that the rain has held off for the past few days, spending most of my daylight hours [for me on holiday, that usually means - ahem - from 11am] in the garden. Yesterday, I was so pooped with potting and sorting that I - heaven forfend! - didn't even post a blog.

How remiss of me. To make up for that - and to mark the end of another week in our traditional manner (albeit with a Spanish twist, of course) - let's revel in the delights of Señorita Thalia (paying due deference to house faves Fangoria, whose song this originally was) - and Thank Disco It's Friday!!


Have a good one, dear reader!

[ NB A Quien Le Importa means "It doesn't matter" in Spanish]

Wednesday, 30 May 2018

England won't miss it


Meghan Windsor, the Duchess of Sussex, has outlined plans to move the county to just off the coast of California.

The former Suits actress has told friends that while she likes Sussex the weather is rather changeable and it is too close to her in-laws for her to properly relax.

A palace insider said: “The plan is to saw along the county boundary, attach it to a few of the Navy’s stronger battleships and simply tow it across the Atlantic.

“Harry’s all for it – he went to Afghanistan just to get away from his family, let’s not forget – because he understands marriage is about compromise.

“England won’t miss it, it’s only a little sideways scoop from the bottom, and it’ll hugely boost house prices in newly-coastal Surrey so the government can’t oppose it without alienating their core voters.

“And finally Brighton will be just across the water from its big brother San Francisco like it always wanted. It’s a visionary move.”

Bognor Regis resident Mary Fisher said: “Well, I suppose it’ll make a nice change from staring out to sea and hating the French.”
The Daily Mash

Of course.

Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Locos, ellos son como tú y yo



It is quite the season for birthdays we like to celebrate, it would seem...

Not only did we miss a clutch of favourites while we were away (although I just had to make sure I posted a tribute to Miss Grace Jones; I dare not risk her wrath), then along came Our Princess Kylie's 50th [gulp!] yesterday...

...but to add to that, there was one more birthday last week worthy of our notice - and we were in her homeland to boot!

I never need much of an excuse to play something by the ultimate "La Reina de la Histrionica", Señorita Mónica Naranjo, so by way of a belated tribute, here are some examples of her sublime talents:

Here's her most successful hit in Spain:


...an early example of her burgeoning affinity for all things OTT:


...our house favourite here at Dolores Delargo Towers:


...and probably the Gran Dama's finest hour:


¡La quiero!

Mónica Naranjo (born 23rd May 1974)

Monday, 28 May 2018

Ablaze



Darlings! We're home...

We had an utterly marvellous week of basically doing bugger all except drink, admire the beautiful Mediterranean, drink, banter and gossip with friends we've made on the Costa over the years, drink, party, cruise the fleshpots of La Nogalera, drink, laugh, eat - and drink. Oh, and did I mention it was sunny? Very sunny indeed! Although we heard that the UK and Northern Europe were also getting a heatwave, as we said throughout the holiday: "They are in work; we're not. They are all looking at computer screens while we sup Tinto de Verano and gin cocktails in a beach bar. Ha ha!"

So apart from tabloid headlines about soaring temperatures, water shortages and dramatic thunderstorms, what did we miss while we were away?

Apparently there was some kind of a wedding between a posh ginger Brit and a Yank actress, but you'd never guess it. Nobody in the media was talking about it at all...

There may have been other things happening in the news however, such as: the height of the horticultural season, the Chelsea Flower Show took place; Mount Kilauea in Hawaii erupted; Ireland voted to lift a ban on abortion; the Trump-Kim Jong-un summit was on then off then on again (yawn); Harvey Weinstein was (finally) charged with rape; former London Mayor, ex-MP and all-round twat Ken Livingstone resigned from the Labour Party after having been suspended for years; email inboxes across the universe were clogged by bloody GDPR privacy declaration emails...

...and, in a story that sounds familiar: an Oregon man is in custody after he used an AK-47 to shoot at his upstairs neighbours; he was reportedly involved in a long-running dispute about their noisy children.

We missed marking the 90th anniversary of the birth of the lovely Rosemary Clooney, the 85th birthday of the divine Dame Joan Collins, the 75th birthday of the multi-talented Miss Leslie Uggams and what would have been the 75th of the dearly departed Cilla Black, the 70th of You Make Me Feel Like Dancing singer Leo Sayer, what would have been the 65th birthday of the very much-missed Victoria Wood, the 60th of "Modfather" Paul Weller (of The Jam and The Style Council), the 24th birthday of sex god Tom Daley, and the birthdays of our Patron Saints Peggy Lee (who would have been 98), Cher (72), Siouxsie Sioux (61) and Sir Ian "Serena" McKellen (79). We were also away when the deaths of Portnoy's Complaint author Philip Roth and the hunky actor and star of many a Western Clint Walker were announced.

We're both utterly pissed off to be back, but I do have another full week's leave in which to recover. At least we have lovely deep tans to show off, and may even (dramatic hailstorms and murky humidity aside) be able to carry on topping them up.

And, as is my wont, I have brought a little something back from Spain with which to entertain you, dear reader, on this Tacky Music (Bank Holiday) Monday!

Meet Señorita Carmen Hierbabuena - once seen, never forgotten...


Is it good to be back? No.

Sigh.

[ NB Ardiento means "Ablaze" in Spanish]

Saturday, 19 May 2018

We're vamos-ing as we speak, sweetie



As you read this, we are likely to be alighting into the sunshine of El Andalus - and yes! We shall be heading to the beach...


Back in a week, dear reader!

Friday, 18 May 2018

Two decades?!



...how on earth did we manage it?!

Madam Arcati and I have reached a milestone - this month (we don't have a set date; the whole of May will do as a celebration) we have been together for TWENTY bloody years...

That, of course, is the reason for our second trip in a year to the delights of the Costa del Sol tomorrow, for a week of unabashed hedonism. Why change the habits of a lifetime, I say?

We've been through a lot, have Tony and I: several house moves (including from Plymouth to London a year after we met), several changes of job, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, and all that malarkey. [Meghan and Harry have all that to come. But they're multi-millionaires so I doubt the "for poorer" bit applies.]

As we're off to Spain, I thought it appropriate to check out what would have been playing there two decades ago this month - and I discovered that their Number 1 and ours in the UK were exactly the same. So here she is, the Queen of Fucking Everything herself, Our Glorious Leader Madge - and Thank Disco (Techno? Trance? EDM?) It's Friday!


Faster than the speeding light she's flying
Trying to remember where it all began
She's got herself a little piece of heaven
Waiting for the time when Earth shall be as one


Time flies - "Quicker than a ray of light", indeed.

Thursday, 17 May 2018

Very, very much



In our "comfort zones" in the West, it is easy for people to say - as the usual pundits tend to do, in particular when such things as Gay Pride events are debated - that we have it all "sorted"; that the battles for equal treatment and recognition for gay people have largely been won. But even during the recent glitteringly camp Eurovision Song Contest, there was still evidence of homophobia - be it institutional, such as the Chinese censorship of rainbow flags and gay performers, or attitudinal: some of the commenters "below the line" in such august media as The Independent or The Telegraph still found the need to heap scorn and condemnation on the fact that Ireland's entry had the temerity to feature a gay kiss. At Eurovision, for fuck's sake!

Gay people in all societies - "First World" and "Third World" alike still encounter insults, discriminatory behaviours and sometimes violence. Trans people in their own struggles for recognition are regularly disparaged by right-wing and left-wing groups alike.

HIV/AIDS organisation Avert has some optimism:
"...progress is being made in overturning anti-gay laws. Last month saw the total number of countries with anti-LGBT laws drop to 74 with Trinidad being the latest country to join the modern statute books (pending an appeal).

"Activists hope that upcoming court rulings in Kenya and India will see this figure drop to 73 or even 72."
There was actual good news as Australia (finally) made same-sex marriage legal (as did Slovenia, Germany, Malta, Taiwan and Austria during 2017); darling Tom Daley used his position as a Commonwealth Games medal-winner to highlight homophobia in the world's media; cute Justin Trudeau's Canadian government formally apologised to the thousands of Canadians who suffered injustices during a decades-long campaign to root out homosexuality from the military and public service; and gay producer-director James Ivory received an Oscar for Call Me By Your Name (which itself was a smash hit in cinemas across the world).

None of this is anywhere near enough.

The continued active persecution, discrimination, imprisonment and even murder of gay people by ISIS and Islamist states such as Brunei, Iran, the Gulf States, Morocco and Saudi Arabia; and the spite, bile, cruelty and violence towards us that is actively encouraged by Russia and its ex-satellites, Catholic and African churches, US gobshite evangelists, and right-wing politicians across the globe proves that this is not the case for the majority of people in this world.

The list of modern-day horrors in just the last twelve months includes the persecution and torture of gay people in:
Shamefully, our own Commonwealth is a collective that includes a high proportion of the World's homophobic states. Prime Minister Theresa May last month expressed “deep regret” for Britain’s role in criminalising same-sex relations in its former colonies and announced Foreign & Commonwealth Office funding for an ambitious £5.6 million two-year programme to advance equality and equal protection before the law. Baby steps.

And I haven't even mentioned Trump...

As ever, on this International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHo), there is a simpler message for our oppressors, bullies and haters out there:


Indeed.

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

¡Es hora de fiesta!



And so, dear reader - with Eurovision well and truly over, in the middle of my last week in the office for a fortnight - another countdown begins...

This weekend Madam Arcati and I will be jetting off (at stupid o'clock, but that's another matter) once again to the sunshine and delights of Benalmadena!

It has been a long struggle this Spring - moving house and garden in January was such a stressful situation that even our regular week in Spain in February (during which the weather was not exactly tropical) could not quite take the edge off it. Then came the coldest, darkest March on record (during which we sincerely thought we'd lost most of the plants we'd moved, after all that; but thankfully the losses were minimal), and teething problems with the telly connection and the heating, and budgeting for the higher rent, and getting this place into some semblance of decorative order (building wardrobes and shelves, hanging pictures, planting up pots), and the continued looming threat of redundancy in work, and, and, and...

...WE NEED THIS HOLIDAY!

We also need some utterly exagerado entertainment to remind us why we love Spain so! How about the pairing of an ageing burlesque stripper and a delightfully camp mariquita, having the party to beat all parties?!

That'll do nicely:


Inevitably, I have featured both "Señoritas" here before.

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

The gardening goddess


"Any death of a loved one is sad. But Beth Chatto lived to a great age and enriched the lives of so many of us with her writing, teaching and incomparable garden - so let's celebrate a life supremely well lived." - Monty Don
Britain has a long history of celebrated gardens and gardeners - from Romanesque villas to monastic cloisters, through Tudor knot gardens to William Kent's vistas, "Capability" Brown's landscapes, Humphrey Repton's Romanticism, and Joseph Paxton's formal designs in the industrial Victorian era.

In the 20th century, Gertrude Jekyll was one of the most influential gardeners - embedding all the quintessential elements of what we now think of as the "British Cottage Garden", such as herbaceous borders based on colour schemes, climbers on trellises, and garden "rooms" as an extension of the house. These ideas were taken to extremes by Vita Sackville-West at Sissinghurst, whose single-colour garden rooms became the height of fashion; but in the mixed borders favoured by Christopher Lloyd, planted beds went a step further still, with a kaleidoscope of sub-tropical plants and colours.

However it was Beth Chatto who put it all back together in some semblance of "order". Hers was the philosophy of "the right plant for the right place" - not merely creating gardens based upon the colour of flowers, their exoticism, their height or their contrasting shapes and habits, but on their preferred habitat; be that not only in her fabled "dry gardens", but also in waterlogged gardens, shady gardens, managing to find plants that thrive in clay, scree and gravel. In that, she was a pioneer - and, indeed was the last of the "gardening greats"; her influence and her expertise were universally admired by the perhaps more famous gardeners of more recent years, whose skills are demonstrated nowadays via a medium she herself largely eschewed, television.

With no horticultural experience herself, but with the guidance of her plantsman husband Andrew, she carved a unique niche in gardening lore - her books became international best-sellers, she was in great demand for lecturing tours, and her greatest legacy, The Beth Chatto Gardens near Colchester [which is on our list to visit sometime this year, with "the Essex Boys" Baby Steve and Alex who live quite near] receives thousands of visitors every year. And no wonder...







She's a sad loss. But I have found a (somewhat appropriate) song:


RIP Beth Chatto OBE (27th June 1923 – 13th May 2018)

Monday, 14 May 2018

You're so thrilling, and I'm so willing



Oh lordy. Monday again.

After a rollicking weekend, it is time to grit one's teeth, paint on that false plastic smile, and spend another week in that soulless place called "the office".

At least it is only five more days - then we're off to Spain again. Yay!

While we were otherwise distracted by all things Eurovision, passing unnoticed was the fact that it also happened to be the 90th birthday on Saturday of the prestigious talent that is Mr Burt Bacharach! So, by way of a belated celebration, on this Tacky Music Monday let's hand it over to the faboo Tom Jones (and his ever-ready performing trousers) to give us a rendition of one of Mr B's catchiest numbers...


Have a good week, dear reader!

Burt Freeman Bacharach (born 12th May 1928)

Sunday, 13 May 2018

We wuz robbed. Again! #589 in a recurring series...


Our Katie Boyle shrine

If the whole thing wasn't so ridiculously, gloriously, over-the-top; if it weren't our excuse for a blinder of a house party; if it had not carved its well-deserved niche in our Social Calendar as the "Gay World Cup" - we might boycott the Eurovision Song Contest for its blatant political bias against the UK. Despite entering one of our best songs, and an excellent singer, to represent us, we still only managed 24th place out of 26...

Ho hum. As per usual, our home was invaded by a host of our best chums, all variously attired to represent one of the participating countries; I was hostess-with-the-mostest/"Graham Norton"; vast quantities of booze and exotic foodstuffs were consumed; the rafters shook with cheers, jeers, singing and general merriment; and this morning the floor is covered with so many sequins, it looks like Liberace sneezed on our carpet! Quite the housewarming party for Dolores Delargo Towers #4.





Of the contest itself? It was (as is quite usual) a "mixed bag" of juvenile political worthiness ("peace", "love", and - ahem - "asylum-seekers" being heavily featured themes) and sheer unadulterated madness, and as usual the voting system was an esoteric mix of the obvious (Cyprus always gets 12 points from Greece, Eastern European and Scandi countries inevitably vote for their neighbours, and so on) and the random, but it also threw up some odd disparities - the jury votes favoured the "Justin-Timberlake-wannabee" from Sweden and the impassioned soul singer from Austria, but the popular (phone) votes pushed the likes of the Czech Republic's poor imitation of Justin Bieber, the over-emoting Italian duettists and the ugly Vikings from Denmark out of the lower reaches where they were languishing into the top ten).

Highlights? The fantastic operatic vocals of Estonia's Elina (and, of course, that dress) [BBC host Graham Norton's comment: "Her wedding dress is going to be a real disappointment after that, isn't it? 'This old thing'."]:


...the craziness of Moldova's DoReDos [Graham Norton's comment: "It's like they've got a time machine and gone back to 1978. It's like some children's television presenters got a bit over-excited at their Christmas party.... Answers on a postcard please. I've no idea what was going on."]:


...and the powerful performance by Miss Saara Alto (quite a feat, while spinning on a knife-thrower's board!):




Our girl SuRie faced the horror of having some lunatic political protestor rush her on stage to snatch her microphone - but then went on to perform the best rendition of her faboo song Storm we'd seen her do. Despite being offered a second chance to perform, which she declined, she didn't benefit from any "sympathy vote". Our "jury" gave her top marks, however:

United Kingdom 233
Israel 218
Finland 209
Moldova 208
Estonia 186
Bulgaria 182
Cyprus 168
Denmark 155
Austria 140

In the end, in the real contest, it was quite a nail-biting voting countdown as the phone votes were announced - frustratingly slowly - and the "horse-trading" between countries began in earnest. Austria had an early lead, then it was threatened by Sweden, then, eventually, the winning position was a close-run thing between Cyprus's sassy Eleni Foureira (Beyonce-style hair-flicking dance routine, and all) and Israel's kooky Netta. As the crescendo arrived, it was obvious that the "Beth Ditto-looky-likey doing chicken noises" had won - and well-deserved, I'd say!




Here's the runners-up:

Eleni [Graham Norton's comment: "Wow. We must applaud the use of flame-resistant hairspray there. That was impressive stuff."]:


...and Cesár [Graham again: "Now he can go and get out of that outfit. Must be like a paddling pool in those trousers - not a very breathable fabric."]:


Despite the injustice meted out to SuRie, it was a supremely fun night - and we all had a fantabulosa party!

Same time, next year?!

Saturday, 12 May 2018

From the fading light I fly



This house is cleannnn! The flags are up [that's not them in the picture!], the buffet just needs preparation, and all is well for tonight's Eurovision Song Contest party. Apart from the weather, which has decided to turn to shit...

Hey ho, we'll have a faboo time even if our smokers do get soaked while standing outside. I do, of course, feel the urge to play a classic Eurovision song to kick the festivities off - but what to play? I played Bucks Fizz yesterday. I have never played Brotherhood of Man, and don't intend to start now. How about Abba? Katrina and the Waves? Volare [yes - it did begin life at Eurovision, before Dean Martin got his mitts on it]? Scooch? Verka Serduchka? Jedward?

No.

It just HAS to be The Queen of Eurovision!


Waking in the rubble
Walking over glass
Neighbours say we’re trouble
Well that time has passed

Peering from the mirror
No, that isn’t me
Stranger getting nearer
Who can this person be

You wouldn’t know me at all today
From the fading light I fly

Rise like a phoenix
Out of the ashes
Seeking rather than vengeance
Retribution
You were warned
Once I’m transformed
Once I’m reborn
You know I will rise like a phoenix
But you’re my flame

Go about your business
Act as if you’re free
No one could have witnessed
What you did to me

Cause you wouldn’t know me today
And you have got to see
To believe
From the fading light I fly

Rise like a phoenix
Out of the ashes
Seeking rather than vengeance
Retribution
You were warned
Once I’m transformed
Once I’m reborn

I rise up to the sky
You threw me down but
I’m gonna fly

And rise like a phoenix
Out of the ashes
Seeking rather than vengeance
Retribution
You were warned
Once I’m transformed
Once I’m reborn
You know I will rise like a phoenix
But you’re my flame


Nothing tonight will beat that.

Friday, 11 May 2018

That European singsong competition thing you guys lose your shit over



Another tedious week drags to a close, and we are on the eve of our grand Eurovision Song Contest/house-warming/20th anniversary/"any excuse" party!

Good news - the fascist Chinese TV channel that airbrushed rainbow flags from its broadcast of the semi-finals has been banned from showing the contest. Bad news - Deadpool says we have "woken the sleeping moose" for not allowing Canada into the contest ("You let in Australia and they're barely on the planet!"):


Love that. But, enough of the distractions - let's get this year's party started (a little prematurely, maybe) with a clutch of some (vaguely) Disco-themed or just plain danceable classics, and thank Eurovision it's Friday!





Don't forget to rip your skirt off at the key-change, peeps...

Thursday, 10 May 2018

Satisfying relaxation and tension relief



Oh, this is priceless! With the countdown to the Eurovision Song Contest - and the mayhem of a houseful of guests in preposterous clothing all cheering and filling in scorecards while balancing buffet food and booze on their laps - in full swing, so I discover that today is the birthday of a "national treasure" in Sweden, Kikki Danielsson, who has enjoyed a long career as a singer, mainly schlager, country and pop, with the occasional bout of yodelling(!).

Miss Kikki also happened to be a contender in Eurovision way back in 1985. Hilariously, her song - which came third - had the misfortune of a title (which actually translates as "Good Vibrations") that could be interpreted very differently in English-speaking countries...

All together, now!


Eurovision Song Contest official site

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Rockerfella, Rockerfella



And so, farewell, then Wolfman Abi Ofarim, one half of the "kooky" 60s singing duo Esther and Abi Ofarim. In the UK, theirs was a somewhat fleeting moment in the limelight - in fact, they only had one (massive) hit Cinderella Rockerfella, and this is as good an excuse as any to play it.

I loved this song when I was a child, and I still love it today!


You're the lady
You're the lady that I love
I'm the lady, the lady who
You're the lady
You're the lady that I love
I'm the lady, the lady who
You're the little lady
I'm the little lady
Ooh

I love your touch
Thank you so much
I love your eyes
That's very nice
I love your chin
Say it again
I love your chinny chin chin

You're the fella
You're the fella that rocks me
Rockerfella, Rockerfella
You're the fella
You're the fella that rocks me
Rockerfella, Rockerfella
You're my Rockerfella
I'm your Rockerfella
Ooh


Abi Ofarim (5th October 1937 – 4th May 2018)

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Shameless*



Groan. After a fantabulosa weekend, its time to go back to the perennial dullness of the office...

The sun is still blazing away out there, and, despite the glowing tan from Essex, my dreams are still of Spain - and there's always room for a bit more cheese from the "Land of Tackiness" here at Dolores Delargo Towers, after all!

Sharing a birthday as she does with a bizarre range of famous names such as Sir David Attenborough, "H" from Steps, Sid James, Norman Lamont, Enrique Iglesias, Dame Felicity Lott, Tom of Finland, Ricky Nelson, Ezio Pinza, Phyllida Law, Toni Tennille, Philip Bailey, and - ahem - Gary Glitter, here (again) is one of the biggest-selling artists in Spain Marta Sánchez, doing what she does, accompanied by a bevy of glittering safety gays...


That certainly cheered me up!

Marta Sánchez López (born 8th May 1966)

[*Caradura means "shameless" or "bare-faced" in Spanish]