Wednesday 30 April 2008

You know me better than I know myself

Just a little musical treat from the wildly eccentric, the marvellous Roisin Murphy...

I think we've waited
Long enough, baby
You know me
Only too well

I just thought someway I have to match you
So don't be defensive
No, no, don't try to pretend to
Look surprised

Have you ever known me?
Bit too shy to jump in
But when it comes to you
I can't win
'Cause you know me better than I know myself

You know me better than I know myself
You know me the best
You know me better than I know myself
You know what to expect

Understand it
Nobody understands you
The way that I can
Let's see this thing through
One thing remaining
Things will never be the same again
After tonight

So let's get down to it
This thing is getting stronger and stronger
We need to take it further
I can't wait no longer of waiting my turn
I've waited in line

How long have I known you?
Not in all this time been untrue
I think I'm rolling free
Let me see this through
You know me better than I know myself

You know me better than I know myself
You know me the best
You know me better than I know myself
You know what to expect

You know me better than I know myself
You know me the best
You know me better than I know myself

How many years can we keep going on this way
Too afraid to learn to stay
Though I believe the friendship can survive
Maybe it won't if we do or we don't

You know me better than I know myself
You know me the best
You know me better than I know myself
You know what to expect

You know me better than I know myself
You know me the best
You know me better than I know myself
You know what to expect

You know me better than I know myself
You know me better than I know myself
You know me better than I know myself
You know me better than I know myself
You know what to expect

Roisin Murphy on MySpace

Tuesday 29 April 2008

He has a touch of Lavender

I have been so looking forward to seeing Marc Almond in the suitably decadent and slightly sleazy surroundings of Wilton's Music Hall - and the evening certainly lived up to that anticipation. What a brilliant night!

Marc, looking a damn sight younger than his 51 years, held the audience in the palm of his hands for a fully-fledged torch song extravaganza; all drama and melancholy - in the true tradition of what Music Hall was all about.

Rather in the style of other "dark" artistes like Nina Hagen or The Tiger Lillies, Marc's song titles read like a catalogue of depravity and depression. But the reality is that in his hands these torch songs become jewels of breathtaking intensity - numbers last night included A Weakness for Roses, Lonely Go Go Dancer, Black Heart, Mother Fist, Suicide Saloon, So Long Soho, Moonbathe Skin, Love to Die For and the sleazy Bluegate Fields. The set also included a very beautiful song about a rent-boy's unrequited love for a punter For Only You, and some rather more tenuous numbers, such as a melodramatic Russian song about a beggar woman, and a rather-too-Nashville-for-me gospel song called Calvary.

He was aptly supported by a team of like-minded bohemians, including Baby Dee (bizarre tranny performance artiste, songwriter and player of the piano, accordian and harp), Little Annie (tiny New York singer with the looks of Don Knotts and a voice like a more soulful Carol Channing) and her partner (and apparent Barry Manilow impersonator) Paul Wallfisch, Celine Hispiche (thunderous-voiced cabaret performer) and a coterie of talented musos, some of whom apparently were part of Marc's onetime band the Mambos.

One song Marc performed beautifully is a long-time favourite of mine, Lavender. Shamefully never yet released on CD, this ballad of gay pride and shame in a bygone age has never failed to lift my spirits since I heard him sing it on the radio a while back:

A particular favourite was the duet with Annie on Charles Aznavour's Yesterday When I Was Young, but the big surprise of the evening was Marc's romping music hall duet with Celine on Masculine Women Feminine Men, a song originally done by 1920s camp drag artiste Douglas Byng and latterly covered by a number of people including - incredibly - Tom Robinson. Although the ubiquitous audience rhythmic clapping began to sound a bit like seals begging for fish, I loved the fact he introduced this song to a new audience, and I hope to see it appear on a future Marc album.

Hail to the king (queen)!

Masculine women, feminine men,
Which is the cock and which is the hen?
It's hard to tell 'em apart today! And, say!

Sister is busy learning to shave,
Brother just got a permanent wave,
It's hard to tell 'em apart today! Hey, hey!

Girls were girls and boys were boys when I was a tot,
Now we don't know who's who, even what's what!

Knickers and trousers, baggy and wide,
Nobody knows who's walking inside,
Those masculine women and feminine men!

Marc Almond official MySpace profile

Monday 28 April 2008

Enjoy this trip, and it is a trip

Unbelievably, it is twenty years since the world of acid house was rocked by the talents of Mark Moore, and The Theme from S-Express was at number 1!

I feel old.

Sunday 27 April 2008

There’s nothing like a moist man...

That Julianne Moore mermaid photo by Annie Liebovitz has been all over the press recently. But more interesting than the Disney commissioned photo is the merman in the foreground. Apparently this is Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps - and what a hunk he is...

Saturday 26 April 2008

A unique, irreplaceable talent

Sad news about the death of the much-loved Humphrey Lyttelton, jazz virtuoso, author, cartoonist and broadcasting legend.

Born into the aristocratic Lyttelton family, over the years "Humph" worked with some of the greats, in music - Louis Armstrong, Elkie Brooks, Helen Shapiro, George Melly, Acker Bilk, even Radiohead - and in light entertainment - such as Tim Brooke-Taylor, Graeme Garden, Barry Cryer, Willie Rushton, Stephen Fry, Sandi Toksvig and Paul Merton.

His dry acerbic wit, particularly as long-time chair of Radio 4's faintly ludicrous "antidote to quiz shows" I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue, made him a bit of a cult figure right up until his death.

Another sad loss. Here he is, showing the young 'uns how it's done:

Humphrey Lyttelton official website

BBC tribute to Humphrey Lyttelton

Friday 25 April 2008

Lesson 1: don’t take on the US Internal Revenue

So crazy old Wesley Snipes has gone to prison for not just evading, but refusing to pay his taxes for several years... Did the man think he really could win against the US government?

As Miss Noxeema Jackson once said: "I'll bet you were the brightest in your class, weren't you?"

Read the story on the BBC

Thursday 24 April 2008


So how do you celebrate the 66th birthday of the top female artist in the world?

Barbra Streisand is undoubtedly beyond worrying about piss-takes and ridicule, despite her famous attitude and "difficult-to-deal-with" character. She is just too rich, too powerful, and too established to have to concern herself with things like that. Only Oprah Winfrey has more power! So let us celebrate the magnificence that is Mecha-Streisand...

Barbra Streisand official website

Wednesday 23 April 2008

The Hoff in "something removed" shock horror

Former Baywatch actor David Hasselhoff is doing well after having "something removed" above his eye on Saturday, his publicist has confirmed.

Well, obviously it couldn't possibly be a brain, nor a personality, so I wonder what on earth it was...? Maybe it was his curly perm...

Tuesday 22 April 2008

I could never be your woman

There are many records that capture an era for me - as I am certain there are for all of us.

However, this particular song is indelibly associated with a part of my life when I was a "merry" widow, living in Plymouth(!), and had just met someone who I thought might be a soulmate. Now ten years on, Madame Arcati are (in the approximate echoes of a Sondheim song) "still here", and this song sums up a little of that bizarre situation that he rescued me from...

Enjoy the enigmatic sound of White Town (and whatever happened to Jyoti Mishra?)...

Your Woman
Just tell me what you've got to say to me,
I've been waiting for so long to hear the truth,
It comes as no surprise at all you see,
So cut the crap and tell me that we're through.

Now I know your heart, I know your mind,
You don't even know you're being unkind,
So much for all your highbrow Marxist ways,
Just use me up and then you walk away,
Boy you can't play me that way.

Well I guess what you say is true,
I could never be the right kind of girl for you,
I could never be your woman.

When I saw my best friend yesterday,
She said she never liked you from the start,
Well me, I wish that I could claim the same,
But you always knew you held my heart.
And you're such a charming handsome man,
Now I think I finally understand,
Is it in your genes?, I don't know,
But I'll soon find out, that's for sure,
Why did you play me this way?

Well I guess what you say is true,
I could never be the right kind of girl for you,
I could never be your woman.

Well I guess what they say is true,
I could never spend my life with a man like you,
I could never be your woman.

Monday 21 April 2008

Only you can satisfy this great desire

I heard this track tonight for the first time in years - out of the blue, as a trailer for Sex in the City - and it just brought back soooo many memories!

To cheer up that usual misery that is a Monday, here's the uber-cool Siouxsie and her ex-husband Budgie in their side project away from the Banshees, The Creatures:

Right now
Let me take you by the hand
Right now
Put your lips at my command
Right now
Fly me off to lover's land

Don't you leave me at the post
Kiss me
You can feel it coast to coast
Right now
Baby need your love the most

You have set my soul on fire
Only you can satisfy this great desire

Right now
Let the fool world break in two
Right now
Stars can tumble from the blue
Right now
Just as long as I'm with you

Right now
It's the time and it's the place
Right now
For a ride to outer space
Right now
Let me have that wild embrace

You have set my soul on fire
Only you can satisfy this great desire

One time
Let the wine of love flow free
One time
Be the lover you can be
Right now
Come and give yourself to me

Sunday 20 April 2008

Lethal weapon

Two blog posts in one day! I figured that this one was too good not to share. The gorgeous Abercrombie & Fitch model-turned-"actor" Channing Tatum has landed the part of G.I. Joe in the forthcoming film/toy promotion, and judging by this photo is suitably loaded for the part... Woof!

The King of Mambo

On this day 85 years ago, the greatest of all Latin American musicians Tito Puente was born.

It is impossible to sum up just how influential this man was in the world of mambo, salsa and big band Latin jazz. In his lifetime, Puente recorded 120 albums, composed over 450 songs, won five Grammy awards, was credited with more than 2,000 arrangements, and worked with such fantastic and world-renowned artists such as Celia Cruz and Carlos Santana.

Puerto Rico's finest son, we salute you!

Ernesto Antonio "Tito" Puente (20th April 1923 – 31st May 2000)

Saturday 19 April 2008

Germans have a sense of humour, shock

Oh wow! Madame Arcati has discovered a real gem - bizarre "cocktail-bar jazz" versions of pop classics by Max Raabe and the Palast Orchester. I just had to share...

Max Raabe & Palast Orchester website

Max Raabe on MySpace

Friday 18 April 2008

The speed of a swallow, the grace of a boy

A very esoteric piece of news - the death of the 20th century's favourite poet John Betjeman's "muse" at the age of 92 - spurred me on to thoughts of the brilliant poem that she inspired the great Laureate to compose.

Alongside Slough and Metroland, his ballad of youthful obsession about the hefty Joan Hunter Dunn is indeed a classic of its genre, and one of my favourites:

A Subaltern's Love Song
Miss J. Hunter Dunn, Miss J. Hunter Dunn,
Furnish'd and burnish'd by Aldershot sun,
What strenuous singles we played after tea,
We in the tournament - you against me!

Love-thirty, love-forty, oh! weakness of joy,
The speed of a swallow, the grace of a boy,
With carefullest carelessness, gaily you won,
I am weak from your loveliness, Joan Hunter Dunn.

Miss Joan Hunter Dunn, Miss Joan Hunter Dunn,
How mad I am, sad I am, glad that you won,
The warm-handled racket is back in its press,
But my shock-headed victor, she loves me no less.

Hear Sir John Betjeman reading this poem in its entirety.

RIP, Miss Joan Hunter Dunn...

Thursday 17 April 2008

But if you can stand the test, you know your worst is better than their best

We trotted along to the very first Electrosexual last night - Paul Burston and Dom Agius's new homo-retro-electro night at Freedom in Wardour Street, and had a fantastic time.

Although not packed, there was a healthy mix of people - those of us who actually remember the music from first time around, those who live the dream of being a Blitz kid, and people who just love to dance!

And there was plenty to make us dance like the Tukka-booted 80s throwbacks we are :-)

New Order, Blancmange, Giorgio Moroder, Kate Bush, Human League and Gary Numan were all the order of the day - each accompanied by whoops of delight from our corner.

And all this mixed subtly by Dom and Paul with some recent classics of the electro genre such as Hercules & the Affair and Roisin Murphy - although we were rather disparaging over the inclusion of Britney Spears. But Dom is forgiven, because he is so cute!

A great night, and one that I really recommend, but punters beware - Freedom's bar prices are not for the faint-hearted...

Wednesday 16 April 2008

Poor moi

Definitely my song of the moment!

Woke up this morning with a strange sense of dread
Brewed my own coffee, made my own bed
No breakfast laid out, no freshly baked bread
I had a pop tart instead
Fished through my closet to find a clean dress
Nothing's been washed, the place is a mess, mmmmmmm
Look for my limousine, once more it's not there
I can't believe I'm not a millionaire

Where is the room that hosts my shoes
The snooty butler and private mews
My invitation to Elton's bash
But most of all, where is my cash?

Dinner from Asda, no lobster in sight
Tears at the check out, this don't feel right
And as I lug my bags up three flights of stairs,
I can't believe I'm not a millionaire
I can't believe I'm not a millionaire
I can't believe I'm not a millionaire


Tuesday 15 April 2008

A magical lady

It would have been the 75th birthday of the lovely Elizabeth Montgomery today.

Although she made many attempts to widen her repertoire in films and made-for-TV movies, Elizabeth will always be inextricably identified with her portrayal of Samantha in Bewitched. Although her many fans loved her for it - and it still has a cult following today - when she left the show in the 70s, Elizabeth refused point blank to talk about it or to twitch her nose for her fans. She felt typecast by the role.

Always a an outspoken champion of women's rights and gay rights throughout her life, in June 1992 Elizabeth and her former Bewitched co-star Dick Sargent were Grand Marshals at the Los Angeles Gay Pride Parade. After she died in 1995, her fan base and the cult of Bewitched carried on, and a big screen tribute starring Nicole Kidman was released. Finally, on 4th January 2008 her work was recognised by the industry with a star on The Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Bewitched and Elizabeth Montgomery website

Monday 14 April 2008

Diamonds, indeed

In my continuing effort to find a little something to brighten up the depression that is a Monday morning, here are the wonderful Three Degrees appearing in one of the cheesiest, campest videos I have seen in a while... Enjoy!

Three Degrees on Wikipedia

Sunday 13 April 2008

Sour grapes, maybe?

Estelle has made some sweeping digs at the British music industry lately, by claiming that white artists can't be credible if they do "soul" music. She took a particular swipe against artists such as Adele and Duffy because they are white.

Duffy, however, insists that when it comes to soul music, the colour of an artist's skin is irrelevant. "We don't live in the 1950s any more, we're in a multicultural country. If the talent and the desire is there, I don't really think it matters what colour you are," she said.

I am on the side of the Welsh diva. It sounds like sour grapes to me - just because Estelle's music has been unsuccessful over the years is, just maybe, because it is crap! She has a far weaker voice than Duffy's, and it is only because of the help of American Kanye West that she has hit the top of the charts at all...

Read more in the BBC Newsbeat article

Duffy on MySpace

Saturday 12 April 2008

I think I love you

Happy 58th birthday today to the lovely David Cassidy - erstwhile former member of the cheesy Partridge Family and teen heart-throb of the early 1970s.

It is unbelievable to think just how much of a stir David caused when he burst onto the music scene - with his tight satin trousers and androgynous pretty-boy looks, he was chased, screamed at and generally mobbed by hordes of teenage girls (and, more subtly, lusted over by queens of all ages) in a way not seen since the Beatles a generation earlier.

Bizarrely at the time my pre-teenage crush was (gulp!) Donny Osmond, but I was not immune to David's charms. I do know he was Madame Arcati's favourite, though, and he still is today...

And David is still cute even now, as he - unbelievably - heads towards sixty! Here he is at the height of his fame:

I Think I Love You, indeed.

David Cassidy official website

Friday 11 April 2008

Hands up your organs

A little discovery I needed to share.

Some clever dick has mashed-up Sunshine in the Rain by the bizarre Swedish band Bodies Without Organs (the newest creation of Alexander Bard, who founded both Army of Lovers and Alcazar) and that tacky Ottawan classic Hands Up (Give Me Your Love)!

It cheered me up...

Thursday 10 April 2008

Frankly my dear...

Oh dear. Apparently the simpering two-time-losing contestant from PopStars Darius has landed the part of Rhett Butler in the forthcoming musical adaptation of Gone With The Wind. He may be cute, but...Ewww!

Read the article in The Telegraph

Wednesday 9 April 2008

A voice like chocolate

We celebrate today the birthday of the gorgeous Hannah Gordon, TV star and flower expert. A stalwart of dozens of comedy series or dramas - including My Wife Next Door, Upstairs Downstairs and Monarch of the Glen - for the last four decades, Hannah’s cheekbones, comfortable "mumsy" demeanour, and above all, that voice has made her one of the UK’s favourite actresses. In a fabulous twist in the genre, she also played the woman who killed Victor Meldrew in One Foot in the Grave...

Here’s Hannah narrating the intro to a documentary about our much-loved kids' TV programme Jackanory.

Happy Birthday to a British institution!

Hannah Gordon’s long career listed on IMDB

Tuesday 8 April 2008

So now who’s gonna cry for you

The song that is stuck in my head at the moment (its hook is sampled from Bronski Beat Smalltown Boy, which explains a lot), and a rather kooky video from the Swedish band September...

Monday 7 April 2008

Football is alright as a game for rough girls but is hardly suitable for delicate boys

Apparently there was some kind of fuss about football this weekend - semi-finals for something or other. But who cares!

The "beautiful game" does indeed live up to its nickname sometimes....

Sunday 6 April 2008

Old age is no place for sissies

Celebrating the centenary of that legendary actress Bette Davis this weekend, it is worth pondering that it is not for her glamour that this diva is so lauded, nor her legendary feistiness in taking on the studio system and rival stars of that classic era.

It is for her brilliant acting that we remember Bette. She never would be typecast, and all her roles were significantly different. She acknowledged that she would never rival other stars of her day in landing the most desirable romantic heroine parts - she said, "I was never beautiful like Miss Hayworth or Miss Lamarr. I was known as the little brown wren. Who’d want to get me at the end of the picture?"

Nevertheless, Bette Davis was the star of many of my all-time classic films, from the magnificent All About Eve, The Letter and Now Voyager, to her later venture into camp cult movies like The Anniversary, The Nanny and of course Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?

Her aforementioned feuds with other leading ladies - notably Joan Crawford - make for entertaining reading; with Shaun Considine’s The Divine Feud being one of the best. Rumour has it that this will be turned into a stage play in London later this year...

Here are some of Bette’s pearls of wisdom:
  • "Why am I so good at playing bitches? I think it’s because I’m not a bitch. Maybe that’s why Miss Crawford always plays ladies."
  • "I will not retire while I’ve still got my legs and my make-up box."
  • "Don’t get up. And please stop acting as if I were the queen mother!"
  • "In this business, until you’re known as a monster you’re not a star."
  • "I do not regret one professional enemy I have made. Any actor who doesn’t dare to make an enemy should get out of the business."
  • "Everybody has a heart. Except some people."
  • "Old age is no place for sissies"

To celebrate the Bette Davis Centenary, Cable channel TCM (Turner Classic Movies) is screening a selection of her films every weekend throughout April, and is supporting a nationwide tour of selected UK cinemas.

Bette Davis tribute in The Telegraph

Saturday 5 April 2008

If music be the food of love then laughter is its queen

All the fuss in the media over the court battle between former members of Procol Harum over who gets a cut of the royalties from their mega hit of the 1960s A Whiter Shade of Pale only serves to remind me just what a peculiar classic this song really is.

With its dreamy atmosphere, it really summed-up the "Summer of Love", and harks back to a very different world. I think it is a brilliant record, and was delighted to discover that someone has restored the original (colour!) film that accompanied the song on its release.

Enjoy this slice of nostalgia - I did (particularly those trousers...)

We skipped the light fandango
Turned cartwheels ’cross the floor
I was feeling kinda seasick
But the crowd called out for more
The room was humming harder
As the ceiling flew away
When we called out for another drink
And the waiter brought a tray

And so it was that later
As the miller told his tale
That her face, at first just ghostly,
Turned a whiter shade of pale

She said, "There is no reason
And the truth is plain to see."
But I wandered through my playing cards
And they would not let her be
One of sixteen vestal virgins
Who were leaving for the coast
And although my eyes were open wide
They might have just as well been closed

And so it was that later
As the miller told his tale
That her face, at first just ghostly,
Turned a whiter shade of pale

She said, "I’m here on a shore leave,"
Though we were miles at sea.
I pointed out this detail
And forced her to agree,
Saying, "You must be the mermaid
Who took King Neptune for a ride."
And she smiled at me so sweetly
That my anger straightway died.

And so it was that later
As the miller told his tale
That her face, at first just ghostly,
Turned a whiter shade of pale

If music be the food of love
Then laughter is it’s queen
And likewise if behind is in front
Then dirt in truth is clean
My mouth by then like cardboard
Seemed to slip straight through my head
So we crash-dived straightway quickly
And attacked the ocean bed

And so it was that later
As the miller told his tale
That her face, at first just ghostly,
Turned a whiter shade of pale

Read about the court battle on the BBC

Friday 4 April 2008

Savoir Faire

The catchiest record of the moment - it’s Odyle by Heloise and the Savoir Faire!

Thursday 3 April 2008

Wow wow wow wow

Kylie’s latest raunchy outfit was all over the papers today - and I think she looked fab!

Apparently our Impossible Princess is on a media tour of the States - trying to crack the lucrative market over there is just one tacky show after another.

The "Hells Angels meets Versace" outfit was launched on Dancing With The Stars, which apparently has about 20 million viewers across America(!), and and over the next few days Kylie is appearing on the Ellen DeGeneres Show (wisely choosing to appear on the same show as Hillary Clinton - but they aren’t planning a duet), and the Late Late Show in an attempt to promote her latest album Kylie X.

Good luck, girl - just don’t end up on Jerry Springer...!

Kylie on MySpace

Wednesday 2 April 2008

"That's the last time I play the Tart for you, Jerry!"

As we celebrate Penelope Keith’s birthday today, I thought I had to post a clip of the lady herself in one of her finest roles, the fearsome Margo Leadbetter:

Penelope Keith biography

Tuesday 1 April 2008

Stand up for Johnny

Good Heavens!! Trojan condoms has offered Johnny Depp 10 million dollars to be the "face" of their their Magnum range.

What a lovely concept - just think of how many variations on a safe sex video one could imagine with Johnny Depp in them...

And if they’re looking for volunteers for what their ad campaign is describing as "Stand up with Johnny for safer sex", then I’m your man!

As featured on D-Listed