Monday 12 January 2009

More bizarre connections - an old Biddie

Here is an example of how connections work - and how the proverbial penny drops eventually...

In the latter half of last year, I developed a bit of an obsession with the fantastic TV show Beautiful People, the adaptation of Simon Doonan's memoirs - read my blogs here, here and here. One of my favourite characters in the whole series was Simon's best friend "Kylie" - who in the original book was named "Biddie".

For some bizarre reason this week I was reminiscing about the early 80s [when don't I?!], and recalled some of the classic concerts I went to see in that era - Siouxsie & the Banshees, Toyah, Gary Numan, Duran Duran, Marc Almond and Ultravox among them. With particular reference to Duran Duran, I recalled being extremely impressed by their support act, the very bizarre Biddie and Eve.

Then the penny dropped!

Yes - the "Biddie" of that long-lost arthouse duo is indeed the self-same "Biddie"/"Kylie" of the Simon Doonan memoir... Whew!

Biddie and Eve were stalwarts of the Blitz club in Covent Garden just at the time when Punk was handing over to the New Romantics, and had a three-year residency there until the club closed. They mixed with all the biggest artists of the day, including Spandau Ballet, Steve Strange and Rusty Egan, and supported the Durannies and others on tour. Boy George was merely the hat-check boy at the club.

Here's an example of the stylish genius of Biddie and Eve - with their own singular take on the Cilla Black classic You're My World:

And a wonderful retrospective of the career to date of Mr Biddlecombe:

Then, as an added treat, I found out from Dress Circle music shop that Biddie himself (James Biddlecombe) recently released a new album of cabaret music. So of course I had to buy it! And it is a wonderful collection of campness, with beautifully kitsch renditions of classics such as Ashes to Ashes, I Wanna Be Evil, Vienna and Mink Schmink.

Buy your copy of (The Mysterious) Mr Blonde from Dress Circle today!

But, fittingly, the last word goes to Mr Doonan himself:

James Biddlecombe... j’accuse!!!!
As I listen to the menthol-cool vocal stylings of James Biddlecombe, I cannot help but marvel at the paradoxes which enrobe the persona of this truly mysterious performer. A question forms in my mind: How can someone who sounds so innocent and so pure be so horribly guilty of so horribly much?

Guilty? Yes, guilty, I say, beyond a shadow of a doubt!

The list of James Biddlecombe’s heinous crimes is a long one:
  • He is guilty of having entertained large groups of people in locations as diverse as sunny Ibiza and rainy Chipping Norton.
  • He is guilty of having made people chuckle until their foundation garments popped. (And, that was just the men!)
  • He is guilty of having sat on people’s laps – uninvited, no less! - while he sang to them.
  • He is guilty of having used his voice – that ethereal God-given instrument of his – to titillate and to mesmerize.
  • He is guilty of having upstaged both Blossom Dearie and Eartha Kitt, even though both chanteuses were thousands of miles away at the time.
  • His is guilty of having an award-winning voice which has never actually won any awards, but should have.
  • He is guilty of having attired himself in tantalizingly suave suits in shockingly bright colors.
  • He is guilty of having allowed his audience to forget the trials and tribulations of their unspeakably dreary lives.
  • He is guilty of having replied, “Madame, I’d love to!” when once asked by a drunken toothless crone to sing ‘Fly me to the Moon.’
In short, James Biddlecombe is guilty of criminal vocal fabulosity!
I rest my case.
Simon Doonan – author of Beautiful People
Biddie's official website

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