Thursday 30 September 2010

Farewell my lovely

And so, farewell to Tony Curtis - legendary superstar and heart-throb - who has died, age 85.

A remarkable and versatile actor, if ever Mr Curtis's name appeared in the credits, I just knew a film would be worth watching - not least this, one of my favourite films ever...

Tony Curtis - an appreciation

I wonder, wonder, wonder

Happy 75th birthday today to one Johnny Mathis, master of the sentimental ballad and latterly one of those rare beasts - a mainstream popular artist who has come out as gay.

With his determinedly "middle-of-the-road" style he may not be to everyone's taste, but in my humble opinion Mr Mathis has a fine pair of tonsils, and, having sold in excess of 27 million records in his six decade career, he must be doing something right. Enjoy...

Johnny Mathis official website

Wednesday 29 September 2010

Another quiet night in...

Here at Dolores Delargo Towers we believe in subtlety at all times...

Tuesday 28 September 2010

Voice of the beehive

Many happy returns today to the Soul Queen of Neasden, the beehive-quiffed Mari Wilson!

Way back in the early 80s, when dressing-up was the norm, Miss Wilson's retro 1960s style and sound cornered a niche market in slightly-twisted nostalgia. Sharing a love of Northern Soul with her contemporary Marc Almond (Mari famously guest starred in Soft Cell's What! video), she had a string of huge soul-inspired hits, and still commands a loyal audience on the cabaret circuit today.

Happy birthday to a shining professional, and style icon!

Mari Wilson official website

Monday 27 September 2010

Tackiness, extended...

Can we have too much tackiness in one day?

Of course not! Oh! The semi-clad sailors! Oh! The nasty lipstick! Oh! The sub-Belinda Carlisle music and lyrics!

Enjoy "Le Kid"...

A Rocket on Monday

Ooooh - have I got tacky music for you...

Having been busy all day yesterday sorting out music on our PC to burn or discard, I stumbled across this happy memory of 80s poppers-driven coming-out Hi-NRG music. So I just had to share - laydeez'n'gentlemen, on this Tacky Music Monday let us put our hands together for the lovely(!) Lisa [Whooo?[!


Sunday 26 September 2010

A thimbleful of a voice?

"It’s a thimbleful of a voice, and I have to use it close to the microphone. But it is a kind of over-smoked voice, and it automatically sounds intimate." Julie London

Today would have been the 84th birthday of that Queen of the sultry laid-back style we call "Sunday Music". A pin-up girl during WW2, the young Gayle Peck was inevitably destined to become a star. Born into a vaudeville performing family, Miss Peck was working as a lift attendant when she was "discovered" by Hollywood agent Sue Carol.

However, it took a few more years before the renamed Julie London emerged into the musical spotlight with the multi-million-selling Cry Me A River - an eternal standard of the late-night music genre.

Her movie career never really made the same kind of impact and, as with so many of her contemporaries, Miss London turned to TV - with numerous special guest appearances on shows hosted by Bob Hope, Pat Boone, Dina Shore, Jack Benny and the like, as well as her own TV specials. She was one of the stars of US paramedic drama series Emergency! for many years before she retired from regular performing.

Julie died ten years ago next month, and the world lost one of its most beautiful and sensuous singers ever...

Julie London fan site

Saturday 25 September 2010

A little spicy

We are off to Brick Lane tonight in celebration of History Boy's birthday, which is always something to look forward to. However, I am worried.

You see, this sort of thing always happens to me whenever I go for a curry...

Bollywood vamp Helen on Wikipedia

Friday 24 September 2010

Let yourself go!

It's the weekend! It's time to squeeze into those skin-tight lemon satin flares, whip open your spaniel-ear-collar nylon shirt to the waist, and boogie like it's 1976!

Here's the J.A.L.N. Band to help you get back into that groove - Thank Disco It's Friday!

P.S. J.A.L.N. stands for "Just another lonely night" - Awww!

J.A.L.N. Band on MySpace

Thursday 23 September 2010

Gloomy Thursday

Typical, innit? I decide to take two days leave, as Madam Arcati has a rare two consecutive days off.

We thought we might go to Kew Gardens and have a nice pub lunch. Alternatively we might have gone to the Lea Valley up the road from Dolores Delargo Towers and sit by the river. Yesterday the weather was glorious - 25 degrees and sunny. Today, it's pissing down...

Never mind, eh? Here's a little Coco Rosie to take our minds off it - enjoy!

Wednesday 22 September 2010

Because there's nothing else to do

I had a long conversation with my sister last night, and one of the more obscure topics of discussion was the "singing" career of one William Shatner, Star Trek stalwart, proud wig-wearer and self-parodist extraordinaire (if such bollocks as T.J. Hooker is anything to go by anyhow). So of course, I just had to share some of this man's marvellous moments...

This was a very very bad year, actually:

Would you want to be handled by this man?

And finally, his classic venture into the world of BritPop - Common People

Jarvis Cocker must have been so proud...

Tuesday 21 September 2010

Experience has made me rich, and now they're after me

Scarily, it is more than 25 frigging years since a certain Noo Yawk dancer and singer was top of the musical heap for the first time, beginning what was to become a world-beating career.

Madonna (for it is she) released her second studio album Like a Virgin amid a flurry of media interest, and, accompanied by some cracking singles (and videos, right in the middle of the MTV launch era), sold millions - a great prelude of things to come...

Monday 20 September 2010

Simple pleasures

In my continuing effort to share with the world the simple delights of "an evening in" here at Dolores Delargo Towers, it gives me great pleasure to introduce our latest "house band" - Reg Kehoe and his Marimba Queens! Enjoy...

Say it again!

It's Monday again - where do those pesky weekends go? Let us take our minds off things with another in a long line of Tacky Music Monday spectaculars!

A couple of weeks ago I blogged about the fact that Raquel Welch is (remarkably) seventy years old! Here she is, giving Cher a run for her money in the glittering diaphanous costume stakes!


Sunday 19 September 2010


Happy 45th birthday today to one of the kookiest characters of French chanson, Mlle Sabine Paturel!

Hardly a household name here in the UK (we rarely have much time for French pop in our charts, with the possible exception of one-hit-wonder (and Mrs Johnny Depp) Vanessa Paradis - oh, and Charles Aznavour, of course), nevertheless this - the lovely Sabine's only major hit even in her homeland - is a house favourite here at Dolores Delargo Towers. Enjoy!

*Les Bêtises - "Nonsense"

Enemy of Humanity

"There was something so heartwarming about the sight of so much humanity, in such numbers, variety and determination for a defence of reason over superstition."

"What an amazing event to be part of, I felt incredibly charged and great to see the effort so many people had gone to with their banners and costumes."

This is just some of the feedback from yesterday's marvellous "Protest The Pope" rally, attended by thousands upon thousands of people (myself, John-John and Tony included) - many more (in my estimation) than the official figure of 12,000! The march stretched as far as the eye could see in both directions, as we progressed (slowly) from Hyde Park Corner, via Piccadilly and Trafalgar Square to Whitehall. I have seen smaller Gay Pride marches!

On arriving at Downing Street, so many more people than the organisers had expected were crammed into the space between the police barriers that there were fears for our safety, and the speakers' podium (on a truck) had to be moved further down past the Cenotaph to get us all in!

After opening speeches from British Humanist Association Chief Executive Andrew Copson and Terry Sanderson, president of the National Secular Society it was the turn of Human Rights lawyer Geoffrey Robertson QC, who said:
We are here today to celebrate our faith in liberty of conscience; our faith in equality; our faith in human rights.

[The Pope] been met with the most utter, exquisite, grovelling politeness and with that somehow we are in an uncivilised third world country. What is civilised about demeaning the women, demonising homosexuals, wishing that IVF children had never been born?… our only crime has been silence.
Robertson is a brilliant and erudite speaker, and his gracious yet scathing examination of the falsehood of the Vatican "state", and thus the unreality of the Pontiff being accepted as a "head of state" with an official visit brought rapturous cheers. Then it was the turn of the crowd-pleaser, the arch-enemy of religion and author of The God Delusion Professor Richard Dawkins. His fury at the Pope was palpable, as in these extracts from his speech:
The unfortunate little fact that Joseph Ratzinger joined the Hitler Youth has been the subject of a widely observed moratorium. I’ve respected it myself, hitherto. But after the Pope’s outrageous speech in Edinburgh, blaming atheism for Hitler, one can’t help feeling that the gloves are off. At first I was annoyed by the Pope’s disgraceful attack on atheists and secularists, but then I saw it as reassuring. It suggests that we have rattled them so much that they have to resort to insulting us, in a desperate attempt to divert attention from the child rape scandal.

Even if Hitler had been an atheist – as Stalin more surely was – how dare Ratzinger suggest that atheism has any connection whatsoever with their horrific deeds? Any more than Hitler and Stalin’s non-belief in leprechauns or unicorns. Any more than their sporting of a moustache – along with Franco and Saddam Hussein. There is no logical pathway from atheism to wickedness. Unless, that is, you are steeped in the vile obscenity at the heart of Catholic theology. I refer to the doctrine of Original Sin. These people believe – and they teach this to tiny children, at the same time as they teach them the terrifying falsehood of hell – that every baby is “born in sin”. That would be Adam’s sin, by the way: Adam who, as they themselves now admit, never existed. Original sin means that, from the moment we are born, we are wicked, corrupt, damned. Unless we believe in their God. Or unless we fall for the carrot of heaven and the stick of hell. That, ladies and gentleman, is the disgusting theory that leads them to presume that it was godlessness that made Hitler and Stalin the monsters that they were. We are all monsters unless redeemed by Jesus. What a vile, depraved, inhuman theory to base your life on.

Joseph Ratzinger is an enemy of humanity.

He is an enemy of children, whose bodies he has allowed to be raped and whose minds he has encouraged to be infected with guilt. It is embarrassingly clear that the church is less concerned with saving child bodies from rapists than with saving priestly souls from hell: and most concerned with saving the long-term reputation of the church itself.

He is an enemy of gay people, bestowing on them the sort of bigotry that his church used to reserve for Jews.

He is an enemy of women – barring them from the priesthood as though a penis were an essential tool for pastoral duties. What other employer is allowed to discriminate on grounds of sex, when filling a job that manifestly doesn’t require physical strength or some other quality that only males might be thought to have?

He is an enemy of truth, promoting barefaced lies about condoms not protecting against AIDS, especially in Africa.

He is an enemy of the poorest people on the planet, condemning them to inflated families that they cannot feed, and so keeping them in the bondage of perpetual poverty. A poverty that sits ill with the obscene riches of the Vatican.

He is an enemy of science, obstructing vital stem-cell research, on grounds not of morality but of pre-scientific superstition.

Peter Tatchell said:
We profoundly disagree with the Pope’s opposition to women’s rights, gay equality and the use of condoms to prevent the spread of HIV. This is not an attack on Catholic people or the Catholic faith. We are critical of certain policies of the Pope. When he says no woman is fit to be a priest, that’s an insult to the whole of female humanity. When he says a husband must not use a condom to protect his wife from infection – even if he has HIV – that’s irresponsible.

And when he says that all gay people possess a tendency towards evil, that flies in the face of the Christian gospel of love and compassion.

We know that many Catholics share our concerns. Only 5 percent of Catholics in this country agree with the Pope’s ban on contraception. Only 11 percent of Catholics think that homosexuality is morally wrong. So there is a great depth of Catholic opinion which is in disagreement with this Pope and we support those Catholic people.
This was a brilliant day, and one I am really glad to have been part of!

Slideshow of photos of the day from the National Secular Society

Saturday 18 September 2010

Pope? Nope!

Today John-John and I are joining the "Protest the Pope" rally and march through London.

Read more about the rally

Many are the evils associated with this man - not least his opposition to contraception, condom use and embryonic stem cell research, the cover-up of child sex abuse by Catholic clergy, his rehabilitation of the Holocaust-denying bishop Richard Williamson, and his decree paving the way for the beatification and sainthood of the war-time Pope Pius XII, who stands accused of failing to speak out against the Holocaust.

Ratzinger describes gay people as as the 'destruction of God's work' and 'evil'. He condemns atheists as Nazis - yet he was himself a member of the Hitler Youth.

To top it all, it is our taxes that are paying for this bigot to preach this bollocks on British soil! It makes me so angry, I have to play something to soothe my furrowed brow. And what more appropriate song than this?

This was an illuminating documentary: The Trouble with the Pope

Friday 17 September 2010

There was a cat that really was gone

Way back in this month in 1978, an artificially created band made up of session musicians and dancers were in the process of conquering the music world. Boney M (for it is they) had already managed to enter the record books with their multi-million selling Rivers Of Babylon/Brown Girl In The Ring at the turn of that year, and were about to achieve a similar best-selling hit with Mary's Boy Child at its end.

In-between, in September '78 they released this - which surely must be a contender for "catchiest song ever"...

Thank Disco It's Friday!

Oh, those Russians.

Thursday 16 September 2010


As the weather turns inexorably towards Autumn, I felt I should post some jolliness to cheer us all up.

Here are a couple of weird and wonderful videos that I have discovered lately, and they raise the spirits brilliantly. Enjoy!

Wednesday 15 September 2010

Bimbo, Bimbo, What You Gonna Do-io?

Hot off the presses, here is the new video from Scandinavia's sluttiest gay musician (and longtime house favourite at Dolores Delargo Towers). Laydeez'n'gentlemen - put your bits together for Bimbo Boy!

Bimbo Boy on MySpace

Fucked by Jesus, or Kill the Pope?

We had a corker of a night at Polari Goes Pope (especially themed to mark the controversial visit this week of the Holy Fascist Ratzinger to these shores.)

Opening the evening, our host Paul Burston arrived in ecclesiastical vestments, complimented beautifully by scarlet platform stillies!

Teetering on and off the stage, he introduced our first guest reader - the marvellous Irish firebrand Catherine Brogan. We'd heard Miss Brogan read at Polari before, but this time, given the subject matter and her own Catholic upbringing, she really let rip! I like this woman...

Next up was the brilliant Scouser performance poet (another favourite of mine from a few Polaris ago) Gerry Potter, who read some new poems from his second autobiographical anthology Planet Middle Age, plus a poetic tribute to his mate David Hoyle, and a couple of works by his former alter-ego Chloe Poems. Particularly brilliant were I Wanna Be Fucked By Jesus(!) and The Effeminate (which I definitely want read out at my funeral!):

Then came the real surprise of the evening, as Paul took great delight in introducing to the stage none other than one of the most influential radical politicians of the 20th Century Tariq Ali to formally launch the book of the moment The Pope is Not Gay by Angelo Quatrocchi.

This is the man who argued against the Vietnam War in a debate with Henry Kissinger, who was a close friend of John Lennon and was cited as an influence by Malcolm X, the author of a controversial critique of the General Zia regime that crushed the Bhutto dynasty in Pakistan (The Leopard and the Fox) and the best-seller Trotsky for Beginners.

A most influential figure in the Leftist politics that emerged from the 1960s, Mr Ali's presence at an event like this was indeed a shining endorsement of the book, and its excoriation of Ratzinger's reputation... I (and most of the audience) was moved to purchase a copy, and I can't wait to read it!

After the break we had a triple bill of anarchic entertainment, as Paul introduced a man whose CV is most impressive - James Maker, close personal mate of Morrissey, former singer with "gay heavy metallers" Red Patent Leather Angels (RPLA), sometime actor, Punk and poet. Reading from his memoir Autofellatio, he cut an impressive dash in his frock coat and stilettos!

Next up was a man who needs no further comment from me, the marvellous David Hoyle, berating the establishment as only he knows how. He was swiftly followed by another genuine treat to close the show - the (very cute) musical maverick genius that is Ste McCabe, radical homosexual and Pope-hater. His songs, delivered in a "faux-innocent" "Jilted John" style, are pithy insights into the way a working class gay boy sees the world, and are just stupendous! From I've Got A Big Car to Kill The Pope, we were just stunned by his energy...

John-John and Tony both purchased copies of his Murder Music CD, which the lovely (and rather fanciable!) Mr McCabe duly signed.

After the dust had settled and the audience started to drift away, Paul invited us back to the "Green Room" to take a few more snaps with the performers - in a bleak little space which is apparently used by Her Majesty when she visits. She'd need gloves I reckon...

It was all over too soon, so we retired to seek some more alcoholic solace at the pub quiz at Retro Bar. A sparkling night's entertainment, and a fitting start to the Autumn/Winter Season, methinks!


Tuesday 14 September 2010

Out of the closet

Twenty-five years ago this month, a new broadcasting concept was born - "Children's BBC". Of course, the Beeb had always been at the forefront of programming for kids, with such wonderful productions as Playschool, Blue Peter, Jackanory, Animal Magic, Watch with Mother and the pre-News ten-minute animations by the likes of Oliver Postgate. Cosy programming, all home-grown and wholesome, formed the backbone to my growing-up.

In the savvy 80s, however, the tone changed slightly as Auntie began to hand over a bit of control to the "yoof" of the day. It began of course with Saturday morning telly, as the programmers woke up to the fact that after ITV had invented the manic Tiswas, nothing could ever be the same again...

Plots in Grange Hill were already getting grittier, and US action cartoons continued to invade. Real change began to hit weekday afternoons as cheeky chappie Phillip Schofield arrived, speaking straight at the audience live from his "broom cupboard", accompanied by a rather anarchic puppet called Gordon The Gopher.

The novelty of a remarkably camp young man bantering with a squeaking glove caught on - and over the following decades, many fresh-faced presenters cut their teeth in that self-same live scenario. Andy Crane, Andi Peters and Zoe Ball all squeezed into the "broom cupboard", inevitably with their fingers up the backside of a puppet (like the Gopher's replacement Edd the Duck), and general madness ruled.

To celebrate this Silver Anniversary, the BBC has dug out some of its rare archives (most of the banter and mayhem of the links was done live, so few clips remain), and has created a whole section of the website dedicated to those years - so why not revisit the Broom Cupboard one more time?

Monday 13 September 2010

Cara Mia indeed

Another Tacky Music Monday looms. After such a great weekend, who else could I choose to cheer us all up with their eternal chirpiness but the fantastically talented Baccara?!

Sunday 12 September 2010

Another understated evening

Just a typical Sunday evening here at Dolores Delargo Towers...

One season closes...

"Prawns in the Pork, Prams in the Dark, a rose by any other is a privilege and an unalloyed pleasure to present Proms in the Park before the magnificent audience that packs Hyde Park. Come rain or shine, its high spirits are ever buoyant. It's an evening of flags and banners, joy and laughter. And magnificent music, ending with 'Land of Hope and Glory' from 40,000 loyal throats, as fireworks light up the night over Hyde Park." (Sir Terry Wogan)
We had another fantabulosa evening at Proms in the Park yesterday!

Happily the rain held off, we bagged an excellent spot close to the stage, and our gang brought enough crates of food and booze to keep us going for six hours. In fact, enough food and booze to keep an army going for six hours - but that is what it's all about, after all!

The early part of the evening's entertainment is traditionally devoted to tribute bands, and opening the show were Serpentine Fire (Earth Wind & Fire), the cast of the stage musical Jersey Boys (Four Seasons) and Bjorn Again (Abba). Oh, and some girl singer called Nell Bryden, whose spot was a general excuse for everyone to go to the loo...

After the break Ken Bruce handed over to the ebullient Sir Tel, and the genuine star-studded entertainment began. Dame Kiri ti Kanawa (looking spectacular), Jose Carreras (not looking quite so good), and the winner of this year's "Kiri Prize" Shuna Scott Sendall (who has a beautiful soprano voice) were all magnificent. Brian May and Kerry Ellis (showcasing their new collaboration album Anthems) were impressive, especially with the audience-rousing medley of We Will Rock You and We Are The Champions.

And then came something very special indeed - a masterful set by Mr Neil Sedaka!

We were treated to the whole gamut of his repertoire, including Calendar Girl, (Show me the way to) Amarillo, Breaking Up Is Hard To Do, Happy Birthday Sweet Sixteen, Love Will Keep Us Together, Oh Carol, Solitaire and of course Laughter in the Rain. Fan-bloody-tastic!

With hardly a chance to catch our breath after the live entertainment, it was time for the video link-ups - firstly with the Proms stages across the country (including the uber-sexy John Barrowman live in Salford), and a mass sing-a-long uniting all the venues' audiences to belt out You'll Never Walk Alone.

Then of course it was time for the traditional Last Night of the Proms set from the Royal Albert Hall. Despite some technical problems with the volume of Miss Renée Fleming's microphone, we sang till our throats were sore - Rule Britannia, Jerusalem, Land of Hope and Glory and of course the National Anthem. With spectacular fireworks to finish, this was (as every year) a fitting way to wave goodbye to the Summer, and to welcome the Autumn/Winter Season in...

Saturday 11 September 2010

I feel a shiver run up my spine

I am soooo excited about this evening's Proms in the Park! It's always a fun day, battling the hordes to get a decent spot, eating loads of picnicky food and drinking copious quantities of booze with friends, while being entertained by Sir Terry Wogan and his guests in the run-up to the serious business of the live link with the Albert Hall for the season's finalé.

The line-up is a mixed bag indeed (as is the nature of the day), but the star turn is always announced last-minute. Last year it was Barry Manilow. Imagine our joy when we discovered that this year we have none other than the magnificent composer of many a cheesy MOR standard Mr Neil Sedaka!

Here he is with one of my favourites (and, given the weather forecast, what could be the anthem for today):

Friday 10 September 2010

Against my window

Typical. It is Friday, and we are planning our picnic tomorrow for the grand finalé of the "Summer Season", Proms in the Park. And what is predicted? Rain, of course...

Being from Wales, I suppose I should be used to eating damp sandwiches while wearing a cagoule (that's what trips to Barry Island were usually like when I was a kid), but not at my venerable age! Ho hum...

Nevertheless - thank Disco It's Friday!

Thursday 9 September 2010

All day long, I'd biddie-biddie-bum

Happy 75th birthday today to Chaim Topol, the creator of one of the most iconic Jewish characters of the stage and screen.

Despite many other appearances in movies and on TV, it is with his portrayal of the frustrated, rule-driven patriarch Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof that Topol is forever associated - returning to the part time and time again, most recently on the US stage in 2009.

And of course, what better way to celebrate than with this most appropriate song - the anthem of many of our lives, surely?

Tuesday 7 September 2010

Hi! I'm Lester Zismore...

...and I know about the gingerbread man!

A Baby Grand Affair

Nostalgia time - is it really thirty years ago that this catchy little ditty was ruling the airwaves, and Miss Ross ruled the world?

Monday 6 September 2010

Bambini avere paura!

Another start to another dull week in work... On this Tacky Music Monday, trust the Italians to bring us another wildly kitsch entertainer to brighten up our gloomy morning. Put your hands together for the lovely Heather Parisi!! Enjoy...

Heather Parisi on IMDB

Sunday 5 September 2010

I figure whenever you're down and out, the only way is up

I have been humming this song (from the play Wildcat starring Lucille Ball) all weekend, and as we ebb to the end of a lovely Sunday (good friends around, roast lamb with all the trimmings, champers in the garden) I just felt the need to share!

This version is by the late and dearly missed Bea Arthur, who starred alongside the aforementioned Miss Ball in the film version of Mame...

Hey look me over, lend me an ear
Fresh out of clover, mortgage up to here
Don't pass the plate folks, don't pass the cup
I figure whenever you're down and out, the only way is up
And I'll be up like a rosebud high on the vine
Don't thumb your nose, but take a tip from mine
I'm a little bit short of the elbow room, so let me get me some
And look out world, here I come

Hey look me over, lend me an ear
Fresh out of clover, mortgage up to here
Don't pass the plate folks, don't pass the cup
I figure whenever you're down and out, the only way is up
And I'll be up like a rosebud high on the vine
Don't thumb your nose, but take a tip from mine
I'm a little bit short of the elbow room, so let me get me some
And look out world, here I come!

Nobody in the world was ever without a prayer
How can you win the world if nobody knows you're there?

Kid, when you need the crowd, the tickets are hard to sell
Still, you can lead the crowd if you can get up and yell

Hey look me over, lend me an ear
Fresh out of clover, mortgage up to here
I'm a little bit short of the elbow room, so let me get me some
And look out world, here me shout world
And look out world, here I come!

If you have physical attractiveness you don't have to act

Many happy returns to that screen bombshell Miss Raquel Welch, seventy years young today, and still looking fabulous!

Even now still most famous for swanning around a polystyrene set in an animal-skin bikini in the godawful One Million Years BC, the young Jo Racquel Tejada was "discovered" while working as a cocktail waitress.

With her good looks and perfect figure she was inevitably going to be typecast as a sex symbol in the Swinging 60s, and true to form she spent most of her time in Fantastic Voyage in a skin-tight diving suit, rarely changed out of her bikini in A Swinging Summer, and was given the part of the deadly sin "Lust" in Peter Cook & Dudley Moore's Bedazzled.

By far her weirdest role was as a transsexual in the cult film Myra Breckenridge (based on the scandalous Gore Vidal novel), opposite a sex siren of a much earlier age Mae West! Despite her wonderfully rip-roaring part in The Three Musketeers, Miss Welch's career in movies never really went very far (she never got many serious leading roles, certainly), and thus the glittering world of TV beckoned. She hosted her own variety show throughout the 70s with Tom Jones, and has made numerous guest appearances in TV shows ever since - my favourite being her incredibly camp "Aunt Vesta" in Sabrina the Teenage Witch...

Ignoring her ill-fated attempt at a pop "career" in the 80s, here is Raquel Welch doing what she does best - playing the vamp (and singing!):

She is simply faboo.

Racquel Welch on IMDB

Saturday 4 September 2010

"Perhaps a piece of Mahler's..."

We went to a "proper grown-up Prom" last night - the first in several years. Our gang always arranges our grand annual picnic at Proms in the Park (for the Last Night), yet the whole of the rest of the season generally passes us by. But, Madam Arcati was determined this year to get tickets for one of the rare visits by Sir Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic, and by being up and ready when the online box office opened, managed to grab seats for Hils, History Boy, Alistair and I.

If we were to pick only one Prom out of a season, this had to be it. And what a magnificent, emotionally draining sensory delight it turned out to be! With an opening half featuring Beethoven's Symphony number 4 - a delightful entrée, beautifully done - it was nevertheless the feast of the second half that the audience had come to hear!

Mahler's Symphony number 1 ("The Titan") is a beautiful Romantic (in the artistic sense) fantasy, loosely themed around four Lieder he had previously composed for a lost love. It is meant to evoke the windy forests of Mahler's native Moravia, the sunshine and the darkness, the folk songs and the forces of nature.

Sir Simon had the orchestra (and the audience) perfectly controlled (as only a musical genius can) and they played all four movements beautifully and brilliantly - there were periods when I (and I guess thousands of others at the Royal Albert Hall) were literally holding our breath.

Mere words cannot begin to describe the experience, but it has been a long time since a single evening's entertainment has so moved me...

Here is a fine recording of the First Movement:

And here Sir Simon's predecessor Claudio Abbado and the Berlin Philharmonic perform the marvellous Third Movement:

The Proms season continues until the Last Night on Saturday 11th September...

Friday 3 September 2010

Take a chance tonight and try something new

Ahead of the World premiere of Kylie's new video for her single Get Outta My Way, here it is!

I've been to a marvellous party...

This somewhat eclipses our own housewarming party here at Dolores Delargo Towers...

Thursday 2 September 2010

People dancing on the other side of a rainbow coloured disco

"A lot of the records we like are Italian. The thing about Euro Disco records it that they always sound like they're dead cheap. I think that's their appeal. They're a bit like punk records - they go in and get very excited by the most banal sounds... I think I genuinely like it, actually. I like it because it's obscure and also because it's fantastically unfashionable." - Neil Tennant
I have been in a particular mood this evening - and that mood is Italo Disco!

I have no idea why, but for some reason I had an urge for the buzzing sound of 4/4 electronic drum beats and "boom-booms", the cheesy and strangely translated lyrics, the godawful hairstyles, the dry ice, the glitter, the kitsch... I loved the 80s - enjoy!


Changed the world

This week in 1997 was a strange one, as the world began to wake up to the loss of Princess Diana. Her death had a particularly (and well-documented) moving effect on the people of Britain, and tributes in music - as well as those floral and political - were just about to flood the scene, with Elton John predominant to the end of the year.

But what was the musical state of play just before Royal funereal hysteria took hold? Were there any significant choons we have forgotten from that long, hot summer of 1997? How about these..?

Wednesday 1 September 2010

Well? Are you?