Tuesday 30 November 2010

Happiness and sorrow

Earlier this month was the 53rd anniversary of the birth of Yemenite Jewish megastar Ofra Haza, who died far too young of AIDS-related complications in 2000.

Revisiting blogs from the past I came across this tribute I posted on what would have been her 50th birthday, from which I omitted to post the video of (possibly) my favourite of her numbers.

So here is the sublime dance mix of Wish Me Luck. Sumptuous...

Ofra Haza (born Bat-Sheva Ofra Haza-Ashkenazi, 19th November 1957 – 23rd February 2000)

Monday 29 November 2010

Reveille en toi le tourbillon d'un vent de folie

On this Tacky Music Monday, I have a double bill of kitsch for your delectation!

As you, dear reader, will no doubt already know, here at Dolores Delargo Towers we are passionate for most things 80s - the hairdos, the overblown power-ballad dry-ice-laden videos, the padded shoulders, the gradual handover from punk to New Romantics to Madonna to Stock Aitken & Waterman, the almost complete lack of rappers... And of course, in the middle of all this - HiNRG/Italo Disco!

This particular song was a favourite of mine from gay clubbing days in Wales. Like so many dance numbers of that era (notably Voyage, Voyage and Ella, elle l'a), it probably benefited from being sung in its native language (French), so you didn't need to concentrate on how silly the lyrics may be.

Of course, unless a song was American or British we would never get to see the video. And in the case of this remarkably artless effort by Début de Soirée (for it is they), it was probably a very good thing indeed...

Not content with just leaving it at that I just had to share another recent discovery, courtesy of our friends in Brittany. You thought the original was bad? Try this marvellous Korean lady-boy karaoke version:


Saturday 27 November 2010

Proud Mary keep on burning

I almost forgot to wish Miss Tina Turner many happy returns - the great diva turned 71 yesterday! I hope she had a rocking party...

Remarkably Tina Turner has never had a Number 1 hit in the UK!

Tina Turner fan club website

It was a theme she had on a scheme he had, told in a foreign land

Got up rather late today, and so switched on the radio in the middle of (the real) Pick of the Pops on Radio 2.

Can it really be twenty-three years since Miss Carol Decker and T'Pau were at Number one?! It seems like only yesterday that every girl had hair like this...

It was a theme she had
On a scheme he had
Told in a foreign land
To take life on earth
To the second birth
And the man was in command
It was a flight on the wings
Of a young girl's dreams
That flew too far away

Don't push too far your dreams are china in your hand
Don't wish too hard because they may come true
And you can't help them
You don't know what you might have set upon yourself
China in your hand

Come from greed
Never born of the seed
Took a life from a barren hand
Oh eyes wide
Like a child in the form of man
A prophecy for a fantasy
The curse of a vivid mind

Don't push too far your dreams are china in your hand
Don't wish too hard because they may come true
And you can't help them
You don't know what you might have set upon yourself
China in your hand
Whoa your hand
Your hand

Don't push too far your dreams are china in your hand
Don't wish too hard because they may come true
And you can't help them
You don't know what you might have set upon yourself
But you shouldn't push too hard no no

Don't push too far your dreams are china in your hand
Don't wish too hard because they may come true
and you can't help them
You don't know what you might have set upon yourself
Because they're only dreams
And you shouldn't push too hard no no

Friday 26 November 2010


On this wintry start to what promises to be an Arctic weekend, I figured there was only one song that was appropriate - the divine talents of Miss Laura Pallas, and her poppers-driven version of this classic...

Thank Disco It's Friday!

Thursday 25 November 2010

In the bleak Midwinter

Trust the Pet Shop Boys to cheer us up by showing us how bleak it is in Estonia...


Tuesday 23 November 2010

We just want tomorrow to be better than today

The video has arrived for the fabulous new song Better Than Today by that singular triumph of art over nature, Princess Kylie Minogue.

And, oh - those shoes!

A cathedral of a voice

"One day he will open his mouth and a cathedral will fall out"

Thanks to our friend Maria, I was invited (gratis) to see the very wonderful Mr David McAlmont live on stage at the Leicester Square Theatre last night.

What a brilliant evening it was too! I have always loved Mr McAlmont's soulful camp three-octave voice, his diverse collaborations - including with Bernard Butler (ex Suede), Bond theme composer David Arnold, and with esoteric modernist Michael Nyman - and his flamboyant gayness in an often homophobic black music world.

He arrived on stage with an air of nervousness, despite his fantabulosa feathers, fouff and faff outfit and dripping diamanté! He admitted to having had several sleepless nights in preparation for this event (it didn't help that this was being recorded for CD and DVD), and had caught a cold in the process. True, his voice was a little "cracked" in the opening numbers.

But like all true divas he soon got carried away by the performance, and by the time he had finished his classic rendition of Diamonds Are Forever he had regained his powers and had the audience enraptured! Then, in an innovative twist he invited our MySpace mate (and chief Almondette) Ange to become "Pythoness, Priestess of Delphi" for the evening - basically shaking a pair of dice to see which "who, what, when, where, how" questions were invited from the audience between each song... All you could hear from Ange for the rest of the evening was clickety-clack :-)

Classic followed classic - such as Blues in the Night, Unworthy and a brilliant version of the George Harrison song Isn't It A Pity?, made famous by Nina Simone. Some songs were dedicated to friends and acquaintances, including the poignantly beautiful I'm a Better Man (For Having Loved You), which he sang for a couple who are coping with the wife's diagnosis of breast cancer.

He clambered into the audience itself to sing a breathtaking slowed-down version of Dame Shirley's Never, Never, Never for the mum of another friend, and the sheer emotion of the moment brought a lump to the throat.

But even such a skilled balladeer as David can't keep the tone slow and lush for too long, and so the moment arrived for him to introduce his very special guest to the stage, the aforementioned Bernard Butler! And so came the more guitar-driven, sometimes upbeat hits - You Do, Yes, Falling and the rest.

The audience loved it (two standing ovations!), John-John loved it, Maria loved it, I loved it - With or without Bernard, ballads or bop, Mr McAlmont gave a spectacular performance, and one I am very glad I had the opportunity to see!

David McAlmont on MySpace

Monday 22 November 2010

Ándale! Ándale!

On this Tacky Music Monday, we venture across the pond to another favourite source of tacky fabulousness, Mexico. Just yesterday I was overjoyed to discover the extraordinarily talented actress, singer and television host Veronica Castro (Latin America's answer to Joan Collins, evidently), and I just had to share...

Oh, the wigs, the padded shoulders, the lamé frocks, the melodrama! Enjoy!

Sunday 21 November 2010


Many happy returns to the much-maligned "other daughter" of Judy Garland, Miss Lorna Luft (58 today)!

Seemingly destined to forever be in the shadow of her more famous sister Liza Minnelli, Miss Luft has nevertheless carved herself a niche on the cabaret and stage circuit (admittedly mainly as a "tribute artist" to Momma), not least with the show Songs My Mother Taught Me and her duet with Rufus Wainright at his own Judy tribute show at Carnegie Hall.

She is currently appearing as the Wicked Witch of the West in the new stage production of The Wizard of Oz at the Lowry in Manchester to 4 January, but no news whether she will transfer with the production to London next Spring...

Here are the two sisters in a very rare appearance on stage together. Happy birthday, Lorna!

Lorna Luft official website

Free Boomtown Rats pull-out poster!

Oh my god! I have been transported way back in time... A true enthusiast called Brian McCloskey has embarked on a massive project out there in Blogger-land - to digitise and blog about every single issue of the much-missed Smash Hits magazine!

I was also a true fanatic about this magazine - I had every issue from the very outset (I was a mad Blondie fan, and was immediately drawn to buy it because they were on the cover) until I discovered sex in the 80s. Sadly, I later threw the entire collection (and all the back issues of Record Mirror) in a moment of madness when, after the messy end of my first relationship I was forced to move back to my mother's house and I needed the space... One of the biggest regrets of my life! But now I can recapture all of those memories.

Thank you, Mr McCloskey!


Saturday 20 November 2010

Crying when I empty my last bottle of chablis

On this grey, cold Saturday, I have a couple of things that can cheer me up. This afternoon John-John and I are going to the Prowler store, where the ever-lovely (and very gay-friendly) rugby star Mr Ben Cohen will be signing copies of his gorgeous calendar for 2011 (in aid of his testicular cancer campaign), and I have rediscovered this marvellous piece of campery by one of the maddest bands ever - Army of Lovers!

Deep joy...

What is the point of the UN?

For the last 10 years sexual orientation has been included in a list of discriminatory grounds for executions – a UN resolution that urges countries to protect the right to life of all people, calling on them to investigate killings based on discriminatory grounds. Sexual orientation was previously listed as one of these forms of discrimination, alongside ethnicity, religious belief and linguistic minorities. But now sexual orientation has been taken out of the list. It passed on a narrow vote of 79 for, 70 against, 17 abstentions and 26 absent.

Read the article in the Pink Paper

Further to Paul Burston's blog about this shameful issue, here in full, are the countries who voted on the amendment, for and against.

In favour of the amendment to remove sexual orientation from the resolution on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions (79) (In other words, these countries cast a vote saying it's acceptable to execute gays):
Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belize, Benin, Botswana, Brunei Dar-Sala, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, China, Comoros, Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Cuba, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jamaica, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and Grenadines, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Syrian Arab Republic, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, Uzbekistan, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe
Opposed to the amendment to remove sexual orientation from the resolution on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions (70) (In other words, these countries voted that execution of gays is unacceptable):
Andorra, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bhutan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Micronesia (FS), Monaco, Montenegro, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Samoa, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Venezuela
Abstain (17):
Antigua-Barbuda, Barbados, Belarus, Cambodia, Cape Verde, Colombia, Fiji, Mauritius, Mongolia, Papau New Guinea, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Tuvalu, Vanuatu
Absent (26):
Albania, Bolivia, Central African Republic, Chad, Dominica, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Honduras, Kiribati, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Marshall Island, Mauritania, Nauru, Nicaragua, Palau, Sao Tome Principe, Seychelles, Solomon Islands, Togo, Tonga, Turkey, Turkmenistan
I ask again, what is the bloody point of the United Nations and its constant posturing statements on "human rights" when it can allow its own constitution to be hijacked in this way by a succession of rabidly fundamentalist Muslim, undemocratic, sinister nations whose own human rights record is open to question? Why are pariah states such as Afghanistan, Zimbabwe and Myanmar (Burma) accepted into the UN at all?

Friday 19 November 2010

I know what's going on in here

"I know what's going on in here, with all of you men going "Hee hee hee, boo boo boo, hah hah ha!"

We went to the BFI (British Film Institute) again last night, for a not-to-be-missed occasion - a rare showing of one of my all-time favourite films, The Ritz!

Adapted by Oscar-winning director Richard Lester from a 1970s theatrical production by the out-gay playwright Terrence McNally (who famously collaborated with Kander and Ebb on The Rink and Kiss of the Spiderwoman, received huge critical acclaim in the 90s with Love! Valour! Compassion! and in the noughties for his adaptation of The Full Monty for the stage), this is an extraordinary comedy indeed!

For those who have never seen this magnificent movie, the plot revolves around heterosexual Cleveland businessman Gaetano Proclo (Jack Weston) taking refuge from his homicidal Mafia brother-in-law Carmine Vespucci (Jerry Stiller) in "the one place no-one would think to look for him", a gay bath house! In this fabulously tacky place, he gets pursued by chubby-chaser Claude Perkins (Paul B Price), befriended by the wise-cracking slut Chris (F Murray Abraham), and ineptly followed by private dick Michael Brick (Treat Williams). Farce follows farce, as the characters try to dodge the hit-men, the goings-on in the steamroom, and of course, the wrath of resident "diva" Googie Gomez (played to absolute perfection by the fantabulosa Rita Moreno)...

I won't go on, just watch some of the clips for yourself. I can highly recommend it as a real uplifting tonic - we were crying with laughter (despite having seen it many times), and the audience was hooting! Enjoy...

Buy your copy of The Ritz from Amazon

War is over for a bit

It's the weekend, our internet is back up and running (for how long? who can say?), and we're at home with the heating on and Classic FM. Bliss.

Here's a joyful number from everyone's favourite Princess to jolly us along... Thank Disco It's Friday!

Thursday 18 November 2010

"When I came from the VD clinic, I thought our love was finished"

After Polari on Monday we spent a few enjoyable hours in the company of Celine and 80s cult pop icon Coati Mundi, still every bit as crazy as he was all those years ago!

So I thought I would post his greatest (solo) hit, for your delectation to see for yourself (if you are unfamiliar with the man) just how much fun you can have in a fedora...

Masterful lyrics, too:

Que pasa? que pasa?
Que pasa contigo?
No me digás
Que tu no me quieres más
What's happenin' with you
What's on your mind?
I know you want to say:
"Bye, bye, que te veo, veo"

I give you everything you need
Money, home, insurance policies
And I don't even have from you
A money back guarantee
You're always playing with my head
Like when you say: "I no good in bed"
You ain't got no heart
You just want to beat me up
I know I'm having hard time
That's why you want to say bye bye
You're trying to get rid of me

I know
Que pasa? que pasa?
I know, I know
Que pasa contigo?
My heart say so?
No me dirás
Que tu no me quieres más
What happening with you?
What's on your mind?
I know you want to say:
"Bye, bye, que te veo, veo"

Hay mujer mía
Que quieres de mi vida
Yo te trato bien
Todavía tu no estas feliz
El amor no es un relajo
No juegues con mi corazón
Y por favor
En frente de gente
No me digas: "Histérico"
Fijate ahora
Porque todo mi no me importa
Por fin eres tú la que vas a sufrir
Si te quito mi dinero tú no puedes vivir

I know
Que pasa? que pasa?
I know, I know
Que pasa contigo?
My heart say so?
No me dirás
Que tu no me quieres más
No no no no no no
What happening with you?
What's on your mind?
I know you want to say:
"Bye, bye, que te veo, veo"

Hay que linda te ves...

Sure your love was there
Like-a dandruff in my hair
Like pollution in the air
Like a fruit-fly on a pear
But I don't really care
I throw my hands in the air
And I step round to the music
Like a Fred Astaire, you dig

I may not be a Gable
But I'm ready willing and able, hang on this
Check me out

I'm the George Raft of the leisure class
I'm the James Dean of the music scene
The call me Eddie G 'cause I do what I please
They call me Lenny Bruce 'cause I tell good jokes
I wear baggy pants and two-tone shoes
I'm a gentleman, with me you can't lose
I'm 5 foot three, but if you mess with me
You're gonna lose your manhood,
...you dig

I tell you, there'll be another bi-centennial
Before I hear the truth from your mouth
You better hear me out,
You better hear me out

Me no Popeye, you no Olive Oyl X4

The truth is so mighty real

When I came from the VD clinic
I thought our love was finished

How could you be so crude
Makin' love to so many dudes
But you love to get it on
Like a Mr King Kong and a sexy blonde

You're a heathen, you got no culture
Uglier than an ulcer

You ain't got no class
With brains like a Medano glass
You're full of fertilizer
Number two is your appetizer
Now wise up, get along

Sticks and stones only break your bones
You must remember dust to dust

Kid Creole the action hero
Says your love for me is zero
But I hope you realise
Love will never die
You can never say bye bye
No matter how much you try

You're asking me to stop it
Go on to another topic
Well I, know no culture, you dig

I tell you, intellectual constipation
Will be the death of this here great nation

You better hear me out
You better hear me out
Me no Popeye, you no Olive Oyl


Internet has been down at home for two days, MySpazz has gone over to the dark side, but as predicted this is turning out to be a great literary week!

On Monday Madame Acarti, Paul, Jim and I settled ourselves in the "Royal Box" (front table) at Polari (back in the prime surroundings of St Paul's Pavilion where it belongs), to help celebrate the third birthday of "London's peerless gay literary salon". It seems like only yesterday that we first stepped across the hallowed threshold of the (late, dearly departed) Trash Palace in Wardour Street to be educated, entertained and indeed aurally assaulted by the magnificent (and also dearly departed, RIP) Sebastian Horsley!

As Paul Burston - in celebratory mood, understandably - mused, no-one involved in its launch back in The Green Carnation Bar in Frith Street would ever have believed that three years later we would be in such a prominent and prestigious venue as the Royal Festival Hall.

The evening's proceedings opened with fresh faced new author Ryan Child with his stunning and quite scary tale of a rabid queer-basher who falls for the boyfriend of one of his gang's victims. If Mr Child hadn't been so goddam sexy, we might have been a bit depressed at the gritty reality of his words. But he was mesmerising...

Lightening the mood somewhat, Justin Ward "strummed my life with his words" as he regaled with minute detail the excruciating tale of a small-town gay boy trapped in a world of ghastly family parties in social clubs, leery women and drunken oiks - superbly written and hilarious, but very very familiar... Read another of his short stories about dysfunctional families.

Our next reader William Parker was actually born in Newport (the small town that provided me with so many of those familiar scenarios Mr Ward described), but was brought up away from all that - with his booming actor's voice it was obvious he was one of the lucky ones. His story opened (hilariously) with the main character Ben falling drunkenly head-first down the stairs outside Charing Cross station, and revelled in the recollections of the bewildered childhood that had led him to that point - excellently read, excellently written. We loved it! Read more at http://william-parker.com/

Jonathan Kemp is one of the recently announced contenders short-listed for the brand new Green Carnation Prize for gay literature. His novel London Triptych flick-flaks between the lives of male prostitutes in three different eras - Oscar Wilde's turn-of-the-century, 50s post-war, and modern London - and with a couple of explicit extracts (each told from the rent boys' point of view), he had the audience gripped! A strong contender for the prize, I'd say (although my vote is for the fellow shortlisted Rupert Smith's Man's World).

Almost the climax(!) of the evening was the Kiwi author(ess) DJ Connell, whose debut novel Julian Corkle Is a Filthy Liar has variously been reviewed as "a Tasmanian Adrian Mole" and "one of the funniest rites of passage novels in a long time". From the extracts she read it certainly seems a very funny tale indeed, as the exceptionally camp Julian relates his adventures growing up in the uber-macho rural backwoods of Taz...

To round the night off with suitably big bang, our darling Celine had made an extra special effort to be there, and had brought along a very special friend to say a few words of congratulation on the anniversary - the Latino firebrand Mr Coati Mundi (of Kid Creole & the Coconuts and Dr Buzzard's Original Savannah Band fame)!

After Celine had entertained the punters with a selection of her rollicking rhythmic performance poems (during one of which she entwined herself rather firmly around Jim, seated as he was almost on the stage!), it was time for Paul to make his big announcement - the launch of The Polari Prize. Strictly limited to new works rather than previously published authors, the prize is open to a first book which explores the queer experience and is open to any work published in the UK in English within the twelve months leading up to the submission date (poetry or prose, fiction or non-fiction). So start thinking about your nominations now!

After the glitter had settled on the evening's proceedings Madame Arcati, Paul, Celine, Mr Mundi and I trolled off for a swifty at the Retro Bar before dispersing - such good company to finish off a magnificent evening!

Continuing the literary theme, last night I went along to Islington Central Library for Homosexuality in literature: sodomy & censorship with Neil McKenna, author of The Secret Life of Oscar Wilde.

This, too, was a fantabulosa (if much less well-attended) event, as the theatrical Mr McKenna took us through a lively selection of examples of where gay lifestyles have been censored, edited, legislated against or erased from the pages of novels, poetry, history books, biographies and the theatrical stage. From early Renaissance comedies, through the Earl of Rochester's play Sodom, to Victorian transvestite rent boys "Fanny" and "Stella", Oscar Wilde, Radcliffe Hall's The Well of Loneliness, Stephen Spender's war poetry to the control that the Lord Chancellor held over the theatre even in the era of Joe Orton, he covered them all...

Whew! It was great, and I want to read (and learn) more. Mr McKenna's historical work about those Victorian trannies, and their scandalous trial, will be published in the new year, and I can't wait to read it. Read more about Neil.

Tonight we are eschewing literature (the book readings by Rupert Smith, Christopher Fowler et al at "Gay's the Word" bookshop) in favour of a rare showing of Terrence McNally's marvellous film The Ritz at the BFI - but this week has definitely been one for books.

I am currently reading Mr Fowler's Paperboy for my LGBT reading group, I recently completed the fourth of Paul Magrs' "Brenda & Effie" books Hell's Belles, and I have decided that as times is 'ard, everyone this Xmas will be getting books from charity shops (which is just another excuse to rifle through the shelves of every "Save The Children", "Oxfam" or "Macmillan Cancer Care" shop from Enfield to Kingston!).

The love of learning, the sequestered nooks,
And all the sweet serenity of books.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Monday 15 November 2010

Don diablo que es muy cuco

Another working week is too soon upon us, and I am not ready for it yet - bleurrggh!

On this Tacky Music Monday, let us revisit a favourite discovery from Spain - I first featured him back in February - Snr Miguel Bosé, and our favourite track of his...

Sunday 14 November 2010

HOW many violins?!

It is a grey, damp, miserable and very slow Sunday, and not worth going out anywhere. It also happens to be 105 years tomorrow since the birth of the King of "Sunday Music" Annunzio Mantovani - the man who introduced the sound of "cascading strings" to the airwaves, and regularly featured artist on those freebie cover disks my Grandad used to get with Reader's Digest.

To celebrate I thought I'd play some of his most indulgent tunes to lift the spirits somewhat...

Saturday 13 November 2010


We are off to see the Lord Mayor's fireworks this evening, after shopping for Mother's birthday present this afternoon. The weather is dry, and I am in a good mood.

How about a little luuuurrve?

Or maybe just lust?

Friday 12 November 2010

Roll me in designer sheets, I'll never get enough

Four tits and a wedding?

80s tit-wobblers Sam Fox (lady lesbian former "Page 3 stunna") and Sabrina Salerno (one of Italy's "biggest" pop stars of the era, famous for whopping the puppies out on the video for Boys, Boys, Boys) teamed up a couple of years ago to relaunch some kind of musical career.

They chose to cover one of Blondie's finest, and gave it the kind of treatment that only a combination of such shining talents could... I expect this was a huge hit in Slovenia. Thank Disco it's Friday!

Thursday 11 November 2010

Boys and student sizes

The "bold, brawny buckled jacket", the "suit with the waistcoat look", the "very important vest" and the "patcher pants" - a must for the Winter Season...

Pick of the Pops again

Despite this turning out to be a busy week - with the CK drag show at Halfway to Heaven on Sunday, Corrie at the BFI on Tuesday, The Rivals last night, and looking forward to the Lord Mayor's Show fireworks on Saturday - I still find time for collecting new(ish) music! And I do like to share...

First up is a subtle little number from the Scandinavian eccentric Robyn:

On a lighter note, the new single from those maestros of electro dance trash, Infernal:

From the ridiculous to the sublime... I must have missed this in 2009. I didn't know that Grace Jones collaborated with the avant-garde Breton poet, singer and writer Brigitte Fontaine! This is beautiful...

And finally, ladies'n'gentlemen, I bring you a most decadent piece of video art by someone (or some thing) by the name of PAG. With a soundtrack of In This Shirt by the wonderful Irrepressibles, this is seriously weird stuff!


The very pineapple of politeness!

"If I reprehend any thing in this world it is the use of my oracular tongue, and a nice derangement of epitaphs!" Mrs Malaprop

Restoration Comedy is not the most accessible type of theatre for modern audiences. Yet given a good cast with crisp, clear diction one can make this most arch and stilted format into a crowd-pleaser. So it was last night, as the marvellous Miss Penelope Keith and Mr Peter Bowles tackled Sheridan's The Rivals - superb casting indeed!

The play itself is typical of its era - entangled relationships, mistaken identities, buffoonery, hilarity, farce, manners, manners, and more manners - and with a combination of excellent players, minimal (not distracting) set, and direction from Sir Peter Hall it was beautifully done.

As one reviewer put it:
"How do you play a character who has given her name to a word in the Oxford dictionary? Sincerely rather than as a caricature is what Penelope Keith gave us in her elegantly intelligent and sharply drawn portrayal of Mrs. Malaprop. It was a glowing performance, very well supported by Peter Bowles as an irascibly charming Sir Anthony Absolute, with Tam Williams smugly confident as his son Jack."
Indeed, every time Miss Keith was on stage, the atmosphere was immeasurably lifted.

We had a wonderful evening, and all this for free - with preview tickets from our friend Russ! If you'd like a classy, engaging and often hilarious evening's entertainment, I can heartily recommend this one.

No videos of the Theatre Royal performance (inevitably), but here's Simon Callow giving his take on acting in Restoration Comedy:

Theatre Royal Haymarket

Wednesday 10 November 2010

How British TV changed forever

We managed to get tickets for the 50th anniversary showing of the first three episodes of Coronation Street at the BFI last night!

The evening was introduced by the camp-as-tits creator of the series, the genius that is Tony Warren, who regaled us with tales from his childhood and gave us an insight into the characters from his family and his street that gave birth to these magical soap legends. Annie Walker, Ena Sharples, Elsie Tanner, Albert Tatlock - he knew them all!

It was indeed a joy to see these restored classics on the big screen. We marvelled at how "modern" and forward-looking the storylines were, laughed at the tangled humour of these larger-than-life battleaxes (forever gossiping and bitching), and the audience cheered when Ena or Annie arrived on screen! It really must have had a huge impact in those more innocent and polite times.

Marvellous stuff! Shame the "in conversation" slot with Mark Lawson and Tony Warren later on was sold out - that would have been a joy.

Enjoy the moment that the world of British telly changed forever...

Tuesday 9 November 2010

Fabulous dame!

We are still waiting to catch up with the final episode of the magnificent Downton Abbey, which received a massive 10 million viewers on Sunday. The suspense is killing me! [No spoilers, please...] It's recorded on our V+ Box (amazing, given the amount of trouble we have had with the bloody signal lately!).

However, work patterns, a planned evening at the BFI tomorrow and another at the theatre on Wednesday means we won't get to see it till Thursday at the earliest. Oo-er!

We'll have to make do with this clip of a much younger Maggie Smith hamming it up in the blackly satirical Oh! What A Lovely War instead...

Monday 8 November 2010

What passed for entertainment in the 1960s

On this miserable start to the week, what about a little cod Calypso to cheer us up on this Tacky Music Monday, courtesy of The Young Generation?


Sunday 7 November 2010

What I am is what you want of me

Many happy returns to the stunningly beautiful and eternally cool Sharleen Spiteri, 43 years young today.

I have always had a great love and respect for this woman ever since her chart debut on I Don't Want a Lover way back in '89. I saw her live (singing acapella!) at the last free Pride Festival on Clapham Common in 1997, and again at the Proms in the Park in 2008. Despite her recent solo efforts however, her glory days remain fixed in her years as front-woman for Texas.

Their White On Blonde remains one of the greatest of all albums ever recorded (in my honest opinion, anyhow). And it is for this classic - one of my favourite records, ever! - that I remain eternally grateful to this marvellous woman. Sublime...

Texas and Sharleen Spiteri website

Saturday 6 November 2010

Poets, like whores, are only hated by each other

November is turning out to be a bit of a literary month, with the 3rd anniversary of "London's peerless gay literary salon" - Paul Burston's Polari - on 15th, Neil McKenna discussing homosexuality in literature at Islington Central Library as part of the Banned Books season on 17th, and we may even go to hear readings from the shortlisted authors of the "Green Carnation prize" at Gay's the Word bookshop on 18th.

To celebrate, over at the Museum of Camp I thought I would post for your delectation a favourite (and extremely camp) article from the "award-winning author" Arthur T. Vanderbilt.

Read more about the bitchiness of writers on writers.

Friday 5 November 2010

Get up, stand up...

With the BBC on strike I am unsettled - wot, no Today programme?! How can I time my getting-up routine now? Hey ho, at least it's just one more boring day to get through till the weekend.

So once again, let us slip on some primary coloured frou-frou, use up that can of hairspray, practice shaking our tail feather, and Thank Disco It's Friday!!

Thursday 4 November 2010

Yes, tonight, Josephine!

Eighty-five years ago, a little black songstress and dancer emerged from her vaudeville beginnings in Harlem onto the stage at the prestigious Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris, and an Art Deco erotic icon was born.

Josephine Baker (for it was she), often accompanied on stage by her diamond-adorned pet cheetah Chiquita, was an instant overnight success - not least for the fact she very often performed her nightly cabaret in nothing more than a skirt made of bananas! Her glamorous (and often scandalous) lifestyle (including many lesbian lovers) is the stuff of legend. I blogged about her life as a Civil Rights champion three years ago.

I think on this occasion, we should just celebrate her life with this very late Royal Variety Show appearance as the most "glamorous granny" in the business. A year later she died, peacefully, and was lauded as the best entertainer of her generation...

Josephine Baker official website

Wednesday 3 November 2010

Marco, Merrick, Terry Lee, Garry Tibbs and yours truly

So tired of anarchists looking at me
Don't need their credibility.

they say
Defy! Condemn!
As long as you don't destroy them.

With twenty years of drugs and drink
I thought the time had come to think
About standing up and saying that
It's a tragedy and such old hat.

Not a great day for a boy with an online passion for trivia and tackiness...

Firstly, our internet (and TV) went down again this morning, thanks to the gnomes at Virgin Media. It was still down when I got in this evening (after trying to avoid the Tube strike rush-hour mania by attending a new LGBT reading group in Islington Library). After a few re-boots it is (obviously) at last back again...

I went on to the web in work, and found that some bizarre individual, apparently masquerading as someone else, had decided his way of getting his rocks off was to post multiple videos as a blog comment on my MySpace profile - all of them a repetition of a news item about someone on Facebook who expressed their wish that all gay people were dead. Charmed, I'm sure. Thus I was not really in the mood today to do any more except block the cunt and log off again.

However, now that I seem to have lanced that particularly vile carbuncle, we at Dolores Delargo Towers feel the need to pay due homage to two of our icons, who happen to share a birthday today - the divine Adam Ant and the stupendous Scottish belter Lulu. Did they ever work together? Of course they did...

Tuesday 2 November 2010

Fancy being in the middle?

Here at Dolores Delargo Towers, we like to think we are very generous to our domestic staff. We even let the houseboys have a night off every now and then!

Here's a little video they made in gratitude...


Ain't nobody...

For no other reason but I feel like it, this morning my thoughts turn to the supremely talented Yvette Marie Stevens, better known to the world at large as that pint-sized bundle of vocal dexterity, Miss Chaka Khan!

Wild-haired, unashamedly curvy and a magnificent stage presence in her leopard-print and leather outfits, Miss Khan has had more than her fair share of problems (with drug addiction, bad relationships, and the trial of her son for murder [he was acquitted]). But it seems that you can't keep a truly talented diva down for long, and only last year Chaka joined Lulu and Anastacia on the "Here Come The Girls" tour and worked with Beverley Knight on her new album.

Happily settled in the UK, Chaka Khan continues to be an adopted "national treasure" over here, and with classics such as these why on earth shouldn't we celebrate this wonderful lady?!

Chaka Khan website

Monday 1 November 2010


Very often on Tacky Music Mondays I feature some ghastly girlie group or other, from Holland, Italy or Spain.

Lest we forget, we in the British Isles produced our own cheesy version in the 1980s, as a close-harmony singing group of Irish colleens transformed themselves from "The Nolan Sisters" into the much more trendy Nolans and had a string of hits. I don't remember this one (thankfully), however...