Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Byzantine scandal, human glitterballs and teeth-stealing mice!

We had a great evening's entertainment last night (once again), as Paul Burston decked his balls with boughs of holly and presented Polari at Christmas!

Opening the festivities, cuddly Andrew Kay read an amusing extract from his book Pretty Boys All In A Row, set in the hedonistic pre-AIDS world of 1981 Ibiza. Fabulous and decadent, we do get a sense, however, that somehow all is not necessarily right with the party world of Philip and Terry..

But Mr Kay's decadent tale, no matter how divine, is a mere whimsy in comparison to the real treat - none other than the legendary Molly Parkin!! Miss Parkin is one of those unique and immediately recognisable figures about whom the epithet "Swinging Sixties" could have been (and in all honesty probably was) written.

She shagged James Robinson Justice, John Mortimer and that other divine hedonist George Melly (among many others), and, not content with just doing it, she wrote about it too. Several volumes of erotica, indeed. All that in between being one of the great movers and shakers in the fashion industry, a journalist and a model, a staple of the gossip and society columns, and hat-wearer extraordinaire!

We were thrilled to bits to see her, and loved her reading from her memoir Welcome to Mollywood - an amusing extract all about the time her false teeth were stolen by mice! A once in a lifetime treat, indeed, and a lovely lady...

Entertainment of a musical variety - and no less decadent than Miss Parkin - was provided by the fantabulosa walking art-form that is Marcus Reeves. Performing a few of his brilliant and thought-provoking numbers, including some from his Three Zero show (and forthcoming album), he was resplendent in sparkling maquillage and smart suit, like a human glitter-ball crossed with Michael Bublé! We love Marcus - the multi-talented writer behind the wonderful Postcards from God - The Sister Wendy Musical - and hope to see and hear much more of him. I haven't been to see his shows at the Vauxhall Tavern yet, but one day...

After the break it was the turn of the (very funny) Niven Govinden, who read a passage from one of his characteristic stories about friendship, love, and loyalty, before handing the baton to another Polari favourite - Miss Stella Duffy!

Stella is a witty and entertaining writer and reader - I loved her Room of Lost Things - and she loves using the word "cunt". A lot. Last night she entertained us with some passages from her new book, Theodora - Actress, Empress, Whore based on the life of the scandalous Byzantine Empress. It sounds heavy going, but of course in Stella's hands it certainly is not. Debauched, maybe. Decadent, certainly. But never dull. Stella is a brilliant writer, and I would like to get around to this book in due course.

Then, in a brilliant finale to this wonderful evening, Marcus Reeves returned to the stage in the guise of "The Singing Christmas Tree" - totally unexpected, hilarious and as camp as tits, this was the perfect send-off for our favourite "peerless literary salon" for another year.

Polari is not returning until February. How will I cope?!

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