Thursday 30 June 2011

It's Gay Icons Day

No internet at Dolores Delargo Towers again - and we are preparing to do battle with Virgin Media once more... Meanwhile, as there are a few anniversaries to mark today, let's have a little compilation of those femmes fatales beloved of we gentlemen who have "a touch of lavender" - all part of this week's countdown to Gay Pride on Saturday!

Opening this selection is Miss Lena Horne, whose 94th birthday it would have been today, with a little twist on a classic - it's the Boy from Ipanema (for a change):

68 years ago, the late Miss Florence Ballard was born. I am not sure, but I don't think she is actually singing about popcorn on this early Supremes number... Naughty naughty!

How about a little sin? Yes please! And who better to give it to us but the lovely Susan Hayward, who was born on this day 93 years ago?

But of course all these ladies are merely an entrée to the real commemoration today. For 42 years ago, that doyenne of gay adoration Miss Judy Garland's star finally fizzled out. The link between this sad event and the subsequent Stonewall Riots is tenuous, to say the least, but suffice to say she remains adored here at Dolores Delargo Towers and still sits at the top of that mystical pantheon of gay icons.

Here is the great lady singing her rarely heard version of a very apt anthem for this weekend's (anticipated) million-strong Pride Parade...

As the countdown clock ticks on, the campness level cranks ever upwards - enjoy!

Wednesday 29 June 2011

It's good to be the King

Yesterday, that genius comic movie maestro and all-round funny man Mel Brooks celebrated his 85th birthday!

Always one of my favourite producers way back to when I was a child, his Blazing Saddles, The Producers, Young Frankenstein, Silent Movie and History of the World: Part I remain among my most cherished films, and I particularly adored his classic entourage of regular actors (Madeline Kahn, Dom DeLouise, Gene Wilder, Harvey Korman and Cloris Leachman among them).

He also has an unerring eye for camp - I suppose being married to Anne Bancroft for all those years must have helped!

So in recognition of his survival (apart from Miss Leachman and Mr Wilder, all the others are dead), and also befitting the Gay Pride theme of this week, here are a few of the more homosexualist sketches from his vast repertoire...

The "selecting escorts" scene from History of the World Part 1, with Madeline Kahn:

From the same movie, The Spanish Inquisition musical extravaganza:

And finally, Blazing Saddles and "The French Mistake" routine:

Mel Brooks on IMDB

Tuesday 28 June 2011

Add your name to this Hall of Fame

It's time to give this countdown to Gay Xmas a bit of a nostalgia kick, with the extraordinary talent that is Mr Holly Johnson!

Despite the best efforts of Mr O'Dowd or Mr Somerville to break the apathy of the 1980s music industry towards gay rights and gay singers, it was in fact the ground-breaking scandal of Mr Johnson (with Frankie Goes To Hollywood's Relax) that rubbed the smug establishment's noses in it and paved the way for explicit gayness to be aired in the UK...

Here's his solo magnum opus, which pushed the gay buttons to their fullest extent:

Legendary Children (All of Them Queer)
Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, William Shakespeare, Nijinsky
Alexander the Great, Tchaikovsky, Bernstein, Mahler, Liberace

Oh come let us adore them
Those legendary children
You know you can´t ignore them
Those legendary children

Add your name to this hall of fame
The answer is clear
They´re all of them queer
Add your name to this hall of fame
Stand up and cheer
They´re all of them queer

Andy Warhol, Johnny Ray, William Burroughs, Jean Genet
Isherwood, Wilde, Capote, Auden, Jean Cocteau, Joe Orton

You know you can´t ignore them
Those legendary children
Oh come let us adore them
Those legendary children

Add your name to this hall of fame
The answer is clear
They´re all of them queer
Add your name to this hall of fame
Stand up and cheer
They´re all of them queer

Be careful not to bore them
Those legendary children
You know you can´t ignore them
Those legendary children

Mappelthorpe, Crisp, Keith Haring, Derek Jarman, Candy Darling
Hartman, Sommerville - in the house, Dhiagalev, Nureyev, Michael Mouse

Little Richard, George O´Dowd, Divine, Cole Porter - say it loud!
Holly, Wolfgang, Plenty Handbag, Brenda Yardley - what a fag!

Thought for the day...


Monday 27 June 2011

The world's a brighter place when you do the Macarena

The marvellous Miss Meera Syal celebrates her 50th birthday today, and to celebrate in this mostly gay-themed week, I can find no better excuse to post a couple of clips from one of the best (and gayest) BBC comedies of the last decade - Beautiful People!

Meera Syal profile on the BFI website

Tacky? Maybe. Gay icon? Definitely!

It's sunny, and, unforgivably we have to go to work again. Bleuuuurghh!

Let us, in this Tacky Music Monday - and in celebration of our continuing countdown to Gay Xmas - cheer up this frustrating day with the Queen of gay patron saints, Miss Bette Midler...

Have a good week!

Sunday 26 June 2011

Happy Sun-day!

It's brilliant sunshine out there. I'm off to sizzle in Kew Gardens.

Have a great day, y'all!

Saturday 25 June 2011

Hot Shots - La musica dell'estate*

This evening, Sky1HD came up with a fabulous addition to the countdown to Pride, in the form of Kylie's "Aphrodite: Les Folies" concert, filmed at the O2 - absolutely incredible!

As ever, the Princess knows her (gay) audience - glitter, muscle-boys, 200 costume changes, and feathers, fouf and faff are most definitely the order of the day...

Having exhausted my camp genes with a two-hour Kylie-fest, I think it's time for a little update on some of the newer stuff that has flowed through my consciousness recently...

First up, thanks to Henry (yet again) at Barbarella's Galaxy for introducing me to the most original young lady by the name of Florrie and her wittily-named Experimenting with Rugs, which is rather fab:

Next, the Ozzie model, actress and singer Zoe Badwi with a divinely decadent orgiastic video for her new single Carry Me Home:

And as we head into what promises to be a mini-heatwave over the next couple of days (which usually just means a sweltering day then a thunderstorm), here is a most fabulous summery dance choon that should cheer us all up - the boppy "Garage" sound of Chasing Pluto with Maybe I'll Miss You:

Now, with Gay Pride in mind again, it's time for "the family" to step up to the mike...

Here's a real out-and-proud queen doin' what comes naturally! More gratitude to Marc at Deep Dish for drawing my attention to the magnificent diva B. Scott giving a Kiss Kiss to the lovely model Brett Davis. How could I have not discovered this fierce creature before?

This is an interesting conundrum - the uber cool gay "singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and Manhattan nightclub fixture" SirPaul (no relation to McCartney, apparently) has released a new single that is the theme to a film of the same name by the equally cool Casper Andreas - Going Down in La-La Land. The trouble is (and this is no bad thing, of course) it reminds me of a Eurovision track called Drama Queen by DQ from 2007:

And to finish, here's the out and civilly partnered (to music video producer Richard Cullen) Darren Hayes, with a fantastic b-side - to his new single Talk Talk Talk - a rather good cover of Madonna's Angel:

Let's enjoy the sunshine tomorrow and have a ball!

[* La musica dell'estate = The music of summer]

You feel the deal is real

A bit of good news in the run-up to Gay Xmas!
New York has become the sixth and most populous US state to allow same-sex marriage.

The Republican-controlled state senate voted 33-29 for a bill that had earlier been approved by the lower house, which has a Democratic majority.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo quickly signed the bill into law. Gay weddings are expected to start within 30 days.
A glint of light on the horizon for equality in the Big Apple, at last! Of course, the happy couples and their guests will have to go to New Jersey to smoke...

An appropriate song methinks:

New York City Boy
you'll never have a bored day
'cause you're a New York City boy
where Seventh Avenue meets Broadway

New York City boy
This is your reward day
'cause you're a New York City boy
where Seventh Avenue meets Broadway

Then when the evening falls
you can return its calls

You feel the deal is real
You're a New York City boy
So young, so run
into New York City

Read more on the BBC

We are not crumbs!

"As we know, historians do not include gay anything in their histories. Gays are never included in the history of anything."

Let's start off this countdown to the biggest date in the Gay Social Calendar - for a week today we celebrate Gay Pride! - with a "happy 76th birthday" today to one of the gay community's most outspoken critics and activists, the founder of ACT UP, Mr Larry Kramer.

Often criticized (quite rightly on occasions) for the vitriol and bile he expounds upon those (gay and straight) who take a different stance to him on matters of gay equality and political activism, he nevertheless provided a radical, loud, visible and irrascible thorn in the side of the Reagan-Bush administrations in America during the AIDS crisis of the 80s and 90s, for which he deserves high praise.

Here are some extracts from his speech on the occasion of ACT UP's twentieth anniversary in 2007, expressing his concerns at the general apathy of gay politics today:
It is difficult to celebrate when one has such potent, painful tragic memories. We held so many of each other in our arms. One never forgets love like that. Make no mistake, AIDS was and is a terrible tragedy that need not have escalated into a worldwide plague.

Then, we only had the present. We were freed of the responsibility of thinking of the future. So we were able to act up. Now we only have our future. Imagine thinking that way. Those who had no future now only have a future. That includes not only everyone in this room but gay people everywhere. We are back to worrying about what “they” think about us. It seems we are not so free, most of us, to act up now. Our fear had been turned into energy. We were able to cry out fuck you fuck you fuck you.

We must be heard! We must be. We are not crumbs! We should not accept crumbs! We must not accept crumbs!

There is not one single candidate running for public office anywhere that deserves our support. Not one. Every day they vote against us in increasingly brutal fashion. I will not vote for a one of them and neither should you. To vote for any one of them, to lend any one of them your support, is to collude with them in their utter disdain for us. And we must let every single one of them know that we will not support them. Perhaps it will win them more votes, that faggots won’t support them, but at least we will have our self-respect. And, I predict, the respect of many others who have long wondered why we allow ourselves to be treated so brutally year after year after year, as they take away our manhood, our womanhood, our personhood.
Strong stuff, indeed, and an apposite reminder of what Gay Pride should be all about! Are we really there yet? Are civil partnerships and Graham Norton really enough? Mr Kramer wouldn't think so.

As his drama The Normal Heart (which opened on Broadway recently) has plans for a London transfer, let's just have a little extract...

Larry Kramer on Wikipedia

Friday 24 June 2011

"Just one more thing..."

RIP Peter Falk, aka Columbo, whose death was announced today.

Read the article on the BBC

It's Hustle time!

At last, another week in work draws to a close - and all the forecasts point to the most welcome return of that elusive thing during June, the sun!! Yay - let's hope this bodes well for Gay Xmas (Pride) a week tomorrow...

Meanwhile, have a little root around in the back of your wardrobe, don your tightest flares, and start practising some of these moves - Do The Hustle!

Thank Disco It's Friday - and have a great weekend!

Thursday 23 June 2011

Nina Simone, nude Basques, tutu-wearing lesbians and Andy Bell

We had another fabulous time at "London's peerless gay literary salon" Polari goes Pop last night...

Paul Burston had advertised the special guest appearance of the fantabulosa Andy Bell of Erasure in advance, so inevitably the place was packed to the gunnels. Some people might possibly have expected him to be singing. There were many esteemed regulars there too, including Suzy Feay of the FT and Joe Storey-Scott and his lovely chums, and some irregular faces including the marvellous gay journalist (who has been described as the "skinhead Oscar Wilde") Mark Simpson.

Opening with a bang, we had our only musical artist of the night, the rather fab Norman Feather - a stalwart of the Vauxhall Tavern and Wotever World alternative gay cabaret nights - who, according to his blurb, "writes and performs jaunty songs that celebrate illness, neurosis and death". Indeed, we loved his slightly smutty songs - with titles like The Bugger and The Penis is a Ghost, how could we not? He's quite cute, too..

Mr Feather was followed by Michael Alago, a massive name in the New York music industry. He signed Nina Simone for her final albums, discovered Metallica, and has worked with a bizarre range of people, including Cyndi Lauper, Michael Feinstein and John Lydon. In 2003 he retired from music to take up photography - mainly that type of photography that occupies the hearts and minds of many of the punters of Prowler or Clone Zone. Hunky, nude, male flesh! His Rough Gods and The Brutal Truth are no doubt best sellers at both emporia.

Mr Alago's readings - involving fantasy men, lust and New York, left us panting too...

Next up was a personal favourite, the adorable Sophia Blackwell. I love her!

With her customary chirpy personality, the tutu-wearing(!) Miss B read a few of her prodigious range of pithy poems, many of which she has posted on her MySpace blog for National Poetry Writing Month in May. I particularly liked this one:
Making Mixtapes
I miss them- don't you? Those long Sunday nights
Hanging over the arm of your parents' sofa,
Itchy fingers poised for the end of the track.
A scientist, an explorer, mapping from front to back,
You'd march into that vacuum, that white-noise hiss.
A general, marshalling crashing ranks of rock stars
Serving your quest to get that single kiss.

The language of tapes was all interpretation,
Songs were the flags you hid your face behind,
Your telegraphed semaphore blurring the lines-
Fast-forwarded in a laughable falsetto whine.
Pause, skip, rewind. Tongue-tied, through the wires,
Teasing as only teenagers can be. Hear me,
Pick me. Play. Click. Go. Only connect.

Later, the parties, drunk, hogging the decks,
Your mates opening doors - right, this one next-
The floor a collage of empty, naked cases,
floating liner notes. The whisky poured,
Cards painstakingly written, cartoons drawn,
The music of your spheres a late-night forecast
Wrapping you all against the dark till dawn.

I miss them- don't you? Sure, now it's quick and clean,
No end of space, no ninety-minute calculations,
And yes, there's beauty even in downloaded data,
Your memory banks decanted in an hourglass -
There's still the thought, the careful lettering,
But no matter what, it's not a party thing,
Or a solo labour of love looped on a shoestring.

I miss that kind of love- the fan-dance of belonging,
Hard to see it go. Hard to have your own,
Those tapes as lover's gifts and nothing that'll play them,
The drift of time, and those ridiculous dates-
Mix, '96, '99, 2001 - say them. Come on. Don't grieve
For what you both believed. Play. Go. Fast-forward.
Pause. See that single crooked heart on the sleeve.

From the sublime of Miss Blackwell's "innocent" poetry to the completely unexpected - the Basque performance poet Ernesto Sarezale.

We thought he was just a bit hot at first, but no! He really did strip totally naked to complete his set of readings - ending with this one, called Average:

Bizarre, but entertaining... How on earth do you follow that?!

Mr James Maker is a familiar reader - he entertained us at Polari Goes Pope last year, patent leather stilettos and all! A stunning presence.

His memoir Autofellatio is an exhaustive tale of Mr Maker's journey from punk via The Smiths, to gay goth-glam-rock, to his current (quieter) life in Spain. Great stuff!

Although he didn't actually sing last night, he is rather a fab musician too, so I thought I'd post one of his more atmospheric numbers (it seems appropriate):

So finally we reached the headline spot for Andy Bell - and this is where the reality bit. Hard. I had absolutely no idea (until he approached that stage) that Mr Bell's lover of twenty-three years (and manager) Paul Hickey had experienced a series of devastating, paralysing strokes in a hotel room in America while they were on tour a few years ago. I never guessed that behind the "flibbertygibbet" persona Mr Bell portrays for his adoring public there was such a troubled, caring, loving man who nursed his partner back from what might well have been the brink...

And so it was that Andy stepped in to read a few extracts from Mr Hickey's book (launched especially at last night's Polari) Sometimes: A Life of Loves, Loss and Erasure.

As the synopsis says, "Awakening from a coma to discover he was unable to move, swallow or communicate, he was suddenly forced to take stock of his life of sex, drugs and rock and roll and to rebuild it from scratch. The only way he could communicate in the early stages of his recovery was by writing, and this is his story." And a fabulous and emotional roller-coaster ride his story certainly appears to be - we loved it, and the applause at the end was deafening!

Truly fabulous - and a fitting end to a thoroughly enjoyable evening. Can't wait for July's Polari, when the long-list of the Polari First Book Prize will be revealed...

Oh, and lest I forget - we wished a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY to our Ange!

Wednesday 22 June 2011

Where's your Mama gone?

The early 1970s were a very strange place indeed...

Forty years ago today this bizarre little number by Middle Of The Road, Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep, was at Number 1 in the UK. To this day, no-one quite understands why.

They just don't make songs like this anymore!

Tuesday 21 June 2011

Two ladies

Today would have been ninetieth birthday celebrations of two greats of the classic era of Hollywood, one who lived to the ripe old age of 90 - Miss Jane Russell (who I have blogged about several times before)...

...and one who, with her "ditzy blonde" ingenue personality and photogenic good looks, probably could have been every bit the star her contemporaries such as Betty Hutton and Doris Day became, had she not been taken away from us too soon. Miss Judy Holliday died of cancer in 1965, aged just 42.

So as a little tribute to the fabulous Miss Holliday, here's a great audio-clip from her appearance on Tallulah Bankhead's radio show:

Judy Holliday on IMDB

Two great ladies, dearly remembered.

Oh those summer nights

Today is the longest day of the year...

According to The Order of Bards Ovates & Druids:
The Summer Solstice is the time of maximum light - when the countryside around us revels in colourful and fragrant splendour. This time is known in the Druid tradition as that of Alban Hefin - 'The Light of Summer' or 'The Light of the Shore'.

At Alban Hefin the spiral of the year has expanded to its widest point and now the hours of light are as long as they will ever be. After 21st or 22nd June, the sun's power will begin to wane and the days grow shorter. The sun has touched the northernmost point along the horizon and is about to embark upon the long journey back south, ending at Alban Arthan, the Winter Solstice, in mid-December.

The Summer Solstice time was an event of tremendous importance to the Druids of the New Stone Age, who built a number of magnificent megaliths aligned to the sunrise on this day. In southwest England, the thread of tradition connects the 5,000-year-old temple of Stonehenge with ritual activities through the Bronze Age, the Iron Age, and into modern times. Today many modern druid orders, including The Order of Bards Ovates & Druids, gather here to watch the first rays of the sun shine above the 'hele stone.' Another great stone temple to the Summer Solstice is at Callanish on the island of Lewis, in the Outer Hebrides. Here, four rows of stones lead into a circle from the four directions, forming a Celtic cross in the landscape, and the stones form an astronomical observatory aligned to the solstice sunrises and sunsets, as well as to the equinoxes. Callanish is so far north, the sky never actually darkens on a midsummer night. This is also the case at the mysteriously beautiful stone circle, the Ring of Brodgar, on Orkney, which was known for centuries by local people as the Temple of the Sun, aligned as it is to the midsummer sunrise.

In Cornwall and Wales boys and girls, bedecked in garlands of flowers, went dancing and spinning around the great fires. Young men whirled flaming brands around their heads to form sun-wheels, balanced blazing barrels on top of poles or performed feats of daring such as jumping through the tall flames - perhaps to encourage the corn to leap up too. When the flames died down to glowing coals, dancers held hands and skipped through them, being careful not to break the chain, which would bring bad luck. The ashes from the fires were believed to have magical powers, and farmers carefully collected them to scatter around their fields or the animals' barns. On St. John's Eve, every hill in Cornwall blazes like a beacon that can be seen for miles around, as they did in days of old, while in some towns chains of dancers spiral through the streets in the ancient serpentine dance.

The Summer Solstice was one of the three Spirit Nights of the year, the other two being Beltaine and Samhain. Faeries and ghosts were abroad, easily visible to those whose sensitivities made the veil between the worlds appear exceptionally thin.

This was a good time to cull magical and healing herbs: fern seed gathered on midsummer's eve could make one invisible; elderberries warded off enchantment; stonecrop, vervain, and yarrow were hung in special places around the house for protection against the evil eye and death. Above all, this was the time for the plucking St. John's wort, the golden, star-shaped flower that was first of all herbs to be gathered on St. John's Eve. Called the 'blessed plant' in Wales, it was renowned throughout the Celtic lands for bringing peace and prosperity to the house, health to the animals and a bountiful harvest. It was cast into the midsummer bonfires in Scotland, and placed over the doors of houses and farm buildings for its protective powers. For these magical plants were filled with the energy of the sun at its peak, now transformed into green blessings for the human realm.
Ah, summer!

It's all downhill from here, folks...

Remove those moral blemishes

In our gardens here at Dolores Delargo Towers, we inherited a mystery plant growing out of the wall next to the French Doors. On investigation it turns out to be quite magical...

Corydalis lutea is otherwise known as Yellow Fumitory. No-one is quite certain of the origin of its common name, but according to ancient exorcists, "when the plant is burned its smoke has the power of expelling evil spirits, it having been used for this purpose in the famous geometrical gardens of St. Gall". There is a legend that the plant was produced, not from seed, but from vapours arising out of the earth.

Sometimes the dried leaves are smoked in the manner of tobacco, for disorders of the head: "It is a most singular thing against hypochondriack melancholy in any person whatsoever."

"Taken with good Venice Treacle, it is good against Plague, driving forth the Malignity by sweat. The Spirituous Tincture is good against Plague, Fevers, Colic, and Griping of the Guts, whether in Young or Old."

Dr. Cullen, among its good effects in cutaneous disorders, mentions the following:
There is a disorder of the skin, which, though not attended with any alarming symptoms of danger to the life of the patient, is thought to place the empire of beauty in great jeopardy; the complaint is frequently brought on by neglecting to use a parasol, and may be known by sandy spots, vulgarly known as freckles, scattered over the face.

Now, be it known to all whom it may concern, that the infusion of the leaves of the above described plant is said to be an excellent specific for removing these freckles and clearing the skin; and ought, we think, to be chiefly employed by those who have previously removed those moral blemishes which deform the mind, or degrade the dignity of a reasonable and an immortal being.
I'll keep the freckles, thanks...

Monday 20 June 2011

Raw Sex no more

RIP "Ken" of Raw Sex, who died today...

Simon Brint (Ken) and Rowland Rivron (Duane)'s spoof act Raw Sex - the hapless musical duo formed in the early days of alternative comedy - went on to become the house band for French and Saunders.

Another sad loss...

Read more on the BBC

An Olympian actress

Happy 80th birthday today to the wonderful Olympia Dukakis!

One of my screen icons, I have of course blogged about my admiration of her before.

So, let's just sit back and admire the lady as she gives the almighty Cher a bloody good telling-off...

And she's not stopping yet!
Academy Award-winner Olympia Dukakis will host a benefit performance of American Conservatory Theatre's world-premiere musical, Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City on Friday, June 24 2011. The actress starred as Anna Madrigal in the PBS adaptation of Tales of the City.

Featuring a book by Jeff Whitty and a score by Jake Shears and John Garden of the Scissor Sisters, the A.C.T. production is directed by Jason Moore, with choreography by Larry Keigwin. It is based on Maupin's popular series of newspaper columns and novels.

Dukakis most recently starred Off-Broadway in The Milk Train Doesn't Stop Here Anymore. Her many stage credits include Rose, Social Security, Vigil, and Elektra. She won the Academy Award for Moonstruck. She will also be one of the Grand Celebrity Marshals of this year's San Francisco Pride celebration.
An amazing woman...

Olympia Dukakis on IMDB

If there's a cure for this I don't want it

After a weekend that has flown by, its back to bloody work again. Ho hum.

We can always rely upon Miss Ross to make sure we are cheered up on this Tacky Music Monday, with another of her showbiz spectaculars!

All hail "the Boss" Diana, and all hail her queeny dancing boys!

Read a fab tribute to Diana Ross at Barbarella's Galaxy

Sunday 19 June 2011

Betty loves buns

It's another Betty White Day!

Miss White never fails to give us joy, even in a commercial for the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP)...

Eternal thanks to Marc over at Deep Dish blog for this one!

[PS the hunk in the advert is model James Ellis]


Happy 90th birthday today to one of the most beautiful men ever to grace the silver screen, Louis Jourdan.

With his sexy French accent, his smouldering eyes and all-round sensuous demeanour, even when he was in his sixties (in Octopussy), I still would have...

Here he is doing what he does best - seducing a glamorous woman, in this case Ann-Margret...

Louis Jourdan on IMDB

That dress, that dress...

"I am not interested in money. I just want to be wonderful." - Marilyn Monroe

The white Travilla dress worn by Marilyn Monroe in the 1955 film The Seven Year Itch sold for £2.8m at The Debbie Reynolds Hollywood Memorabilia Auction in Los Angeles.

Miss Reynolds, 79, was reportedly in tears as the auction closed.

"Hollywood is a place where they'll pay you a thousand dollars for a kiss and fifty cents for your soul." - Marilyn Monroe

Read more on the BBC

Saturday 18 June 2011

The mysterious death of Barry Evans

Today would have been the 68th birthday of the eternally cute Barry Evans, star of cheesy sitcoms Mind Your Language and Doctor in the House and various risqué movies of the 1970s involving dolly-birds such as Judy Geeson and Adrienne Posta in tight clothing and the hapless males who fail to bed them.

I always had a major crush on Mr Evans, despite his less-than-classic acting career, and on investigation as to what became of him was shocked to find out the mysterious circumstances of his untimely death in 1997...

Described by the press during his lifetime as "a loner", it appears that the beauteous actor had a hidden gay life that he was reluctant to reveal, relying as he did on his "heartthrob appeal" to land screen roles. The tabloids of the time tended to make mincemeat of gay stars, and it is fairly easy to assume he tried everything to avoid this.

As is the wont of all thesps however, his real desire was to be treated seriously and to land some proper acting roles befitting of a more mature actor. However the combination of his youthful charming looks and his typecasting in "light comedy" roles worked against him. He was never given a serious lead role in his career.

Towards the end of his days, he was broke and worked as a cab driver. At the age of 53, he was found dead in his shabby house, a bottle of whisky next to him, and a spilled pot of out-of-date aspirins on the table. Police discovered the actor's body after going to his house to tell him they had recovered his stolen car.

An eighteen-year-old supposed "friend" of Mr Evans was arrested for the theft of the car and in connection with his death. He told police he had visited him on the day he died to say he would not be calling round again, and the actor became upset and drank half a bottle of whisky. The youth was charged with murder/attempted murder and theft but all charges were eventually dropped due to "lack of evidence".

The coroner's report subsequently concluded that Barry Evans had died due to an alcohol overdose, but there remain unexplained facts about the case.

Apparently Mr Evans had some head injuries. There was no trace of aspirin in his body. More mysteriously, his phone lines had been cut. In addition to the car, credit cards were stolen. Later another young man was charged with breaking into the late actor's house and stealing antiques and other valuables that he had collected over the years.

The press reported that Barry Evans committed suicide as a consequence of his declining fame, and that he had been drinking a bottle of whisky every two days in the run-up to his death (a bit strange for a cab driver, surely?).

So the mystery remains. What was the relationship between Mr Evans and these youths? What about the phone lines? A the time Michael Culver, a friend of his, said he found it very suspicious that Evans should phone a friend at five in the morning, ask to be called back, and then cut his own telephone lines.

I suppose we will never know, but we still have that beautiful smile to remember Barry Evans by...


Barry Evans on IMDB

There’s no point in ever trying to resist it

Oh, deep deep joy!

Not only has our favourite Pop Princess released two EPs of remixes of the fabby Put Your Hands Up just in time for the summer holiday party season, but the self-same producer who worked with the Stock Aitken and Waterman Hit Factory at the time of Kylie's biggest early hits, Mr Pete Hammond has joined the party with a brilliantly retro PWL-style mix!

Get your hair-tongs out, your best ra-ra skirt on (and don't forget to polish your smile with industrial strength Pearl Drops) - and party like it's 1987!

Thanks once more to that living encyclopaedia of Kylie, the lovely Marky Marc at "Shine On And On", for the heads up on this one...

Kylie Put Your Hands Up The Remixes

Friday 17 June 2011

Gay as Artform

“The history of art, which is usually based on assumptions of continuity, is not easily integrated with the history of homosexuality, which is conventionally premised on alienation.”

Paul(ine) and I minced off to the venerable Gay's The Word bookshop in Bloomsbury yesterday evening for the launch of American Professor Christopher Reed’s book Art and Homosexuality: A History of Ideas, with a presentation and talk by the author. Excellent and informative stuff, indeed.

The book covers everything from ancient Greece and Rome to primitive Native American and Polynesian art, and European art from medieval times through the present. He traces the progression of the way gay (erotic and non-erotic) depictions progressed from completely acceptable (the marriage of Emperor Basil I to another man) through the idealisation of the male form in the Renaissance (Michaelangelo's David), to Caravaggio's dirty angels, to Ingres and his Achilles Receiving the Ambassadors of Agamemnon (below), to the deliberate titillation and simultaneous condemnation of homosexuality in Victorian times (culminating in the persecution of Oscar Wilde), to modernism and Tom of Finland.

Prof Reed has a particular disdain for the way that many scholars seem to link "the outsider" that is conventionally assumed to be the artist - particularly those of the so-called avant-garde movement - with the world of the homosexual. In his words:
"The institutionalisation of gay and lesbian identity into organisations seeking the political and social normalisation of homosexuality...was often marked by disavowals of flamboyantly visual manifestations of minority sexual identity. At the same time, an examination of the history of modern art from the position of the history of homosexuality explodes myths of the avant-garde as either an arena of freewheeling inventiveness or a safe haven for misfits.

On the contrary, the avant-garde often exploited homophobia to attract attention while energetically suppressing affirmative expressions of sexual deviance and policing the behaviours and beliefs of artists who aspired to its rewards. Groundbreaking visualisation of the physical and emotional bonds between people of the same sex, therefore, often originated outside the avant-garde in realms of popular culture before being appropriated as avant-garde spectacle."

This was a fascinating exploration of a subject, and we did enjoy the experience, despite Professor Reed's heavy concentration on some daft American examples of modernism (seemingly all done by friends of his).

The book itself, at £27.99, remained (sadly) out of reach of our pockets...

Art and Homosexuality - A History of Ideas

Gay's The Word bookshop

You'll make an evil woman out of me

It's the end of the week (thank heavens!), and despite the horrendous stormy weather, that is a good reason to celebrate.

To get us in the mood, I think it's time to visit the doctor... Have a great weekend, whatever you do!

Thank Disco It's Friday!

Thursday 16 June 2011


It's that time again, to have a little round-up of some of the newer choonz that have given me pleasure lately...

I just have to open with something fabulously cheesy - the return of Gina G!!

I haven't been so excited since I discovered that Tina Charles was still alive and recording! Here is Miss G herself, looking a little startled, with the horribly-titled Next 2 U...

Here's a rather fabulous electro anthem by a band from Oregon calling themselves Van Go Lion - Body Moves, indeed:

Now for rather a novelty; a sublime collaboration between two of my favourite "alternative" artists - the adorable Ste McCabe (who we saw at Polari goes Pope last year, with his song Public Debate remixed by the simply fantabulosa Tingle in the Netherlands: [2019 - ALL GONE]

From the downright eccentric to the "First Lady of Cool". As Miss Sophie Ellis-Bextor releases this month her much-awaited new album Make A Scene, which features several of her hits of the past few years as well as some unheard new stuff, here's a little fave of mine that is on the album - her collaboration with Junior Caldera, Can't Fight This Feeling:

And to finish, have you ever thought what a combination of bagpipes and techno house music might sound like? Me neither. However, Denmark's magnificent Infernal are back, this time in the company of someone called Kato (who I thought was Inspector Clouseau's sidekick, but never mind), with a new single Speakers On which features exactly that! Be afraid.


Wednesday 15 June 2011

Time, gentlemen, please!

It's a bit of a week for gay bars closing, it seems...

Last night I discovered that the sleaze-pit The King Edward VI in Islington, one of London's longest-serving gay establishments [it was gay in the late 1970s!], closed its doors for good on the weekend. With its horseshoe bar and beer garden, this was one of the first bars I went to in London back in the late 80s/early 90s, and after we moved to North London it became a regular haunt of ours - particularly good for a very late-night bevvy (and blowjob, if you were lucky).

Unfortunately the abysmal management of the place drove staff and punters alike away - the door policy seemed to be "it doesn't matter whether they are psychotic, druggy or homophobic, as long as they buy a drink we'll let them in", and you never knew who would be serving you from one week to the next; the staff turnover was so high... The Eddy was dying a slow death, and now it seems the owner Kay has finally decided to put it out of its misery. Let's hope that someone who actually cares about running a gay bar for gay people (rather than the dregs of humanity) steps in to buy it. I doubt that will happen, however.

This Saturday (18th June) it is the turn of BarCode in Soho to close. Another bar that Madam Arcati and I have propped up over the years, BarCode filled a convenient niche for after-work drinkies very nicely with its daily happy hour, its peculiarly intimate shared-table layout, and the very cute bar staff (and later in the evening, decent DJs such as Stewart Who, Brent Nicholls and Faye Lanson, and a more cruisy atmosphere). This back-street Soho institution grew to rival the predominance of its older neighbour The Village, and pre-dated Rupert Street bar by several years.

However its nasty "Noo Yawk"-style neon makeover in 2008 and the rising prices of its drinks alienated many people, myself included. Now it seems the late Paul Raymond's legacy is being dismantled [the strip-club entrepreneur owned most of the properties in that part of Soho] and Archer Street is going a bit more upmarket in preparation for the arrival of the new hotel being built at its end; which means rents are going up. BarCode has a very successful sister venue in Vauxhall, so it seems they have decided to cut their losses and quit the West End...

It doesn't stop there, either - we've been told that Ku Bar in Lisle Street Kudos bar in Adelaide Street near Charing Cross [my mistake] is closing soon, Islington's only other gay bar The Green closes this year, Escape bar in Berwick Street is apparently under threat (again), The Black Cap in Camden is allegedly being run into the ground [the brewery wants to turn it into a straight music venue I am told], and there is a rumour about the future of the King William IV in Hampstead [another gay venue that has been around since time immemorial] as it has changed management again recently.

All very sad indeed.

Tuesday 14 June 2011

Georgie Boy

Happy 50th birthday today to the original, the best of the "gender-benders", the unique and never-to-be-repeated Mr Boy George!

His life in the spotlight is legendary, his problems and recoveries well documented, and, after everything we still love him...

Parody or Dante's Inferno?

I know that Tacky Music Mondays are an institution here at Dolores Delargo Towers, and today is Tuesday, but thanks to the lovely Mike over at Pop Trash Addicts a seriously tacky kitsch-fest has come to my attention in the form of a certain Tonje Langeteig.

With a name that reads like an anagram, a look that Jordan's mother might wear and a voice that makes Kelly Osbourne sound like Kiri ti Kanawa in comparison, Norway's finest trailer-trash former reality TV star has released a record.

I Don't Wanna Be A Crappy Housewife is likely to occupy the annals of "so-bad-it's-good" pop charts alongside the likes of Daphne and Celeste, Boombalurina and the Fast Food Rockers for many years to come!

In the words of one reviewer, "is it parody or Dante's Inferno?"

You just don't get lyrics like "when I'm six feet under, when I'm dead - I don't want dirt on me, but make up instead" very often these days - enjoy!

Monday 13 June 2011

Adorable Ferret

Miss Eve Ferret is a survivor from a different era - and an "adorable" entertainer (as Madam Arcati kept saying after we went to see her on stage at the Arts Theatre in Soho last night)!

Formerly one half of the house cabaret act Biddie and Eve at the legendary and formative New Romantic club The Blitz, Miss Ferret's penchant for multiple-layered clothing and big hair, feathers, fouff and faff influenced many of the outrageous costumes of the erstwhile punters at that venue. Punters at the time included Siouxsie Sioux, Haysi Fantayzee, Isabella Blow, Stephen Jones, Spandau Ballet, members of Hot Gossip, Toyah, Gilbert and George, Pete Burns, Marilyn, Princess Julia, Philip Sallon and Martin Degville. Steve Strange and Rusty Egan ruled the roost; Mario Testino was behind the bar; Boy George was the hat-check girl...

And there we were, in the second row of the Arts Theatre, about to see this fabled creature in "a show full of chaos and nostalgia... and her own bar!". She certainly does know exactly how to get an audience enraptured - anyone who opens a show by playing castanets in her bra, manages to segue between Rawhide! and Rapper's Delight, and can mash-up Mule Train with Milkshake has my vote anyway!

Her (very rude) ad-libs, interplay with the Bette and Joan set upon which she was performing, her props (feather head-dresses, toy poodle, whip and hobby-horse among them), knowing asides to the audience, and of course the occasional slug of gin from the on-stage mini-bar had the audience splitting their sides with laughter! No challenge was beyond her - she sang the most bizarre range of songs, including Ten Cents A Dance, the Osmonds' Crazy Horses, Billie Holiday's Good Morning Heartache, Peggy Lee's I'm a Woman, and as a finale the classic Blancmange number Living On The Ceiling!

Exhausting, but downright bloody brilliant entertainment - I wouldn't have missed this for the world...

More Biddie and Eve

Art vs nature

Once again we hit smack bang into the start of another working week - unwanted, too soon, too miserable...

So to cheer us up on this Tacky Music Monday I think I just have to revisit the Palace of Tackiness that is Night of 100 Stars!

Last time it was 1985; here, three years earlier, there are even more doyennes of kitsch still alive and living the dream - just check out Mary Martin's face to see a true triumph of art (or in her case dreadful surgery) over nature!

Have a good week, whatever!

Sunday 12 June 2011

Liberace, Matt'n'Mike and male strippers

Michael Douglas as Liberace
How Michael Douglas might look as Liberace

Two bits of cinematic campness are coming up this year - from one man!

Steven Soderbergh - who has been described as "a stylistic chameleon" by reviewers for his willingness to tackle big-budget blockbusters such as Erin Brokovich, Traffic and the Ocean's Eleven remakes, as well as "art-house" movies like Sex, Lies and Videotape and Che - is currently filming a movie version of the stormy relationship between Liberace and his lover Scott Thorson, starring (remarkably!) Michael Douglas and Matt Damon!

This could be a fascinating movie, indeed. Mr Douglas (not renowned for his camp sensibilities, nor in fact his brilliant acting skills in my opinion) playing the "deadly, winking, sniggering, snuggling, chromium-plated, scent-impregnated, luminous, quivering, giggling, fruit-flavoured, mincing, ice-covered heap of mother love" that was Liberace? Mr Damon (an eternally cute yet somewhat dull actor) playing his gay lover? I can't wait!

Now, reports Variety, Mr Soderbergh will also direct the former model-turned-cinematic-eye-candy (I hesitate to use the word "actor") Channing Tatum in a movie about male strippers. [Yes, please!]

In Magic Mike, Mr Tatum will star as the title character, a veteran performer who takes a young dancer under his wing and guides him through the shadowy world of the stripper biz. It's apparently inspired by Tatum's real life experiences as a stripper when he was 19. I am getting to like Mr Soderbergh...

Read more about "Magic Mike" Stephen Soderberg on IMDB