Monday 31 October 2011

Have you done your homework?

The new Eddy and Saffy?

Here is a hilarious spoof video by Queen Madge and Lourdes/Lola playing the archetypal "mother-daughter" relationship, in a promo for their latest model search for the Material Girl clothing range...


Dashing Dark and Deadly

It's Hils' favourite clip!

It's traditional...

Happy Hallowe'en!

The Return of Count Yorga

La Bomba de Puerto Rico

Madame Arcati, on one of his forays into the weirder side of the musical world, stumbled across a marvellous triumph of art over nature last week - Señorita Iris Chacon.

Now as you know, dear reader, we at Dolores Delargo Towers are always thrilled at the discovery of a new tacky diva. Miss Chacon is certainly that!

"La Bomba de Puerto Rico" (The Puerto Rican Bombshell) is what I would imagine Margarita Pracatan would have been like when she was younger had she had decided to strip down to her scanties and wiggle her (very ample) behind for the punters. She is a definite influence on J-Lo (they certainly have a similar - ahem - build!).

Despite her stunningly slight musical aptitude Miss Chacon is a phenomenon in her native Puerto Rico. Her variety show was one of the top programmes on their local TV for ten years, and rather like Miss Pracatan she became one of the "novelty acts" dragged out to fill a slot on various US chat shows in the 80s.

Her star has fizzled out somewhat since that however, but "La Bomba" has (inevitably) been adopted as a gay icon. Just this year (at the age of 61) she appeared on stage at Gay Pride in Boquerón resort in Puerto Rico.

On this Tacky Music Monday, here are some shining examples of the lady's "talents" to cheer us into a new week...

¡Ay, caramba!

More about Iris Chacon

Sunday 30 October 2011

Sons of satin, sons of bitches

Happy 72nd birthday today to the magnificently kooky Grace Slick!

The archetypal "emancipated woman" of the late 60s hippy era, contemporary of Janis Joplin and lead singer with Jefferson Airplane and Jefferson Starship, Miss Slick is largely unrecognised nowadays for her contribution to the subsequent prominence of sassy women in rock music. She surely provided an influence on the Patti Smiths, Debbie Harrys and Chrissie Hindes of later generations!

Her solo effort of 1980, Dreams, was a typically strange affair (and pre-dated Starship's later reinvention as purveyors of power ballads - and with it their biggest commercial success in their long history), and the single of the same name is well worth rediscovering on this Hallowe'en weekend:

Fancy lion tamers, high-wire fiery flamers
Ravers of every kind
I saw those high-stepping sexy witches
Sons of satin, sons of bitches - all were there in my dreams
all in my dreams

Grace Slick biography

They really are a screa-um

Hallowe'en weekend continues...

They're creepy and they're kooky,
Mysterious and spooky,
They're altogether ooky,
The Addams Family.

Their house is a museum.
When people come to see 'em
They really are a screa-um.
The Addams Family.




So get a witch's shawl on.
A broomstick you can crawl on.
We're gonna pay a call on
The Addams Family.

Saturday 29 October 2011

No to Hate

We attended a very important event last night, along with hundreds of others.

The third No To Hate Crime vigil was held in Trafalgar Square, to mark the anniversary of the murder of Ian Baynham in a homophobic attack in the Square, to remember all the victims of hate crime, and to celebrate diversity. Yet again we were disappointed by the turnout (as last year) - what is it about so many queens these days that their hedonism outweighs important matters like this? Or is it because the message is too "wooly", trying to embrace all forms of hate?

Once again among the speakers were Harvey Milk's nephew Stuart, activists including Lindsay River and Peter Tatchell, and politicians including Ken Livingstone. Unfortunately, although we saw Mr Milk, and observed the two minute silence before the roll-call of the victims, we never saw the final speakers. We left prematurely as some imbecile among the organisers had decided that a rapper - purveyor of that most hateful of musical genres - would be a good idea to put on stage. I don't give a damn whether he was gay or whatever, this was not what we came to hear. We wanted the choir, a solemn observance of the silence and some rousing and meaningful speakers - not the very "urban yoof culture" that berates us daily!

Lynne Featherstone MP, however, summed up the reasons why we were there rather well I thought:
"Listening to the roll call of those killed by hate, I was shocked by the length of that roll. Hate is the most terrible of emotions. It is a destructive emotion. Evil in its manifestation.

And hate for reasons of sexual orientation, gender identity, disability or race is also pathetic! It’s ignorant. It’s about impotence. It’s about inadequacy. And it’s about fear.

Only this week, sadly, I witnessed such hatred unmasked, and there is a frightening insanity that feeds that fire. And whilst we put have laws around us to protect us from such hate, and we do have good laws, we still, sadly, have a long long way to go.

Whilst we may be more civilised, we may walk safely in many areas, we know that round any corner that hatred may be lurking. And we still have to get to the very heart of that hatred.

I cannot, literally cannot understand how any human being can hurt another human, because they are frightened or threatened by difference. As individuals and as a community we should be embracing each others differences, not persecuting each other for them.

So as well as the law, each and every one of us has a duty to challenge this hatred wherever and whenever we see it and I call on everyone to do so.

And never, ever walk silently by."
More photos are on Flickr

Friday 28 October 2011

And if you feel like clicking your heels...

It's the weekend, it's John-John's birthday party tomorrow, and in preparation it is time to learn some more "funky" dance moves..! We are well overdue a dose of Pan's People here at Dolores Delargo Towers, so who better to teach us some?

Here are Babs, Dee Dee, Ruth, Andi and Louise "dancing" (well, wiggling and flapping their arms about in hot-pants, really - but it is 1976!) to Mr Isaac Hayes and his Disco Connection. Watch closely, and start rehearsing now...

And if that weren't enough, and just in case you fancied varying your repertoire - you could shred your skirt, wear some really horrid satin top, and wiggle and flap your arms about again, this time to Hamilton Bohannon Foot Stompin' Music. They've even got props this time...

Thank Disco It's Friday!

Enjoy your weekend!

Thursday 27 October 2011

You don't let it show

Continuing the theme of early 80s nostalgia that is pervading my consciousness at the moment, let us wish many happy returns to Mr Simon John Charles Le Bon, 53 today!

Often unkindly regarded as the "uncool" end of the New Romantic explosion (in my opinion merely because they hailed from Brum rather than trendy London, Manchester or Liverpool), Duran Duran are nonetheless one of the most successful of the bands who emerged from the dressing-up era of the early 80s, selling more than 100 million records to date.

Furthermore, unlike their contemporaries (rivals?) Spandau Ballet the band has survived (in several incarnations, admittedly) as a unit ever since their foundation, and certainly never crossed over into the Phil Collins/Lionel Ritchie/"adult contemporary" music market like Spandau did with the execrable True...

I have always had a soft spot for the Durannies, all the way from from Planet Earth right through to All You Need is Now. I saw them live at Sophia Gardens in Cardiff on the "Careless Memories" tour back in 1981, and had I the money (and had Simon's vocal chords not collapsed after a virus halfway through) I would have loved to see them again on their recent tour.

As a keen gossip fan I have always been entranced by Simon's (25-year!) relationship with the glamorous Yasmin, his society parties, his fascination with yachts, and also by his choices of musical collaborators (including the very impressive would-be porn star Warren Cuccurullo [try Googling his pics and videos!]).

Mr Le Bon is indeed one of the few 80s pop stars to manage the transition to "pillar of musical society" without scandal, backlash or controversy - happy birthday to a truly influential man!

“We want to be the band to dance to when the bomb drops.” - Simon Le Bon

Facts about Simon Le Bon:
  • His is not a stage name; Simon's family (like my own) is from French Huguenot stock.
  • As a child, he appeared in a non-speaking role in a Persil advert.
  • He contributed an essay to the book The Atheist's Guide to Christmas.
  • He maintains it’s an ‘urban myth’ that he nearly drowned while making the video for Wild Boys.
  • His children are called Saffron Sahara, Amber Rose Tamara and Tallulah Pine.

Duran Duran official website

Better than their best

I am on a bit of an 80s nostalgia kick again this week, following Tuesday's faboo Erasure concert.

Imagine my joy to find that on this very day thirty years ago the seminal synth-pop album Dare by The Human League made its debut at the top of the charts in the UK!

I - like many people I guess - still have a cherished copy of the vinyl on my shelf; and still, if truth be told, have its minimalist cover still fondly etched on my brain.

Dare is as much a part of my DNA as is my accent.

It was (alongside such other works of genius as Grace Jones Nightclubbing, Depeche Mode Speak & Spell and Soft Cell Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret) the soundtrack to my blossoming obsession with the whole electronic "New Romantic" era.

I vividly recall dancing on my own (not an uncommon thing at the time) on a dancefloor to Love Action. I would sit in my bedroom with Sound of the Crowd or The Things That Dreams Are Made Of blaring through the windows.

Everyone went wild for Don't You Want Me, but I preferred Open Your Heart with its magnificently uplifting lyrics (which meant everything to a crazy mixed-up teen like me):

And when it hurts
You know they love to tell you
How they warned you.

They say "Don't be surprised at someone's lies"
They think they taunt you

But if you can stand the test
You know your worst
Is better than their best.

And so you stand here with the years ahead
Potentially calling
With open heart or with a spirit dead
You walk on.

Every track worked harmoniously with the next, and the result even today is a magnificent sum of its parts. In summary, Dare is a phenomenon, never to be repeated...

Here's a YouTube version of a Dare mixtape (quite an 80s thing in itself):

Enjoy the memories...

Dare entry on Wikipedia

Wednesday 26 October 2011

More respect

My verdict on the Erasure concert, (embarrassingly) captured by WinkBall.


Far better are just some of the performances from last night...


What can I say about last night's Erasure concert?

Adjectives such as great, extraordinary, amazing, astonishing, astounding, awe-inspiring, awesome, brilliant, dynamite, excellent, fabulous, fantastic, incredible, magnificent, marvellous, outstanding, phenomenal, remarkable, sensational, terrific, and tremendous [thank you,] all come to mind!

I was curious how our "national treasures" would perform, being no spring chickens these days. After all, the last time I saw them was in 1997 at the final free Pride festival at Clapham Common, and fourteen years is a long time... I need not have worried.

Andy Bell and Vince Clarke are consummate professionals. Vince's musicianship is legendary. Give Andy an audience, and he transforms into the ultimate "showgirl". Together, their chemistry works wonders!

They threw everything into it, and we had a superb evening's entertainment as a result!

[Suffice to say, their support act the lovely Frankmusik - good though he was - hardly made a lasting impression.]

All the classics (and more) were here - Victim of Love, Ship of Fools, Blue Savannah, Drama!, Stop!, Chains of Love, Oh L'amour, their new single When I Start To (Break It All Down), Love to Hate You, Who Needs Love Like That, Breath of Life, Always, and of course the ultimate gay anthems A Little Respect and Sometimes. My voice is hoarse from singing along, and my bones are aching from dancing!

An unforgettable experience...

Tuesday 25 October 2011

Trannies with taste, Chief whipped, Tintin, girls' private parts and the Gay Cranford

Ange, Paul, Jim, John-John and I trolled along to another highly-anticipated Polari last night at the lovely Level 5 function room, with its views of the London Eye and Parliament.

Bloody marvellous, it was too!

After a suitably gothic introduction from our host Paul Burston (resplendent in shiny black feather cowl and Crow Man hat for Hallowe'en), we opened proceedings with the very elegant Robin Anderson, who gave us a rather funny anecdote about how the name of one of his novels came about. When Old Compton Street was full of roadworks a few years ago, Mr Anderson was due to do a book reading at Balans Café. He approached a workman to ask when the "bloody mess" would be gone - "I cannot expect my guests to arrive in the middle of a bomb-site" was how he put it. The man's response? "Oh, La Di Da Di Bloody Da!"

Reading from his novel of that title and its sequel Trannies and Tiaras, Mr Anderson hilariously captured the weird and wonderful world of his heroines the trannies Miranda Maracona and Kookie Kombuis and their adventures in running a "love date agency" ("We are transvestites with taste," Miranda had announced firmly. "Not transvestites of tackiness!"), and latterly as protagonists investigating diamond smuggling and cocaine dealing... Wonderfully camp stuff! Visit his website for more.

Next up was the extremely enthusiastic "performance poet" Jason Charles (also a playwright of note) aka Jake Royston (his on-stage persona). Performance poetry is a bit of a "Marmite" art-form, and we did admittedly struggle a little, especially with the "sung" poems. However, I must admit to being charmed by some of his twisted wordplay. Watch his recent performance at the RVT.

However, if it is performance you want, then there is nothing - and I mean nothing! - in the literary world quite like the effervescent Rebecca Chance!

We had met the lovely lady before of course, at Polari back in February. On this occasion she chose to wear a rather fetching blue wig from her collection, together with a pair of gorgeous fuck-me shoes ("from Peacocks 'stripper range', daaahling!") and roped in our hapless host Mr Burston to be her stooge for a particularly salacious extract from her newest novel, Bad Sisters, involving an MP's ambitious wife and the inappropriately-titled Chief Whip (who gets the good spanking he himself craves!).

It was truly hilarious - and Mr B got so carried away with the method acting that his trousers just fell off..!

Here's Miss Chance talking about her previous bonk-buster Bad Girls:

You can also read an extract from Bad Sisters on her website.

Recovering his composure (and his clothes), Paul closed the first half's jollities, and Miss Chance joined us at our table for a while.

After the break it was the turn of the more scholarly of literary types starting with the lovely John McCullough, Brighton-born lecturer (with an MA in Sexual Dissidence!), queer archivist and a very clever poet indeed. He read poems on such diverse subjects as reading Frank O'Hara, and Tintin's relationship with Cap'n Haddock - and was quite mesmerising... was his friend and fellow academic Ms Sophie Mayer, who read from (among other things) her book The Private Parts of Girls (as she said, "Don't Google this title!"), an extract from which is on her website. Beautifully-written and moving stuff.

Finally, it was the turn of our headline "act" - the Man Booker Prize-nominated novelist, critic and journalist Philip Hensher. He read two wonderful extracts from his new novel King of the Badgers, a lengthy chronicle of the bizarre lives of the inhabitants of a small North Devon coastal town, including closet queens, orgying Bears and mixed-up straights, all living in splendid isolation until a horrifying child abduction occurs in their midsts. Mr Hensher himself said: "I kept saying to people as I was writing it, ‘It’s a gay Cranford’. My publisher actually wanted me to call it ‘The Gay Cranford’."

The piece featuring a slightly deranged and lonely teenage girl who re-enacts entire trial-by-jury stories with dolls and "My Little Ponies" was particularly imbued with black humour - Mr Hensher is a fantastic writer, indeed!

Here is Mr Hensher talking to Mariella Fostrup about his new novel.

And so, reluctantly, we staggered to the close of another brilliant peerless gay literary salon. It only remained to do a bit of schmoozing with the familiar faces such as Alex Hopkins, Joe Storey-Smith, Helen Sandler, DJ Connell, VG Lee, Helen Smith and of course the luscious Frasier from Foyles before heading off across the bridge into the (by now very rainy) West End.

Another fab night, and there are a few more events announced in the "Polari pantheon" already:
First up is the "pop-up Polari" event at Lo Profile in Soho tomorrow (Wednesday Oct 26), where "Polari First Book Prize" shortlisted author James Maker will read from Autofellatio. Also on the bill are Angela Clerkin, Alex Hopkins and Karen Mcleod, who’ll all be reading from Men & Women.

On Thursday Oct 27, over in East London the LXV bookshop is hosting "A Queer Quintet", with all five shortlisted authors - Clare Campbell, DJ Connell, Timothy Graves, Jonathan Kemp and James Maker.

On Wednesday Nov 16, Polari returns to Lo Profile with shortlisted authors DJ Connell, Timothy Graves and Jonathan Kemp, as well as debut novelist - and a possible contender for next year’s prize - North Morgan.

And finally, there’s the big "Polari First Book Prize" night itself, at the Southbank Centre on Nov 21. This event also marks Polari’s fourth birthday, and we’ll be joined by award-winning debut novelist SJ Watson, plus Karen Mcleod, Neil Alexander, Paula Varjack, Shaun Levin and singer Marcus Reeves.
I can't wait!

Monday 24 October 2011

I hope you just love... Me!

Whew! That weekend flew by... I mainly spent it in the glorious autumn sunshine clearing the extensive gardens here at Dolores Delargo Towers and planting up the bedding and bulbs for the spring.

After all that fresh air and physical stuff, I am not ready for another week in the office. Bleurrrgh...

As a perfect distraction on this Tacky Music Monday, let us enjoy the fantabulosa Dolores Gray and her superbly camp piss-take of the "ultimate TV hostess"...

It's not all doom and gloom, anyway - we have tonight's Polari to look forward to, and tomorrow I go to see Erasure!!

Hope your week is a good one, dear reader!

Sunday 23 October 2011

We'll drink to all our wishes now, wherever they may be

Today would have been the 80th birthday of the delightfully camp Miss Diana Dors.

I posted a glowing tribute to the former Miss Fluck back in 2009, but recently I have discovered this fine single of hers from 1982, and just had to share...

The lyrics of the song Where Did They Go? are all the more moving when you realise that when she recorded this Miss Dors was battling ovarian cancer, the disease that was to take her from us all too soon, just two years later.

Remember dancing to the velvet summer nights
Stars that softly flickered through a thousand colored lights
Sitting patiently until the sun began to rise
When morning turned our laughter to good byes

Where did they go, all the good times
And the flowers and the wine
The young men who held me
All the lovers who were mine
Where did they go, all the sweet years
Filled with laughter ev'ry day
When time went on forever
Oh, when did they slip away

Driving through the midnight streets in gently falling rain
A man might offer everything except, of course, his name
Leaning close he'd whisper how his love would never die
Till once again the morning meant goodbye

Where did they go, all the good times
And the flowers and the wine
The young men who held me
All the lovers who were mine
Where did they go, all the sweet years
Filled with laughter ev'ry day
When time went on forever
Oh, when did they slip away

Now it's time to light another candle on the cake
Join me in a glass of wine, if just for old time's sake
We'll drink to all our wishes now, wherever they may be
If one or two come true just think of me

Where did they go, all the good times
And the flowers and the wine
The young men who held me
All the lovers who were mine
Where did they go, all the sweet years
Filled with laughter ev'ry day
When time went on forever
Oh, when did they slip away

Diana Dors archive site

Friday Night on Sunday

We secured free tickets once again to be in the audience for a recording of Friday Night is Music Night last Friday. This time, it was a special programme presented by Ken Bruce, who had been given a free rein with the music of his choice - and once again it was a marvellous and varied evening's entertainment, including radio show themes, Celtic music and even a full orchestration of Riverdance, all played brilliantly by the BBC Concert Orchestra. Well worth paying the licence fee for!

The programme has been going in its regular slot for for half a century - first of all on the Light Programme and then on BBC Radio 2, which makes it the world's longest-running "live music" programme on radio - and the music is singularly in the "lighter" end of the spectrum. Perfect, in fact, for what we at Dolores Delargo Towers refer to as "Sunday Music".

And so to that end let us finish this Sunday with some...

Our vocalists on Friday included Emma Kershaw, who was one of the stars of the concert version of the musical Chess, and among her other credits are "Fantine" in Les Miserables (1993) and "The Baker's Wife" in Into the Woods (1997), and backing vocals for Celine Dion, Chaka Khan, Annie Lennox, The Bee Gees, Lionel Richie, Will Young and Robbie Williams.

She has a most beautiful jazzy voice, and on Friday tackled favourites like Cabaret as well as duetting with our other lead Gary Williams on such standards as Baby It's Cold Outside. Here's the lady herself in concert with the Finnish Lahti Sinfonia Orchestra, also led by our conductor on Friday Roderick Dunk...

Gary Williams, described by one reviewer as "one of the most experienced Sinatra acolytes", was star of the West End’s Rat Pack (which we went to see way back in 2003) and is soloist with leading big bands and concert orchestras including the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, the Melbourne Symphony, the BBC Big Band, Ireland’s RTE and the Lahti Sinfonia Finland.

As well as Sinatra, he also sang Matt Monro’s My Kinda Girl and Why Shouldn’t I?, among others. Here he is in a recent concert performance:

Excellent stuff for winding down a weekend...

At the moment on replay on the Friday Night is Music Night page is their broadcast of the fantabulosa Pink Martini in Concert. This week's broadcast is the celebration of Desert Island Discs that John-John and I went to the recording of back in May.

Last Friday's show will apparently be broadcast on 25th November 2011 - and I shall be listening!

Saturday 22 October 2011

The master of the cheesy Calypso

As we celebrate the remarkable survival of one early 20th century star, (see my previous blog about Joan Fontaine), so another old-timer has popped their clogs today.

At the remarkable ripe old age of 100, we at Dolores Delargo Towers are rather sad to hear of the death of Edmundo Ros - the man who brought Latin Music to drizzly Britain!

I featured a few of his songs when I blogged about his centenary last year, but in memoriam to a great master of the cheesy Calypso, here are some more of his classics to lighten our Saturday evening...

And off he goes to the great Cha-cha-cha in the sky... RIP Mr Ros.

BBC obituary

None of us are warm and cosy

One of the great stars of the "Golden Age" of Hollywood is still alive!

Happy 94th birthday today to the inimitable Miss Joan Fontaine, star of the classic Rebecca, Hitchcock's Suspicion and The Constant Nymph among many others.

Most notorious for her famous spat with her sister Olivia De Havilland, here is the magnificent lady herself in 1979, explaining the reasons why they have not spoken since 1975...

Joan Fontaine on IMDB

Friday 21 October 2011

The biggest contribution to the peace process?

Another thrilling week staggers to its close.

Madam Arcati and I are off to a recording of Friday Night is Music Night tonight, and it looks like we have a typically crisp and sunny autumn weekend to look forward to. Time enough to drag out the most inappropriate "showgirl" costumes, sequins and spangles to bop along to Boney M, with possibly the most bizarre song about a city that was at the time anything but sparkling, Belfast!

Thank Disco It's Friday...

Have a good one!

Thursday 20 October 2011

I may not be the innocent girl

It's the "other" sister's turn!

Happy 40th birthday today to gay rights supporter, mother, talent show hostess and M&S fan, Miss Danielle Jane "Dannii" Minogue...

This is my fave song of hers:

Dannii's official website

Wednesday 19 October 2011

Get that ice or else no dice

No sooner do I discover that the lovely Puppini Sisters have a new album out (and put it on my Xmas list), but the girls release today the video for their new single from that very collection.

In their own inimitable way, I think the Puppinis were made for the song Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend...

The Sisters also have a new YouTube channel

Pre-order your copy of Hollywood today!

Das Musik

Time for another of my semi-regular forays into some of the newer music that I have picked up on lately...

Let's open proceedings with dear, eccentric, Kate Bush with her new single Wild Man from her forthcoming album 50 Words for Snow. Very strange indeed...

We always have time for a bit of "Gay Pirate Action" here at Dolores Delargo Towers, and this fits the bill just nicely. It's Aussie gaysters Garçon Garçon with their boppy little single Stay In Touch:

Our icon Miss Amanda Lear is back again, with another new album I Don't Like Disco, and from it this single La Bete et la Belle. Now that's what I call style...

Also making a welcome return - thanks to Gaydar Radio, of all places - is Mr George Michael! As far as I was aware, the last time I heard about Georgie he was on tour with a full orchestra and splitting up with his boyfriend. When did he find the time to become a full-on club hitster? Here is DJ Marc Vedo's superb remix of Every Other Lover In The World (a favourite of Boy George, apparently; he plays it at all his DJ sets):

To finish on a jolly note, it's the wonderfully weird Mr Martin Solveig, teamed once more with the mad Canadians Dragonette plus Tokyo's finest 100-strong girly group Idoling!!! [sic] Here's his fabulous new single Big In Japan...

Happy listening!

Tuesday 18 October 2011

Little we know of it

On what would have been the 92nd birthday of the stylish and sassy Miss Anita Belle Colton O'Day (who only died five years ago next month), let us immerse ourselves in a little example of her uplifting jazz vocal talent...

Let's fall in love
Why shouldn't we fall in love?
Our hearts were made for it.
Let's take a chance.
Why be afraid of it?

Let's close our eyes
And make our own paradise.
Now is the time for it,
While we are young
Why be afraid of it.

We might have been meant for each other.
To be or not to be, let our hearts discover.

Let's fall in love.
Why shouldn't we fall in love?
Little we know of it.
Still we can try.
Let's fall in love

Anita O'Day biography

Monday 17 October 2011

Chantent au fond de mon cœur

Another fabulous weekend is over too soon, and not only are we back in work but we have wintry conditions to look forward to this week...

Hey ho. On this Tacky Music Monday let us turn our thoughts away from such tawdry matters, and enjoy the camp fabulosity of house favourite here at Dolores Delargo Towers, the effervescent Dalida (showing the young 'uns of Generation '78 how it should be done)!


Sunday 16 October 2011

How very civilised

This afternoon, Paul, Hils, History Boy and I went to a most civilised event - a piano recital at the rather lovely Royal Over Seas League headquarters in St James' (near Green Park).

Their building, formerly known as Rutland House, was bought by the League in 1934 from the estate of the Dukes of Rutland, and was immediately extended and kitted out in the Art Deco style with sumptuous wall lights, mirrors, wood veneer cocktail bars and other contemporary details. Much of the detail of the old house is also still intact, including the campest thing - a staircase with especially designed bowed bannister rails to accommodate ladies wearing crinolines so they did not crease on their descent!

The League itself is a members' club that supports educational, welfare and artistic projects across the Commonwealth and beyond, not least an annual music prize competition for young people.

Polish pianist Mateusz Borowiak won this very prize in 2006, when he was just 17. Today was the first time he had returned to the venue, and what a triumphal return it was! Without the aid of any sheet music, Mr Borowiak mastered the complexities of Mozart Piano Sonata no 9, Schubert Impromptu Op. 142 no 3, Chopin Mazurkas and a most elaborate (and difficult) modern piece by Polish composer Bacewicz. We were enraptured, and the audience gave the young maestro such resounding applause that he came back for a finale, a beautiful piece by Catalan composer Albeniz:

Followed by complimentary tea and scones, this was a lovely way to spend a Sunday afternoon - one of which the Dowager Countess of Grantham would no doubt approve!

Royal Over Seas League

Saturday 15 October 2011

No more hotpot

Betty in the 1939 film Let's Be Famous

RIP Betty Driver (aka Coronation Street's Betty Turpin/Williams), who has died aged 91.

BBC article

Like I'm the only one who knows your heart

We celebrate today the happy union of our friends Russ and Joe, in style and glamour, till death do us part...

Madam Arcati and I thought this little video might be an appropriate tribute:

Congratulations, boys!

Friday 14 October 2011

I annoy hundreds of old ladies

Madam Arcati and I went to the private preview of the Malicious Damage exhibition at the shiny and (relatively) new Islington Museum yesterday evening, with free wine and nibbles [there are some perks to being a council employee!].

The exhibition (as I featured over at my other blog Dolores Delargo Towers Museum of Camp recently) is the first time that all the library book covers wittily defaced by Joe Orton and Kenneth Halliwell have been properly presented and put on display together, and it was fabulous to see them in the flesh, so to speak.

Of their "crime", for which the boys received six months' detention, Joe said in a 1967 interview with Eamonn Andrews:
"I have no regrets at all - I had a marvellous time in prison.

"It meant that instead of annoying a few old ladies who opened the books it now means I annoy hundreds of old ladies by writing plays."

For an invitation-only event, the gallery was remarkably packed - Islington is certainly proud of its formerly notorious son. As are his family, so it would seem - we met Joe's sister Leonie, who was there to officially open the exhibition. A lovely lady:

I can highly recommend you see this exhibition if you can!

Malicious Damage runs until 21st January 2012 at Islington Museum, Finsbury Library, 245 St John Street, London, EC1V