Wednesday 30 November 2011

For all you Rugby fans...'s one to warm the cockles of your heart!

Sacha Harding, "Britain's Manliest Man" apparently!

From Gay Times magazine "Naked Issue"


Nostalgia time again...

An appropriate song for today's political chaos - strikes, an unpopular government, instability in Europe, concern about nuclear proliferation in the Middle East and growing unemployment.

Thirty years ago the Fun Boy Three had much to say in a very familiar situation...


Tuesday 29 November 2011

A surprising ally

As Nicholas Watts in The Guardian says:
"Aristocrats will be choking on their port. John Bercow, the Commons Speaker, has included a series of pink triangles and rainbow colours on his new coat of arms to highlight his role in championing LGBT – lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender – rights."
Bercow is a bumptious little shit, so part of me is aghast.

Yet I suppose he does hold one of the highest offices in the land, so this is possibly one of the most surprising gestures of support for gay rights (outside of legislation) that the British Establishment has seen in a long time...

Twisted masterworks

Just a small tribute to the late Ken Russell, who died yesterday - it's his remarkable take on Sandy Wilson's classic The Boy Friend...

I featured more of Ken Russell's twisted masterworks in a post earlier this year over at Dolores Delargo Towers - Museum of Camp.

Better yet, Marc over at Deep Dish has delved further in his own tribute to the great man's movies.

Ken Russell obituary on the BBC website

Monday 28 November 2011

Most sensational, inspirational, celebrational

Partly to mark the centenary yesterday of the late, great producer David Merrick, the man who brought such classics as Gypsy and Hello Dolly into existence in the 1950s and 60s, and partly just because it is another Tacky Music Monday and we all need cheering up...'s darling Liza, hamming it up on The Muppet Show, culminating with a fab version of one of Gypsy's greatest numbers - Everything's Coming Up Roses!

Hope your week's a good one...

Sunday 27 November 2011

Show me the way to the next whisky bar

Thirty years ago today, the world lost a remarkable woman. Lotte Lenya, perhaps most famous in modern culture for her icy portrayal of one of the best-ever Bond villains, Rosa Klebb, was a survivor from a very different age when she came to the world's screens in From Russia With Love. Her true roots were in the decadent Austro-German world before the Nazis, the Berlin of Isherwood, Brecht and Weill.

From Zero G Sound blog:
"The voice of Lotte Lenya - filled with a bittersweet tone, slight imperfections, and that unmistakable accent - is something you either love or hate. But decades later, the former wife of Kurt Weill still has a voice we can't forget. Simply put, nothing compares to Lenya."
So let us without further ado celebrate that fragile instrument with just a few of the Brecht-Weill songs that she made famous...

Lotte Lenya (18th October 1898 – 27th November 1981)

Saturday 26 November 2011

If I were a bell, I'd go ding-dong-ding-dong-ding

Eternal thanks to that font of knowledge of all things Kylie, Marky at Shine On And On for this fab snippet of information:
Kylie Minogue pays a personal tribute to one of the most unique jazz artists of the last 50 years; Blossom Dearie. A ‘musician’s musician’, Dearie was an iconic figure on the cabaret circuit in New York, Paris and London. Citing her as a major influence – indeed the two singers met shortly before Blossom died in 2009 – Minogue explores, first hand on both sides of the Atlantic, this fascinating musical career.

Kylie on Blossom: Thursday 22nd December at 10.00pm, BBC Radio 2.
We shall be listening!

Blossom Dearie was a jazz singer in the "cabaret style" - one of our favourite singers of that genre here at Dolores Delargo Towers - with more than thirty hugely successful albums to her credit in a nine decade career. She collaborated over her years with artists and writers as diverse as Miles Davis, Johnny Mercer, Annie Ross, Antonio Carlos Jobim and Sting! Critic Whitney Balliett once wrote: "Her voice would scarcely reach the second story of a doll house". What tosh.

You can decide for yourself, as I have chosen for your delectation just a small selection of some of Miss Dearie's finest recordings:

Facts about Blossom Dearie:
  • Blossom Dearie was her real name. She was so named because she was born in April when blossoms were at their height; Dearie is he father's Scottish family name.
  • She moved to Paris in 1952 and formed a vocal group "The Blue Stars of Paris", which included Michel Legrand's sister. The group would later evolve into the Swingle Singers.
  • From her first appearance at Ronnie Scott's club in London in 1966 Blossom Dearie became a cult musical figure in Swinging London, and recorded four albums in the UK.

Blossom Dearie died on 7th February 2009, aged 84, at her apartment in Greenwich Village, New York City.


Blossom Dearie website

Friday 25 November 2011

Those were the times we had

The weekend is here, and it's time to party!

We really should lay the beaded hair extensions on just that little bit thicker than usual however, if we are going to keep up with Miss Patrice Rushen... How does she keep her head up while boogieing in her jumpsuit-and-stillies combo? She's a marvel.

Thank Disco It's Friday!

As ever, have a fab time whatever you get up to!

Thursday 24 November 2011

Humming a diff'rent tune

It's time once more for a delve into some of the newer music that has pushed my buttons lately... And (not unusually) I have been in a bit of an electro vibe again!

Let us open with the newest release from the synth-tastic Ladytron. In the video, a freezing cold Helen Marnie is evidently worshipping at the shrine of Siouxsie (and who doesn't?)...

If ever you fancied a cross between minimalist 80s-style electro pop and camp old Bollywood movies, then this video by Citizens! [sic] (whose producer is Franz Ferdinand's Alex Kapranos) should press all of your buttons... Hilarious - I love it!

Speaking of 80s influences - how about a band that describes itself thus?: "On one side, the cold and safe synthetics of a condom and the glamorous elegance of velvet on the other". What else would these crazy Strasbourgers be called but Velvet Condom... They are rather marvellous, too, in a sub-OMD sort of way:

Channelling the ghost of China Crisis is Brooklyn's finest The Ice Choir with their "nu-New Romantic" single Two Rings:

And finally...

From Trash Heaven - well South Korea - comes the gob-smacking talent that is Seo In Young, with what sounds like "Oh My Gash", but is in fact Oh My Gosh. My thoughts exactly. Eternal thanks to Mike over at Pop Trash Addicts for exposing this fabulous Luciana soundee-likey to the world...


Sometimes I feel I’m gonna break down and cry

It's been twenty years to the day since we lost Freddie...

RIP, sweetie.

Freddie Mercury

Wednesday 23 November 2011

Downton mania

Still thinking about last night's "evening With Julian Fellowes", at which the special surprise guest was none other than the smouldering sexpot Dan Stevens (Matthew Crawley)!

The discussion - at the very lovely Georgian pile that is St James' Church off Picadilly - was fun, exploring the history and rationale behind the whirlwind success story of Downton Abbey, the reason why it went to ITV rather than the BBC (editorial freedom, apparently), the actors and the historical context.

Rather than go too far into the detail, suffice to say it was obvious the principal raison d'etre was to flog the World of Downton Abbey book, written by Mr Fellowes' niece Julia. Suffice to say also, Hils got us a copy (signed by the whole panel, which included the two Fellowes and executive producer Gareth Neame as well as the lovely Mr Stevens) for Xmas - it is also available now from Amazon.

Any excuse, in my opinion, for some gratuitous shots of the beauteous Dan, here trying to act casual...

...and in the adaptation of Alan Hollinghurst's gay novel The Line Of Beauty:

Plus, as a special bonus (because I love it!), the "Downton Disco"!!

I can't wait for the Christmas Day episode, which Mr Fellowes hinted will tie up an awful lot of the "loose ends" at the end of the second series...

Downton Abbey

Tuesday 22 November 2011

Iconoclasm with sequins, He-Man, amnesia and Daddy's sauce

The fourth anniversary celebration of "London's peerless gay literary salon" Polari was a spectacular affair - one of the best we've been to! Not only a superb selection of readers and performers, but also the long-awaited announcement of the winner of the Polari First Book Prize to boot.

Paul Burston looked fabulous in his "frock coat and bibbity-bobbity hat" - having allegedly spent all weekend (between bouts of posing for smutty nude photos!) sewing the feathers on...

Opening the set was the rather jolly Neil Alexander, reading a selection of his pithy and in-your-face poetry, on such diverse subjects as the joys of gay chav sex, an ageing Madonna in 2056 and the homoerotics of He-Man - excellent stuff.

Nothing quite prepared us for being "Varjacked", however!

Ms Paula Varjack is a performance poet and a whirlwind of energy, and her readings to music were a thrill - especially Dear Straight Girl:

Whew! How do you follow that? With some blatant erotica, of course.

Shaun Levin, creative writing tutor, author and founder of both Chroma gay journal and Treehouse Press publishers, read a rather steamy piece from his latest work Snapshots of the Boy. Describing in graphic detail the bedtime antics of a role-playing "daddy" and "his boy", it certainly got us rather hot under the collar, and we were glad to go into the break for a chance to simmer down... You can hear Shaun read the passage on his website.

Launching the second half with a bang, it was time for the very welcome return of our fave alternative cabaret artiste (and the genius behind Postcards from God: The Sister Wendy Musical), Mr Marcus Reeves! With his sparkling visage and his deadpan patter, he entertained us to some pieces from his new collection of poetry and prose, Sighs Ten, and also some songs from his album that is due to appear at a record shop near you in 2012. Fantabulosa, as ever. Here's a teaser for the CD:

Marcus's final piece was a rather iconoclastic tirade against the worship of such venerated stars as GaGa, Madonna, Cher, Kylie and Kate Bush. Ms Karen McLeod, who followed, was rather relieved he didn't touch upon her own idol, or else she "may well have to thump him".

She fell in love with Julie Andrews while watching Victor Victoria, apparently, and so began her lifelong ambition (as a woman) to be a drag queen!. "I'm a massive Julie Andrews fan. I felt limited by being a woman, and I loved drag shows, and I wanted to do them. I was unsure of my identity. As a gay woman, you were not allowed to be feminine. But I loved wearing Seventies dresses! In lesbian bars, I'd get called a fag hag because I wore lipstick. I couldn't understand it. I didn't want to look butch," she said.

However, her efforts were in vain. Once, performing as a woman dressed as a man dressed as a woman on stage in Sydney she was pelted with bread rolls by a group of drunk drag queens. So she gave up, and turned to performance poetry instead. We love Karen McLeod!

Our headliner, the new author SJ Watson could not have been more different. Reading from his terrifyingly spooky novel about amnesia Before I Go To Sleep, he had the audience (all of us) completely mesmerised. Such a dark tale, full of twists and turns, I just have to read more...
I look up at the mirror.

The face I see looking back at me is not my own. The hair has no volume and is cut much shorter than I wear it, the skin on the cheeks and under the chin sags, the lips are thin, the mouth turned down. I cry out, a wordless gasp that would turn into a shriek of shock were I to let it, and then notice the eyes. The skin around them is lined, yes, but despite everything else I can see that they are mine. The person in the mirror is me, but I am twenty years too old. Twenty-five. More.

This isn’t possible. Beginning to shake, I grip the edge of the sink. Another scream starts to rise in my chest and this one erupts as a strangled gasp. I step back, away from the mirror, and it is then that I see them. Photographs. Taped to the wall, to the mirror itself. Pictures, interspersed with yellow pieces of gummed paper, felt-tip notes, damp and curling.

I choose one at random. Christine, it says, and an arrow points to a photograph of me – this new me, this old me – in which I am sitting on a bench on a quayside, next to a man. The name seems familiar, but only distantly so, as if I am having to make an effort to believe that it is mine. In the photograph we are both smiling at the camera, holding hands. He is handsome, attractive, and when I look closely I can see that it is the same man I slept with, the one I left in the bed. The word Ben is written beneath it, and next to it Your husband.

I gasp, and rip it off the wall. No, I think. No! It can’t be...
I scan the rest of the pictures. They are all of me, and him. In one I am wearing an ugly dress and unwrapping a present, in another both of us wear matching weatherproof jackets and stand in front of a waterfall as a small dog sniffs at our feet. Next to it is a picture of me sitting beside him, sipping a glass of orange juice, wearing the dressing gown I have seen in the bedroom next door.

I step back further, until I feel cold tiles against my back. It is then I get the glimmer that I associate with memory. As my mind tries to settle on it, it flutters away, like ashes caught in a breeze, and I realize that in my life there is a then, a before, though before what I cannot say, and there is a now, and there is nothing between the two but a long, silent emptiness that has led me here, to me and him, in this house.

As Mr Watson left the stage to massive applause, it was time for The Oscars, sorry, the winner of the Polari First Book Prize, to be announced.

And the winner is... James Maker’s self published Autofellatio - memorably described by Mr Mark Simpson no less as "Ronald Firbank meets the New York Dolls, has a sweet sherry or three and causes a scene on the night bus home. In court shoes." Mr Maker himself is a lovely chap, not quite what you'd expect for a former gender-bending rocker so beloved of Morrissey that the great man himself covered one of his songs...

Of the award, Paul said "The judges felt that Autofellatio stood out with its humour, honesty and heartfelt exploration of British queer life over the last 30 years. It deals with the hardships of growing up gay in a way that is witty, endlessly quotable and, above all, brave." Fine words - I'll have to get the book now!

James Maker, accepting the prize, thanked everyone who had supported him (not least his partner) and said “Autofellatio began life as a self-published e-book, and I believe that winning this award sends a positive message to other first-time authors: do-it-yourself, go out there and promote your work through spoken word. Anything might happen.”

A fantabulosa night. We had a ball!

To close, I thought I'd leave the last word to Mr Maker himself - The Absolute Queen of Pop, indeed...

The Polari Christmas Special has been announced - "Ali Smith, author of Hotel World and There But For The and one of the UK's finest novelists, reads from her work. Plus David McAlmont delivers an exclusive performance amongst other seasonal temptations from Tracy Brabin and Max Wallis." I can't wait!


Monday 21 November 2011

No more, more, more

Sad news today of the demise of another significant bit of my youth - thanks to the lovely Henry at Barbarella's Galaxy for letting me know...

From Back2Stonewall news site:
Andrea True, who not only had one of the most recognisable faces in Adult X-Rated movies but had of one of the biggest disco hits of the 1970s, has died.

Desperate for work after arriving in New York in the early 70s she decided to pursue a career as a porn star. She appeared in more than 60 hardcore porn films throughout the 1970s and early to mid-80s.

Andrea True’s real claim to fame though came during her heyday as a porn actress when she was hired by a real estate business in Jamaica to appear in their commercial ads. During her stay on Jamaica, a political crisis gripped the island, and no one was allowed to leave with any money. Not wanting to lose her hard-earned pay, True asked her friend, record producer Gregg Diamond, to travel to the island and produce a track for her, which she would finance locally. Diamond arrived with a composition in hand, to which True added her vocals.

The result of their collaboration was More, More, More, which became a favourite in discos and nightclubs.

Andrea True died on 7th November 2011 at her Kingston, NY home. She was 68 years old.
And, by way of tribute, here (again) is THAT mega-hit!


Very big in Botswana

Patricia Routledge and Edward Seckerson. Photo by Matt Thomas.

Our gang went along to a very special occasion last night - an audience with one of our all-time fave entertainers, the supremely talented Patricia Routledge - Facing the Music.

More widely known nowadays for her role as Hyacinth Bucket, a worldwide smash hit - “I'm very big in Botswana”, she says - the evening instead focused on her largely forgotten career as a fine singer and musical actress. In the capable hands of interviewer Edward Seckerson, formerly the presenter of Radio 3's (late, lamented) programme Sight and Sound, Miss Routledge was every bit as charming and candid as we would have hoped of such a "national treasure". Interspersing anecdotes with many of her recordings, this was a sublime evening indeed...

Tracing her life right back to middle-brow Birkenhead (the opposite end of the Mersey Tunnel to Mr Seckerson's more humble Bootle roots), her enchantment with the theatre began at an early age thanks to her father (a 'high class tailor' - "Every shop called itself 'high class' in those days!") and his deals with the local theatre, which got the family free tickets every week. Yet her youthful ambition was to be “an avant-garde headmistress with a red sports car who had affairs all over Europe. What went wrong?”

She managed eventually to get into theatre school and onward to the hard slog of a real-life stage career - a career that was unfortunately dogged by a succession of well-respected but commercially disastrous productions.

She appeared in such flops as Sheridan's operetta The Duenna, the Victoriana musical Follow That Girl (from which we were treated to her duet with James Cairncross, Waiting For Our Daughter, which was hilarious), and the first musical for which she was leading lady, a pastiche of American operetta called Little Mary Sunshine - complete with its OTT chorus of singing Mounties (very Monty Python!).

America beckoned (in the form of Jule Styne, who asked her to audition after seeing her in pantomime!) and in 1968 she appeared on Broadway in the musical Darling Of The Day alongside a woefully miscast Vincent Price. It closed after only 32 showings, but she scooped a Tony award for a performance that was hailed in The New York Times as "the most spectacular, most scrumptious, most embraceable musical comedy debut since Beatrice Lillie and Gertrude Lawrence came to this country." Miss Routledge liked that bit.

From that show, here's Miss Routledge's "eleven o'clock song" (the show-stopper near the end of a musical) Not On Your Nellie:

However, the biggest and most spectacular flop was to come when she was hand-picked to star in the ill-fated collaboration between theatrical giants Leonard Bernstein and Alan Jay Lerner 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, in which she portrayed every First Lady of America. As she said, however, "It was four hours long. Lenny was trying to write an opera. Alan was writing a musical. It didn't work." Speaking of the opening night she said, "The warmth and good will of the audience lasted until roughly the interval”. The show played for seven performances.

She managed a little more success in the tribute revue Cowardy Custard (for which The Master himself chose the name) - and her version of Mr Coward's A Marvellous Party was probably the highlight of the evening's music for me!

Among her other notable accolades was her part as "the old lady with one buttock" in Candide which won her a Laurence Olivier Award, and the famous production of The Pirates of Penzance co-starring Kevin Kline and Linda Ronstadt in New York's Central Park (in the middle of a heatwave, apparently). She also had a modicum of commercial success with a studio recording of The Sound of Music, on which she sang Mother Superior's classic Climb Ev'ry Mountain:

Concluding at the crossover period between her life as a theatrical performer, her collaboration with Alan Bennett and her whirlwind success on television, Mr Seckerson himself chose one of Miss Routledge's beautiful ballads from Darling of the Day to close - That Something Extra Special.

Visit the Sound of Vincent Price website to hear that song, and the rest of the Darling of the Day score.

An appropriate end to a fascinating evening!

I'm irresistible, you fool

The weekend has been a busy one, and suddenly we wake up to another (rather foggy and grey) working week.

To ease our depression, on this Tacky Music Monday let us marvel at the va-va-voom that was Miss Gwen Verdon, trying desperately to get her mitts on the (unsurprisingly uninterested) Tab Hunter...

Whatever Lola wants, Lola gets? Unlikely...

Have a good week!

Sunday 20 November 2011

Good luck with your mouth!

Many happy returns to the multi-talented Miss Kaye Ballard, comedienne, actress and singer, who is 86 years old today.

Even though her face is probably more immediately recognisable than her name, Miss Ballard's contribution to many of our favourite entertainments - not least her cracking star turn as the "wronged wife" in the brilliant movie The Ritz - mean we have always had a soft spot for her here at Dolores Delargo Towers.

Any excuse, really, to feature some clips from one of my all-time favourite films!

Here is Miss Ballard singing a remarkably good version of the Fanny Brice/Barbra Streisand torch song My Man:

And here she is just two years ago, promoting her audio autobiography:

Facts about Kaye Ballard:
  • In the 1940s, Miss Ballard sang and played tuba (!) with Spike Jones and his Orchestra.
  • She played one of the Ugly Sisters in the big-budget 1950s TV version of Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella, starring Julie Andrews.
  • Hers (on Broadway in the 1954 musical The Golden Apple) was the first version of the classic song Lazy Afternoon, later to become one of Eartha Kitt's standards.
  • She has never married, and has lived for more than thirty years with her "companion" the actress Myvanwy Jenn.

Kaye Ballard and Carol Channing, September 2011

Happy birthday to one of the greats!

Kaye Ballard official website

Saturday 19 November 2011

Son of the Moon

One song has been obsessively occupying my head this week.

Ever since Madam Arcati stumbled across a version of the Spanish classic Hijo de la Luna (Son of the Moon) by the sublime Montserrat Caballè, and then another version by house favourite here at Dolores Delargo Towers, Maria Dolores Pradera, I have been singing it!

I just had to share...

And the original 80s version:

Three very different versions of a beautiful and haunting song...

Tonto el que no entienda
cuenta una leyenda
que una hembra gitana
conjuró a la luna hasta el amanecer
llorando pedía
al llegar el día
desposar un calé
tendrás a tu hombre piel morena
desde el cielo habló la luna llena
pero a cambio quiero
el hijo primero
que le engendres a él
que quien su hijo inmola
para no estar sola
poco le iba a querer

Luna quieres ser madre
y no encuentras querer
que te haga mujer
dime luna de plata
qué pretendes hacer
con un niño de piel
Hijo de la Luna

De padre canela nació un niño
blanco como el lomo de un armiño
con los ojos grises
en vez de aceituna
niño albino de luna
maldita su estampa
este hijo es de un payo
y yo no me lo cayo

Luna quieres ser madre
y no encuentras querer
que te haga mujer
dime luna de plata
qué pretendes hacer
con un niño de piel
Hijo de la Luna

Gitano al creerse deshonrado
se fue a su mujer cuchillo en mano
¿de quién es el hijo?
me has engañao fijo
y de muerte la hirió
luego se hizo al monte
con el niño en brazos
y allí le abandonó

Luna quieres ser madre
y no encuentras querer
que te haga mujer
dime luna de plata
qué pretendes hacer
con un niño de piel
Hijo de la Luna

Y en las noches que haya luna llena
será porque el niño esté de buenas
y si el niño llora
menguará la luna
para hacerle una cuna
y si el niño llora
menguará la luna
para hacerle una cuna

English Translation:

A fool is he who doesn't understand
a legend tells
that a gypsy woman
implored the moon
weeping, she begged till dawn
to marry a gypsy man
"you'll have your brown-skin man"
spoke the full moon from the sky
"but in retun I want the
the first child
that you have with him,"
one who sacrifices her child
in order not to be alone
is not going
to love it very much

Moon you want to be mother
and you can't find a love
who makes you a woman.
Tell me, moon of silver
what you intend to do
with a child of flesh
ahhh, ahhh
Son of the Moon

From a cinnamon-skinned father a son
was born
white like an ermine's belly
with gray eyes
instead of olive,
moon's albino son
"Dam his appearence!
This is not a gypsy man's son
and you won't get away with this"

Moon you want to be mother
and you can't find a love
who makes you a woman.
Tell me, moon of silver
what you intend to do
with a child of flesh
ahhh, ahhh
Son of the Moon

the qypsy believing himself dishonored
went to his wife, knife in hand
"Whose son in this?
I am sure yu have decieved me!"
and he stabbed her to death
then he went to the mountain
with the child in his arms
and abandoned it there

Moon you want to be mother
and you can't find a love
who makes you a woman.
Tell me, moon of silver
what you intend to do
with a child of flesh
ahhh, ahhh
Son of the Moon

And on nights when the moon is full
it's because the child is happy
and if the child cries
the moon will wane
to make him a cradle
and if the child cries
the moon will wane to make him a cradle


Friday 18 November 2011

Soul Mama

“The only time I'm really happy is when I'm on that stage, in front of my audience. Then, I'm the happiest woman in the world!"

The legendary Gwen McCrae certainly made herself and a lot of people (including me!) very happy last night, as she gave a captivating and sassy performance at Islington Assembly Hall. I bid for, and got, free tickets (as a member of staff), but unfortunately no-one else was able to go with me. So off I trotted on my own

Support act the Aussie funksters Electric Empire warmed proceedings up nicely with a fine set of jazzy numbers, but it was the diva herself we'd all come to see - when she finally took to the stage...

Looking fabulous for 67 in her sparkly sequinned jacket and mad "Tina" hair, the lady captivated right from the opening bars. Her voice is marvellous! All her crowd-pleasing hits (and more) were here - Funky Sensation, Rockin' Chair (in a medley with her ex-husband George's mega-hit Rock Your Baby), Girlfriend's Boyfriend, All This Love That I'm Giving, 90% Of Me Is You and of course the fantabulosa disco-tastic Keep The Fire Burning, which got all of us in the audience singing and dancing along!

It was all over far too soon, but I had a brilliant time. It has re-opened my ears to a long-neglected era of funky soul music, the predecessor of disco, when talent really mattered (unlike today, when a screech and a wibble will do as long as you look ok on TV).

Let us instead celebrate real music - here is Miss McCrae herself, giving it all she's got!

Gwen McCrae official website

More Gwen McCrae music on her MySpace page

Can´t stop now won´t slow down

As we hurtle into the buffers of the end of another week, with a nice mild and sunny weekend in prospect, let us wish many happy returns today to the lovely RuPaul, actor, drag queen, model, author, singer, songwriter and fierce rulin' diva!

Without further ado, here's the grand dame's recent return to her disco roots - all the more reason to Thank Disco It's Friday!!!

We love her.

RuPaul's biography in his/her own words

Thursday 17 November 2011

Come play my game, I'll test ya

This made me wake up!

It is fifteen years since this practically perfect blend of punk/Goth attitude with rave/dance music was at the top of the UK charts - and it still makes me sit up and take notice today.

It is (of course) Breathe by the The Prodigy!

The image of a semi-naked Maxim Reality cavorting in practically nothing but his tattoos is an image forever etched on my libido...

Breathe the pressure
Come play my game, I'll test ya
Psychosomatic, addict, insane
Breathe the pressure
Come play my game, I'll test ya
Psychosomatic, addict, insane

Come play my game
Inhale, inhale, you're the victim
Come play my game
Exhale, exhale, exhale

Breathe with me

Wednesday 16 November 2011

Thought for the day

Fascism rules...

Read the latest ridiculous Nanny State proposal
First they came for the smokers, and I did not speak out - because I was not a smoker;
Then they came for the motorists, and I did not speak out - because I was not a motorist;
Then they came for the drinkers, and I did not speak out - because I was not a drinker;
Then they came for the restaurants and cafes, and I did not speak out because I didn't eat out;
Then they came for me - and there was no one left to speak out for me.

You'll see pretty browns in beautiful gowns, tailor-mades and hand-me-downs

"A lean loose-jointed Negro had commenced plunking a guitar beside me while I slept... As he played, he pressed a knife on the strings of the guitar in a manner popularized by Hawaiian guitarists who used steel bars....The singer repeated the line three times, accompanying himself on the guitar with the weirdest music I had ever heard."

Thus, the remarkable W.C. Handy (who was born on this day in 1873) described his discovery of a new musical sound - one which he would transcribe and popularise in the early part of the 20th Century, and so earn himself the nickname the "Father of the Blues".

In recognition of the genius of the man, here are some of his most memorable (and continually re-worked) compositions...

A rare gem! The incomparable Bessie Smith, providing a suitably melodramatic version of his classic St Louis Blues:

In complete contrast, the ultra-smooth tonsils of Ella Fitzgerald (here with Nat King Cole in the film of WC Handy's life, made in 1958 - the year the great man died) turn Handy's Beale Street Blues into a refined "late night cocktail song":

Miss Billie Holiday here performs (beautifully) a medley including his Loveless Love (itself based upon the traditional song Careless Love). Handy changed the lyrics to:

Oh love oh love oh loveless love
Has set our heart on goal-less goals
From milkless milk and silkless silk
We are growing used to soul-less souls

Such grafting times we never saw
That’s why we have a pure food law
In everything we find a flaw
Even love oh love oh loveless love

And to conclude this tribute, from Madame Arcati's own collection, here is one of Dolores Delargo Towers' patron saints Miss Mae West (here with Duke Ellington) crooning Memphis Blues with a sassy twist:


The sun rises

I want one!
An extremely rare yellow diamond known as the Sun-Drop has sold at auction in Geneva for just over $10.9m (£6.8m).

Sotheby's auctioneer David Bennett said the sum - paid by a telephone bidder who preferred to stay anonymous - set a world record for a yellow diamond.

The 110.3 carat pear-shaped diamond is said to be one of the largest ever to appear at auction.

Discovered in South Africa last year, it was sold by New York-based Cora International.

The diamond was certified by gemologists as "fancy vivid yellow", the rarest and most desirable colour for a yellow diamond, Sotheby's said.
"No matter how dark the night, somehow the sun rises once again and all shadows are chased away." David Matthew

Read more on the BBC

Tuesday 15 November 2011

Du har gått i mitt blod

Many happy returns today to two of "our kind of ladies" - Miss Petula Clark (79) and Miss Anni-Frid ("Frida") Lyngstad (66), of Abba fame.

On searching for perhaps a duet, or even a meeting, between the two chanteuses I inevitably drew a blank. However, there is a musical connection!

Both ladies (separately) recorded a version of the Little Anthony & the Imperials standard Goin' Out of My Head, Frida's in her native Swedish. So, let us compare and contrast...

Frida on Wikipedia

Pet's website

Monday 14 November 2011

They only live to service you

It has been ages since we've had a bit of "glossy Fosse" here at Dolores Delargo Towers - and discovering the fact that the elastic gymnastic dancer Sandahl Bergman celebrates her 59th birthday today is enough of an excuse to feature some, methinks...

On this Tacky Music Monday, why not Take Off with them? If only EasyJet flights were like this!

Have a good one!

Sunday 13 November 2011

C'etait Ma Vie

Thanks to John-John and the lovely Henry, Eurovision frenzy has started early this year! Not only has the warm-up for Sweden's Melodiefestivalen already begun, but Switzerland opened its prospective selection for 2012 to all comers, and received 221 songs to select from.

And what an eclectic lot crept out of the woodwork to try and represent the land of chocolate and cuckoo clocks!

Not only X-Factor losers Same Difference (described by Simon Cowell as "potentially two of the most annoying people I've ever met"), but apparently Ultra Nate and a Motorhead tribute band called No Mercy also gave it a go. Through to the shortlist however is the contest's first ever winner, the 87-year-old Lys Assia...

Perfect music for a Sunday, I'd say:

Here is the lovely lady singing the winning entry from that very first contest 55 years ago - Refrain:

I am getting excited already!

Eurovsion Song Contest

Saturday 12 November 2011

Time takes its toll, but not on the eyes

A blast from our collective pasts reaches another milestone today. The magnificent Romanian gymnast Nadia Comaneci is 50 years old today!

Way back in the long hot summer of '76, Miss Comaneci achieved the impossible - her routine on the uneven bars scored a perfect 10 in the Montreal Olympics. It is still incredible to watch...

And, by way of a tribute, what else could I play but The Beautiful South?

Nadia Comanci on Wikipedia

Friday 11 November 2011

It's not so surprising

Happy 86th birthday today to the eternally young and gorgeous June Whitfield!

By way of a tribute to this "national treasure", here's an unexpected treat I have discovered - the divine Dame June [well, she should be!] singing an Irving Berlin duet/medley with the late, fondly-remembered Ian Charleson...

[[video removed]]

June Whitfield CBE on IMDB

My previous blog about June Whitfield

UPDATE: The gnomes of YouTube have removed the video clip of the aforementioned duet, but it's here; at 1hr 47mins into this full-length extravaganza:

Think BIG

Another week staggers to a close, and we breathe a sigh.

This weekend, I think we need some big nails, big shoes, big lungs, big sparkly frocks and BIG wigs - and satisfying our every need in all categories, it could only be our favourite girl group The Three Degrees!!

Thank Disco It's Friday!

Have a great weekend, dear reader...

Thursday 10 November 2011

Early preview...

Here (while it is still available) is the new single (in a demo version admittedly) from Our Glorious Leader Madonna - Give Me All Your Love!

Rather reminiscent of late 70s/early 80s sounds that were an obvious influence on Madge's early career (think Blondie's first album), it is rather fab! Listen now before it disappears:

0123456-Mad-GMAYL by robsilvae

A great taster for the new album.

STOP PRESS - 22.00: As predicted, it's already gone, and Mama's not happy!

Wednesday 9 November 2011

You would cry too if it happened to you

Memory lane time again...

On this day thirty years ago, (the other) Dave Stewart and Barbara Gaskin were at Number 1 with this clever contemporary twist on that high-camp Leslie Gore classic - It's My Party!

How time flies - I wonder if she ever did find where her Johnny had gone...

[And it seems the duo are still together after all these years - and still making music!]

Tuesday 8 November 2011

Girls. Film. Pop.

Time once more for some new musical discoveries...

And first, the exciting news - it's here!!! At last - after 30 years, Duran Duran have released the sequel to Girls on Film!

Seriously, folks, here's the video we've all been waiting for. Hot off the press today, it's Girl Panic (featuring a coterie of supermodels and the occasional fleeting glimpse of the boys themselves):

How do you follow that extravaganza? How about something rude and shouty? It's the outest-of-out gays Cazwell in more of a battle than a duet with the kinky Peaches, and the fab Unzip Me:

Taking more than a little inspiration from the heady pumpin' sounds of early 90s house music - and with a suitably funny retro video (taking the piss out of breakfast TV of those days) to boot - here's The 2 Bears with Bear Hug:

We at Dolores Delargo Towers always welcome the return of a reformed slut to the musical world. And of course, former porn star turned John Waters muse Miss Traci Lords fits the bill perfectly - thanks again to Mike over at Pop Trash Addicts for the heads-up, here's a preview of her new single Last Drag.

[[video gone from YouTube]]

And to conclude this musical melange, here's a house favourite band the (rather cute) Sound of Arrows, with their latest, Wonders. Wonderful!

As ever, enjoy!

Viennent à lit les yeux

I make no excuses for indulging myself in the beauty of Alain Delon, on this, the smouldering one's 76th birthday...

Bon anniversaire!

Read my previous blog about M Delon

Alain Delon official website

Monday 7 November 2011

Chicken and Champagne and Twins

Hey ho - another new week in work begins. Another day, another dollar...

To raise our spirits, on this Tacky Music Monday I believe a little dose of Dolores Delargo Towers stalwarts the Kessler Twins is in order!

The girls' Quando Quando Quando is an all-time favourite, but I can't help but think Pollo e Champagne may well be a new entry on this year's festive party playlist. Madame Arcati and I have practised both routines, of course, but we can't quite get the timing right...

Let Alice and Ellen show us how it should be done!

Die Kessler-Zwillinge celebrated their 75th birthdays this year, and are still going strong...

Kessler Twins on Wikipedia

Sunday 6 November 2011

Advice from my personal trainer

I feel better already...

[Thanks, Jim!]

The band singer

Last week we said a sad farewell to one of the last survivors of the Big Band era, Plymouth-born Miss Beryl Davis, who sang with Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman, Ted Heath, George Shearing and even Frank Sinatra during the 1940s (and up until recently was still singing).

I have saved my little tribute to this fine-voiced lady till the proper home of "light music", Sunday.

Here's Beryl singing one of those typically innuendo-filled wartime numbers Milkman Keep Those Bottles Quiet with the Squadronnaires:

Here she is in 1939 singing with Django Reinhardt and Stéphane Grappelli:

Bizarrely, Beryl joined the already established screen stars Rhonda Fleming [the only one now still with us] and Jane Russell and fellow Big Band vocalist Connie Haines to form "The Four Girls" in the 1950s to sing close-harmony gospel songs. An odd career move for all concerned, but it just goes to show that the Fifties was indeed a schizophrenic decade in America - on one hand, the liberated, consumerist "anything goes" decade of teen beach movies and rock'n'roll, and on the other it was the most prudish decade since the Hays Code was introduced in the 30s. Here are the girls, looking stunning yet singing religious nonsense:

I prefer to leave religion out of Sundays, thank you very much! So let's end with the lady herself at the ripe old age of 85, doing what she did best...

RIP, Beryl Davis (16th March 1924 – 28th October 2011)

Saturday 5 November 2011

Habe ich Glück

It's the uber-glamorous Miss Elke Sommer's birthday!

Let's all sing along...

Wenn ich dich seh', dann denke ich mir
Oh I love you
aber ich sag' es nie zu dir
Oh I love you

Ein Wunder der Liebe wartet nicht
und wüsste doch gerne,
was dein Mund mir verspricht

Habe ich Glück, dann sagst du zu mir
Oh I love you

Mancher hat sich schon gedacht
dass er mich mal glücklich macht
doch so einfach geht das nicht
wenn mein Herz dich .. spricht

Wenn ich dich seh', dann denke ich mir
Oh I love you
aber ich sag' es nie zu dir
Oh I love you

Ein Wunder der Liebe wartet nicht
und wüsste doch gerne,
was dein Mund mir verspricht

Habe ich Glück, dann sagst du zu mir
Oh I love you

Habe ich Glück, dann sagst du zu mir
Oh I love you
Oh I love you
Oh I love you

Elke Sommer on IMDB