Wednesday 31 July 2013

Kylie Whoooo?

Kylie (the real one!) and Cher, and a lot of confusion.

The latest from Charlie Hides TV - genius!

Tuesday 30 July 2013

We're fine with them as long as they don’t do any Pope stuff

A gay man has said that although Pope-ish acts are bad, a Pope-ish orientation is not. In what his friends claim is a softening of his stance on Popes, 38-year-old gay chef Tom Logan claimed he was fine with them as long as they didn’t do any Pope stuff.

He said: “If a person is a Pope but has good will, who am I to judge them?

“And it would be even more ridiculous if I were to say that then continue by telling Popes how to behave.

“After all I am just a bloke, albeit a bloke with a funny hat – a chef’s hat. Actually that does make me a bit special, so listen up.”

Speaking from behind the vaguely pulpit-like oven at the restaurant where he works, Logan said: “It’s fine for a man to have Pope-ish feelings, as long as he does not act on them in any way. Or lobby for religion.

“You could argue that telling a Pope not to do any Pope behaviour, like taking mass or dressing up in robes, is essentially the same as telling them not to be a Pope. But it is not."
From The Daily Mash. Of course.

The real Pope/Gays story.

Like the sun coming out, ooh, I just know that something good is gonna happen

One of our favourite singers ever here at Dolores Delargo Towers, Miss Kate Bush celebrates her 55th birthday today.

Facts about Kate Bush:
  • It is 35 years since her debut album The Kick Inside was released.
  • There was (famously) a twelve-year gap between her eighth studio album (The Red Shoes) and her ninth (Aerial), and six years between that and her tenth (50 Words For Snow), which was released in 2011 (although Director's Cut, reworking some of her earlier material, was released the same year).
  • Kate turned down an invitation by the organizers of the 2012 Summer Olympics closing ceremony to perform at the event. Instead, a recording of a new remix of her 1985 hit Running Up that Hill was played at the end of the ceremony.
  • Her last stage performance was a duet with Dave Gilmour of Pink Floyd (who "discovered" her) in 2002, but she made a very rare personal appearance this year at Buckingham Palace to receive her CBE from HM The Queen.
  • Her son with husband Dan McIntosh, Bertie, will be 15 years old in 2013.
  • In May 2013, 300 Kate Bush fans gathered in a park in Brighton to break the record for the most lookalikes re-enacting the famous video for her 1978 single Wuthering Heights.
Here is the lady herself, with one of her most fabulous songs - from possibly my fave album of hers Hounds of Love...

Many, many happy returns!

Catherine "Kate" Bush, CBE (born 30th July 1958)

Monday 29 July 2013

I simply couldn’t be bad

Oh, buggeration! It's Monday again.

Never mind, to cheer us up on this Tacky Music Monday, we have fur coats! Sequins! Luxury! Safety gays!

...and Mary Martin singing the filthy lyrics of My Heart Belongs to Daddy:

While tearing off a game of golf
I may make a play for the caddy
But when I do, I don’t follow through
‘cause my heart belongs to Daddy.

If I invite a boy some night
To dine on my fine finnan haddie
I just adore his asking for more
But my heart belongs to Daddy

Yes my heart belongs to Daddy
So I simply couldn’t be bad
Yes, my heart belongs to Daddy
Da-da-da, da-da-da, da-da-da
So I want to warn you, laddie
Though I know you’re perfectly swell
But my heart belongs to Daddy
'cause my Daddy he treats it so well

There was a dame that at a football game
Made long for the strong undergraddie
I never dream of making the team
'cause my heart belongs to daddy

Yes, my heart belongs to Daddy
So I simply couldn’t be bad
Yes, my heart belongs to Daddy
Da-da-da, da-da-da, da-da-da
So I want to warn you, laddie
Though I know you’re perfectly swell
That my heart belongs to Daddy
'cause my Daddy, he treats it so well

Far better than thinking about work.

Have a great week, peeps!

Mary Martin biography

Sunday 28 July 2013

Scat Sunday

I have a real musical treat for you, dear reader, on this warm, blustery Sunday.

A magnificent discovery from the annals of Hollywood history - here's the wonderful combination of Frances Faye, Martha Raye and Bing Crosby to provide us with a demonstration of the origins of rap...

Sheer class.

Saturday 27 July 2013

Shaken not stirred

Heat, thunderstorms, more heat. I love the summer!

Time for a cocktail and a bit of a mellow musical interlude, methinks...

From the lovely people at Soft Tempo Lounge, here's "Fotografia":

[Music: Tears in Brasil by Piero Piccioni]

Don't mess with...

From the BBC:
"I would refuse to go to a homophobic heaven. No, I would say sorry, I mean I would much rather go to the other place," Archbishop Desmond Tutu has said.

"I would not worship a God who is homophobic and that is how deeply I feel about this."

Archbishop Tutu said the campaign against homophobia was similar to the campaign waged against racism in South Africa.

"I am as passionate about this campaign as I ever was about apartheid. For me, it is at the same level," he added.
There is only one song I can play, really...

Denise LSalle

Friday 26 July 2013

A squirrel is just a rat with a cuter outfit

News today that a squirrel infected with bubonic plague (fondly known in the Middle Ages here in Europe as Ye Merrie Olde Black Death) has been found in a Californian forest park, I thought I'd share a jolly little song from another completely mad squirrel:

Foamy the Squirrel

Youve been starring in my dreams

Many happy returns to Sir Michael Philip Jagger OBE, one-time sexiest man in showbiz! He has hit a big milestone - blowing out 70 candles on his cake today...

In the 50th year of the Rolling Stones, and in keeping with our traditional end-of-the-week slot, here's the boys' tentative foray into the world of funk from 35 years ago:

Thank Disco It's Friday!

Have a great (hot) weekend...

Mick Jagger official website

Thursday 25 July 2013

Thought for the Day

"I will name him George, and I will hug him and pet him and squeeze him..."

Prince George Alexander Louis

Wednesday 24 July 2013

Kiss the boys goodbye

Timeslip moment again...

Thirty years ago this week (a terrifying thought), one of my favourite songs by a favourite band of all time was in the Top Ten.

Formed out of the remnants of the original Human League, and hot on the heels of their British Electric Foundation (BEF) side-project, it's Messrs Martyn Ware, Ian Craig Marsh and Glenn Gregory - aka Heaven 17!

I was thirty-seven
You were seventeen
You were half my age
The youth I'd never seen
Unlikely people meeting in a dream
Heaven only knows
The way it should have been

Here today, my tomorrow
Where you lead
I will follow
All that kissing
No passion missing
Come live with me

Kiss the boys goodbye
Come live with me
Kiss the boys goodbye
Come live with me

Dinner parties followed
And all my age implies
My friends began to talk
I began to realize
If half the things they say
Are quarter true of me
Then how can I eclipse the youth
You gave to set me free?

There was something in your smile
That was hard to reconcile
The time had come to testify to reason
Though years will not erase
Remembrance of those days
At least there's
No submission to heart's treason

Here today, my tomorrow
No more shame, only sorrow
All that kissing
There's something missing

Come live with me
Kiss the boys goodbye
Come live with me
Kiss the boys goodbye
Come live with me

Sheer poetry...

Heaven 17 official website

Tuesday 23 July 2013

Baby love

The world has (predictably) gone mad for the new Royal baby boy - our future King.

Here's the Supremes with an appropriate number...

Hope they call it Stewie.

Royal birth

Monday 22 July 2013

The oldest DJ in town

From the BBC:
Veteran broadcaster David Jacobs is to leave his Radio 2 show, The David Jacobs Collection, citing ill health.

His regular Sunday night programme features tunes from Hollywood, Broadway and Tin Pan Alley, and has been on the air since 1998.

But Jacobs has been at the BBC since 1945, hosting shows such as Housewives' Choice, Pick of the Pops, Juke Box Jury and Any Questions.

The 87-year-old's last show will be broadcast on Sunday, 4th August 2013.

He said: "Over the past two years Radio 2 has given me time to be treated for liver cancer and Parkinson's Disease.

"My producer, Alan Boyd, has been a tower of strength in so many ways and I thank him profusely.

"We shared a love of so many records and wonderful music.

"I will not stop collecting but my sadness will be that I cannot share them with all my loyal listeners. But rest assured, I will be back from time to time."

Jacobs started his broadcasting career in the Royal Navy in 1944, where he was made an announcer on wartime radio station Radio SEAC.

The invitation came from Commander Kim Peacock, who had heard him appear as a guest on a variety show.

"He said he didn't think much of my impersonations," Jacobs once recalled, "but he thought the way I announced them was very good, would I like to be an announcer?"

"This was unbelievable. I was just a sailor, an ordinary seaman."

After leaving the Navy, Jacobs worked full-time at the BBC as an announcer and newsreader.

He later became one of the original presenters of Top Of The Pops, and preceded Terry Wogan as the BBC's commentator on the Eurovision Song Contest.
"The David Jacobs Collection" has been a staple part of our Sunday radio listening here at Dolores Delargo Towers for many years. An oasis of calm, unashamedly middle-of-the-road music amongst an increasingly shrill selection of programmes, it will be very difficult act indeed to follow.

I hope the "yoof"-obsessed programmers at BBC Radio don't balls it up with something inappropriately horrid as a replacement...

Here's the man himself, interviewed several years ago for a local hospital radio station and registered charity Eastward TV - [UPDATE SEPT 2013] visit their YouTube page to watch.

[I tried to paste the video, but apparently they claimed infringement of copyright. Bizarre. It's not exactly a pirate copy of a Disney film.]

David Jacobs, CBE on Wikipedia.

La Wandissima

It has been ages since I featured that campest-of-camp grande signora of Italian entertainment, described in The Guardian as "a rather camp Latin mix of Mae West and Mistinguette", Miss Wanda Osiris.

But it is Tacky Music Monday, after all (and we always need cheering up at the start of a working week) - so here she is, in full "Norma Desmond" drag (and a bit croaky, but we always forgive an old broad many sins), topping a bill that includes two of our favourite Italian divas Mina Mazzini and Raffaella Carra, performing in a typically understated number, A Capocabana:


Facts about Wanda Osiris:
  • Born Anna Menzio on 3rd June 1905 in Rome, she was 16 when she joined a vaudeville company, something that was almost unheard of during those strict times.
  • Often nicknamed "La Wandissima", she went on to become one of Italy's most successful stage performers of the 1920s to the 1950s.
  • Ground-breakingly flamboyant, she was credited with being the first to use chorus boys in her act. [She invented "safety gays"!!]
  • Among her myriad revues was Carousel of Variety in which she appeared with (among others) Josephine Baker and Anna Magnani.
  • She retired in the mid-'60s and after that only occasionally performed on television.

Wanda Osiris died on 11th November 1994, aged 89 - her obituary (in Italian, of course).

Sunday 21 July 2013

A-one, two, and then roll

Many happy returns to the Iroquois Nation's greatest daughter, Miss Katherine Laverne Stark. Better known (of course) as Kay Starr, she - remarkably - blows out 91 candles on her cake today...

I did, inevitably, celebrate the great lady's 90th birthday last year, so without further ado, here she is singing one of her earliest hits:

And here she is, still glittering and big-haired in the 1980s with her greatest hit:

Ah, "Sunday music"...

Kay Starr (born 21st July 1922)

Saturday 20 July 2013

Kinda Lingers

RIP Mel Smith. A comedy genius.

Melvin Kenneth "Mel" Smith (3rd December 1952 – 19th July 2013)


A belated happy birthday for yesterday to the delightful Señorita Florencia Bisenta de Casillas Martinez Cardona, better known as Miss Vikki Carr - one of our favourite singers here at Dolores Delargo Towers!

Who better to greet a fine summery weekend? It is slightly cooler in London today, but the heat is set to return tomorrow (apparently), and I'm in the mood for some Spanish loveliness...

With its lyrics that literally translate as "the beat of your heart on the beach under the hot sun", here's Miss Carr's beautiful performance of Cuando Calienta El Sol:

Feliz cumpleaños!

Vikki Carr (born 19th July 1941)

Friday 19 July 2013

Friday Night Fever

It's still glorious weather, it's almost the end of another week in work, and I feel like dancing - in the 1970s, with John Travolta and the BeeGees, of course...

So squeeze yourself into those brown flares and huge collared satin shirt, swivel those hips, and Thank Disco It's Friday!

Saturday Night Fever

Read Alex Petridis on the BeeGees and an interview with Barry Gibb in the Guardian yesterday.

Thursday 18 July 2013

Mrs Tina Bach

David Bowie, Eros Ramazzotti, Sade, Giorgio Armani and Oprah Winfrey are all invited to a party at Tina Turner's place this weekend.

From Hello magazine:
Miss Turner has tied the knot with her long-term partner Erwin Bach after 27 years together, it has been revealed. The 73-year-old singer and German record company executive Erwin, 57, exchanged vows on the shores of Lake Zurich in Switzerland.

The happy couple will celebrate their marriage with a Buddhist ceremony this weekend in Zurich, where Tina has lived for the past 15 years.

According to Swiss newspaper Schweiz am Sonntag, Tina will wear an Armani gown, and has requested that all the guests wear white to the celebration.

The couple have also sent out letters to neighbours and local residents apologising in advance for any noise.

"What's love, But a sweet old-fashioned notion?" Indeed...

Tina Turner website

I feel it burning right here in my heart

It's the 72nd birthday of Miss Martha Reeves today!

In tribute, and given the current sweltering weather conditions under which the UK finds itself, here she is with a most appropriate song indeed - Heatwave:

Martha Reeves (born 18th July 1941)

Wednesday 17 July 2013

Totty of the Day

Three surprises I found out today, after being intrigued to see the name "Charlie Hunnam" on a poster on the side of a bus:
  1. Mr Hunnam actually had a career after playing "Nathan" - being rimmed by Aidan Gillen ("Stuart") - in Queer As Folk (the original, and best, Channel 4 series, written by Russell T Davies).
  2. The film for which his name appears above the title on the poster on the Route 29 from Wood Green to Trafalgar Square is (ironically) called Pacific Rim - and it's not porn...
  3. He's straight!

The heterosexual Mr Hunnam appears to have found his niche in America, and, despite misguidedly adopting the "grungy/beardy" look in far too many photos I have seen, is still rather cute...

Here's how I remember him, however:

Charlie Hunnam on Wikipedia

End of term

My School Disco looked nothing like this
Glee-style ‘prom nights’ are just school discos repackaged for the gullible, it has emerged.

Teenagers confirmed that when you strip away the expensive American-influenced bullshit, a ‘prom night’ is just a room full of spotty people trying to touch each other’s genitals.

16-year-old Stephen Malley said: “I stood around with my friends talking about console games. I tried talking to Gemma Leeson at the end but it was weird and we were both scared.

“I thought wearing a suit would make me more confident but it just reminded me of when I had to go to court for stealing a hard drive from Maplin.

“In summary, no major rites of passage were completed. It was just like my dad described his school discos except afterwards I went home and watched internet pornography.”

Parent Emma Bradford said: “I thought proms were just an American thing, but apparently I have to shell out £500 because my daughter’s done a few GCSEs at a comprehensive in Romford.

“In my day you had a disco where all the boys stood around awkwardly in ironed jeans and the girls all looked as though they were wearing clown make-up.

“That’s unless you were one of the cool kids who had to have their stomach pumped after drinking a bottle of Smirnoff in the toilets.”
The Daily Mash.

Of course.

Tuesday 16 July 2013

It's much the simplest of crimes


From The Independent:
Gay marriage is set to be legalised in England and Wales after peers gave the Same Sex Couples Bill an unopposed third reading in the House of Lords.

The Bill now goes back to the Commons for MPs to consider changes made to it in the Upper House. But with debate limited to just those government amendments the Bill is certain to become law.

In an emotional speech, Labour’s Lord Alli, who is gay, thanked peers and declared: “My life and many others will be better today than it was yesterday.”

Ben Summerskill, chief executive of Stonewall, added: “It’s impossible to express how much joy this historic step will bring to tens of thousands of gay people and their families and friends. The Bill’s progress through Parliament shows that, at last, the majority of politicians in both Houses understand the public’s support for equality.”
As before, when the Commons approved the Bill's passage, I welcome the news in the company of Sondheim (and Stritch!)...

It's the little things you do together,
Do together,
Do together,
That make perfect relationships.
The hobbies you pursue together,
Savings you accrue together,
Looks you misconstrue together,
That make marriage a joy.

It's the little things you share together,
Swear together,
Wear together,
That make perfect relationships.
The concerts you enjoy together,
Neighbors you annoy together,
Children you destroy together,
That keep marriage intact.

It's not so hard to be married
When two manoeuver as one.
It's not so hard to be married,
And, Jesus Christ, is it fun!

It's sharing little winks together,
Drinks together,
Kinks together,
That make marriage a joy.
The bargains that you shop together,
Cigarettes you stop together,
Clothing that you swap together,
That make perfect relationships.

It's not talk of God and the decade ahead that
Allows you to get through the worst.
It's "I do" and "you don't" and "nobody said that"
And "who brought the subject up first?"
It's the little things,
The little things, the little things, the little things.

The little ways you try together,
Cry together,
Lie together,
That make perfect relationships.
Becoming a cliche together,
Growing old and grey together,
Withering away together,
That make marriage a joy.

It's not so hard to be married,
It's much the simplest of crimes.
It's not so hard to be married...

I've done it three or four times.

It's the people that you hate together,
Bait together,
Date together,
That make marriage a joy.
It's things like using force together,
Shouting till you're hoarse together,
Getting a divorce together,
That make perfect relationships.

Equal Love Campaign

Monday 15 July 2013

Show me the way you move your body

Another "fabulous at 50" birthday today - the statuesque Miss Brigitte Nielsen.

Everything about Miss Nielsen appears to be outsize - her physique, her husbands/boyfriends, her décolletage - but not necessarily her musical career (yes! she had one!).

Here she is with the late, dearly missed Falco and their 1987 collaboration Body Next to Body...

Because I love you.

Brigitte Nielsen (born 15th July 1963)

Cool and refreshing

It's back to reality time.

I had a wonderful day in summery Kew Gardens yesterday - and all I want is to sit in the magnificent gardens here at Dolores Delargo Towers in the continuing sunshine with some lovely music and a glass of something cool and refreshing.

Ho hum.

Let's maintain the illusion on this Tacky Music Monday, and ease our path back into another week's sweaty toil in the sultry company of Miss Dolores Gray, her safety gays and her Cole Porter medley...

Ah... That's better.

Have a good week, peeps!

Dolores Gray on Wikipedia

Sunday 14 July 2013

Corne d'abondance

Today is a special one for our Froggie chums - their National Day Le quatorze juillet, or Bastille Day, when the French celebrate all things garlicky, cheesy and wine-y.

Or something.

To mark this auspicious day, I'm feeling like a bit of a bop, so here are a couple of our own upbeat French favourites at Dolores Delargo Towers...

First up, the Gallic answer to Miss Minoque - Dannii, not Kylie - it's the very lovely, and very gay-friendly Mademoiselle Ysa Ferrer. She's a Pom-Pom Girl!

Continuing the particularly French way with starting names with a "Y", here's Yelle and the marvellous A Cause Des Garcons:

And finally, here introduced by Lady Penelope, is the kitsch-tastic Sheila and Black Devotion with a number that probably I would normally feature in my "Thank Disco It's Friday" slot...

Vive la folie!

Previous Bastille Day posts

Bastille Day on Wikipedia

Saturday 13 July 2013


Many happy returns to Miss Patsy Byrne, who blows out 80 candles on her cake today.

Who, you may ask?

Miss Byrne - despite her seven decade career on stage and screen - is best known (of course) as the dotty "Nursie" in Blackadder II.

Here are just two of my favourite "Nursie" moments:

Patsy Byrne on IMDB

Blackadder Hall - the online home of the Blackadder family

I'm just wild about Hare

It's a remarkably hot, sultry (and unfortunately a bit cloudy) Saturday here in London - and I am in the mood for something even hotter!

Let's pay a visit to a moment in time when Bollywood met Psychedelia; and the results were interesting, to say the least.

Here, from the 1971 film Hare Rama Hare Krishna are the gorgeous vocals of Asha Bhosle (dubbing for the film's star Zeenat Aman) in the fabulously trippy Dum Maro Dum:

Asha Bhosle on Wikipedia

Friday 12 July 2013

The man who travelled 100,000 miles a year

"Those who cater for the public taste have always found the monstrous a profitable preoccupation."

The man who interviewed Papa Doc Duvalier, Peter Sellers, Paul Getty, Paraguay's last Fascist dictator Alfredo Stroessner, Harold Robbins, the Sultan of Brunei, and Joan Collins - and was equally at home reporting on atrocities in war-torn Korea, the rise of the Gay Rights Movement in San Francisco, refugee boat people in Hong Kong or the glitteringly unreal world of the mega-rich in Palm Beach - Alan Whicker's inimitably suave, calm manner of presenting the facts and getting to the truth (usually in far-flung exotic locations) made him an instant television favourite (and target for satirists) in the 60s and 70s.

On his retirement in the 90s, broadcasting was never quite the same again.

Here he is interviewing Christopher Lee in 1968 in a golf cart (and why not?):

RIP Alan Whicker CBE (2nd August 1925 – 12th July 2013)

Diggin' all the sunshine

The UK continues to bask in an untypical stretch of hot sunny weather - actually in summer, for a change! - and it is forecast to be blazingly hot this weekend.


To help inspire just what we might choose to wear while totty-spotting in the park or maybe on the beach this weekend, here's the typically understated Boney M (whose singer Liz Mitchell celebrates her birthday today) with another of their camp summer classics...

...and Thank Disco It's Friday!

Have a fabulous weekend, whatever you do.

Boney M on Wikipedia

Thursday 11 July 2013

Ghost story

Dead divas come to visit the stars of today...

...courtesy of the ever-brilliant Charlie Hides TV, of course!

Fanny, Stella, Jerry and me

I went to a very special event yesterday (in my role as co-Chair of Islington LGBT staff forum) in an unassuming back street in Bloomsbury.

Public recognition is bestowed at last upon two favourite gay heroes/heroines of ours - those Victorian pioneers of gay resistance Ernest Boulton and Frederick Park, better known (of course) as Stella and Fanny.

Read my entry in the Dolores Delargo Towers Museum of Camp about them.

The eponymous stars of a tremendous tome by Neil McKenna (the launch of which we attended during LGBT History Month this February), it was fitting - in the absence due to ill-health of the scheduled Bette Bourne - that he was asked by the sponsoring Marchmont Association to do the honour of unveiling a blue plaque to the pair.

As he said to the sizeable crowd (that included authors Rictor Norton and Neil Bartlett and representatives of gay history research organisations and Gay's The Word bookshop): "Unaccustomed as I am to pulling things in public..."

Given the outrageous behaviour of Fanny and Stella during their time in the "house of accommodation" [aka brothel] in Wakefield Street - cross-dressing, soliciting gentlemen in public, blatant homosexuality, arrest and trial - it was ironic indeed that the current site (the terrace was flattened during WW2) is occupied by the headquarters of the Unitarian Church!

However, as everyone mentioned in their speeches (not only the wonderfully entertaining Mr McKenna, but also Camden's Mayor (our friend) Jonathan Simpson, Ricci de Freitas of the Marchmont Society and the host Rev Roberta Rominger) times have changed since Fanny and Stella's day.

Sometimes, however, I wish we had more characters like Fanny and Stella these days...

Yesterday was also the birthday of another idol here at Dolores Delargo Towers, Mr Jerry Herman. And here is a marvellously apt song from the great man's La Cage Aux Folles that might have been written for our Victorian doyennes of drag - A Little More Mascara!

Fanny and Stella - The Young Men Who Shocked Victorian England by Neil McKenna is published by Faber & Faber.

Wednesday 10 July 2013


Dick Kallman (7th July 1933 – 22nd February 1980):

Richard Roundtree (born 9th July 1942) aka Shaft:

Dick Cary (10th July 1916 – 6th April 1994) and the Climax Jazz Band - Magnolia's Day:

...we love 'em!

Tuesday 9 July 2013

If I could be for just one little hour

It's Marc Almond's birthday - all hail!

In tribute, here's my favourite cover of a Scott Walker song, ever - it's Marc's fabulously camp take on Jacky:

And if one day I should become
A singer with a Spanish bum
Who sings for women of great virtue
I'd sing to them with a guitar
I borrowed from a coffee bar
Well, what you don't know doesn't hurt you

My name would be Antonio
And all my bridges I would burn
And when I gave them some they'd know
I'd expect something in return
I'd have to get drunk every night
And talk about virility
With some old grandmother
That might be decked out like a Christmas tree

And no pink elephant I'd see
Though I'd be drunk as I could be
Still I would sing my song to me
About the time they called me "Jacky"

If I could be for only an hour
If I could be for an hour every day
If I could be for just one little hour
Cute in a stupid ass way

And if I joined the social whirl
Became procurer of young girls
Then I could have my own bordellos
My record would be number one
And I'd sell records by the ton
All sung by many other fellows

My name would then be handsome Jack
And I'd sell boats of opium
Whisky that came from Twickenham
Authentic queens
And phoney virgins
I'd have a bank on every finger
A finger in every country
And every country ruled by me
I'd still know where I'd want to be

Locked up inside my opium den
Surrounded by some china men
I'd sing the song that I sang then
About the time they called me "Jacky"

If I could be for only an hour
If I could be for an hour every day
If I could be for just one little hour
Cute in a stupid ass way

Now, tell me, wouldn't it be nice
That if one day in paradise
I'd sing for all the ladies up there
And they would sing along with me
And we be so happy there to be
'Cos down below is really nowhere

My name would then be "Jupiter"
Then I would know where I was going
Become all knowing
My beard so very long and flowing
If I could play deaf, dumb and blind
Because I pitied all mankind
And broke my heart to make things right
I know that every single night

When my angelic work was through
The angels and the Devil too
Could sing my childhood song to me
About the time they called me "Jacky"

If I could be for only an hour
If I could be for an hour every day
If I could be for just one little hour
Cute in a stupid ass way

Marc Almond official website

More Marc

Even more Marc

Monday 8 July 2013

When I want a melody lilting through the house

Eydie doesn't like Mondays either

A glorious weekend is over - and yah, boo, sucks, the sunshine continues. Never mind, as I drag this sun-craving carcass off to the stuffy office, it is still Tacky Music Monday, and we have showtunes to celebrate!

Here to cheer us up are today's birthday boy Steve Lawrence and his missus the incomparable Eydie Gormé, here with special guest star Gene Kelly, on a rather jolly version of George and Ira Gershwin's By Strauss:

Away with the music of Broadway
Be off with your Irving Berlin
Oh I give no quarter to Kern or Cole Porter
And Gershwin keeps pounding on tin

How can I be civil when hearing this drivel
It's only for nightclubbin' souses
Oh give me the free 'n' easy waltz that is Vienneasy and
Go tell the band If they want a hand
The waltz must be Strauss's

Ya, ya ya, give me oom-pa-pah
When I want a melody
Lilting through the house
Then I want a melody
By Strauss
It laughs, it sings, the world is in rhyme
Swinging to three-quarter time

Let the Danube flow along
And the Fledermauss
Keep the wine and give me song
By Strauss

By Jove, by Jing, by Strauss is the thing
So I say to ha-cha-cha, heraus!
Just give me your oom-pa-pah, by Strauss!

Have a great week!

Steve and Eydie official website

Sunday 7 July 2013

The Scottish Play(er)

...good with his balls, apparently.

Andy Murray, first British man to win Wimbledon in 77 years

Lacroix, sweetie

In tribute to our idol Jennifer Saunders, who celebrated her 55th birthday yesterday, here's an excellent (somewhat edited) documentary - broadcast in the run-up to the show's 20th anniversary in 2011 - on one of the best TV comedies ever made, Absolutely Fabulous. Wonderful...

Many happy returns, Jen!

Jennifer Saunders (born 6th July 1958)

Saturday 6 July 2013

Taking on the establishment with high heels and lipstick

One of the best things about the fantabulosa biographical film on the life of gay icon Bette Bourne, that little Tony and I went to see at the V&A last night, is that it is one of those rare beasts - a documentary about the fight for gay liberation during the 70s and 80s here, in Britain.

Cinematic documentaries about gay history are more often than not exclusively about the USA (as the Stonewall riots, the Gay Lib movement that emerged out of anti-Vietnam hippydom, and black and feminist civil rights activism were all American phenomena it isn't that surprising), so it is refreshing to get perspectives from some of the surviving activists who fought similar battles on this side of the pond.

Bette Bourne - "who took on the establishment with high heels and lipstick" - and her Gay Liberation Front chums (many of whom were residents in her infamous "drag queen squat", and some later joined Bette in the triumphal alternative drag troupe Bloolips) were indeed galvanising participants in one of my favourite of all direct action protests...

On 9th September 1971 Mary Whitehouse, Malcolm Muggeridge, Lord Longford, Cliff-fucking-Richard and various assorted clergy, god-botherers and other nutters convened a mass meeting of their Festival of Light, a movement dedicated to opposing "the permissive society" in all its forms, at Methodist Central Hall opposite the Palace of Westminster.

Unbeknownst to the assembled worthies, Bette Bourne, Lavinia Co-op, Michael James, Gretal Feather, Martin Corbett, Peter Tatchell and many other founding members of the Gay Liberation Front (GLF) had infiltrated the prayers. Many of Bette's coterie were disguised as nuns, and as the speakers tried to address the crowd they began slinging porn from the balcony. Others shouted, clapped and screamed at inappropriate moments. Mr Corbett, who had calmly pretended to be a Hall official and ordered technical staff out of the basement, brought the lights down.

As Peter Tatchell recalls: "On the night, mayhem erupted. When Malcolm Muggeridge, speaking out about homosexuals, declared, 'I don't like them.' The feeling was mutual. Mice were released into the audience; lesbian couples stood up and passionately embraced. A dozen GLF nuns in immaculate blue and white habits charged the platform shouting gay liberation slogans, and a GLF bishop began preaching an impromptu sermon which urged people to 'keep on sinning.'"

It all apparently ended, before the police and security were able to forcibly remove them, with the drag nuns doing the can-can on the stage in front of the astounded speakers!

The last word, of course, went to Bette, who, at her subsequent trial for her part in the protest, was asked by the judge to remove her hat, and said "No! It goes with the shoes."

Thus, the title of the movie was born.

Bette Bourne - It Goes With The Shoes is a marvellous, disarmingly honest, up-front and charming insight into one of our heroes/heroines here at Dolores Delargo Towers. Mainly filmed at Bette's home or in parts of London where she was brought up and resided - the family home was very near us in Stoke Newington/Green Lanes - Mark Ravenhill really manages to get to the root of her extraordinary life. I am very pleased I got to see it, on only its third showing in the UK.

The evening concluded with Bette herself taking to the stage for questions, and she received a well-deserved ovation for her enormous contribution to the history of gay rights, and to showbiz. A star.

Here are some extracts from the film, for your delectation:

Read my entry on Bette Bourne from February at the Dolores Delargo Towers Museum of Camp.

Friday 5 July 2013

It's high time, just one crack at life

Daaahlings! It's the end of another week, and of the slough of despond that inevitably follows the peaks of adrenaline of last weekend's Gay Pride day. Time to party!

To start, I'm off to see the Bette Bourne biographical film It Goes With The Shoes at the V&A tonight.

Best of all - summer appears to be here at last (with temperatures this weekend predicted to hit 27C/81F)!

With such dazzling sunshine to look forward to, our thoughts inevitably travel back to that legendary long, hot summer of 1976. And in this week 37 years ago, as Britons watched in awe as the pavements melted and the reservoirs dried up, Miss Candi Staton made her triumphal debut in the charts.

Let us don our most outlandish feather necklaces and sing along with the anthem for the old and the bitter - Young Hearts Run Free...Thank Disco It's Friday!

Candi Staton official website

Thursday 4 July 2013

You say you want a revolution

"Born on 4th July" - Gina Lollobrigida, Gloria Stuart, Neil Simon, Garibaldi, Eva Marie Saint, Angela Baddeley, David 'Kid' Jensen, Gertrude Lawrence, Neil Morrissey, Bill Withers, and...

... Madame Cathy Berberian!

I really can't believe I have never featured this magnificent lady here before, especially since 2013 marks thirty years since her untimely death.

Apart from being an accomplished mezzo-soprano, singing everything from Monteverdi to operetta, Lieder and Music Hall numbers - in 36 languages - she also recorded a ground-breaking vocal and electronic experimental album called "Visage" [one wondered where Steve Strange got the idea for his band name] as early as 1961, had music written specifically for her by Stravinsky and John Cage (among other avant-garde artists), translated Woody Allen into Italian with Umberto Eco, did comedic routines to accompany her eclectic cabaret evenings of which Anna Russell would be proud, and owned a collection of French pornographic porcelain to boot!

We are proud possessors here at Dolores Delargo Towers of two albums by Madame Berberian, one a 1973 live concert from Edinburgh in which she tackles everything from Saint-Saens, Delibes and Purcell to such Victorian ditties as Father's a Drunkard and Mother is Dead and There Are Fairies At The Bottom Of Our Garden...

The other, even more superbly off-the wall and a definite favourite, is her classic 1967 album Revolution - 'An Operatic First', a collection of Beatles songs done in the Baroque operatic style, believe it or not.

And here, from that very collection, is the lady herself performing Ticket to Ride:

As Mark Swed, writing just last month in the LA Times said, "She did it all. Check her out."

Catherine Anahid Berberian (4th July 1925 – 6th March 1983)

Wednesday 3 July 2013

Miss Cock is recuperating

Our thoughts are with Miss Judith Durham, lead vocalist for 60s "light music" stalwarts the Seekers. It seems the dear lady is spending her 70th birthday today in hospital recovering after a stroke.

Thankfully, according to reports, the damage has not affected her beautiful voice...

Get well soon, and happy birthday.

Judith Durham (born Judith Mavis Cock, 3rd July 1943)