Thursday 31 October 2013

Trick or Treat

Speaking of Hallowe'en...

A clip I post every year, just for my dear sister...


Keep an eye on your ghoulies

Samhain - the Gaelic festival to mark the end of harvest season and the start of preparations for Winter.

Hallowe'en (or in Wales, Nos Calan Gaeaf) - the time for witches, ghosties and ghoulies to walk the earth.

Whatever one chooses to call it, it sounds far more interesting than spending time in the office.

Here, to spook you hepcats out, is a very appropriate number from the jazz-meister Mr Louis Armstrong:

Enjoy your haunting!

Wednesday 30 October 2013

Old devil

Sharing a birthday with (among others) Henry Winkler, Mario Testino, Juliet Stevenson, the lovely Ruth Gordon, the not-so-lovely Michael Winner, Richard Brinsley Sheridan, Grace Slick, King George II, Harry Hamlin, and - ahem! - Charles Atlas, it's our friend John-John's birthday today!

I featured his personal obsession Abba very recently, so instead I thought I'd stick to another fellow birthday celebrant to provide the music - here's the former Neighbours heartthrob Stefan Dennis, and his ill-fated attempt to enter the pop world in the footsteps of co-stars Kylie and Jason...

Well, does it?

Happy birthday, sweetie!

Tuesday 29 October 2013

Oh, those Ukrainians - no 439 in a series

Oh. My. Word.

We at Dolores Delargo Towers always love discovering a new, and especially camp, wannabee diva from foreign climes!

And here's another one from that eternal melting-pot of pop-kitsch (think Svetlana Loboda, Asiya Akhat, Kamaliya (also here) or indeed the marvellous Kazaky) - the Ukraine.

She's blonde, she's brassy, she's completely and utterly bonkers - laydeez'n'gentlemen, here's Miss Olya Polyakova!!

In Russian Style, she gets her boys to show us how to keep warm in mid-winter - with lots of baby oil...

For some reason she was not picked to represent the Ukraine at the Eurovision Song Contest in 2012 with Petal. Heaven knows why not...

She takes cartoon life to a level not seen since the heady days of Aqua with Shlepki:

And here is her newest single, Lioli, Lioli:

Which you must agree is classy.

Well, maybe not - but Miss Polyakova knocks loads of the other attitude-laden pop trash that haunts our charts into a cocked hat, as far as I am concerned!

Her country may have a terrible gay rights record (that Mr Elton John spoke out against) almost as bad as its neighbour Russia, but it seems the Ukraine is unbeatable for tackiness at the moment.

Olya Polyakova on Wikipedia (translated badly into English by Google).

[Thanks again to the lovely Henry at Barbarella's Galaxy. Of course!]

Monday 28 October 2013

Die Jugendlich Sänger

Germany's answer to the archetypal "teen queens" of the 50s and 60s like Brenda Lee or Connie Francis, Fraulein Conny Froboess celebrates her 70th birthday today. Bet she can't Hula-Hopp, Conny like she used to...

Recognising that it is still, after all, Tacky Music Monday, here is the lady singing a mightily camp number (complete with requisite sicherheit schwuler), in the midst of what appears to be some kind of supernatural ghost story, looking for her man:

Alles Gute zum Geburtstag!

Cornelia Froboess (born 28th October 1943)

I'm laughing at clouds so dark up above

Britain has been hit (as predicted) by hurricane force winds and torrential rain.

Our giant cosmos plants in the extensive gardens here at Dolores Delargo Towers are currently at a 45 degree angle, and a couple of the leafier pots were on their side this morning, but there's nothing surprising about that. Of course, the transport system across the South East of the UK is disrupted (that happens no matter what the weather - "wrong kind of snow", "too much sun", "leaves on the line"), and some people are without power. However it doesn't seem to have been Katrina so far.

As ever, with our stubborn "Blitz spirit" and - on this Tacky Music Monday - the combined forces of Dame Shirley Bassey and the Hollywood of 1929 superstar team of Joan Crawford, Lionel Barrymore, Marion Davies, Gus Edwards, John Gilbert, Buster Keaton, Marie Dressler, Anita Page, Norma Shearer and the rest, we shall see off this storm...

Storm latest

Sunday 27 October 2013

Something tells me that you're really gone

RIP Lou Reed (born Lewis Allan Reid, 2nd March 1942 – 27th October 2013).

Surely one of the most influential musicians ever to have walked the planet. I am very sad.

Read my tribute to the great man on the occasion of his 70th birthday last year...

... and here, Lou Reed's seminal Transformer album track-by-track.

Weather forecast

Humber, Thames, Dover, Wight, Portland: Southwest 7 to severe gale 9, becoming cyclonic severe gale 9 to violent storm 11 for a time, perhaps hurricane force 12 later. Rough or very rough. Rain or squally showers. Miss Gulch expected.

Miss Gulch Returns, a show by Fred Barton.

UK braced for the big storm.

Saturday 26 October 2013

We are all lunatics

Dissolute habits, immoral life, bad company, masturbation for 30 years - all valid reasons for admission to West Virginia’s Hospital for the Insane in the late 1800s.

Where's that straight-jacket?

[source: Dangerous Minds blog]

A tiny old lady

The heir to the throne thinks Christianity is a load of nonsense, it has emerged.

The infant was left bitter and angry after being dressed up like a tiny old lady and baptised against his wishes.

Desperately flailing his plump limbs, the future king said: " have no interest in your strange, outmoded belief system!"

He continued: "At this age I just want to lie on my back smiling at brightly coloured plastic objects. I don’t think that’s unreasonable.

"I should at least be at the stage of changing my own underwear before choosing a spiritual path.

"However if it was up to me – which clearly it isn’t – I’d probably choose to worship the Egyptian gods, particularly Horus.

"He’s a super-muscly guy with a bird’s head. That’s the sort of tangible superhero god a young boy can relate to.

"I can also see myself getting into tarots, crystals and occultism. Who knows, maybe I could be the next Aleister Crowley?

"Anyway I hope you all had a nice time today. I’m soaking wet now, and thoroughly pissed off."
The Daily Mash.

Of course.

Friday 25 October 2013

I've got a great big amount saved up in my love account

We finally decided to get around to seeing the multi-award-winning musical Top Hat last night, before it closes this weekend. We were most definitely not disappointed!

Based (of course) on the classic Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers movie from 1935 (and everyone should know how much we adore them!), the stage production pulled out all the stops to re-create the magical, impossibly luxurious Art Deco world of those uplifting RKO musicals of the Golden Age of Hollywood.

The sets were beautiful, the costumes sumptuous and the choreography as close to the Hermes Pan original as humanly possible.

Of course, as is to be expected of the "screwball comedies" of that era, the plot was as flimsy as can be - boy meets girl; mistaken identity means boy loses girl; boy's buffoonish sidekick (Clive Hayward as the bumbling "Horace Hardwick"), his battleaxe wife (the excellent Vivien Parry as "Madge", one of the show's best characters), the "comedy Italian" ("Alberto Beddini", played with gusto by Russell Leighton Dixon) and the wily butler (the dry-as-dust Stephen Boswell as "Bates") provide a humorous foil to the story; and all ends happily ever after.

The jokes were totally corny (although some one-liners were hilariously delivered) and no-one could ever expect anything as complicated as "character development". But who the hell needs those when what you want is to be swept away in the glittering visual spectacle of it all?

Our leads Gavin Lee (as "Jerry Travers") and Broadway's own Kristen Beth Williams (as "Dale Tremont") were positively faultless as they swept and swooshed and tapped their way through some of the best dance numbers of all time - the songbook of the maestro Irving Berlin.

All the great man's classics were here - Dancing Cheek to Cheek, Let's Face The Music And Dance, Isn't This a Lovely Day (to be Caught in the Rain)?, I'm Putting All My Eggs in One Basket and of course Top Hat, White Tie and Tails - and each was executed with a breathtaking show of dance genius.

The comic numbers (Dale's "vamp number" Wild About You, Horace and Madge's bitchy and bittersweet Outside Of That, I Love You and Beddini's Latins Know How being singular highlights) provided a fab contrast to the glitter, and the ensemble pieces (The Piccolino, the Venice ball and the hotel lobby scenes in particular) simply filled the stage with chiffon, exquisite tailoring and tight boys' buns. We like that.

One of the most spectacular musicals we've seen in ages, Top Hat was simply marvellous!

This show won three Laurence Olivier awards including Best New Musical, and the Evening Standard "Best Night Out" award. I cannot understand why on earth it has decided to close early, but yet again, maybe the typical West End audience is more interested in "jukebox musical" pop fluff and "star vehicles" than classy Hollywood glamour.

Their loss.

Top Hat closes in the Aldwych Theatre in the West End tomorrow (26th October 2013), but will embark on a nationwide tour thereafter.

I'm so pleased we got to see it...

And it makes me so depressed to see the gloom

It is foul out there...

Autumn is unleashing one of the nastiest mornings we've had for a long time - but it is almost the weekend, regardless. And we know what that means - it's time to party! Indeed, we do have a glittering Goth-themed party tomorrow to look forward to (our friend John-John's birthday celebration).

So let's get our boogie shoes on, and sing along with his favourite Swedes, Abba - and the anthem of most queens "out there" Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight). Thank Disco It's Friday!

Half past twelve
And I'm watching the late show in my flat all alone
How I hate to spend the evening on my own
Autumn winds
Blowing outside the window as I look around the room
And it makes me so depressed to see the gloom

There's not a soul out there
No one to hear my prayer

Gimme gimme gimme a man after midnight
Won't somebody help me chase the shadows away
Gimme gimme gimme a man after midnight
Take me through the darkness to the break of the day

Movie stars
Find the end of the rainbow, with a fortune to win
It's so different from the world I'm living in
Tired of T.V.
I open the window and I gaze into the night
But there's nothing there to see, no one in sight

There's not a soul out there
No one to hear my prayer

Gimme gimme gimme a man after midnight
Won't somebody help me chase the shadows away
Gimme gimme gimme a man after midnight
Take me through the darkness to the break of the day

Have a great weekend, dear reader!

Thursday 24 October 2013

I'm gonna burn the letters you were sending me

Timeslip moment again...

Can it really be 28 years since our birthday girl Miss Carolien de Windt and her sassy compatriots in Mai Tai (who even knew they were Dutch?) had a Top Ten hit in the UK with this song?

Archetypally 80s, it most definitely is a piece of History!

Mai Tai official website

Wednesday 23 October 2013

Fangs, Lyons Corner House, Kiwis, a baby-doll nightie and Karen Carpenter

Hallowe'en may be still a week away, but skull jewellery, vampire chic and jet-black outfits were de rigeur at "London's peerless gay literary salon" Polari last night.

And my word, was it a packed house! To accommodate the 150 people who had bought tickets for what is definitely becoming the "must attend" monthly event in the LGBT calendar, gone was our usual "cabaret-style" table set-up in favour of more chairs - and no wonder, given the treats in store...

Ebullient hostess-with-the-mostest Paul Burston had borrowed some vampire fangs for the occasion (but soon ditched them when he realised he couldn't actually speak!), and without further ado, introduced us to our readers for the evening.

Opening the show was the first of three newbies, Lyn Guest de Swarte, a spiritualist minister by day and author of steamy lesbian literature by night. She read for us not - as we might have thought, given the theme - anything related to spirits, ghosts or ghoulies, but rather the tale of the complicated relationship between two "working girls" who also happened to be lesbians, and the (hilarious) moment when the "femme" one decides to wear her new baby-doll nightie - to the club! A fun start indeed.

Our next author making her debut was Mo Foster, who was friends with the likes of William Burroughs, performed with punk bands, and has written plays for radio in her time. Her debut novel - quite late in life - is A Blues for Shindig. [The absorbing extract she chose was read for us by her young friend Nina]:
I want some action so I move myself down to the corner house, see if I can't catch up with BB. I need some halfway decent conversation after my day. I enjoy the benefits that Joe Lyons has brought to the West End. The Coventry Street Corner House is startling in the way it fits in and complements deviant life.

It is a centre for mysteries and petty criminals. All classes and sexes trawl here from time to time. Ponces home in on likely fodder, old lecherous men after young boys and young boys from the "Meat Rack" in Piccadilly in search of rich men. Prostitutes are officially barred, but who knows what a girl is doing with her bits? Gamblers will drop in on their way home and bevvy merchants take a breather between the club and the next watering hole in Covent Garden or Spitalfields. There is never a time when you can't drink in London, but it requires a bit of ingenuity. The Corner House is a coffee shop in the morning, a Palm Court in the afternoon, restaurant in the evening and then an all night café of a superior kind. People gird their loins, ready for the next alcoholic foray or for the next bit of villainy.

It is buzzing as usual. A few hyenas and jackals lurk, with larceny in their hearts and cups of tea in their hands. They give a nice frisson of excitement to the atmosphere. I now most of them at least by sight and nod a greeting, give out a mutter from the side of my mouth, an affinity of the bent. Now and then a copper will come in but he sticks out like a sore thumb. Grasses, however, abound.

I see Billy straight away. I watch him for a few moments. He is also called BB. A Bengal Lancer of style and one to be watched. He is thin, wiry, yet not skinny; his face is in motion all the time. Eyes watching out for angles and boys, mouth ready to spurt scalding sarcasm and sharp wit, chin set hard against the world. One tough little fucker. I like his smartness, his sexiness, his style. We two reckon we're a cut above the rest. We're right, too.
Utterly brilliant - and a perfect evocation of a lost underworld in 50s London.

Closing part one of the set-list, we had a welcome return for the charming Diriye Osman, who we first saw in December 2012. His reading, from his anthology Fairytales For Lost Children, was the gentle tale of a Somalian mother's placid acceptance of her daughter's lesbianism, in a soliloquy while casting her dreams into the ocean on paper and bits of rock:
I have spent my whole life living near the coast of Bosaaso, Somalia. I don’t know any other land. While the boat beat, those who are hungry for new homes in places like London and Luxembourg, risk their lives on cargo ships, I stand firm on this soil and I tell stories. I tell stories to my daughters about kings and warrior queens, freedom-fighters and poets. I tell these stories to remind my children and myself that Somalia is fertile with history and myth. And the only seed that needs watering is our imagination.
He reads (and writes) beautifully.

After a break for a fag and a trip to the bar, it was time for another newcomer to take the stand. From her blurb: "Robyn Vinten grew up in New Zealand. She came to London in the mid 80s and forgot to leave. She has had a number of short stories published over the years. Bruceville is her third novel, but the first under her real name."

Hers was a triptych of back-stories that revolved around one rather nasty homophobic incident in the young lives of the novel's protagonists; one that, judging by all the interwoven and carefully-drawn personalities to which she introduced us, was likely to affect the rest of their lives. Intensely intriguing; we were gripped!

Trust our headliner, the fantabulosa Jonathan Harvey to provide the appropriate level of light relief.

In his own inimitable Scouser way, the genius behind such faves as Beautiful Thing, Gimme Gimme Gimme and Beautiful People read an uproarious extract from his second book [his first, All She Wants, being such a triumph when we saw him in September last year] The Confusion of Karen Carpenter.

Focusing on the meandering insecurities of our heroine - forever cursed with an embarrassing name identical to a famous individual - he drew us once again into a soap-operatic scenario whereby the eponymous Karen has her humdrum life catapulted into a turmoil of emotion by the breakdown of a relationship. And it was absolutely brilliant! I can't wait to read it (if book #1 was anything to go by, this should have me hooting on the bus again).

Here is the man himself, talking about the book:

Having gathered the readers once more to the stage for the customary ovation, that was that. I (and Paul and John-John and little Tony) had Mr Harvey kindly sign a copy of his opus, and we bade our farewells to the multifarious crowd that included the lovely Eve Ferret (whose forthcoming shows Ferret Up The Arts we are planning to see at Soho's Arts Theatre next month), the impressively uplifted) Lauren Henderson (aka Rebecca Chance), DJ Connell, William Parker, Helen Sandler, VG (Val) Lee), Bryanne McIntosh-Melville, Simon Reeves, Jayne Rogers, Anny Knight et al, and meandered off into the unseasonably warm wet night for further refreshment at Halfway to Heaven.

Another utterly stunning evening.

Roll on November's gala - the sixth anniversary of Polari and the announcement of the winner of the Polari First Book Prize 2013 - in the prestigious Purcell Room at the Southbank Centre, featuring award-winning author Charlotte Mendelson, poet Dean Atta, authors Rosie Garland and Patrick Flanery, special guest Helen Lederer (yay!) and singer Dee Chanelle.

J'adore Polari!

The man-by-man story of a lost soul

"I am not ashamed of anything I've done. I would hate to be ashamed of anything. I would hate to look back on my life and say, 'Oh, if I only had it over again, I would be different, and I would do this differently'."

Diana Dors (born Diana Mary Fluck, 23 October 1931 – 4 May 1984)

Tuesday 22 October 2013

See that girl, watch that scene

Equal marriage is one step further to becoming a federal law - despite the opposition of their Jesuit PM Tony Abbott - in Australia, as their capital Canberra has just voted to hold official weddings for gays and lesbians.

Time for an appropriate celebration - with Our Princess Kylie and her Dancing Queens!

Read more in The Guardian

Like a circle in a spiral, like a wheel within a wheel

Round like a circle in a spiral
Like a wheel within a wheel
Never ending or beginning
On an ever-spinning reel
Like a snowball down a mountain
Or a carnival balloon
Like a carousel that's turning
Running rings around the moon
Like a clock whose hands are sweeping
Past the minutes on its face
And the world is like an apple
Whirling silently in space
Like the circles that you find
In the windmills of your mind

Like a tunnel that you follow
To a tunnel of its own
Down a hollow to a cavern
Where the sun has never shone
Like a door that keeps revolving
In a half-forgotten dream
Or the ripples from a pebble
Someone tosses in a stream
Like a clock whose hands are sweeping
Past the minutes on its face
And the world is like an apple
Whirling silently in space
Like the circles that you find
In the windmills of your mind

Keys that jingle in your pocket
Words that jangle in your head
Why did summer go so quickly?
Was it something that I said?
Lovers walk along a shore
And leave their footprints in the sand
Was the sound of distant drumming
Just the fingers of your hand?
Pictures hanging in a hallway
Or the fragment of a song
Half-remembered names and faces
But to whom do they belong?
When you knew that it was over
Were you suddenly aware
That the autumn leaves were turning
To the colour of her hair?

Like a circle in a spiral
Like a wheel within a wheel
Never ending or beginning
On an ever-spinning reel
As the images unwind
Like the circles that you find
In the windmills of your mind

RIP Noel Harrison (29th January 1934 – 22nd October 2013)

Monday 21 October 2013

Seré siempre lo que fuí

That wet weekend just flew by - and here we are again in the dark, trying desperately to get enough coffee inside us to get going on that tedious journey to work.

Hey, ho. Who better to lift us out of the gloom on this Tacky Music Monday but the eternally upbeat [and we at Dolores Delargo Towers still mourn her, a decade on from her death] Señorita Celia Cruz?

Here she is in shimmering scarlet, with her version of the camp classic I Will Survive (Yo Vivire), complete with a coterie of "safety maricons"...

Have a good week!

Celia Cruz (born Úrsula Hilaria Celia de la Caridad Cruz Alfonso de la Santísima Trinidad, 21st October 1925 – 16th July 2003)

Sunday 20 October 2013


It is once again ages since we at Dolores Delargo Towers have explored the newer music that is out there in the real world - so let's get to it, and see what a maelstrom of madness has caught our ears of late...

Let us begin with something truly trashy. Richard Simmons is "an American fitness personality and actor who promotes weight-loss programs, prominently through his Sweatin' to the Oldies line of aerobics videos and is known for his eccentric, outgoing and frequently flamboyant personality". Apparently. Here's his new single Hair Do - make of it what you will!

The marvellous Agnetha Faltskog of Abba fame's latest is rather catchy little number (thanks, Henry!):

Another act that has been around for decades (admittedly nowhere near as long as Miss Faltskog), Belle and Sebastian are back with a sinister video for their new single:

I have a sort of love-hate thing going on with Miss Lana Del Rey. There is something about those strained self-consciously trippy vocals that grates after a little while. However, I must admit to having grown to like the Cedric Gervais (who?) remix of her recent single:

It appears that the return of Nile Rogers (with Daft Punk) this summer did indeed make it OK to produce unashamedly Disco music again. Like this one by Krystal Klear:

Another new release from those peerless pop gods Pet Shop Boys has arrived, this time featuring a guest rap (unfortunately) from clubbers' fave of two years ago Example. Neil wants us to come around and stay for the weekend, and who are we to say no?

Here's a rather fab discovery - a German singer who goes by the name of MarieMarie, and this rather catchy choon:

It seems like only yesterday we had a sexy video to drool over featuring our favourite houseboys Kazaky, and here is another one! As they quite rightly observe, It Doesn't Matter:

Storming into the Russian fascist "anti-gay backlash" battle with all guns blazing in defence of the gayers, the lovely girls from Xelle have created a catchy, angry stomper of a gay rights anthem that should be heard all the way to the Kremlin!

Song of the moment (and far better than Our Princess's recent official release Skirt, which sounds like something a nonentity like Rita Ora might record) is Kylie Minogue's faboo collaboration with Italian superstar Laura Pausini - Limpido. [Let's hope this splendid track brings her some joy and success after her recent split from the gorgous Andres Velencoso]...

And finally (because we have to end somewhere!), thanks again to the fine folks who inhabit Barbarella's Galaxy, it's the oddest video of them all - Breach and their/his incredibly contagious Jack!

As ever, enjoy - and let me know your thoughts...

Saturday 19 October 2013

Don't ever stop doing what you're doing

Speaking of "pop-trash-tastic"...

Another notable birthday today is the sadly-missed Harris Glenn Milstead, better known (of course) as the irrepressible Divine!

To mark what would have been her 68th birthday, here is a fab live appearance by the greatest "monster-woman" of them all - at Manchester's legendary Hacienda club in 1983 - with Shoot Your Shot:

You got what I want
You got what I need, shoot your shot.
You know how I feel
Come on make it real, shoot your shot.

Don't ever stop doing what you're doing
Don't stop, shoot your shot.
Don't ever stop doing what you're doing
Don't stop, shoot your shot.

No matter what it takes
It's for you to make, shoot your shot.
Give it all you got
You really got a lot, shoot your shot.

Don't ever stop doing what you're doing
Don't stop, shoot your shot.
Don't ever stop doing what you're doing
Don't stop, shoot your shot!

Divine (19th October 1945 – 7th March 1988)


It's another "fabulous at fifty" birthday today - Miss Sinitta Renay Malone!

Despite being famous for only a few camp Hi-NRG hits three decades ago, her on-off relationship with the mega-powerful TV mogul Simon Cowell has assured that Amii Stewart's favourite niece has remained in the spotlight for decades since (even if that "relationship" is yet again suffering the indignities of tabloid frenzy of late).

Good luck to her - she gave us all a fab few moments in the 80s. I can smell the poppers even as I play this - it's the pop-trash-tastic Toy Boy!

Toy boy, toy boy!

Everybody's talking when they see me walking
With this little boy of mine

He's my play thing and I love him
I dress him up looking fine
He ain't got money
People think it's funny
He gives me everything I need

He's my playboy and my love toy
And I want everyone to know
He's my toy boy toy boy
I'm out with my toy boy toy boy

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday night

When I want a lover
Don't need any other
I know he'll come running to me

He's my gigolo and my Romeo
And I want everyone to know
He's my toy boy toy boy
I'm out with my toy boy toy boy

Speaking of toy boys, I still can't believe the bitch shagged Brad Pitt...

Many happy returns!

Sinitta official website

Friday 18 October 2013

In private

Our internet is up, then down, then up, then down. Last time we lost web access, it lasted three days. I was distraught.

However, who really cares as long as we have a weekend to look forward to?

Let's really push the boat out today, with possibly the classiest of classy (ha ha) numbers to get our parties started!

It's none other than the multi-talented Miss Britt Ekland, who invites us to her Private Party...

Thank Disco It's Friday!

Have a good one!

Britt-Marie Eklund (aka Britt Ekland, born 6 October 1942)

Thursday 17 October 2013

Apologies for any inconvenience this may cause

The bloody internet is down - again! - at Dolores Delargo Towers, so once more I have to sneak in a bit of blogging while in work. Oo-er.

Hopefully the engineer, when he comes tomorrow, will fix this bloody thing once and for all.

Meanwhile, here's a suitable musical intermission...

Boom-te-boom, la-la-la-la-la-la, indeed.

[Music: Pink Balloon - Horst Jankowski]

Wednesday 16 October 2013

Gran dama

Another day, another diva!

Sharing a birthday with our magnificent Patron Saint Angela Lansbury (who is today's latest "exhibit" in the Dolores Delargo Towers Museum of Camp) is the no less notable Spanish gran dama Carmen Sevilla, whose career also spans six decades.

A revered actress, singer and TV presenter in her homeland, it would also appear that Señorita Sevilla is the kind of diva who would be more than comfortable on one of our regular Tacky Music Mondays...

Carmen Sevilla (born María del Carmen García Galisteo, 16th October 1930)

Tuesday 15 October 2013

Thought for the Day

When a girl's gotta go...

Monday 14 October 2013

With one look I play every part

Dismissing the fact that just about everyone seems fascinated how a woman of 81 can do what she does - cut a whole new studio album including some challenging modern styles, and then go on a tour up and down the country to promote it - our Patron Saint Petula Clark (shamefully not yet a Dame) recently said:
"I don't think about my age and I don't care about anyone else's.

"It's about doing what you do well and about learning and progressing. I'm still learning. I don't ever think I know how to do this."
Nevertheless, to still be at the top of your game at the time of life when many people would prefer settling into a comfy armchair with a cup of tea and a copy of the People's Friend is a remarkable feat, indeed. And so it was as Madame Arcati, John-John and I (almost killing ourselves scaling the stairs to the Upper Circle) settled breathlessly into our seats in the packed Theatre Royal Drury Lane for the penultimate date on her month-long UK tour.

We sat, transfixed, as the great lady (accompanied by a small but accomplished band of fine musicians) glittered her way to the centre of that vast grandiose auditorium, and filled the whole place with the beauty and power of her voice. She certainly has lost little of her vocal dexterity, and admirably still has the stamina to tackle a wide-ranging selection of (often musically complex) numbers from her seven-decade career in a full two-hour show.

Everything we love Our Pet for was here, and more. From her early pop hits (Sailor, I Know a Place), through the Tony Hatch Songbook (I Couldn't Live Without Your Love, Colour My World, The Other Man's Grass Is Always Greener, Don't Sleep in the Subway) and her ballad from Finnigan's Rainbow (How Are Things in Glockamora?) right up to her newest material including covers of Gnarls Barkley's Crazy, Elvis's Love Me Tender and her mate John Lennon's Imagine, we couldn't fault her.

In between songs, she gave us some snippets of fascinating gossip such as the time when the young Pet and none other than Karen Carpenter found themselves in Elvis Presley's dressing-room, but apparently she made excuses and the two girls left before "Old Snakehips" could have his wicked way; and her odd experience of working with Fred Astaire and Francis Ford Coppola together in the height of the hippy trippy 60s. But throughout all these showbiz moments (she was entertaining the troops on Forces Radio at the age of eight, and she was there for Lennon and Ono's "bed-in for peace" and sang on Give Peace A Chance), it is the music that really makes her stand out. She is not for nothing one of the best selling British female artists in recording history, selling over 68 million records worldwide.

She did a magnificent version of her triumphal showstopper as Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard:

We were treated to a most emotionally beautiful rendition of the song none other than Charlie Chaplin gifted to her:

Proving she can more than hold her own against the monstrous wave of modern-day "wibblers" and wannabees, she hushed the audience with her brilliant 2013 single:

But of course it was for her all-time classic Downtown that the cheers were inevitably the loudest:

In a year of seeing long-revered icons make major comebacks (Bowie) or appear on stage (Marianne Faithfull, Bryan Ferry), this particular Evening With Petula Clark made us really sit up and take notice - an evening we will certainly cherish for a long time!

We love Our Pet.

Petula Sally Olwen Clark, CBE (born 15th November 1932)

Come together, right now, over me

We went to see the lovely Petula Clark in concert yesterday, and she was one of the most fabulous 80-year-olds I have ever seen light up a stage!

Before I go any further (a full review may be later) - on this Tacky Music Monday, I have found a rather wonderful clip of the lady herself, together with multi-coloured and multi-fringed safety gays to entertain us as we slink through the wet miserableness to work.

Her take on Come Together is quite something!

Petula Clark