Friday 31 October 2014

It's that time of year again...

...for me to play my sister's favourite movie clip!

The Return of Count Yorga.

Of course.

Happy Hallowe'en, Hils! As every year...

[More Hallowe'en shenanigans]

This is not the lobby of the Plaza Hotel?

It's been a long, dreary week, folks - but salvation is just a few hours away.

As befits our building anticipation of a weekend that also serves to celebrate all things wicked, demonic and downright scary (and that's just me after a few pints of Magners), here's Miss Alicia Bridges' fabulously camp classic I Love The Nightlife as she probably never envisaged it when it was first released - a dance number featuring Count Dracula and the former Mrs McMillan...

Thank Disco It's (Hallowe'en) Friday!

Have a spooky weekend, peeps!

Love At First Bite on IMDB

Thursday 30 October 2014

Sodom and Gomorrah, I see you're back in town

Now here's a blast-from-the-past, alright!

Miss Grace Slick - erstwhile lead singer of Jeffersons Airplane and Starship, and all-round "oddball" - nicknamed "The Acid Queen" or "The Chrome Nun" in her day, celebrates her 75th birthday today.

To mark this milestone in the life of the lady who, at the height of her success was legendary for her alcohol and chemical consumption (she famously had to be dragged off stage on more than one occasion; once on live TV), it is to her late 70s début solo single - one of my personal faves - Dreams [nothing to do with Fleetwood Mac] we turn (again) for today's jolly. Miss Slick was obviously a huge influence on a generation of female artists yet to come...

Oh I, I believe in magic and I believe in dreams
Until I heard the thunder rumble
I saw the mountains crumble
Then came the circus so I followed its parade
With all the fancy lion-tamers, high-wire fiery flamers
Ravers of every kind
I saw those high-stepping sexy witches
Sons of satin, son-of-bitches
All were there, in my dreams
All in my dreams

Sodom and Gomorrah, I see you're back in town
And though you build a wall around you
The multitude still found you
Just like the circus to start with a parade
Oh but a parade of the fancy lion-tamers, high-wire fiery flamers
Ravers of every kind
With all those high-stepping sexy witches
Sons of satin, son-of-bitches
All were there, in my dreams
All in my dreams

I can see the whole world is just a circus
And I can tell that the circus
Why, it's just hell
And then I heard a drummer rolling
I found my seats been stolen
Then a spotlight hit me going wild in centre ring
For all you fancy lion-tamers, high-wire fiery flamers
Ravers of every kind
For all you high-stepping sexy witches
Sons of satin, son-of-bitches
All were there, in my dreams
All in my dreams
My dreams ooh my dreams

Said I, I believe in magic and I believe in dreams
I said I, I believe in magic and I, I believe in dreams
I believe in dreams
I said I, I believe in magic and I, I believe in dreams
Oh I believe in dreams
And magic, magical dreams
The better to sing that I believe in dreams
Magical dreams
I believe in dreams

Well I, I believe in magic and I still believe in dreams

Three words: "Fab. U. Lous!"

Grace Slick (née Wing, born 30th October 1939)

Wednesday 29 October 2014

Yékéké nimo yé ké yé ké

I've been rather disappointed by the lack of any kind of acknowledgement of many of my blog efforts of late; my "hit" rate is at an all-time low. Of the last ten blogs over at the Museum of Camp, I have had only three people comment; two of those on one post. Over here, it's more a ratio of one comment every three or four blogs.

I wonder sometimes:
  • Is it Blogger that is dying? [It doesn't have a "Like" button, so you have to - um - actually write stuff...]
  • Am I considered "irrelevant" because I do not "do" F***book or Tw*tter? [I actually write stuff...]
  • Is everyone just too busy doing other things? [After all, Strictly Come Dancing is sooo demanding. And if not watching Strictly, everyone's face is in their phone; so they're doing something-or-other.]
  • Should I just Learn to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb?
  • Is she or isn't she using Harmony hairspray?
Oh what the the hell, who gives a fish's tit when I can rely upon Mr Mory Kanté to cheer me up with a good old shout-along song?

Lord alone know what it means, but Yé ké yé ké, anyway!

Bi sounkouroun lou la donkégna ah ah
Bi kamberen lou la donkegna ah ah
I madji I ma yélé
I kanan n'bila nara ro
N'bo n'bolo bila
Kanfalani yana sara le ila
Gnin kisse gbela serra le ils
Yékéké nimo yé ké yé ké
Ké woyé boli lalé
N'na doni kassi kan
Woyé boli lalé
Eh eh
Nyé n'ta soron akono mi ma ta I yonfé
Wo dén té soron lonkéléna
Sini Mory la diyandé
Timba bara wouloukounta
Souba ma kata I yala
Ah sara lila
Yékéké nimo yé ké yé ké
Djely mousso ni kédjou to wara bo
M'ba mofila téma yan féou


Mory Kanté

Tuesday 28 October 2014

Touch all your dreams way down insi-i-ide

Timeslip moment..!

Let's take a little trip back twenty years (gulp) to another life, another world; a world of House, Garage, Lean-to, Outhouse and Shed [only joking!} - when we were still cool enough to go clubbing - to bask in a largely-un-R'nB-tainted musical scene when British dance acts had taken the "Chicago sound", mixed it with the innovations coming out of Europe, and batted it back across the pond.

Leading the way was former "Galaxy" singer Phil Fearon's pet project, Baby D, and this all-time classic - Number 1 in the chart in this week in 1994:

I'll take you up to the highest heights
Let's spread our wings and fly away-ay
Surround you with love that's pure delight
Release your spirit, set you free
Come and feel my energy-y-y
Let's be as one in soul and mind
I'll fill your world with ecstacy
Touch all your dreams way down insi-i-ide

Let me be your fantasy
Let me be your fantasy, yeah-eah-eah-eah
Let me be your fantasy
Let me be your fantasy

Let me be your fantasy
Let me touch your dreams
Just spread your wings and fly away

...which would be nice.

Baby D

Monday 27 October 2014

We are not wholly bad or good, who live our lives under Milk Wood

It is spring, moonless night in the small town, starless and bible-black, the cobblestreets silent and the hunched, courters'-and-rabbits' wood limping invisible down to the sloeblack, slow, black, crowblack, fishingboat-bobbing sea. The houses are blind as moles (though moles see fine tonight in the snouting, velvet dingles) or blind as Captain Cat there in the muffled middle by the pump and the town clock, the shops in mourning, the Welfare Hall in widows' weeds. And all the people of the lulled and dumbfound town are sleeping now.
Speaking of Dylan Thomas...

The BBC, in all its magnificence, really pulled all the stops out for its "official tribute" to The Great Man's greatest work Under Milk Wood (that we watched on catch-up tonight). It was breath-taking.

Auntie Beeb managed to gather an impressive cornucopia of Welsh stars (filmed in New York, Los Angeles, London, Cardiff and Laugharne) each taking a part in this marvellous "play for voices":

VoiceMichael Sheen
Captain CatTom Jones
New York VoiceMatthew Rhys
Laugharne VoiceAimee-Ffion Edwards
Drowned and Willy NillyTom Rhys Harries
Drowned and VoiceKarl Johnson
Drowned and Evans the DeathIwan Rheon
Drowned and VoiceAneurin Barnard
Rosie ProbertNia Roberts
Mog EdwardsIoan Gruffudd
Myfanwy PriceKimberley Nixon
Mr WaldoSteffan Rhodri
NeighbourMark Lewis Jones
NeighbourRichard Harrington
NeighbourSophie Evans
NeighbourMelanie Walters
VoiceGriff Rhys Jones
VoiceJohn Rhys-Davies
VoiceAndrew Howard
VoiceRakie Ayola
Mr PughJonathan Pryce
Mrs PughSian Phillips
Rev Eli JenkinsBryn Terfel
Polly GarterKatherine Jenkins
Mrs Ogmore PritchardCharlotte Church
Mr OgmoreTom Ellis
Mr PritchardAneirin Hughes
Butcher BeynonRobert Pugh
Mrs BeynonSuzanne Packer
Lily SmallsEve Myles
Mae Rose CottageAlexandra Roach
Nogood BoyoCraig Roberts
Mary Ann SailorsSharon Morgan
Dai BreadOwen Teale
Mrs Dai Bread OneDi Botcher
Mrs Dai Bread TwoSian Thomas
Sinbad SailorsJon Tregenna

Whew! a tour-de-force of acting, indeed - we were exhausted by the time it was over.

As someone wisely said on the occasion of their recent star-studded God Only Knows video: "Only the BBC could make this happen".

And here, for your delectation - catch it while you can before the "powers-that-be" take action to remove it from the interwebs - it is, in its entirety (well, I say entirety; this is Auntie's slightly abridged version of Mr Thomas' work, condensed):

Part 1:

Part 2 here

Read more about this brilliant programme

Dylan Thomas Centenary

How I wish I had a gun; a wittle gun

As I feel more miserable than usual heading back to work in this ever-closing-in Autumnal gloom after a fab week on leave (with a video shoot, a trip to Essex, a visit to the RHS Autumn flower show - and a burning-candles-at-both-ends party to finish off), it is of great solace to discover that another of "our ladies of Hollywood" is still with us (contrary to my previous belief that she had died years ago).

For none other than Miss Nanette Fabray blows out 94 candles on her cake today - and here she to brighten this Tacky Music Monday in perhaps her best-known appearance, as one of the "Triplets" (the others being Fred Astaire and Jack Buchanan) in The Band Wagon...

We do everything alike
We look alike
We dress alike, we walk alike
We talk alike
And what is more
We hate each other very much
We hate our folks
We're sick of jokes on what an art it is
To tell us apart!

If one of us gets the measles
Another one gets the measles
Then all of us gets the measles
And mumps and croup.
How I wish I had a gun
A wittle gun
It would be fun to shoot the other two
And be only one.

Have a good week, folks!

I am not looking forward to mine.

Nanette Fabray (born 27th October 1920)

Sunday 26 October 2014

I'm rich, I'm famous, I vanish, I'm glitz

Speaking of plastic surgery...

Here's the magnificent Felix da Housecat and the ever-wonderful Miss Kittin, with possibly the creepiest video imaginable - featuring, among other surgically-enhanced grandes dames, the bizarre Duchess of Alba (Full name: María del Rosario Cayetana Paloma Alfonsa Victoria Eugenia Fernanda Teresa Francisca de Paula Lourdes Antonia Josefa Fausta Rita Castor Dorotea Santa Esperanza Fitz-James Stuart, Silva, Falcó y Gurtubay)!

Everybody wants to be Hollywood
The fame, the vanity, the glitz, the stories
One day, I'll become a great big star

You know like the big dipper
And maybe one day you can visit my condo
On the big hill you know like 9-0-2-1-0

Just imagine my face in the magazine
People analysing my look, my body or
Any plastic surgery

You know like the big dipper
And maybe one day you can shake
My hand on the planet Hollywood

You say, I'm not underground
I'm rich, I'm famous, I vanish, I'm glitz
I am the story, I am the star
You know like the big dipper

Sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll
It's over
It's over
I decide, it's over

Everybody wants to be Hollywood
And maybe one day you can visit my condo
On the big hill you know like 9-0-2-1-0, oh yeah

If that doesn't put you off "having a little work done", nothing will.

Saturday 25 October 2014

The "Melodi" goes round and round

Having had a verrrrry late night for John-John's "Melodifestivalen/Eurovision-themed" party (and after-party drinkies), and a verrrrry long lie-in as a consequence (I only woke up as the sun was getting low at 5pm!), I think the only thing I can do on this "lost day" is take a little virtual trip around London with the Park Lane Set '66!

Courtesy of the faboo Soft Tempo Lounge, of course.

[Music: Judy by Martin Böttcher.]

Friday 24 October 2014

You are young and free

The gorgeous Tom Daley was named "Man of the Year" at the recent Attitude Awards 2014.

He is ours always.

With thoughts of Tom in mind, and with a party tonight for our friend John-John's birthday to kick things off, let's welcome the forthcoming weekend in our traditional manner - with a 90s take on the disco genre, admittedly - all sparkles and feathers, with a most apposite song...

Thank Disco It's Friday!

Thursday 23 October 2014

Who's that girl?

Dedicated to Miss Renée "Bridget Jones" Zellweger, who seems lately to have a completely new head...

Charlie Hides TV.

Of course.

{2022 UPDATE: Like so much of Mr Hides' material - gone from the interwebs]

Miss Zellweger is not the only one whose face appears to be completely different to how we remember it.

Take Nicole Kidman, for example:

Or Jennifer "Dirty Dancing" Grey:

How about Meg Ryan?

Or Priscilla Presley?

And let's not even mention Jennifer Rush...

Love me, love me, love me, say you do - and we do

From the official press release:
"With an unparalleled career in show business spanning over sixty years, Dame Shirley Bassey has done and seen it all, performing for the likes of Royals and Presidents, being met with rapturous applause on worldwide stages from the glamour of Las Vegas to the mud of Glastonbury.

Throughout it all, Dame Shirley’s immediately entrancing voice has matured and richened to ensure she remains even more vibrant a musical force than the day she first stepped into the spotlight. Quite simply, [this] is Dame Shirley Bassey at her very best."
And so the inimitable Dame Shirley has announced the release of Hello Like Before, her 60th anniversary album, described as a tribute to all the songs that the The Girl With The Golden Voice "...has always longed to record and finally been able to imbue with her own Bassey spellbinding presence."

She is indeed covering some tracks I have always longed to hear her sing...*

This Is What You Are
Englishman In New York
I'm Still Here
MacArthur Park
*Wild Is The Wind
Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend
(duet with Paloma Faith)
Here's To Life
*It Was A Very Good Year
Hello Like Before
We Got Music
(deluxe bonus track)
Hey Jude (deluxe bonus track)

Here's a little behind-the-scenes teaser from the making of the album:

And here's a rather good fan-made compilation of all those hand gestures that have made us who we are today...

[2020 UPDATE: gone from the interwebs, unfortunately]

The Standard CD Edition and Deluxe CD Edition will be released 17th November 2014. The vinyl version will be released on 15th December.

I can't wait!

Wednesday 22 October 2014

Strike a pose

Mrs George Clooney, Amal Alamuddin

Amy Adams

Anne Hathaway

Mrs Justin Trousersnake, Jessica Biel

Sarah Jessica Parker

Penelope Cruz and friends

From The Hollywood Reporter:
In September - just weeks before he passed away on Monday at the age of 82 - [we] named Oscar de la Renta one of 2014's most influential red-carpet designers. And that he was, with his graceful, modernly elegant gowns making an astounding 54 appearances on red carpets during the past 12 months.

"I feel very lucky to work with such extraordinary women. It is a tremendous honour and a great pleasure. My role as a designer is to make a woman feel her best. If I have made a woman feel beautiful, then that would be my ultimate contribution," [he said].
Favourite designer of such disparate bedfellows as Oprah Winfrey, Jackie Kennedy Onassis and Nancy Reagan, Mr de la Renta - an emigré to Spain from the Dominican Republic in the early 50s - was one of the world's most successful couturiers, eclipsing even his mentors Balenciago and Lanvin to preside over a $200m international empire.

He will be sadly missed by the ladies of the red carpet at events the world over.

with Audrey Hepburn

To mark his passing, here's a little something from two ladies of fashion, RuPaul vs Madonna:

Óscar Arístides Renta Fiallo (22nd July 1932 – 20th October 2014)

More Oscar de la Renta over at Dolores Delargo Towers Museum of Camp

Tuesday 21 October 2014

Get used to it

Just because...

Featuring the eternal house fave here at Dolores Delargo Towers, Tel Aviv's premier drag superstar Uriel Yekutiel, here's another fantabulosa video promo for local club night Arisa - featuring a song by someone called Margalit "Harris" (I got that name courtesy of Google Translate, so it is likely to be inaccurate; there is indeed no information on an artiste of this name "out there") [2019 UPDATE: her surname is Tzan'ani]. The message of the song is basically "This is not Europe, it's Israel, it's the Middle East, it's a mess - get used to it."


Needless to say, I love it.

Camp? Moi..?

Monday 20 October 2014

Now I shout it from the highest hills

It may be a week off for me - I'm currently on a flying visit to the boys in Essex - but I haven't forgotten that it's a Tacky Music Monday!

Fitting the bill perfectly, here's a double dose of today's birthday girl (and bless 'er, she only died three years ago after giving a lifelong service to the gays of Britain) Miss Kathy Kirby!

[Both clips are from a 1983 Channel 4 show called Unforgettable. I don't remember it.]

Unforgettable, indeed.

Have a good week, one and all!

Kathy Kirby (born Kathleen O'Rourke, 20th October 1938 - 19th May 2011)

Sunday 19 October 2014

Rat-tat-tat-tat-tat no more

Sad news. From The Huffington Post:
Tim Hauser, the founder and singer of the Grammy-winning vocal troupe The Manhattan Transfer, died Thursday from cardiac arrest, band representative JoAnn Geffen said Friday. He was 72.

Hauser founded Manhattan Transfer, who released their debut album in the early 1970s and launched hits such as Operator and The Boy from New York City. They went on to win multiple pop and jazz Grammy Awards. Their critically acclaimed album, 1985's Vocalese, earned a whopping 12 Grammy nominations.
I adored The Manhattan Transfer as a youngster - all stylish outfits and classy harmonies, they seemed to inhabit that unattainable world typified by Brideshead Revisited and Mapp and Lucia, of Art Deco and Transatlantic liners, cocktails and Jazz hands, a world I still aspire to - and their utter stylishness is typified by this, my fave:

Rat-tat-tat-tat-tat, indeed.


Saturday 18 October 2014

Trannies, Mayors and Three Flying Piglets

As my regular reader might already know, we are staunch supporters of LGBT History Month (held every February) - especially that which takes place in Camden and Islington boroughs, already acknowledged to be the biggest of its kind in the world.

And so it came to pass that this morning - unheard of for me on a Saturday, my traditional "lie-in" day - I hauled my weary body out of bed to join a sizeable gang of fellow volunteers at the shiny new Granary Square development (in the heart of the former wasteland at the back of Kings Cross Station, on the Grand Union Canal) at some ungodly hour to take part in the filming of a video to promote History Month 2015. And what fun it was, too!

Butch, bitch, queen or dyke, tranny or trans, young and old, assorted Mayors, there was a mad variety of bods assembled on the fake-grass-carpeted steps, all holding up placards to spell out the various messages associated with History Month and its aims. We were choreographed, rearranged, up, down and thereabouts - but all done with great humour by our Master of Ceremonies Paul from the community film group Three Flying Piglets.

In the end, he and the crew seemed ecstatic with what we had all achieved, we all gave ourselves a round of applause, and buggered off to the pub. (From whence I have only just returned...)

The video itself won't be formally released till the end of November, and I can't wait to see it!

Here's a reminder of last year's:

Camden LGBT Forum

Friday 17 October 2014

Take me in your arms and rock me

Oh. Thank. Heavens. That week is finally over...

...and I am on leave for a week! Yay!

I am in such a joyous mood, I feel I really should don some huge flares, a jacket with a huge collar, and freak on down with some very frenetic dancers, in wigs - like Sunday's birthday boy Mr George McCrae [he's 70 years old, you know]:

That song is 40 years old(!) - and without it, the whole célébration de la discothèque every weekend here at Dolores Delargo Towers would not exist... Thank Disco It's Friday! Have a funky one.

Ah-aaaaaah, yeah
Take me in your arms and rock me
Ah-aaaaaah, yeah
Take me in your arms and rock me


George Warren McCrae, Jr. (born 19th October 1944)

Thursday 16 October 2014

Telly time machine

So, what was on telly on the day you were born?

If you are in the UK, a new search facility of the newly-digitised back issues of Radio Times will tell you!

I searched, and found this was the evening's line-up on the date I was born 51 years ago in August:

17.25 : FRANCIS DURBRIDGE PRESENTS - "The Desperate People", starring Denis Quilley, Hugh Cross, June Ellis, David William and Shirley Cain.

17.50 : THE NEWS
17.55 : TODAY'S SPORT, introduced by Alan Weeks.

18.00 : JUKE BOX JURY, with chair David Jacobs and panel members Carole Carr, Ted King and Barbara Windsor.

18.35 : THE THIRD MAN - TV adaptation starring Michael Rennie and Jonathan Harris.

19.00 : WELLS FARGO - the adventures of Special Agent Jim Hardie, played by Dale Robertson.

19.50 : THE DICK EMERY SHOW, with guests Joan Sims, Gary Miller, The Springfields, Mary Millar, Rex Garner and the Cliff Adams Singers.

20.35 : The Saturday Film - THE EAGLE AND THE HAWK, starring John Payne, Rhonda Fleming and Dennis O'Keefe.

22.15 : THE NEWS

22.25 : MAIGRET - classic crime series, starring Rupert Davies.

23.15 : Close Down

With that much entertainment on offer, you'd need to be in bed early.

Check out the BBC Genome Project for yourself - it's fun!

More about the venerable Radio Times in my blog back in 2011.

Dame Commander

One of the greatest of our Patron Saints Dame Angela Lansbury - who we had the privilege of seeing for the first time on stage this year in Blithe Spirit - is 89 years old today!

All hail.

To celebrate, in a most suitable fashion, here she is - together with two other great ladies from our Pantheon, Miss Chita Rivera and Miss Carol Channing, and a cast of thousands - giving her own nod to a man who did so much for her Broadway career (at the 2010 Kennedy Honours Gala) Mr Jerry Herman...

The Best Of Times Is Now? If I had been in this audience, you bet!

Many happy returns to a fantabulosa lady - and remember, I am Angela Lansbury!

Dame Angela Brigid Lansbury, DBE (born 16th October 1925)

Wednesday 15 October 2014

Captain Kirk's secret weapon

This is priceless.

From the ever-wonderful Dangerous Minds:
In a classic scene from the Star Trek episode titled “What are Little Girls Made Of” (season one, episode seven, which aired on October 20th, 1966) we are treated to a skirmish involving Captain Kirk, a stalactite strongly resembling a huge dildo and a giant alien named “Ruk,” played by actor Ted Cassidy (who portrayed “Lurch” in The Addams Family).

Thirty-five minutes into the episode, Kirk is chased by Ruk into the caves of the alien planet he teleported to. To defend himself, Kirk pulls a huge piece of stalactite from the ceiling of the cave and after a quick edit, we get to see Captain Kirk holding what looks inexplicably like a gigantic marital aid. Kirk smacks Ruk around with it and you get to wonder how hard the production crew was laughing when this one slipped by the censors over at NBC.

In case you are short on time, someone has kindly put together a 25-second video summary of the episode that is posted below for your perusal.

The full episode is currently streaming on Vimeo.

Tuesday 14 October 2014

Ya see its a frightening thing when it dawns upon you

As I said way back in 2010, "International Coming Out Day" me sounds like (yawn) yet another American construct and and excuse for the greetings card industry to go into overdrive". It apparently took place a few days ago.

However, it is, completely coincidentally, a singularly important week pour moi. All this year on this very blog - as my regular reader may have observed - I have featured recurrent "timeslip moments" in music, mainly harking back to a certain milestone year, 1984.

For, sometime this week thirty years ago (gulp!), I finally put into words, out loud - in the middle of a drunken horde of fellow students (and to anyone who'd listen, to be honest) - that I, too was gay.

By way of celebration of this (slightly terrifying) milestone, here's a song that made its debut in the UK charts in this very week in 1984 - Shout To The Top, with its somewhat apposite lyrics:
I was halfway home, I was half insane
And every shop window I looked in just looked the same
I said, "Now send me a sign to save my life
Cause at this moment in time there is nothing certain in
These days of mine."

Ya see its a frightening thing when it dawns upon you
That I know as much as the day I was born
And though I wasn't asked, I might as well stay
And promise myself each and every day

That when you're knocked on your back and your life's a flop
And when you're down on the bottom there's nothing else
But to shout to the top, well we're gonna shout to the top
We're gonna shout to the top, we're gonna shout to the top
Hey, we're gonna shout to the top!"
And, because I couldn't choose between versions, here first is the original by the (then) cute Paul Weller and Style Council:

Followed by a pounding House re-working of the song, featuring none other than the late, great and eternally-missed diva Miss Loleatta Holloway!


Where do they go?

Monday 13 October 2014


The adorable Nana Mouskouri - one of the world's biggest-selling female artists in history - is 80 years old today. I bet she looks no different now (she never seemed to age).

The über-sexy-in-his-day George Chakiris (he of West Side Story fame) was 80 years old on 16th September.


To make us feel a bit more jolly as we brave the rain again to head to the delights of the office, on this Tacky Music Monday here they are dancing together(!) to a little Greek number called Siko Chorepse Sirtaki:

Have a good week, peeps!

Nana Mouskouri (born Iōánna Moúschouri, 13th October 1934)

More Nana here, here and here.

Sunday 12 October 2014

Totty of the Day

Hugh Jackman.

Always and forever...

Happy, birthday, gorgeous!

All the world'll fly in a flurry
When I take you out in the surrey,
When I take you out in the surrey with the fringe on top!
When we hit that road, hell fer leather,
Cats and dogs'll dance in the heather,
Birds and frogs'll sing all together and the toads will hop!
The wind'll whistle as we rattle along,
The cows'll moo in the clover,
The river will ripple out a whispered song,
And whisper it over and over:
Don't you wish it'd go on forever?
Don't you wish it'd go on forever??
Don't you wish it'd go on forever? and never stop
In that shiny, little surrey with the fringe on the top!


Hugh Michael Jackman (born 12th October 1968)

Saturday 11 October 2014

Tapas, fracas, alcohol, tobaccos, bongs, bongo bingo, Portuguese maracas

Off shopping to Camden today. It's not likely to be as warm as portrayed in Suggs' video...

Sing up tourists, sing

There's a great crowd of tourists and they're coming down the street
Pleased as punch with brand new Doctor Marten's on their feet
Past stalls with leather jackets, old bric-a-brac
Indian sunglasses or a Chinese bobble hat

Tramps stare in the window of the local butcher's shop
Like a pack of wild dogs they'd run off with the lot
In Primrose Hill, an angry man his hair standing on end
Shouts and rants in the ear of his imaginary friend

In Camden Town I'll meet you by the underground
In Camden Town we'll walk there as the sun goes down
In Camden Town
In Camden Town you can do anything you want to

A drunken busker hits the pavement, sending hot-dogs in the air
Towards a broken down bus full of people going nowhere
A string of Irish pubs as far as you can see
Greek, Indian, Chinese or would you like a cup of tea?

There's tapas, fracas, alcohol, tobaccos
Bongs, bongo bingo, Portuguese maracas
There's reggae in the jeggae, music everywhere
Every kind of song and dance, madness in the air

In Camden Town I'll meet you by the underground
In Camden Town we'll walk there as the sun goes down
In Camden Town

The tourists sing
Ooooh, they sing
Ooooh, sing up

And what's my name in invisible game?

The two fat Americans interrupt their stay
They put down their bags, they were clamped and towed away
There's Turkish cakes, designer fakes, fathers dressed as nuns
Every kind of music here, the night has just begun

In Camden Town I'll meet you by the underground
In Camden Town we'll walk there as the sun goes down
In Camden Town
In Camden Town you can do anything you want to do

In Camden Town
In Camden Town
In Camden Town
In Camden Town

Suggs(Graham McPherson) official site

Friday 10 October 2014

They was dancin' and singin' and movin' to the groovin'

As Britain suffers under the storms heralding the start of Autumn - our (plastic) greenhouse was a casualty yesterday; I found it uprooted and upside down at the end of the garden last night - let's take our minds off it by celebrating the looming weekend.

I think, weather or no weather, the must-have party "look" this week is shirts off, a silver lamé jacket and a hypnotically catchy bass-line - like Wild Cherry (whatever happened to them?) and this much-sampled classic from the long hot summer of '76...

Thank Disco It's Friday!

Have a funky one - and dodge the hurricanes...

Thursday 9 October 2014

Elderly drug-dealers, monsters, a Brownskirt, a psychopath and an heir to Virginia Woolf

"The Polari First Book Prize is for a first book which explores the LGBT experience and is open to any work of poetry, prose, fiction or non-fiction published in the UK in English within the twelve months of the deadline for submissions. Self-published works in both print and digital formats are eligible for submission."

So it was with antici...pation [again!] that John-John, Paul, Jim, little Tony, Wayne, Emma, Jayne, Lexi, Val, Simon, Bryanne, Anni, Lauren and a horde of other keen readers thronged to the rather posh venue of the Purcell Room in the Southbank Centre for the gala evening to announce the winner of the Prize. Mr Paul Burston, as nervous as a first-time Dad, was, as ever, Master of Ceremonies, and artfully steered us to welcome our readers to the centre of a much larger stage than is normal for our intimate event.

Absolute sweetheart and Polari regular Justin David had the unenviable task of being first to take the stage in front of that vast, echoey hall, to open the show. However he confidently leapt straight into a passage from his début novella, titled The Pharmacist; the tale of amateur photographer Billy and his growing entanglement (with less-than-fatherly motives, one is led to suspect) with his eccentric, mysterious elderly neighbour Albert, and his unlikely and rather surprising way of supplementing his income:
"...he's gripped by this debonair gentleman. Billy disregards the transaction he thought might have taken place. It's the old man he's interested in. He must live locally. Billy's seen him at least three times before, here on this street. Unmistakeable. When the old man walks, trailing rich aromatic smoke from his pipe, he holds himself taut and regal. This graceful image of a man is enough to spark Billy's interest for unconventional behaviour, and he manages a couple of good shots of the man, amid his photographs of the flowers.

From his place in the sunlight, he observed the old man doff his hat and say goodbye to the flower seller, punctuated by a flourish of his hand.

Look at that, thinks Billy. The flair, the twirl - he loves that the man doesn't conform to any normal code of behaviour. Swanning swiftly through the crowds of fashionably dressed people carrying freakishly cut flowers, the old gentleman disappears round the corner into Laburnum Road. Billy follows quickly to see if he can get another shot to take back to the studio. The old man fascinates him and he wonders if he may have found new subject. The gentleman heads down the east-end street towards the Victorian maisonettes where Billy lives. It's a great surprise to him to see the old man take a key from his pocket and slip into the communal entrance of his building; Billy's building. 'Oh my God!' Billy can't help saying out loud, before reaching the front door. 'He lives upstairs.'
All rather enthralling, we thought...

Trapeze artist, aerial acrobat and award-winning author - and another familiar face from Polari - Mr Will Davis was up next with a very odd short story indeed, all about a neurotic and distinctly un-monster-like giant sea monster, titled I Eat People(!) Quirky, funny and completely off-the-wall - one of his early works, it was long-listed for the Fish Publishing Short Story Prize 2012/13, yet remains unpublished. Instead, here's a little potted video all about the man himself:


All twirling and quirky literary thoughts were rudely brushed aside in a thrice, however, when the grandiose stage was invaded once more by the Dame-Judi-obsessed and self-proclaimed "Poet-in-residence at the 197 bus stop", Barbara Brownskirt, with her "menstrual fuelled words". Poems, actually. Well, sort of. More like rants, really:

Unstoppable as always, she progressed through several classics from her as-yet-unpublished eighteen volumes of poetry, much to the delight of the audience. We congratulated the lovely Karen MacLeod (for it is indeed she) later for making us once again roar with laughter, and for being possibly the first person to say "vagina" on stage at the Purcell Room.

After the break and a little smoke'n'drink-fuelled promenade on the Thameside terrace of the Queen Elizabeth Hall, it was time to reclaim our seats and on with the show!

Mari Hannah is a class act. Winner of the Polari First Book Prize in 2013 for her first novel The Murder Wall, she's certainly a prolific writer - she's already published her fourth book (all featuring the lady lesbian DCI Kate Daniels), with a fifth apparently on its way.

It was from her latest, Monument to Murder, that she read a gripping extract - flick-flakking between the edgy scenario of our heroine facing a potentially lethal encounter (alone, on a wintry Northumberland beach, site of the recent discovery of two murdered children's bodies) with a psychopath on the loose, and the book's other female lead character (prison psychologist Emily McCann, who is being stalked by said sex offender) as she returns home to find her daughter apparently missing...

It's all heart-stopping stuff. No wonder that the rights to her novels have been optioned for a future television adaptation - by none other than Stephen Fry's production company, Sprout Pictures!

Our headline reader, the wee Scottish academician and author Ali Smith ("an heir to Virginia Woolf", according to the Telegraph) must be waiting with bated breath at the moment - for on 14th October she will find out if she's "third time lucky"; having been twice previously short-listed for the prestigious Man Booker Prize for fiction, her novel How To Be Both is on the short-list again this year!

And it was from that very book that she read us (at breakneck speed, without losing any clarity) a most wonderful passage - just one snippet from this much-lauded "multi-layered" story that simultaneously charts the modern-day life of recently bereaved pubescent George(ina) and the 15th century fresco painter Francesco del Cossa, and how they (figmentally?) actually get to meet. In her piece, she hilariously related an account of the remarkably successful trip by young Francesco (in Ms Smith's version of this real-life character, "he" was actually born a "she") to a Florentine brothel where, rather than be "entertained" by the prostitutes, "he" ends up painting them (and, in a twist, the girls pay him for this service)... It was utterly superb. She deserves to win. Here is Ali Smith talking about the book on BBC 2's Newsnight programme this week:

Miss Smith was wildly applauded for her reading, but it wasn't over yet, folks!

And so it came to the climax of the evening's celebrations - as the very lovely panel-member Matt Cain took to the podium to make the announcement we had all been waiting for. The winner of the coveted Polari First Book Prize 2014 is Diriye Osman for his seminal Fairytales for Lost Children, an anthology of tales of "people constantly on the verge of self-revelation; these characters - young, gay and lesbian Somalis - must navigate the complexities of family, identity and the immigrant experience as they tumble towards freedom."

Mr Osman was obviously overjoyed at his success! We congratulated him (clutching the award to his chest, together with his £1000 prize money presented on stage by the hunky "Men-At-Play-type" Vincent Francois, Chair of the UK LGBT Network and Regional Head of Audit at Societé Generale) in the lobby afterwards, and he was still out-of-breath but (as always) smiling. Bless. A deserved winner.

Thus, it was all over for another glittering evening (and, in the case of the Prize, for another year) bar the schmoozing...

Our next outing will be to wish "London's premier gay literary salon" Polari a happy seventh birthday in the esteemed company of Neil Bartlett, Ben Ferguson, Sarah Bramley, Niven Govinden and Alex Marwood on 26th November. Once more - I can't wait!