Thursday 30 April 2015

Sweetheart, lover, could I recover?

Madam Arcati, Alistair and I were mega-excited on Tuesday, as we headed to the ultimate in prestigious venues The Royal Albert Hall for a one-night-only production (by TV star Craig Revell-Horwood) of Stephen Sondheim's classic Follies! Being three "arch-Sondheimites", and given the all-star cast and the fact the show has not been seen (in is entirety) in London since 1987, this was certain to be a treat.

It definitely was all that, and more!

Follies is one of Sondheim's proudest achievements, crammed full of his most timeless and clever songs; its premise is the reunion of a (now-faded) troupe of former showgirls at the variety theatre that saw some of their greatest triumphs, just prior to its demolition. The story focuses in on the underlying regrets of two of the original stars, "Phyllis" and "Sally" about their life choices (mainly, their respective unhappy marriages to "Ben" and "Buddy", the "boys at the stage door" who courted them when they were famous), and is traditionally - and camply - staged as a "star vehicle" for a parade of the kind of ageing showbiz troupers so beloved of "gentlemen who are light in their loafers". And it is true - of the 5,000 capacity packed house, a sizeable majority were most definitely homosexualists...

The cast in this glittering "In Concert" production was a remarkable collection of faces beloved of us at Dolores Delargo Towers - Stefanie Powers, Anita Dobson, Betty Buckley, Lorna Luft, Anita Harris, Roy Hudd - and, best of all, Ruthie Henshall as "Sally" and Christine Baranski as "Phyllis"! What more could we ask for?

It was brilliantly staged, considering the vastness of the Hall and the looming presence of the City of London Philharmonic orchestra and chorus, with the use of (moveable) huge dressing-room mirror frames to shape and highlight the intimacy of different scenes. Particularly effective was the way the mirrors were used (especially in the operatic duet One More Kiss (performed beautifully by Charlotte Page) and the rumbustious Who's That Woman?) to "reflect" the showgirls singing and dancing in time with the "ghosts" of their younger selves.

Speaking of Who's That Woman? - this was Miss Dobson's finest hour (she allegedly learned to tap dance specifically in order to lead this "old chorine/young chorine" ensemble routine); I for one have never known such a tumultuous standing ovation for one number in the middle of a show before. We saw her hubbie Brian May before the show - he must have been so proud.

And what of the "big name troupers"? Of the "turns", only the duet between Miss Harris and Mr Hudd Rain on the Roof, sweet and cuddly as it was, failed to "gel"; they are not natural duettists, it seems, and were somewhat wobbly. Miss Luft was as brassy and belting and brilliant as we could have hoped on Broadway Baby, the predestination of her genes saw to that. Miss Powers was a revelation - we never realised what a fabulous singer she is, and her Ah, Paris was a delight.

Miss Buckley was simply great on I'm Still Here - she's no Stritchy, nor Eartha, but she twinkled and purred and evoked exactly the right world-weary tone for the lyrics, before ramping it up a gear or several for the climactic final verses... Wonderful!

Good times and bum times, I've seen them all
And, my dear, I'm still here
Plush velvet sometimes
Sometimes just pretzels and beer, but I'm here

I've stuffed the dailies in my shoes
Strummed ukuleles, sung the blues
Seen all my dreams disappear but I'm here.
I've slept in shanties, guest of the W.P.A., but I'm here
Danced in my scanties
Three bucks a night was the pay, but I'm here

I've stood on bread lines with the best
Watched while the headlines did the rest
In the depression was I depressed?
Nowhere near, I met a big financier and I'm here

I've been through Gandhi, Windsor and Wally's affair, and I'm here
Amos 'n' Andy, Mah-jongg and platinum hair, and I'm here
I got through Abie's, Irish Rose, Five Dionne babies, Major Bowes
Had heebie-jeebies for Beebe's, Bathysphere
I got through Brenda Frazier, and I'm here

I've gotten through Herbert and J. Edgar Hoover
Gee, that was fun and a half
When you've been through Herbert and J. Edgar Hoover
Anything else is a laugh

I've been through Reno, I've been through Beverly Hills, and I'm here.
Reefers and vino, rest cures, religion and pills, and I'm here
Been called a 'Pinko', commie tool, got through it stinko by my pool
I should've gone to an acting school, that seems clear
Still someone said, "She's sincere", so I'm here

Black sable one day, next day it goes into hock, but I'm here
Top billing Monday, Tuesday, you're touring in stock, but I'm here
First you're another sloe-eyed vamp
Then someone's mother, then you're camp
Then you career from career to career
I'm almost through my memoirs, and I'm here

I've gotten through, "Hey, lady, aren't you whoozis?
Wow, what a looker you were"
Or better yet, "Sorry, I thought you were whoozis
Whatever happened to her?"

Good times and bum times, I've seen 'em all
And, my dear, I'm still here
Plush velvet sometimes
Sometimes just pretzels and beer, but I'm here

I've run the gamut, A to Z
Three cheers and dammit, C'est la vie
I got through all of last year, and I'm here
Lord knows, at least I was there, and I'm here
Look who's here, I'm still here!

However, none of the aforementioned ladies (and gentleman) were the actual stars of the show. That honour went to Miss Henshall and Miss Baranski (ably matched by Alexander Hanson as "Ben" and Peter Polycarpou as "Buddy").

Miss Henshall was in fine voice (and was very convincing) as the "woman-on-the-edge" Sally, rejected in love as a girl by Ben and desperately making herself and the errant philanderer Buddy unhappy in their subsequent marriage as a consequence. Her poignant In Buddy's Eyes (which sounds like a love song, but in context is anything but), and fraught Losing My Mind were definite highlights, as was her and Mr Hanson's duet about their long-ago romance Too Many Mornings.

But nothing compares to the magnificent Miss Christine Baranski in full-on bitch-mode... Icily dismissive of Ben, their high society lifestyle and everything in-between, silently mourning what could have become of her life had she stayed in showbiz yet all the time realising she's left it too late, she performed an absolute corker on The Story of Lucy and Jessie - and her acidly bitchy Could I Leave You? was utterly wonderful!

Leave you? Leave you?
How could I leave you? How could I go it alone?
Could I wave the years away? With a quick goodbye?
How do you wipe tears away when your eyes are dry?

Sweetheart, lover, could I recover?
Give up the joys I have known?
Not to fetch your pills again every day at five
Not to give those dinners for ten elderly men from the UN

How could I survive? Could I leave you
And your shelves of the world's best books
And the evenings of martyred looks, cryptic sighs
Sullen glares from those injured eyes?

Leave the quips with a sting, jokes with a sneer
Passionless lovemaking once a year?
Leave the lies ill-concealed and the wounds never healed
And the game's not worth winning and wait, I'm just beginning

What, leave you, leave you? How could I leave you?
What would I do on my own? Putting thoughts of you aside

In the south of France, would I think of suicide?
Darling, shall we dance? Could I live through the pain
On a terrace in Spain? Would it pass? It would pass
Could I bury my rage with a boy half your age
In the grass? Bet your ass!

But I've done that already or didn't you know, love?
Tell me, how could I leave when I left long ago, love?
Could I leave you? No, the point is, could you leave me?
Well, I guess you could leave me the house, leave me the flat

Leave me the Braques and Chagalls and all that
You could leave me the stocks for sentiment's sake
And ninety percent of the money you make
And the rugs and the cooks, darling, you keep the drugs

Angel, you keep the books, honey, I'll take the grand
Sugar you keep the spinet and all of our friends and
Just wait a goddamn minute!

Oh, leave you? Leave you? How could I leave you?
Sweetheart, I have to confess, could I leave you?Yes
Will I leave you? Will I leave you?


It is no wonder that is one of my favourite songs - and watching/hearing such an icon as Miss Baranski give it her full Broadway treatment was an utter joy.

[It could never match David Kernan's "gay version" in the original London production of Side By Side by Sondheim; then again nothing can...]:

[...but I digress...]

Full accolades must go, of course, to the younger versions of the cast - especially the leads Sally (Amy Ellen Richardson), Buddy (Jos Slovick), Phyllis (Laura Pitt-Pulford) and Ben (gay pin-up-du-jour Alistair Brammer) - all of whom were vocally excellent, and showed tremendous skill when (frequently) called upon to be the synchronised "ghosts", dancing and gesticulating in time with the older stars. Full marks to choreographer Andrew Wright for the excellent routines!

Despite the imbalance between opening segment (two hours) and finale scenes (half-an-hour); despite the awkwardness of being seated in "the pit" at the Hall, where the audience's heads are all at one level; and despite the venue selling out of programmes before we had even arrived, this was a truly awesome (and once-in-a-lifetime - we'll never see this cast perform together again!) experience. I was blown away by it all (and I am still humming the choons).


PS I think Meryl enjoyed it too. We didn't speak.

Thought for the day

Wednesday 29 April 2015

As I thrill to the magic charms

Still coming down to earth after the mind-blowing Follies in Concert we went to last night at the Royal Albert Hall (more on that later, no doubt!), we have a double celebration today. Over at the Dolores Delargo Towers Museum of Camp, we pay due homage to the remarkable Miss April Ashley, who is blowing out 80 candles on her cake.

And here, we have a centenary to mark - that of Donald Mills of those fantabulosa harmonists/vocal impressionists The Mills Brothers. Here are the boys, tootling away on a marvellous rendition of Caravan, while their audience sets about impressing the laydeez with some fancy footwork. What better way to nurse a hangover..?

Donald Mills (29th April 1915 – 13th November 1999)

Tuesday 28 April 2015

'Neath that far off lantern light

It was the annual Whitby "Gothic Weekend" get-together last weekend, and assorted punky black-clothed dressing-up addicts congregated on the North East harbour town - the mythical landing-place of Dracula in Bram Stoker's story. It looks like fun...

Meanwhile, this gives me the perfect excuse to feature one of our fave "founding mothers" of that particular genre - whose 60th birthday (gulp!) I shamefully missed last month - Fraulein Nina Hagen!

Here she is in her full-on Goth heyday in 1982, with Smack Jack:

And here is one of my favourite clips of the lady, surprisingly duetting with none other than that beloved purveyor of multilingual smoothness Miss Nana Mouskouri on Lili Marlene. When worlds collide, indeed...

Catharina "Nina" Hagen (born 11th March 1955)

Monday 27 April 2015

My kind of shopping

Oh lordy - back to work time. Again...

Never mind, on this Tacky Music Monday here's a typically brassy number by the all-singing all-dancing Miss Ann-Margret, whose birthday it is tomorrow, and her "safety gays" to wave us on our merry (as if!) way. She's Shopping Around, and who could blame her?

Her quick-change for the duet (on Spring Fever) with the super-smooth Perry Como is priceless.

Have a good one, people...

Ann-Margret Olsson (born 28th April 1941)

Sunday 26 April 2015

The synth God

Giorgio Moroder, the single greatest influence on what we know as "electronic dance music" - which these days even has its own acronym "EDM" in the "hip'n'happening" media - celebrates his 75th birthday today.

We can recognise the man's seminal style-setting (much-copied) sound in his breakthrough hit From Here to Eternity, which entered the UK charts thirty-eight years ago in September 1977:

When he launched Miss Donna Summer onto an unsuspecting world, he possibly didn't realise that he had almost single-handedly enshrined "Disco" as an electronic, rather than orchestral/percussive, genre:

Of course, the lovely Legs & Co make it all seem so retro...

Signor Moroder didn't stop there, of course. His music "gave birth" to the preponderance of synth-pop in the 80s, in no small part influenced by his collaboration with the fantabulosa Sparks:

Few people make the connection these days, I reckon - but he was the producer who made Blondie's Call Me so utterly brilliant:

He continued to be a presence throughout the decade (collaborating with David Bowie on Cat People, Phil Oakey of Human League on Electric Dreams, Harold Faltermeyer and Berlin on Take My Breath Away, and with the lovely Limahl on The Neverending Story), but until his recent work with dance weirdos Daft Punk, his star had faded somewhat.

And so it came as a bit of a surprise to everyone when he resurfaced just last year, and began teasing us with details of his soon-to-be-released collaboration album Deja Vu. I am still raving about Right Here, Right Now, the choon he released with Princess Kylie (as featured on my last "musical round-up" blog). The album also features (among others) tracks with Kelis, Sia and Charli XCX - and this...

It's a rather good cover of Suzanne Vega's Tom's Diner... starring none other than Britney Spears!

Happy birthday, Giovanni Giorgio Moroder (born 26th April 1940)

Saturday 25 April 2015

Ryanair? Smash!

A man who turns into the Hulk has revealed it never happens when he actually needs it.

32-year-old Nathan Muir admitted that every time his powers would be useful, for example when he was recently mugged, he finds it impossible to summon fury because of his abject terror.

He said: “Put me in front of three teenagers with knives demanding my iPhone and my inner Hulk is cowering somewhere at the back of my psyche while I beg for my life.

“But when I hear the phrase ‘replacement bus service’, I soon find myself 30 miles away at the end of a trail of devastation, nude but for my elasticated purple trousers.”

Muir says the condition makes many aspects of modern life impossible, including booking with Ryanair, querying mobile phone charges and driving on the M6.

He added: “Remember when four square miles of Swansea got destroyed in March? That was when my packet of Nik Naks got caught in the spiral of a vending machine.”
The Daily Mash.

Of course.

The movie Avengers: Age of Ultron is released, apparently.

Friday 24 April 2015

They were young and they had each other - who could ask for more?

It's the end of another week.

It is finally pay day.

The sun is shining.


...and congratulations to Mr Barry Manilow, who has - it has been confirmed by the experts - gone and got married to his (secret) lover of thirty years, his manager Garry Kief!

What better way to get us in a suitably camp party mood than our very own Dame Shirl and her jolly disco version of Mr Manilow's greatest hit Copacabana (complete with some glorious travel footage and twirling dancers to boot...)? Thank Disco It's Friday!

Sigh, again...

Thursday 23 April 2015

Wednesday 22 April 2015

Not over, not over, not over, not over

"Back to the Future" into the past again (I think) - with another of our "timeslip" moments...

Banging her way into our brains in this week twenty years ago was the lovely Grace (whatever happened to her)?

It's Not Over Yet, apparently. For her career, unfortunately, it was.

Fab to hear that again!

Tuesday 21 April 2015

No half-and-half affair

photo by John Swannell

It is HM The Queen's 89th birthday today. She is officially the second longest serving monarch in history, and we love her.

And who better to pay tribute to Her Royal Majesty than two other old dears - Hinge and Bracket?! Here they are on the much-missed The Good Old Days with a suitably regal set, including their classic A Regular Royal Queen (from Gilbert & Sullivan's The Gondoliers).

[2019 UPDATE: most clips of the "Dear Ladies" appear to have been removed from the interwebs by the gnomes at the BBC, so you'll have to make do with this clip that seems to have been filmed off someone's telly, but does feature the song in question]:

Then one of us will be a Queen,
And sit on a golden throne,
With a crown instead
Of a hat on her head,
And diamonds all her own!
With a beautiful robe of gold and green,
I've always understood;
I wonder whether
She'd wear a feather?
I rather think she should!

Oh, 'tis a glorious thing, I ween,
To be a regular Royal Queen!
No half-and-half affair, I mean,
No half-and-half affair,
But a right-down regular,
Regular, regular,
Regular Royal Queen!

She'll drive about in a carriage and pair,
With the King on her left-hand side,
And a milk-white horse,
As a matter of course,
Whenever she wants to ride!
With beautiful silver shoes to wear
Upon her dainty feet;
With endless stocks
Of beautiful frocks
And as much as she wants to eat!

Oh, 'tis a glorious thing, I ween,
To be a regular Royal Queen!
No half-and-half affair, I mean,
No half-and-half affair,
But a right-down regular,
Regular, regular,
Regular Royal Queen!

Whenever she condescends to walk,
Be sure she'll shine at that,
With her haughty stare
And her nose in the air,
Like a well-born aristocrat!
At elegant high society talk
She'll bear away the bell,
With her "How de do?"
And her "How are you?"
And "I trust I see you well!"

Oh, 'tis a glorious thing, I ween,
To be a regular Royal Queen!
No half-and-half affair, I mean,
No half-and-half affair,
But a right-down regular,
Regular, regular,
Regular Royal Queen!

And noble lords will scrape and bow,
And double themselves in two,
And open their eyes
In blank surprise
At whatever she likes to do.
And everybody will roundly vow
She's fair as flowers in May,
And say, "How clever!"
At whatsoever
She condescends to say!

Oh, 'tis a glorious thing, I ween,
To be a regular Royal Queen!
No half-and-half affair, I mean,
No half-and-half affair,
But a right-down regular,
Regular, regular,
Regular Royal Queen!
Oh, 'tis a glorious thing, I ween,
To be a regular Royal Queen,
A right-down regular Royal Queen!

Happy birthday, Ma'am!

Elizabeth II (Elizabeth Alexandra Mary, born 21st April 1926)

Monday 20 April 2015

Verpiss dich montag!

Oh, how our spirits are dashed at the end of every weekend - it's all over much too soon, and all the best weather (inevitably) is due during the week... while I sit behind tinted glass trying desperately not to throw the laptop through a window. I could scream.

Never mind, instead we have the sickeningly chirpy Fraulein Marika Rökk to cheer us up on this Tacky Music Monday! No idea what she's on about, but a trip to the library will never be quite the same again...

Hope you have a good week, folks!

Sunday 19 April 2015

I mean to change my name Bloggs to Bloggini

Just because...

...we played it this afternoon, as part of our esoteric musical soiree to welcome Al and Mark as guests to the extensive gardens here at Dolores Delargo Towers - it's our beloved Patricia Routledge, in an unexpected "audition":

I'm getting so tired of these comedy songs
I want to sing something divine
I'm sure that I'm certain to shine
As a star in the opera line
I simply love Wagner, Mozart, Puccini
Their music is really tip-top
So I mean to change my name Bloggs to Bloggini
And see if I can't get a ‘shop'.

I want to sing in Opera
I've got that kind of voice
I'd always sing in Opera
If I could have my choice
Signor Caruso
Told me I ought to do so
That's why I want to sing in op'ra
Sing in op-pop-pop-popera Hurrah.

I want to play Carmen I just love the part
The music's so awfully sweet
And all prima donnas I beat
If in Faust I played fair Marguerite
I'd warble and trill like a human canary
In recitative or duet
But managers seem to be just a bit wary
My chance hasn't happened as yet.

I want to sing in Opera
I've got that kind of voice
I'd always sing in Opera
If I could have my choice
Signor Caruso
Told me I ought to do so
That's why I want to sing in op'ra
Sing in op-pop-pop-popera Hurrah.

I think she's in, don't you?

Saturday 18 April 2015

50 shades of Crouch End, sci-fi erotica, rude poems, multiple "Ida"s and Alan Bennett in the bath

Before I begin, if you're wondering what happened to my blog about last month's event - it is here.

So - in the words of Imelda Staunton in her tremendous performance in Gypsy - "Curtain up! Light the lights! You got nothing to hit but the heights!" And on with the show...

Thus Mr Paul Burston introduced our friend and fellow Polari regular Wayne Herbert to the podium. He opened with one of the classic tales from his blog of elderly bitchery and shenanigans in his locality of Crouch End, 50 Shades of Grey Power, in the unlikely setting of a crochet blanket stall at the local craft fair:
‘I can guarantee there are 50 shades of grey in this design,’ said Lil with a wink. Cyril disappeared behind the back boards. The potential customer didn’t know where to look, fumbled in his pocket for change, and selected a small black and yellow blanket directly in front of him.

‘That one looks like a wasp,’ Lil said through gritted teeth as she took the patron’s payment. He moved on quickly.

‘Bloody prude,’ Lil said as he walked away – hopefully too quiet for him to hear.

‘Lil.’ I placed the morning refreshments down with a start.

‘Cake – delicious.’ She accepted the napkin-wrapped item in front of her. ‘I was building up a good appetite.’

‘For what?’ asked Cyril as he emerged from his hiding place. Lil let out an enormous hall filling cackle. I noticed her customer scrambling for the door with his buggy taking the corner on two wheels.

‘Not you as well.’

‘Have you read 50 shades?’ I asked.

‘No, but I’ve heard it’s a bit saucy which I added to my sales’ banter.’

‘I haven’t read it, but I’ve heard enough to know that it’s more than saucy. It’s blue in a deviant sort of way…’ I said.

‘What sort of way?’ Lil asked as her cheeks starting to flush deeper than the already existing rouge.

‘In an S & M way,’ Cyril said.

‘Bondage?’ announced Lil loud enough to elicit odd looks from a number of others in our vicinity. Cyril and I nodded.

‘Well I never.’ She took a large bite from the cake and sat down.

‘Crochet and bondage and all before luncheon,’ Cyril said.
Fab - and followed by sneak preview of some of Wayne's "other" work (he's working on a first novel as we speak), too...

Chris Williams was next up - a newcomer to Polari [and it is impossible to find anything on the web about him] - his tale was an intriguing and convoluted (and wry) account of a writer struggling to balance his life with his writing (of what sounds like a rather dreadful pulp sci-fi slice of gay erotica). Entertaining, and well-written, but I don't think I was the only one in the audience who probably got "lost" somewhere in the middle of the reading, trying to work out which bits were the "real" story and where it overlapped with the "book within a book"...

Annabel Pribelszki concluded the first half with a very energetic snatch (and I use that word deliberately) of lesbian erotic performance poetry. It was very - ahem - "in yer face". I just felt uncomfortable.

Hey ho.

After a suitably hilarious break, bantering with Bryanne and Simon, it was time for John-John, our Paul, little Tony and I to resume our places for the second half, with our opener the very charming Ms Amy Mason, reading from her début novel The Other Ida.

It's certainly an interesting story - a wayward girl (who in the opening passage tries to drown her own sister), scarred by being named after a notorious play written by her un-motherly mother Bridie, and drawn into the maelstrom of its film adaptation. Set in several timelines, there's a hinted-at development of a lesbian encounter with the film's star, then, years later the impending doom of the adult Ida having to shake herself out of her drunken sluttery and return home to face the sister again and discover some home truths... Very enjoyable, I thought.

However, nothing quite compares with a Polari with headliner Karen McLeod! She is such a multitalented writer and performer, and, although we were a tad disappointed at the non-appearance of Barbara Brownskirt (Karen's humourless lesbian "writer-in-Residence at 197 bus stop on Croydon Road" alter-ego - probably just as well, as it might have been seen as a direct piss-take of Ms Pribelszki's poetry), it was a sheer joy to hear her read from a variety of "correspondence-based" writings, including her musings on Penge, which she wrote for local South London magazine The Transmitter. Here's an extract:
The thought of Beckenham makes me defensive. I went to school there. It was really white, well off and stiflingly suburban. David Bowie escaped as soon as he could. People from there take the mickey out of my beloved Penge. It's something to do with the word sounding like minge. I realised a long time back that the word Penge is a cross between penis and minge (coarse I know). And it's where we're all from.
She also (hilariously) recounted her habit of talking to famous people while in the bath:
Often when I am having a good soak I chat away to Alan Bennett, mimicking him and replying to myself giving advice or about some issue or other. I have a tendency to think that people such as Alan Bennett are a bit God-like and not real in bodily form. I mean I have never met him, so it is safe to think this. I know he has hands and feet, but really, letter writing isn’t as risky as a phone call in the fact that it is a monologue addressed to the person reading it. And when you address something to Alan Bennett I believe there is a back and forth going on between you. Even if he will never be there, he is the Alan Bennett version of myself. In the absence of a belief in God I have my own way of communicating.

Other times in the bath, with more female issues I have a bath-chat with Jenni Murray from Radio Four fame. She is often a bit abrupt with me. I think I am drawn to people with regional accents which are a bit more exotic than my plain South-London accent. Over and over, these wise voices tell me to get real and get on with it and out of the bath because the water is no longer hot.
Wonderful. Simply wonderful - and a great uplifting note on which to conclude another remarkable evening...

I love Polari. It may have its ups and downs, but it's an institution in my life - and an unmissable one!

It's a bit of a longer gap till the next one in 26th May, when our headline reader will be the extraordinarily good Gerry Potter. Also featured are Rowan Coleman, Gavin McCrea, Karen Campbell and Iain Finlayson.

Polari website

Friday 17 April 2015

Disco strings

Another frustrating week crawls to an end...

According to Auntie Beeb, we have a sunny (if not warm) weekend to look forward to, so what better to get the party started than a blast from the inimitable James Last?

Thank - ahem - Disco It's Friday!

Have a good one!

James Last (born Hans Last, 17th April 1929)

Thursday 16 April 2015

Magic carpet ride

Goin' Back:

I think I'm goin' back
To the things I learned so well in my youth,
I think I'm returning to
The days when I was young enough to know the truth

Now there are no games
To only pass the time
No more colouring books,
No Christmas bells to chime
But thinking young and growing older is no sin
And I can play the game of life to win

I can recall a time,
When I wasn't afraid to reach out to a friend
And now I think I've got
A lot more than a skipping rope to lift

Now there's more to do
Than watch my sailboat glide
Then everyday can be my magic carpet ride
And I can play hide and seek with my fears,
And live my life instead of counting my years

Let everyone debate the true reality,
I'd rather see the world the way it used to be
A little bit of freedom, all we're left
So catch me if you can
I'm goin' back

I can recall,
I can remember

I can recall,
I can remember

I can recall,
I can remember

Another day, another Dusty...

Happy birthday, Miss Mary Isobel Catherine Bernadette O'Brien OBE (16th April 1939 – 2nd March 1999)


Wednesday 15 April 2015

Thought for the day

He's good with his hands!

Tuesday 14 April 2015


"When I die they will donate my body to Tupperware." - Joan Rivers
A revolutionary new type of plastic surgery does not make people look worse than they did before.

Innovative techniques mean patients will no longer resemble varnished shop window dummies that have slightly melted in a fire.

Plastic surgeon Stephen Malley said: “Previously we thought the inevitable outcome of face lifts and rhinoplasties was to give patients an unsettling, not-quite-human appearance like the Autons in Doctor Who.

“But we have perfected a series of radical new techniques, such as not chiselling perfectly normal noses into unusual shapes that don’t exist in nature.

“We’re also experimenting with not doing something weird to people’s eyelids or carving their face into the likeness of a startled skeleton.”

Malley will also turn his attention to other areas of cosmetic surgery, including breast implants that are breast-shaped rather than looking like half an 18th century naval cannonball.

The Daily Mash.

Of course.

Monday 13 April 2015

"Just be fabulous" - and it was

From This Is Cabaret:
After what looked like a last minute reprieve only last Wednesday, Camden’s iconic gay pub The Black Cap has been closed by its owners ahead of possible redevelopment.

The Black Cap’s rollercoaster of a year came to a sudden halt last night as the pub’s owners, Faucet Inn, shuttered the venue with very little in the way of advance warning. Virgin Xtravaganzah headlined what proved to be the final show while Holestar sang a poignant Hello, Goodbye from the stage.

This is a sad and bewildering end to one of London’s longest-serving drag dens and a gay haunt since at least the mid 1960s. Famous names like Adrella and Danny La Rue have performed there with the first floor bar and terrace named after much-loved stars Mrs Shufflewick and Her Imperial Highness Regina Fong respectively.

If anything, the Black Cap – whose stated motto is “Just Be Fabulous” – was on something of a upturn over the last year or so with packed out shows featuring home-grown and international drag talent. The Meth Lab, for example, had seen numerous contestants of RuPaul’s Drag Race lip-sync for the lives of the Cap faithful.

The beginning of what looks like the venue’s end came in January when Camden Council gave notice that it was minded to approve planning permission for a residential redevelopment of the building’s first, second and third floor. This would have meant the destruction of both the bar and the terrace. Fears were raised that the suggested sound proofing would be inadequate; as seen in the case of the George Tavern, even a single noise complaint could in theory endanger a publican’s licence.

The plans were fought tooth and nail. At a public meeting the following month, representations from cabaret journalist Ben Walters, Camden resident and foster carer for LGBT youth Nigel Bevington and local planning expert Colin Leadbetter all decried the proposals, as did senior councillors. Leader of the Council Sarah Hayward and her deputy Pat Callaghan both lent their support, the former calling the Black Cap a “vital asset for a community that still sadly suffers discrimination.” Faucet Inn failed to send representation which was just as well: the Council chose to reject the redevelopment plans as they stood.

It looked like the tide had turned, especially when only last Wednesday the Black Cap successfully applied to be recognised as an asset of community value (ACV). The application was made by Nigel Harris, director of Camden LGBT Forum. At the time, Harris proclaimed that “it ensures our local residents have a safe space to go and meet other LGBT people. Because it holds great memories for our older members who have been visiting for decades. Because it provides a space for LGBT groups and outreach. Because it puts Camden on the map with its grand history of top talent and support for equal rights.”

The venue had been given ACV status before in 2013 but the owners overturned that decision soon after. Fingers were crossed that Faucet Inn would not choose to challenge the status this time. Those fingers are probably still crossed that something positive can come from this situation.

What exactly drove Faucet Inn to the drastic action of shuttering their own property in such a sudden fashion is as yet unknown. One possible motivation mentioned has been that if the venue is closed for long enough, it will no longer be deemed “a community asset” which would endanger its ACV status. Others on social media have wondered whether Faucet Inn would have kept the Black Cap open if the redevelopment had gone ahead as planned. The truth is that we’ll never know and that, for now at least, it looks like the Black Cap joins a number of other LGBT venues lost to ever-encroaching gentrification.
Complaints, questions and comments should be forwarded for the attention of Faucet Inn CEO Steve Cox va the contact page on the company's website. I have already written.

Here are just a few examples of The Cap's - ahem - illustrious variety...

It is a sad day for LGBT history.

The Black Cap on Wikipedia

Totty of the Day

Oh. My. Gawd.

David Cassidy is 65 years old!

As if getting up for work wasn't bad enough... Now I feel very old indeed.

Never mind - it is also Tacky Music Monday, so let's harken back to when The Beauteous One was indeed still beautiful - and here introducing some particularly illustrious company, including Carol Channing and Lauren Bacall - in this all-too-brief song-and-dance (rare for a purveyor such as he of heartthrob-ballads and soft rock numbers) rendition of Give My Regards To Broadway from the Parade of Stars in 1983...

  • At his peak, David Cassidy was the world's highest paid live entertainer, out-selling Elvis and the Beatles; he was voted Number 1 of "TV's 25 Greatest Teen Idols" by TV Guide in 2005.
  • His father Jack's second marriage was to actress Shirley Jones, and he has three half-brothers, two of whom have successful musical careers of their own: Shaun, Patrick and Ryan.
  • David made his Broadway debut in 1969 in the musical The Fig Leaves Are Falling at the same time his father and stepmother opened on Broadway in their only play together,Maggie Flynn; both shows were notorious flops, the former closing in less than two weeks.
  • He has been married three times, to actress Kay Lenz, to horse breeder Meryl Tanz, and to Sue Shifrin; they divorced after 23 years last year.
  • His struggles with alcoholism have been splattered over the tabloids over the years - he has been arrested for "driving under the influence" three times, and has been in and out of rehab.
  • Despite having sold over 30 million records, David recently filed for bankruptcy protection.
  • He continues to tour the USA.
David Bruce Cassidy (born 12th April 1950)