Monday 29 February 2016

A little something to make me sweeter

All good things must come to an end. Some with a whimper - and some with a bang!

And so, all dressed for "an early preview of the afterlife", Hils, Crog, John-John, Paul, Mark and I trolled off to Islington Assembly Hall for One Night in Heaven, the traditional end-of-LGBT-History-Month gala hosted by Camden LGBT Forum on Saturday.

Oh, those fabulous balls we love to hold...

...and it was fabulous! What remnants there were of it. The "Whore of Hampstead" - drag queen Sandra - was advertised as our host again; she was nowhere to be seen (or heard!). Neither was the lovely Rosie Wilby; but we did have poetry from Trudy Howson. And, instead of the Gay Men's Chorus, we got some Ed Sheeran-wannabee with a guitar and a load of dull songs.


Al Pillay was - as always - a sparkling, loud, and very entertaining opening act. Totally unconnected to her performance on Saturday,and just for the hell of it, here he/she is with her own inimitable take on the fairy tale The Snow Queen:

Meth - the only member of the advertised "Family Fierce" to show up - was a wonder to behold. Her "performance art" interpretations of Adele's Hello (inter-cut with snippets of Miss Jackson and, of course, Lionel Richie's identically-titled signature tune) and Katy Perry's Roar were in turn bewildering and hilarious.

But, if truth be told, there was only one act we really wanted to see - the utterly wonderful Andy Bell (of Erasure), of course!!

He was everything we expected, and more. With a set that didn't just stick to the "obvious" - his opening rendition of Erasure's Always, was a remix version - he has so much energy as a performer, he left many in the audience (some decades younger than he) exhausted just watching him.

In between Sacred from 2014's Erasure album The Violet Flame and his finale of crowd-pleasers including Blue Savannah and Respect (with a troupe of "backing dancers"; all the evening's performers), he proudly announced (before singing it) he was back at the top of America's Billboard Dance Chart with this one - Dave Aude feat. Andy Bell and True Original:

Pumped up with adrenaline, we cheered and whooped for more, but alas! We were to be disappointed. Despite everyone who attended having been issued with tickets that said it closed at 1am, we had no more from the acts, no more brilliant party choons from DJs Jonathan Kemp and Sadie Frost (as we had when we arrived); nothing else but... the raffle prize draw. Then the bar closed. To say we were disappointed is a bit of an understatement - but, as we were ushered out of the hall, we still had Andy Bell's voice ringing in our ears...

"Give a little respect to-oo-oo me!"

I know a whoopee spot

One tends to feel a bit sorry for those who were born on 29th February. To only have a birthday only every four years must be very annoying. Needless to say, the very fact that a leap year only happens at intervals also means there aren't many famous names born on this date: Gioacchino Rossini, Jimmy Dorsey and Joss Ackland among them.

So, it is to yesterday's crop of birthdays we turn on this Tacky Music Monday for our pick-me-up; as we face the depressing prospect of another week in the office. Among a plethora of "names" that included Nijinsky, Zero Mostel, Vincente Minnelli, Stephen Spender, Harry H Corbett, Jeanne Mas, Stephanie Beacham, Tommy Tune and Cindy Wilson of the B52s, Miss Bernadette Peters celebrated her 68th yesterday! Gulp.

Here she is, in her very best "boop-boop-i-doop" mode, and a marvellous rendition of All That Jazz:

Start the car
I know a whoopee spot
Where the gin is cold
But the piano's hot!

It's just a noisy hall
Where there's a nightly brawl
And all that jazz!


Have a good week, dearies...

Bernadette Peters (born Bernadette Lazzara, 28th February 1948)

Sunday 28 February 2016

I love my brick!

And so, farewell then, Father Jack...

Frank Kelly (28th December 1938 – 28th February 2016)

Saturday 27 February 2016

More old cocks

Tonight we're donning our glad-rags for the grand "One Night in Heaven" Ball to mark the end of LGBT History Month for 2016, featuring the unstoppable Andy Bell. However, on Thursday night I was overjoyed (once again) to attend the flagship event "Objects of Desire" at our fave small museum in London, the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology. Another splendid evening of "frocks, rocks and cocks"...

Hosted as ever by the ebullient and learned John J Johnston, the premise is for a bevy of invited guests, prominent in the "LGBT world" and from a variety of non-archaeological disciplines, to talk about a chosen item from the Petrie's collection with a relevance to gay history.

First up was ethical florist, artist and designer Lauren Craig, whose choice was one of the newly displayed items from the Petrie's special exhibition on life in Amarna, the chosen capital of the 'heretic' Pharaoh Akhenaten, a fragment of wall art depicting a lotus and part of a poppy.

With encouragement from "J-J-J", she related this directly to her work campaigning for an improvement in working conditions for (the mainly female) workers who cultivate and harvest flowers in the Third World for use as decoration in the West; and together they wove into the discussion the importance of the Sacred Lotus in cosmetics and decorative arts throughout the Egyptian world.

Public Astronomer Marek Kukula chose as his item some tiny and corroded (and not outwardly impressive) iron beads - which, remarkably, date from a period 2,000 years before the Iron Age (long before humans first mastered the art of mining and smelting iron). Relevant to Mr Kukula's profession, it appears that the beads were worked from chippings taken from a meteorite, and, he surmised, must have been revered as a "gift from the Gods" back in those pre-Dynastic days.

His discussion also revealed how modern artists, working with the same methods as those ancient metalworkers, had attempted to recreate beads from meteorite material and - because the iron from space rocks is liberally mixed with crystals of nickel, which creates naturally exotic geometric patterns in the finished articles - they turned out to be quite beautiful indeed.

Dress and textile historian Daniel Milford-Cottam of the V&A [who is profoundly deaf and uses written notes to communicate, hence the fact that Public Programmer at The Petrie Museum the witty and charming Helen Pike was sat with him to interpret] naturally chose the remarkable Tarkhan Dress - a pleated linen gown that was recently confirmed to be the world's oldest known extant garment. It was made between 3482-3102BC, about the time that Stonehenge was under construction - and is still alluring.

The discussion not only surmised how the dress would actually have been worn [its skin-tight skirt is missing, but it would not have been a practical garment for walking in], but also covered its (and Egypt's visual style in general) influence on fashion to this day - especially some famous 20th century pleated gowns, such as Manuel Fortuny's Delphos gown and the work of Madame Grès, that obviously owe some of their origins to Ancient Egypt (alongside their more obvious homages to Ancient Greece and Rome).

The very lovely Sara Walton - author of the historical novel Rufius (about the outrageous exploits of a cinaedus [ultra-femme gay man] in turbulent times for Rome and Egypt) and reader at the most recent Polari - quite mischievously chose an item of cock-worship; a Graeco-Roman period terracotta model of a procession carrying a large phallus.

Of course, this gave "J-J-J" full rein to steer the discussion around the role of the phallus in Egyptian ceremony (and in more - ahem - domestic rituals; as a fertility token of course!). The audience was enraptured. This is LGBT History Month, after all, and the audience was indeed full of fellow phallus-worshippers...

Rob Eagle - visual anthropologist, documentary film-maker and occasional drag queen - is a long-time supporter of the Petrie Museum (and an avid fan of dressing as icons from Egypt's history). He arrived this year in the regalia of Horus the hawk-headed god to talk about one of the most popular LGBT-themed items in the collection (regularly featured in similar events we've attended here over the years) - a notorious papyrus fragment found at Lahun telling the (rather fruity) Tale of Horus and Seth. Dating from the Late Middle Kingdom (1850BC – 1700BC), it's an early version of the story that in its later incarnations became more violent.

However, in the Petrie Museum's copy Horus and Seth, who had been fighting over the throne of Egypt for over 80 years, have a well-deserved break from hostilities for a more intimate encounter. Seth flatters Horus with what is the oldest recorded gay chat-up line: “How lovely are your buttocks. And how muscular your thighs”. After a meal the two gods retire to bed and have sex - which the papyrus describes in all its glory:
Then Set said to Horus: "Come, let us have a feast day at my house." And Horus said to him: "I will, I will." Now when evening had come, a bed was prepared for them, and they lay down together. At night, Set let his member become stiff, and he inserted it between the thighs of Horus. And Horus placed his hand between his thighs and caught the semen of Set.
Steamy stuff!

This was a remarkably enjoyable evening (again). Even though I was on my own, once more, I had a wonderful time.

Long live the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology!

Friday 26 February 2016

Love down on the socket

Oh, heavens be praised! This week is almost over. The first week back after a holiday is always horrendous, but this one has been particularly exhausting.

Hey ho, never mind - I had another fabulous evening at the Petrie Museum's own LGBT History Month event last night [more of that in due course], and tomorrow we have the grand end-of-History-Month ball to look forward to, where we will be entertained by none other than the marvellous Mr Andy Bell...

So, to get us in a suitable mood for the weekend, let us all drape ourselves in ridiculous amounts of gold lamé, twirl along with The Trammps, and Thank Disco It's Friday!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday 25 February 2016

To the seat with the clearest view, and she's hooked to the silver screen

David Bowie received a singularly heartfelt tribute from Annie Lennox and Gary Oldman at the Brit Awards 2016 last night. As if that wasn't great enough, members of Mr Bowie's tour band (including the legendary Earl Slick) were fronted by the latest "big thing", Kiwi songstress Lorde, for a rather poignant version of Life on Mars.

Here's the whole segment:

Tribute, indeed.

Tuesday 23 February 2016

Old, moody and doesn’t really like television

BBC Four is to become a series of talks with slides in a local library, it has been confirmed.

Following BBC Three’s move online, BBC Four is also leaving digital TV for a medium that is more relevant to its audience. From next week it will only be available as a series of one-hour talks held at 6.30pm on Tuesdays in Whitechapel Library.

A BBC Four spokesman said: “Our audience is old, moody and doesn’t really like television or the internet. Rather than watching a documentary about a blind French jazz musician, they’d like that information in the form of an overly long talk in a library delivered by a bearded man with dandruff. And with cake at the end.”

61-year-old Norman Steele said: “One thing that always frustrated me about BBC Four was that after watching a documentary about canal boats, one could not ask questions at the end.

“Particularly the kind of questions that involve picking holes in the so-called ‘experts’ in a slightly sarcastic manner.”

The channel will still be showing dark European crime dramas, if the library’s DVD section has them in stock.
Sad, but possibly true.

The Daily Mash.

Of course.

Monday 22 February 2016

Que es fantástica esta fiesta

Oh no!

It is time to go back to reality.

Stuff that for a lark - let us still hold onto our dreams of holidays and of partying this Tacky Music Monday - so to cheer us up with memories of Spain, here's one of our Patron Saints Signorina Raffaella Carrà (with a veritable cabalgada of twirling flamenco dancers).

She's having a Fiesta. I wish we were...

Have a good week folks. I won't.

Sunday 21 February 2016

I hate nice

It's the seventieth birthday of another favourite actress (and friend-of-the-gays) today - the multi-talented Tyne Daly, star of everything from Cagney and Lacey to Terrence McNally's Master Class (which we saw back in 2012); she has won six Grammys, two Tonys, a Golden Globe, and has been inducted into the American Theatre Hall of Fame.

From her recent Broadway show It Shoulda Been You, she sums up my feelings on my last day of freedom before I rise, kicking and screaming, for work tomorrow:

I hate nice
I hate lies
It's befriending a bitch you despise
When you just want to punch her


And, as a bonus - Cagney & Lacy as you never saw them before!

Ellen Tyne Daly (born 21st February 1946)

Saturday 20 February 2016

Sweetie, darling

It's all rejoicing in the Gay World!

Our Princess Kylie Minogue has gone and got herself engaged to hunk-with-silly-beard Joshua Sasse - and made an official announcement in The Telegraph.

It's the 70th birthday today of one of our fave actresses here at Dolores Delargo Towers, Miss Benda Blethyn, star of the magnificent Secrets and Lies:

London Fashion Week is underway. And, with their fingers on the pulse as always, Eddie and Patsy were in the thick of it. All in a good cause, of course - the first trailer for the forthcoming Ab Fab movie has arrived!

Takes one's mind off the miserable bloody London weather today, I suppose.

Friday 19 February 2016


Oh dear. It's almost the weekend, and already the holiday in Spain is fading along with our tans...

Never mind, still one more weekend to go before the gloom really sets in - so let's forget all that, and get down and funky with Mr Jimmy Bo Horne - Thank Disco It's Friday!

Have a good one...

Thursday 18 February 2016

Priapic fascination, sword-swallowing, hypnotic behaviour, a cinaedus and a jar of jelly-beans

It's LGBT History Month again - and our first event of this estimable feast of historical insights was Polari on Tuesday. Of course.

Hostess-with-the-mostest at "London's peerless gay literary salon" Mr Paul Burston, in the absence of partner-in-crime VG Lee had seated us (John-John, Alex, Jayne and I) in the "Royal Box" (one of the front tables), leaving Paul, Bryanne, Simon and the rest to languish in the stalls... We waved, regally. Occasionally.

Anyhoo - opening this month's show was historian Jennifer Ingleheart, with her fascinating talk (technically, a mini-lecture, given that we had handouts and everything) Romosexuality. Cleverly weaving in references to both EM Forster's classic gay love story Maurice and the Victorian pornographic novel Teleny (purportedly written, at least in part, by Oscar Wilde), her point was to illustrate how, in spite of repeated scorn from scholars through the ages, it is in fact the Roman perspective on gay relationships rather than the idealised Greek which bears more relevance to our modern lives:
Areas in which specifically Roman rather than Greek sexual practices and ideologies intersect in significant ways with modern homosexualities include, in particular, Rome’s ‘Priapic’ fascination with well-endowed males, its greater concentration on and candour about sex, and its adherence to a less rigidly structured age-related model of same-sex relationships than that of Greek pedagogic pederasty; Roman texts contain more examples of men’s desire for and sex with other adult males, and have thus been read as authorizing same-sex relationships which involve partners defined by their same-sex attraction rather than their desire for the sexually other...

Despite its prominence in scholarly accounts of homosexuality, and its important role for early gay rights activists, it might be argued that Greek homosexuality does not play a comparable role in contemporary popular culture: its pederastic aspect provides a stumbling block for many gay men.
Excellent stuff - as I am sure fellow gay historian and regular host of History Month events at our beloved Petrie Museum, John J Johnson (in the Polari audience for the very first time) agreed.

Next to the stage was poet David Clarke, who read a selection of works from his collection Arc. From that anthology, this...
Sword-Swallowing for Beginners
Start by flicking the fleshy switch at the back
of your throat. When you’ve thrown up a dozen times,
you’ll find the impulse subsides – you can sit for hours
with a knuckle softly pressed inside your head,

watching rolling news of the war. Insert spoons,
knitting needles, a length of plumber’s pipe.
Stare at the ceiling, your jaw loose as a gorging
python’s, and try to conjure those shocks that pass

through the body, but leave it intact – the rasp of panicked
breath, the whump of a nearby explosion, a scream.
Or think of the soldier who coughed up a sleeping bullet,
shrapnel burrowing out of a human thigh

to freedom. By then you’ll be ready to take a blunted
bayonet, silver and slick with spit. Arrange
your body around that deathly spindle,
repeat to yourself – I am unharmed. Unharmed.

Closing the first half, our chum Chris Green - most famous as the delightful Hip Hop Music Hall legend Miss Ida Barr (who we like so much, my sister even had her play at her wedding reception!). One thing we never knew was his lifelong fascination with hypnotism, and it was from his new book on the history of the subject Overpowered! from which he read a few engrossing pieces before inviting questions from the audience. And speaking of engrossing, how about his newest stage creation, The Singing Hypnotist?

Suitably - ahem - mesmerised, it was time for a quick break for a fag and a top-up.

Our next reader, novelist Sarah Walton has dedicated herself to her art. To prepare for writing her debut Rufius [his caricature heads this blog], Miss Walton studied for a PhD and, in her words "immersed myself for five years in the everyday clutter of ancient Roman lives – from favourite recipes to remedies for genital warts." She introduced the book thus:
"Meet Rufius, flamboyant hedonist with perfect eyebrows. Rufius is a cinaedus, Latin for an effeminate buggeree. Far from the hard, muscular Roman ideal, cinaedi wore make-up, curled their hair, plucked and painted on their eyebrows. They could be thought of as an ancient Roman version of transgender. The laws that condemned these men to public burning became more severe under the Christian Emperors, but Rufius is having none of it. He’s not ashamed of wearing his mother’s cameo brooches on his toga, and he’s not going to stop talking with a lisp because of a bunch of jumped up bishops!"

And who better to portray the man himself but Chris Green (again), complete with all the mincing..?
"Fill my glass, boy."

What a drag. Avoid the pirates, Damasus had said. I could strangle him. Who’d have thought I’d be cast off to the East? I must be the only cinaedus exiled in the history of the Roman Empire. Exile’s a punishment reserved for senators and poets. Legally it’s a valid sentence for my kind, but no judge would bother... unless bribed by Damasus, the Arch-bloody-bishop of Rome. Curse you, Damasus. I’ll fleece you for this...

"Curse that Archbishop and his double chins – at least he has a few more than me." Men are tortured and beheaded without a trial for being in possession of heretical books. Exile and in league with that scoundrel! But what choice did I have when he waved the law at me … and the Emperor Gratian wrapped around his fat finger... "Need I remind you of the punishment for being a cinaedus, Rufius?" I recall the smell of the roses in the Lateran Basilica that day. Yellow rose petals, crushed in Damasus’ hand, fluttered through his fingers as he spat out the word cinaedus. His laughter at having me cornered still makes me shiver with rage. I’ll fleece him for this. If he thinks he’s getting fifty percent of the profits he’s misjudged me. The best way to hurt Damasus is in his precious purse.

"Pharos," shouts a deck hand. "Lighthouse. Starboard."

"Shut him up will you, dear?" I reach out to stroke the slave’s hair. "I can’t tip you, but I can give you a kiss." He lets me pet him, ready to jump away at the slightest angry twitch. He’ll receive a decent tip for putting up with my ill temper. Simple joys, like surprising slaves with the odd forbidden possession, are what keep my pulse throbbing these days.
Campness abounds. Utterly sublime.

Only a reader of the brilliance of our eternal favourite Mr Jonathan Harvey could follow that! Reading from his new novel The Secrets We Keep, he teased us with the mysterious tale of Natalie "...that woman, the one whose husband disappeared. It's made me quite famous. I just wish it was for something else. He went out five years ago for a pint of milk and never came back. So here I am with a daughter who blames me for all that's wrong in the world, a son trying his best to pick up the pieces and a gaggle of new neighbours who are over friendly, and incredibly nosy. Then I find a left luggage ticket in the pocket of one of his old coats and suddenly I'm thinking... What's if he's not dead? What if he's still out there somewhere?" Here's a snippet:
It was the late eighties, and lots of loft apartments and offices lay empty. And it was at a party in one of these that I met a gorgeous guy just a year or two younger than me who was addicted to jelly bean sweets. This was Danny. He claimed he’d seen me out and about around London, working the door of a club near Piccadilly Circus. I had no recollection of him. But before I could say so he’d offered me a sweet. The rest, as they say, is history.

For years he kept a jar of these sweets in the fridge. I used to bicker with him that there was no need, those sweets don’t really go off, but he said he liked the colour they brought to the fridge. They were his sweet of choice and he enjoyed the ritual of opening the door, pulling the nipple shaped lid off the jar in the door, and furtling around inside for a handful of the multicoloured beans. After he disappeared I didn’t dare move them from their home. If that fridge was jelly-bean-free it meant I had given up hope. He would return. He would furtle and eat again.
The left luggage ticket and the jelly beans themselves come back into the story as our heroine decides to use subterfuge to investigate more. On discovering that a woman had come to collect the "lost" parcel, she gets a job as her cleaner - and it's then she discovers a familiar jar in her fridge...

We were on the edge of our seats - but will need to read the book to find the true story.

This was a splendid evening (once again), and, despite being left wanting more - it was a brilliant way to start out LGBT History Month celebrations.

Our next outing for Polari on 9th March will be part of the South Bank's Women of the World festival, and features headliner Polari First Book Prize 2013 winner Mari Hannah, together with Jacquie Lawrence, Sophie Sparham and VA Fearon and (again) Sophie Ellis-Bextor's mum Janet Ellis. Can't wait!

Polari website

Wednesday 17 February 2016

Unexpected levels of mediocrity

Grammy Awards organisers have apologised for sound issues that were caused by the music not being very good.

Viewers complained after performances by Adele, Justin Bieber and Pitbull during which something seemed to be fundamentally wrong.

A Grammys spokesman said: “We apologise to anyone watching at home who experienced unexpected levels of mediocrity.

“We strive to bring your the very best performances but obviously we have to balance that with the economic needs of vast entertainment corporations.

“Their relentless pursuit of the lowest common denominator can result in a cold, machine-like kind of song that is not especially fun or pleasing, especially when performed live.”

Taylor Swift received the Best Album award for 1989, a musical sequel to George Orwell’s novel 1984 about a factory worker living under a totalitarian regime who is imprisoned for having a sleepover with her BFF.
The Daily Mash

Of course.

Tuesday 16 February 2016

Lipstick cherry all over the lens as she's falling

Timeslip moment again...

Our lovely DeLorean has dropped us off this week thirty-five years ago, to the heady days of proper dressing-up pop.

In the news in February 1981 were rumours that Prince Charles was to get engaged to Lady Diana Spencer (which he did later in the month), revelations about the crimes of the recently-arrested "Yorkshire Ripper" Peter Sutcliffe, the rise of the SDP (Social Democrats) with a wave of defections from the Labour Party, continued bombings and mayhem by the IRA, and the purchase of The Times and Sunday Times by Rupert Murdoch. On our tellies were The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Agony and the ill-fated Kate O'Mara "soap" Triangle (often referred to these days as the worst TV show ever). In cinemas: Flash Gordon, Nine to Five and Raging Bull.

In our charts: Adam and the Ants were at the height of their powers with no fewer than five singles in the Top 100; the country continued to mourn John Lennon, with Woman at No. 1 and Imagine still in the Top 10; and the notorious Shaddup You Face was about to replace Lennon at the top and thereby prevent the far more worthy Vienna by Ultravox from ever getting there. Elsewhere, Phil Collins, Blondie, Madness, Rainbow, Visage, Stray Cats, Yarborough & Peoples and Dire Straits held sway.

But waiting in the wings was this masterpiece by the very lovely Duran Duran - and I went absolutely mad for it!

See them walking hand in hand across the bridge at midnight
Heads turning as the lights flashing out it's so bright
Then walk right out to the fourline track
There's a camera rolling on her back, on her back
And I sense the rhythm humming in a frenzy all the way down her spine

Girls on film, girls on film, girls on film, girls on film

Lipstick cherry all over the lens as she's falling
In miles of sharp blue water coming in where she lies
The diving man's coming up for air cause the crowd all love pulling dolly by the hair, by the hair
And she wonders how she ever got here as she goes under again

Girls on film (two minutes later), girls on film
Girls on film (got your picture), girls on film

Wider baby smiling you just made a million
Fuses pumping live heat twisting out on a wire
Take one last glimpse into the night I'm touching close I'm holding bright, holding tight
Give me shudders in a whisper take me up till I'm shooting a star

Girls on film (she's more than a lady), girls on film
Girls on film (two minutes later), girls on film
Girls on film (see you together), girls on film
Girls on film (see you later), girls on film
Girls on film (what ya doing), girls on film

PS Happy 55th birthday today to the Durannies' original guitarist Mr Andy Taylor!

Monday 15 February 2016

Ah, the voice of the people

“Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.'”
- Isaac Asimov

“Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.”
- Martin Luther King Jr.

"Democracy is best when not everyone can be heard all the time. If we are constantly reminded of all the stupid things that people say and think, it becomes rather difficult to remember the good and noble arguments for everyone to be able to participate and decide.”
- Johan Hakelius

"[Twitter has become] a stalking ground for the sanctimoniously self-righteous who love to second-guess, to leap to conclusions and be offended - worse, to be offended on behalf of others they do not even know. It’s as nasty and unwholesome a characteristic as can be imagined. It doesn’t matter whether they think they’re defending women, men, transgender people, Muslims, humanists... the ghastliness is absolutely the same. It makes sensible people want to take an absolutely opposite point of view."
- Stephen Fry, on quitting the "social" network after being vilified for sharing a joke with a friend at the BAFTAs.

Those icy fingers up and down my spine

The "holiday come-down" has entered full-on "sulk" mode. Although it is lovely and sunny out there at the moment, the sun in London is giving no warmth whatsoever, and there are no beach bars to go to...


On this Tacky Music Monday, let's try and lift the mood somewhat in the company of the sinister Florence Henderson - here introduced by Paul Lynde, Witchy-Poo (Billie Hayes) and The Wicked Witch Of The West (Margaret Hamilton) - with a classic song written by today's birthday boy (he would have been 110 years old) Mr Harold Arlen:

Feel better? Almost.

Sunday 14 February 2016

While you were away...

Whenever we go away, we completely immerse ourselves in "holiday mood" - doing absolutely nothing becomes an art-form. No British newspapers or TV, no internet, no contact with anything that doesn't involve the Costa del Sol. Bliss. But now we are back, have we missed anything?

There appears to have been bugger all in the way of "big" news: storms battered the UK (gloat, gloat); the Independent newspaper announced it is to close its print edition; there's still a war in Syria; Pinewood Studios may be put up for sale; US political something-or-others involving a man with horrid hair and a woman who dresses like a lesbian continue on and on (yawn); Fergie the Duchess of York has applied for Swiss citizenship; and a rogue elephant rampaged through a town in Bengal.

Meanwhile,in Spain, the big news was that our fave histrionic Spanish diva Isabel Pantoja was released from prison (on conditional parole) at last...

We missed celebrating the birthdays of (among others) Carmen Miranda, Lana Turner, Judith Anderson, Mary Quant, Kathryn Grayson, Joyce Grenfell, Dora Bryan, Holly Johnson, Leontyne Price, Kim Novak and Zsa Zsa Gabor (still with us, just, at 99!); we also missed Rick Astley's 50th, Burt Reynolds' 80th, and Mamie Van Doren's and Rip Torn's 85th. Hey ho.

We missed Pancake Day in the UK, but, of course, Mardi Gras is a big celebration in Spain. Indeed, while outside Codigo Bar in La Nogilera a week ago, we watched a whole flurry of "feathers, foof and faff" doing the rounds, as revellers and participants from Torremolinos' own carnival celebrations paraded around from bar to bar - a jolly way to start our holiday!

Finally, we missed Chinese New Year. Kung Hei Fat Choi! 2016 is Year of the Monkey - so, to celebrate that fact, and in keeping with our "holiday come-down", here (once again) is Melody y los Vivancos and El Baile de los Gorilas:

Hola Guapos!

Ni tu ni nadie - nadie puede cambiarme

We're back. Sod it!

From unseasonably warm Spain to grim, wet, cold Britain was a bit of a shock to the system last night, but at least we had a fabulous week - sunshine, booze, fun, friends old and new, good food, booze (did I mention that?) - and (of course) the uber-camp Fangoria!

Here's the wonderfully OTT Ni tu ni nadie:

Showgirls and safety gays? - and it's not even a Tacky Music Monday!

Es bueno estar en casa? Realmente no.

Saturday 6 February 2016

The Devil wears deck shoes

By the time you see this, dear reader, we shall be well on our way to the delights of Andalusia again. We say it every time, but... "I have never needed a holiday so much!"

Who better to send us on our way but the very best of the "best" of tacky-music-troubadours, Las Seventies?!

We always do these moves every time we enter a bar in Spain. And we plan to enter many...

Don Diablo se ha escapado
Tu no sabes la que ha armado!


See you all in a week or so...

Friday 5 February 2016

Postcards from Amsterdam, phone calls from Birmingham

I was beginning to think it would never come. My last day in work was actually yesterday, but this week dragged on, and on, and on...

Now, however, we have even more cause to celebrate the impending weekend - as ours, from tomorrow, will be spent on the Costa del Sol!

Who else would we call upon to help us build that party atmosphere than the lovely ladies of Baccara? Here they are, gesticulating their tits off outside one of General Franco's finest architectural gems, with one of their lesser-known songs - Darling.

¡Gracias de Disco que es Viernes!, or, as we usually say - Thank Disco It's Friday!

Postcards from Amsterdam,
Phone calls from Birmingham,
To tell me only how you miss me
Received your telegram
Now you say, here I am
Oh, the way you hold, and kiss me.

Oh, darling, darling, darling,
Leave a little love for later on
Darling, darling, darling,
So that you can come back when you've gone
I idolize, your magic eyes, and I imagine
All the good things we can do, we can do
Oh, darling, darling darling,
Leave a little a secret on the shelf
Darling, darling, darling
So that you can come back in for more.
My fantasy runs fancy free, and I imagine
All the good things we can do, we can do

It's been a long, long time,
And you and me will climb
The mountains and the hills of passion.
Soft certain skin to skin,
Oh, what a mood I'm in
Bewitched by heart aggression

Oh, darling, darling, darling,
Leave a little love for later on
Darling, darling, darling,
So that you can come back when you've gone
I idolize, your magic eyes, and I imagine
All the good things we can do, we can do
Oh, darling, darling darling,
Leave a little a secret on the shelf
Darling, darling, darling
So that you can come back in for more.
My fantasy runs fancy free, and I imagine
All the good things we can do, we can do.

Fab lyrics.

Thursday 4 February 2016

And yesterday was all we had

Somethin' happened along the way
What used to be happy was sad
Somethin' happened along the way
And yesterday was all we had

I'm certain Mr White would have appreciated this Legs & Co tribute - it's their rather literal interpretation of After The Love Has Gone:

RIP Maurice White (19th December 1941 – 3rd February 2016)

Entre flores, fandanguillos y alegrías

Benalmadena has changed a bit since the 1970s

Where can I possibly begin, in attempting to introduce this number?

Best to let it speak for itself, really...

Continuing our countdown to the delights of Spain on Saturday - here's Señor Manolo Escobar resplendent in beige, a "band" of beautifully-dressed dancers, a slideshow of enticing views of this lovely country, and this (ahem) eternal anthem:

You can see why we love the place.

Wednesday 3 February 2016

El valor y el temple de ésta vieja fiesta

The late, great Rocio Jurado: often referred to as "The Spanish Shirley Bassey"

It's Wednesday already, and, although we've been counting down the hours in our heads, I have yet to commence any kind of "countdown" to Spain - where we will be on Saturday.

Let's redress that situation immediately!

Here's one of the greatest and campest of all the (many) divas we have collected from that great country of camp music - Señorita Rocío Jurado (so revered, we are even staying on an Avenida named in her honour in Benalmadena!), replete with with her homosexuales seguridad - and Viva El Pasadoble:

More tributes to the lovely lady may be found here, here and here.