Tuesday 31 May 2016

Drives me crazy

We're back from a splendid long weekend break in leafy Essex, during which we traversed through garden centres and nurseries up and down the county (and have come back with an impressive haul of goodies for the extensive gardens here at Dolores Delargo Towers, to boot) - including the incredibly floral Bourne Brook Nurseries, specialists in one of our favourite flowers, the Fuchsia. And we know a song about them!

Fuch-Fuch-Fuchsia (from Ja Zuster, Nee Zuster):

That makes up for missing a "Tacky Music Monday", methinks...

While we were away, the "soap opera" that is likely to be the subject of a tabloid feeding frenzy for a few months to come - The Johnny Depp Divorce - took off; almost as vicious was the growing spat between pro- and anti-Europe campaigners; the horror of refugee boat disasters made sombre reading; men's clothier Austin Reed joined British Home Stores on the bankruptcy list; Andy Sturgeon won "Best Show Garden" at the Chelsea Flower Show; and the ban on so-called "legal highs" came into force, but poppers (which was originally on the list) got a reprieve.

The Proms in the Park 2016 performers were announced, including Michael Ball, Alfie Boe, Juan Diego Flórez, James Galway, The Feeling, Rick Astley(!) and All Saints. I hope this isn't the final line-up for September's event - nice as they were back in the '90s, the All Saints girls don't seem like a headline act to me! I have my suspicions that Auntie Beeb has yet to reveal everything...

And finally - we also missed celebrating the 55th birthday of the once-upon-a-time-gorgeous Roland Gift, a man who really stirred my loins back in the '80s! Let's make amends, with one of his band Fine Young Cannibals' greatest hits - She Drives Me Crazy:

I can't stop the way I feel
Things you do don't seem real.
Tell me what you've got in mind,
'Cause we're running out of time.
Won't you ever set me free?
This waiting 'round's killing me.

She drives me crazy like no one else.
She drive me crazy, and I can't help myself.

I can't get any rest,
People say I'm obsessed.
Everything you say is lies,
But to me that's no surprise.
What I had for you was true.
Things go wrong, they always do.

She drives me crazy like no one else.
She drive me crazy, and I can't help myself.

Tell me what you've got in mind,
'Cause we're running out of time.
Won't you ever set me free?
This waiting 'round's killing me.

She drives me crazy like no one else.
She drive me crazy, and I can't help myself.

I won't make it on my own.
No one likes to be alone.

She drives me crazy like no one else.
She drives me crazy, and I can't help myself.
She drives me crazy like no one else.

Tell you what drives me crazy - I'm back to work tomorrow. Dammit.

Friday 27 May 2016

My heart is my alibi

As we hurtle towards a long Bank Holiday weekend (and breathe a sigh of relief that this bloody week is over at last), let us raise a toast to Our Princess Kylie, whose birthday it is tomorrow!

We will inevitably let the lady herself get the party started in the most pertinent manner, with this guaranteed-to-get-you-moving classic - and Thank Disco It's Friday!

Have a great weekend! We are off to visit the Boys in Braintree Manor in Essex, so posts may be somewhat intermittent until our return on Tuesday...

Kylie Ann Minogue OBE (born 28th May 1968)

Thursday 26 May 2016

Don't anger the Fairies

Blossoms and bluebells have gone, and it's time for a new pretender to the throne here in the gardens at Dolores Delargo Towers...

From the Gardens Ablaze site:
The alternate names for Foxglove give a glimpse into how embedded this plant is in Fairy and Magick folklore, and includes Fairy Petticoats, Fairy Thimbles, Fairy Fingers, Fairy Weed, Fox Mittens, Witches Bells, Witches Thimbles, Folks Gloves, and Fox Bells. Indeed, the name Foxglove itself is derived from a legend that says that evil Fairies gave a fox the flower petals to put on his toes so that he could rob the chicken house without being heard - thus the name "fox glove."

Fairy gardens have become quite popular, and Foxglove is a must-have for attracting Fairies. Fairies supposedly play within the flowers, and each spot inside marks the spot where a Fairy has touched the surface. Placed in front of the house, Foxglove is believed to protect the occupants from evil influences. Picking Foxglove from the garden and bringing it inside is believed to anger the Fairies. Placed in a charm or talisman, a piece of Foxglove flower is believed to keep one inside protective Fairy light.

I do love a bit of "Fairy light", don't you? But the foxglove's usefulness goes further than folklore...

From "Molecule of the Month":
Digitalis is an example of a cardio-active or cardiotonic drug, in other words a steroid which has the ability to exert a specific and powerful action on the cardiac muscle in animals, and has been used in the treatment of heart conditions ever since its discovery in 1775.

The discovery of digitalis is accredited to the Scottish doctor William Withering, and makes for quite an interesting historical story. While working as a physician in Staffordshire in the 18th Century, his girlfriend got him interested in plants and botany - so much so, that in 1776 he published a huge treatise, whose title begins 'A botanical arrangement of all the vegetables growing in Great Britain...' and goes on for a further 24 lines.

In 1775, one of his patients came to him with a very bad heart condition and since Withering had no effective treatment for him, thought he was going to die. The patient, being an independent type, went instead to a local gypsy, took a secret herbal remedy - and promptly got much better!

When Withering heard about this, he became quite excited and searched for the gypsy throughout the by-ways of Shropshire. Eventually he found her, and demanded to know what was in the secret remedy. After much bargaining, the gypsy finally told her secret. The herbal remedy was made from a whole concoction of things, but the active ingredient was the Purple Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea). The potency of digitalis extract had been known since the dark ages, when it had been used as a poison for the mediaeval 'trial by ordeal', and also used as an external application to promote the healing of wounds.

So Withering tried out various formulations of digitalis plant extracts on 163 patients, and found that if he used the dried, powdered leaf, he got amazingly successful results. He introduced its use officially in 1785.
Is it any wonder we are obsessed with plants?

Wednesday 25 May 2016

Serena's having a birthday party...

...but it doesn't look like many people are invited!

Many happy returns, Sir Ian Murray "Serena" McKellen , CH, CBE (born 25th May 1939)

Tuesday 24 May 2016


Adults have been urged to unlock their full potential by finding their ‘inner grown up’.

Psychologist Dr Tom Booker believes adults have lost sight of how to access their adult selves and has suggested a range of strategies to help people reconnect with their ‘repressed grown up person’.

Dr Booker said: “Instead of reading Harry Potter books, which are for children, read a book written about actual grown ups that doesn’t involve witches, zombies or goblins.

“Or you might consider watching a BBC4 documentary, or even tuning in to Radio 4, rather than watching Doctor Who, which, once again, is for children.

“Another way to encourage your inner grown-up is to read a long article in one of the broadsheets without whimpering ‘tl;dr’ and turning to a story about Kim Kardashian’s bum.”

Dr Booker also regards restaurants as ‘special venues’ where over-21s can ‘release’ the over-21 year-old person within by eating something other than chips or pizza.

He added: “And when asked if you want a dessert, don’t get all excited and order ice cream. You’re not 12 and it’s not your birthday.”

Dr Booker said the next level involves ‘taking responsibility for something’, but that was for advanced students only.
The Daily Mash

Of course.

Monday 23 May 2016

That's what I call "Art"

Aquilegia in the gardens here at Dolores Delargo Towers

As ever, the weekend has disappeared in a blink of an eye - an evening in the pub, a trip to the hairdresser, a day pottering in the garden (at one point dodging a swarm of bees), and it's back to work again...

However, it would have been the birthday today of the wonderful Rosie Clooney, so it's over to her (in an unaccustomed "sexy" role) to cheer us up on this Tacky Music Monday - with a lurid technicolour set and a bevy of high-kicking bar-room showgirls!

Rosemary Clooney (23rd May 1928 - 29th June 2002)

Sunday 22 May 2016

Never mess with a drag queen on a mission

Alabama’s notorious supreme court chief justice, Roy Moore, has been suspended pending charges that he abused his authority, and he recently called a news conference to identify his enemy.

“Ambrosia Starling,” he said, then leaned into the microphone for emphasis. “A transvestite.”

The pair have been locked in an ideological war this year that started when Moore ordered the state’s lower judges to ignore the US supreme court’s ruling that legalised gay marriage. Starling headed to the capital, Montgomery, and the fight began: court and corset. Black robes versus a miniskirt. The judge against the drag queen – and the drag queen is winning.

After Starling and companions filed complaints against Moore, the state’s disciplinary board for judges removed Moore from power on May 7, charging he had “flagrantly disregarded and abused his authority” and “abandoned his role” as chief justice.
Go, girl..!

Here's an apposite number - Sister Queen, of course!

Read the whole story of the awesome Ambrosia Starling in The Guardian.

Saturday 21 May 2016

Shout it from the highest steeple

Another timeslip moment is upon us...

We've hurtled off in our time machine, back to this week thirty years ago.

In the news in May 1986: the trial of the IRA bombers of the Tory party conference in Brighton neared its conclusion; huge efforts were underway to clean-up/seal-off land affected by the Chernobyl nuclear catastrophe in Russia; Labour's "Militant Tendency", Liverpool Football Club and Eurovision Song Contest winner Shadra Kim from Belgium were in the ascendant, and we waved goodbye to Talbot Cars, Hylda Baker and Sterling Hayden; civil war erupted in Somalia; at least 600 people were killed in a ferry disaster in Bangladesh; and 5,000,000 people including innumerable celebs joined Hands Across America to raise money for homeless and anti-poverty charities. In cinemas: The Money Pit, Pretty in Pink and Down and Out in Beverly Hills. On telly: A Very Peculiar Practice, Pingu and Carla Lane's comedy Bread.

In the UK charts this week: novelty songs were all the rage, including The Chicken Song from Spitting Image at #1, Snooker Loopy featuring Chas'n'Dave and the fab remake of Spirit in the Sky by Doctor and the Medics; and also scoring highly were Patti LaBelle with Michael MacDonald, Peter Gabriel, Simply Red, Level 42, Jaki Graham, Van Halen and Robert Palmer. But... just making its debut miles away down the charts was a song that was to become a ubiquitous part of that summer's soundtrack, as I recall - it's Amazulu and their eternally chirpy version of a Chi-Lites classic:

I'm skanking as we speak.

Friday 20 May 2016

I can slide down places that you never knew

Another of our Patron Saints has hit that milestone today - Cher is 70!

As we hurtle towards the much-needed weekend [much needed by moi particularly, after my first week back in the stifling office], what better excuse could we have for a party?

Let's grab the "Bob Mackie"s out of the closet, get our shimmy on - and Thank Disco It's Friday!

Cher is our latest "exhibit" over at the Dolores Delargo Towers Museum of Camp.

Thursday 19 May 2016

Abuse of Tea?

Courtesy of the eternally fascinating "cabinet of curiosities" that is Dangerous Minds, here is a list of causes for admission to the Aberdeen Lunatic Asylum in 1847.

They might as well lock us all up for having a "sedentary life", “abuse of tea”, "irregular habits of life" and "disappointment in love"...

Here's an appropriate song:

Wednesday 18 May 2016

A psychological defence against their own insignificance

Everyone in an office appears to be playing out a clichéd role in a slightly over-dramatic way, a new employee has noticed.

Since joining a patio heater firm two weeks ago, accounts assistant Tom Logan has been puzzled by his colleagues’ attempts to make everything seem important.

Logan said: “I began to suspect they were weird when someone told me not to get on the wrong side of the HR woman, Tina, because she could ‘make life very difficult for me’.

“I doubt I’m going to have a bitter feud with a 55-year-old woman who’s nothing to do with me, unless working for a small business in Ipswich is a constant power struggle.

“The sales team are always shouting things like ‘Who’s actioning that?’ and ‘I’ve got your back, Steve!’. I think they’re pretending to be in the army.

“Then there’s the secretary, Lorna, who acts like she’s indispensable and has loads of influence with the boss. The most tragic thing is it’s straight out of Mad Men.

“I can understand people wanting a psychological defence against their own insignificance, but that’s no excuse for the security guard staring at me like Vin Diesel.”
As my first week back in work drags inexorably on (and on, and on), so this becomes more and more evident.

The Daily Mash

Of course.

Tuesday 17 May 2016

You say, you think we need to go to war - well you're already in one

It's IDAHo, or IDAHoT, or even IDAHoBiT again! The International Day Against Homophobia (and nowadays, Bi-phobia [whatever that means] and Transphobia) was created in 2004 to draw the attention of policymakers, opinion leaders, social movements, the public and the media to the violence and discrimination experienced by LGBT people internationally, it is now celebrated in more than 130 countries, including 37 where same-sex acts are illegal. Activities are taking place (amongst others) in Russia, in Egypt, Sudan, Algeria, Georgia, Moldova, Pakistan and (for the first time) even in Bhutan, as well as in more "enlightened" states such as Canada, Australia, the US and the UK.

To mark the day, I found a rather interesting piece by Simon Copland in The Guardian, from which these are selected extracts:
Looking back at this time last year, when it came to gay politics, it would have been easy to be complacent.

Ireland and the US supreme court were both about to vote yes on marriage equality and in Australia it looked inevitable that we would do the same too. Other issues were finally entering the debate, whether it was trans rights, or recognition for other non-traditional relationship styles. The march for progress was unstoppable.

What difference a year can make...

...Momentum on marriage equality in Australia has stalled, with hostility on the issue intensifying in recent months...In the US, conservatives have passed “religious freedom bills” in a number of states, and last year the city of Houston rejected an ordinance that would have added protections to queer people in housing and employment. This year, North Carolina passed a “bathroom bill”, mandating that people use the bathroom that matches their gender assigned at birth.

These attacks have surprised many in the queer communities. This IDAHoT it is worth reflecting on why this has happened, and what we can do about it. To do so, it is important to understand the historical context of these shifts. While these attacks may look shocking, they follow a pattern that has been occurring for hundreds of years.

Go back to the 1890s for example... The “gay nineties” were known for decadent art such as that from Aubrey Beardsley and the scandalous plays of Oscar Wilde. The era also saw the birth of the suffragette movement. But just as the exuberance of the decade hit its stride, so did the conservative backlash. Wilde was sentenced to hard labour, while the suffragettes faced the full wrath of the police.

This pattern is common. A similar sexual revolution occurred in the swinging 1920s and '30s. This was a time when gay rights became even more prominent with sexologists such as the German Magnus Hirschfeld actively campaigning for the rights of gay and trans people. Again, the backlash was swift. Hirschfeld’s centre was burnt down by the Nazis, while in the Anglosphere these new sexual ideas were crushed in the post-war boom, as our society focused on the ideal of “traditional marriage”.

The sexual exuberance of the 1960s and '70s came with a similar backlash, particular as the HIV/AIDS crisis hit in the 80s. Instead of dealing with [this] as a medical issue, governments around the world used it as an opportunity to scaremonger about queer people, raising fears of the spread of the “gay cancer”.

In each of these moments, the sexual exuberance of the time made change look inevitable. Progress to true liberation and equality was on an unstoppable march, so it seemed. Yet in each moment, right-wing forces responded in kind. They have been extremely successful in doing so.

Of course times today are different, primarily in that we are a much more socially liberal society, but we can still see similar themes today from the right-wing attacks of the past... [And] it is in understanding this history that we can see the weakness of some of the responses of the LGBTI community. [We have] bought into the frame of the debate. We’ve once again tried to convince people that we’re not challenging any of the tenets of modern society, and instead that we just want to “live our lives”. This becomes a problem when we actually do want to challenge social institutions...

Instead of being defensive, it is time we change the frame of the debate. We need to overthrow the very idea that teaching kids about sexuality, or that changing how we deal with gender, are bad things. We need to accept that we are dangerous to parts of society, but to embrace that fact, and make the argument as to why it is necessary.

The attacks queer people face today have a long history. For centuries, conservatives have been extremely successful in painting queer people as a threat to our society. This year, and this International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, it is up to us to change that frame. Only through destroying the very premise of that argument will we be able to break the cycle of repression.
A much, much more straightforward response, of course is our traditional one here at Dolores Delargo Towers. I feature it every year on this important day...

Look inside
Look inside your tiny mind
Now look a bit harder
'Cause we're so uninspired, so sick and tired of all the hatred you harbour

So you say
It's not okay to be gay
Well I think you're just evil
You're just some racist who can't tie my laces
Your point of view is medieval

Fuck you
Fuck you very, very much
'Cause we hate what you do
And we hate your whole crew
So please don't stay in touch

Fuck you
Fuck you very, very much
'Cause your words don't translate
And it's getting quite late
So please don't stay in touch

Do you get
Do you get a little kick out of being slow-minded?
You want to be like your father
It's approval you're after
Well that's not how you find it

Do you
Do you really enjoy living a life that's so hateful?
'Cause there's a hole where your soul should be
You're losing control of it and it's really distasteful

Fuck you
Fuck you very, very much
'Cause we hate what you do
And we hate your whole crew
So please don't stay in touch

Fuck you
Fuck you very, very much
'Cause your words don't translate and it's getting quite late
So please don't stay in touch

Fuck you, fuck you, fuck you,
Fuck you, fuck you, fuck you,
Fuck you

You say, you think we need to go to war
Well you're already in one,
'Cause its people like you
That need to get slew
No one wants your opinion

Fuck you
Fuck you very, very much
'Cause we hate what you do
And we hate your whole crew
So please don't stay in touch

Fuck you
Fuck you very, very much
'Cause your words don't translate and it's getting quite late
So please don't stay in touch

Fuck you, fuck you, fuck you
Fuck you, fuck you, fuck you

International Day Against Homophobia

Monday 16 May 2016

I believe in you

Her Maj the Queen had the biggest - and knowing her love of horses (no fewer than 900 were involved, including dancing ones, military ones, dressage ones and several of her own) probably her favourite - birthday party last night!

This spectacular pageant celebrating her life was organised as the closing ceremony for the Royal Windsor Horse Show, and featured a sparkling array of stars of stage and screen - including Dame Helen Mirren, Damian Lewis, Beverly Knight, Andrea Bocelli, Alan Titchmarsh, Gary Barlow, Imelda Staunton, James Blunt, Simon Callow, Alfie Boe and Katherine Jenkins.

Among the (available on the interwebs) stage performances: our ultimate Patron Saint Dame Shirl sang (of course) Diamonds Are Forever:

...and Our Princess Kylie Minogue performed I Believe In You:

The set-piece displays (narrated largely by Jim Carter - "Carson" from Downton Abbey) opened with a bang loud enough to make the audience (and the Royals) jump and went through the full span of HM's life, culminating in a huge presentation of all the Queen’s horses – from her show ponies and polo ponies to her racehorses, the Household Cavalry and even the Duke of Edinburgh’s carriage driving team.

Other participants in this spectacular included the Royal Cavalry of Oman, the huasos of Chile, the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery, animals from the Royal Farms, the gun dogs from the Royal Kennels, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, The Fijian Armed Forces Band, the New Zealand Army Band, the South Australian Police Band, the Chelsea Pensioners, the Yeomen of the Guard, Highland dancers and the Queen’s Swan Uppers.

Edward, Earl of Wessex, his 12-year-old daughter Lady Louise Windsor, the Princess Royal and her daughter Zara Tindall all made a surprise appearance in the grand finale ahead of fireworks, "Happy Birthday" and "Three Cheers" from the assembled crowd.

I wish we had watched it now...

Gawd Bless Ya, Ma'am!

Her Majesty’s 90th Birthday Party official site

They had Glamour

OH NO!!!!!!!

I'm back to work today, after a six-week break [geddit?!].

Lord only knows what I am going to feel like by the end of the day, but... it is Liberace's birthday today, so there's one thing that is guaranteed to bring a smile to me face on this Tacky Music Monday - and that is the combination of Lee himself in the estimable company of Miss Phyllis Diller, Miss Millicent Martin, and Miss Dusty Springfield!

Take it away, girls...

Glamour, indeed.

Władziu Valentino Liberace (16th May 1919 – 4th February 1987)

Sunday 15 May 2016

We wuz robbed, but so was Putin!

We're heartily sick of saying it, but it seems that the UK really isn't terribly popular in Eurovision-land. Joe and Jake's song was not a bad one, but even in one of the most bizarrely unpredictable Song Contests for years, they really did deserve better...

And it certainly was unpredictable (in every way but the usual plethora of over-strained, preposterous power-balladry, of course)! All bets from the pundits prior to the show opening were on an outright win for the "pariah state" in this bastion of gay-fan-dominated entertainment (we call it the "Gay World Cup" for a reason) Russia - and, heavens, did the Kremlin pull out all the (theatrical) stops to try and make it so? Clever staging, trompe l'œil special effects, thumping club-oriented power-pop, pretty-boy singer, the lot.

Well ha-bloody-ha! That particular bit of political "muscling in" didn't work for Kaiser Putin and his homophobic state!

The evening was a long one - almost four hours of madness - but "our gang" (Me, Madam Arcati, John-John, Hils, Crog, Sal, Julie, Baby Steve, Alex, Russ, Jim and Paul) all crammed into our living-room for the duration. We take it all very seriously, you know: each guest is allocated a country to dress up as and/or wave the flag for, and one for booze and one for food; we have scorecards; I decorate Dolores Delargo Towers from top to toe in appropriate flags-of-all-nations decor - and time flies when you're having fun! And imbibing lots and lots of the aforementioned booze, of course.

As hostess, I was "All Nations" - and even decorated my "big boot" with fairy lights!

Madam Arcati was Belgium, so came as Poirot (d'accord):

We manfully sat through every iteration of Euro-naffness: the rather fab Belgian Stacey-Lattisaw-wannabee, the heavily pregnant Maltese singer with such a histrionic vocal style we honestly thought her final note might have coincided with a birth on stage, the Italian over-emoting singer in a plastic flower-clad set, the totty from Hungary, the uber-camp Israeli equivalent of Antony Hegarty, some truly terrible cod-rock, some even worse attempts at white-boy-rapping, and the hugely over-confident Dutch boy with bad eyebrows among them. The newcomers - last year they were "special guests" for the 60th anniversary, this year a full-fledged fixture - Australia actually provided a proper singer and a proper song which seemed, throughout, to be the fan favourite:

Out of the blue, Graham Norton - our ever-reliable piss-taker BBC commentator - turned slightly serious at one point: “Tonight's Eurovision is a bittersweet one for all of us as it's the first contest since the death of Terry Wogan. Eight years ago when I first started presenting Eurovision he kindly and very graciously phoned me and said 'Don't ever have a drink before song nine.'

Well this is song nine. And while the crowd in the global arena cheer, I would urge you back home in the UK to raise a cup, a glass, a mug to the man who has always been the voice of Eurovision, Sir Terry Wogan.”

And we did. Cheers, Our Tel!

Highlights for us among the entertainers included our ultimate top-scorer Spain, with its "90s house" feel (it did rather badly in the final scores, much to everyone's surprise)...

...the Bulgarian uber-trendy girl with a quirky half-skinhead hairdo and a quirky vocal to match...

...and the sort-of-sexy sort-of-cool (in other words archetypal) French funkster:

The contest being shown for the first time in the USA, it was fitting that the interval entertainment was provided by Mr Justin Trousersnake. He said some very nice things about Eurovision, and some words of encouragement for the performers, then he sang. So we all went to top-up our drinks, tuck into the buffet and have a pee. Far better, indeed, was the routine provided by our rather fab Swedish hosts (last year's winner) Måns Zelmerlöw and Petra Mede, and their "guide to success at Eurovision" - Love Love Peace Peace:

Hilarious - and actually a lot, lot better than most of the acts!

Anyway, after sitting through all twenty-six of the buggers, our gang's votes went thus:

United Kingdom

Then came round two of our marathon evening's viewing - the votes of the official juries from each of the eligible countries (which is a lot more than those who actually participated, or passed the semi-final rounds). Here, we had the opportunity to cheer and boo (as appropriate) as the randomness began to take hold. Countries that usually vote for their neighbours were throwing out their "douze points" for other entrants for a change - particularly popular were Italy, Bulgaria and France - and, to our joy, "anything but Russia" would appear to have been a bit of a trend; and Australia led the pack to the end. But... And it is a big but...

The voting system this year was different, with a 50/50 split between jury votes and phoned-in votes. So the tension ramped up again, as we awaited the final results from the adjudicators (which were counted down by Mr Zelmerlöw and Miss Mede in a most nerve-wrackingly slow and dramatic fashion). Would Russia leap-frog the Aussies? Poland certainly had a helluva leap - from a "mighty" seven votes from the combined juries from 42 countries, they suddenly received a massive 222 more points via phone votes [which, we agreed, just shows how many Polish people live outside their home country - where they would not be able to vote for themselves]; a similar story for Bulgaria (which got 180 more points) and Armenia (134 new phone votes).

In the end it was Ukraine that trumped the Oz table-leaders (as well as their antagonist neighbours Russia) to win the contest, with (what we thought) a rather fraught number about political oppression...

The final votes:

Ukraine - 534 points
Australia - 511
Russia - 491
Bulgaria - 307
Sweden - 261
France - 257
Armenia - 249
Poland - 229
Lithuania - 200
Belgium - 181

The UK came 23rd with a mere 62 points. Our fave Spain got 77.

Should anyone wish to enter a scientific analysis of who voted for whom, never fear - The Telegraph has done the hard work and has published a handy guide to the new voting system.

In spite of everything - same time, same place next year!

The Eurovision Song Contest is always a highlight of the Season.

Saturday 14 May 2016

It's quite theatrical

We're off to Sweden later [not literally, more's the pity], for the 61st Eurovision Song Contest [I am busy this morning dressing Dolores Delargo Towers with flags and bunting as we speak...]!

With its peculiar slogan - rather reminiscent of a contraceptive commercial - "Come Together", the contest - which last year alone had 200 million viewers - is for the first time being shown in America:
"Eurovision is a cultural phenomenon we have admired from afar for years," cable TV channel Logo general manager Chris McCarthy said. "We are thrilled to bring the event to U.S. audiences and cheer alongside the rest of the world."
For the uninitiated (and, unlike Australia, where fans have been going wild for Eurovision for years, there will be plenty in the States where it is never usually shown), CNN has provided a handy guide that includes this rather understated description:
It's quite theatrical. Think the Oscars, Grammys, Tony Awards, "American Idol," "The X Factor" and "America's Got Talent" all rolled into one - and then triple that.
Hilarious! Yet true.

And now, the Gallery...

More of the same tonight, please!!

Friday 13 May 2016

The Eurovision living legend

Channelling Princess Diana was his speciality

Mention of birthdays today reminds me there is another celebrant who was not on my earlier list - and one who is particularly appropriate for this week's Eurovision countdown - Mr Johnny Logan!

One-time-cute-boy Mr Logan is a bit of a legend in Song Contest terms - he is the most successful artist in its history, with three wins (two sung by him, and one he wrote for Linda Martin) for his home country (well, almost; he was actually born in Australia) Ireland.

As he blows out 62 candles today, no doubt the lyrics of the first of his triumphant triumvirate are ringing in his ears - What's Another Year? indeed.

I've been waiting such a long time,
looking out for you
But you're not here
What's another year?

I've been waking such a long time,
reaching out for you
But you're not near
What's another year?

What's another year
to someone who's lost everything that he owns?
What's another year
to someone who's getting used to being alone?

I've been praying such a long time
It's the only way to hide the fear
What's another year?

What's another year
to someone who's lost everything that he owns?
What's another year
to someone who's getting used to being alone?

I've been crying such a long time
With such a lot of pain in every tear

What's another year?
to someone who is getting used to being alone
What's another year?
For someone who is getting used to being alone
What's another year?
to someone who is getting used to being alone

Many happy returns, Johnny Logan (born 13th May 1954).

Just a...

Born on this ostensibly unlucky-for-some day were such luminaries as Daphne du Maurier, Stevie Wonder, Patron Saint Bea Arthur, the utterly wonderful Frances Barber, Armistead Maupin, Selina Scott, Ritchie Valens, inventor Trevor Baylis, Tim Pigott-Smith [who I once stood next to at an urinal, but that's another story], Harvey Keitel, rock'n'roller Joe Brown, Zoe Wanamaker, the uber-cool Alison Goldfrapp... and this lady.

We all know the lovely Mary Wells as the girly singer of early Motown hits such as My Guy and The One Who Really Loves You, but, unbeknownst to moi, apparently much later on she re-emerged as a bit of a Disco Diva.

Here she is singing the "club classic" Gigolo (complete with an appropriate video montage from Richard Gere's American Gigolo).
[2022 UPDATE: Gone from the interwebs - so here's the audio instead]:

Mary Esther Wells (13th May 1943 – 26th July 1992)

Thank Disco It's Friday (the Thirteenth - oo-er)!

Thursday 12 May 2016

Counting down, in French

Can we possibly outdo ourselves with the outfits this year?

Continuing our theme of all things Eurovision (and also as a sort-of-continuation of Tuesday's timeslip moment to the "Long Hot Summer of '76" - a significant fortieth anniversary we will no doubt be returning to quite often here at Dolores Delargo Towers throughout the year)...

We all know it was the godawful Brotherhood of Man wot won it for good old Blighty that year, but what - I hear you ask - was the runner-up in the Eurovision Song Contest of 1976? It was France's highest-ever scoring entry, Mademoiselle Catherine Ferry (and her hand-clapping gays de sécurité) and Un, Deux, Trois!

Zut alors.

It should be Tacky Music Monday...

My kind of diet

A woman has given up her bid to look good on a one-week holiday in favour of a summer full of drink and bacon, it has emerged.

Donna Sheridan, a teacher from Cheltenham, embarked on a diet that guaranteed a ‘fit and firm summer body’ within two months, but abandoned it after realising it was utter bollocks.

Sheridan, 33, said: “Every magazine implied that if I didn’t have a ‘summer body’ on holiday people would react like I was a wild boar in a bikini.

“The diet plan I chose said I should cut out everything that is a pleasure to eat, not drink alcohol and do excessive amounts of painful exercise.

“However, after three days I realised I was missing out on the bits of life that I really enjoyed and quickly cracked into a litre of cider and a nice big plate of sausages.

“The only good thing about the plan was that it said it would help me to relax and clear my mind, but my boyfriend pointed out that you can achieve that just as easily by getting hammered and falling asleep in the sun.”

The Daily Mash

Of course.

Wednesday 11 May 2016


Breaking news: The Italian parliament has backed the legalisation of same-sex civil unions.

Any excuse, by way of celebration, to feature one of our favourite Italian Patron Saints - Mina!

We adore her. And I am certain she adores us...

Tuesday 10 May 2016

Though we never thought that we could lose, there's no regret

Timeslip moment again - and a most appropriate one, methinks.

Let us travel back forty years (gulp!) to what was about to become forever remembered as the "long, hot summer of '76" [a repeat of those glorious sixteen weeks of unbroken sunshine would be most welcome, thanks; but needless to say, our recent run of hot days here has been broken in a most British fashion, by rain.].

In the news in May 1976: a spookily familiar political landscape - as local council elections produced disappointing results for the Labour Party in the UK, and a right-wing senator was edging towards political success in American presidential primaries (in this case Ronald Reagan); the "Norman Scott affair" scandal led to the resignation of Jeremy Thorpe as leader of the Liberal Party; Italy was reeling after an earthquake in Friuli killed more than 900 people and made 100,000 homeless; civil war was raging in Lebanon, while the UK-Iceland "Cod War" was about to end; Concorde, China's "Gang of Four" and the Apple Computer Company were in the ascendant; and Frampton Comes Alive became one of the most successful rock albums in American chart history. In our cinemas: All the President's Men, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and The Slipper and the Rose. On telly: Call My Bluff, The Six Million Dollar Man and Are You Being Served?; "Elsie Tanner" returned to Coronation Street after an absence of three years and "Minnie Caldwell" departed; and Dixon of Dock Green ended after 21 years on the BBC.

In the UK charts this week in that momentous year: the Disco boom had begun, courtesy of Silver Convention and Andrea True Connection; also present and correct were Hank Mizell, Noosha Fox, Sutherland Brothers and Quiver, Four Seasons, Stylistics and, inevitably in Eurovision season, that year's winners Brotherhood of Man.

However (and as I said earlier most appropriate, given their barn-storming success at Eurovision in 1974, and the fact we at Dolores Delargo Towers are excitedly counting down to the Eurovision Song Contest 2016 this Saturday), at the top was the most commercially successful song in a vastly successful career (6 million copies sold in 1976 alone) for ABBA - it's Fernando:

Can you hear the drums Fernando?
I remember long ago another starry night like this
In the firelight Fernando
You were humming to yourself and softly strumming your guitar
I could hear the distant drums
And sounds of bugle calls were coming from afar

They were closer now Fernando
Every hour every minute seemed to last eternally
I was so afraid Fernando
We were young and full of life and none of us prepared to die
And I'm not ashamed to say
The roar of guns and cannons almost made me cry

There was something in the air that night
The stars were bright, Fernando
They were shining there for you and me
For liberty, Fernando
Though we never thought that we could lose
There's no regret
If I had to do the same again
I would, my friend, Fernando

Now we're old and grey Fernando
And since many years I haven't seen a rifle in your hand
Can you hear the drums Fernando?
Do you still recall the fateful night we crossed the Rio Grande?
I can see it in your eyes
How proud you were to fight for freedom in this land

There was something in the air that night
The stars were bright, Fernando
They were shining there for you and me
For liberty, Fernando
Though we never thought that we could lose
There's no regret
If I had to do the same again
I would, my friend, Fernando

Tear-jerking stuff, indeed.

Monday 9 May 2016

With a little understanding you can find the perfect blend

Guy Pearce, Jason Donovan and Kylie Minogue a long, long time ago

In the '70s every popular TV show appeared to be a "Quinn Martin Production". At the beginning of the '80s, it was Aaron Spelling. And then... suddenly, Britain was swamped by Aussies! Every other television programme (or so it seemed) was a "Reg Grundy Production" - The Young Doctors, Prisoner Cell Block H, Sons and Daughters, Neighbours [the show that launched Our Princess Kylie on the world]; you could hardly change a channel without finding his name in the credits.

Here, appropriately enough on this Tacky Music Monday, are the themes to just two of them. Classics, both, you will agree...

RIP Reginald Roy "Reg" Grundy, AC, OBE (4th August 1923 – 6th May 2016)

Sunday 8 May 2016

His family and other animals

Many, many happy returns to the "god" of nature programming!

Even the animals who were his subjects agree...

It's difficult to judge who's the most popular nonogenarian with the British public, HM The Queen or Sir David Attenborough.

Nothing would be the same without him.

Saturday 7 May 2016

Totty of the Day

One-time lover Lupe Velez purportedly claimed that Cooper “has the biggest organ in Hollywood but not the ass to push it in well.”

Tallulah Bankhead famously said: “The only reason I went to Hollywood was to fuck that divine Gary Cooper.”

I concur.

Gary Cooper (born Frank James Cooper, 7th May 1901 – 13th May 1961)