Friday 30 September 2016

Red hot chili Pepper

Many happy returns to one of our favourite super-cool divas, Miss Angie Dickinson - she blows out 85 candles today!

As a kid in the middle of the 1970s, with power cuts, hyper-inflation and general pessimism in the UK, I loved settling down to watch some preposterous American cop show for escapism - and Police Woman was one of the best. I often wondered what it would be like to live in Angie Dickinson/"Pepper Anderson"'s glamorous world of sleek Halston outfits, Martini cocktails and "woman-in-peril" missions...

As the weekend looms, what better way to revisit our favourite funky decade and get the party started than with the show's theme tune (and titles, featuring the most famous pair of legs in televisual history) - and Thank Disco It's Friday!

Angie Dickinson (born 30th September 1931)

Thursday 29 September 2016

Totty of the Day

Yes, please!

Nine years ago [yes - this blog has been going that long...] I described my then-new discovery, the ballet dancer Señor Carlos Acosta, as a "Cuban Sex God".

Now he has announced his retirement from the stage, with a gala performance at the Royal Albert Hall next week, my feelings have changed very little.

He's a fine hunk'o'man and, to paraphrase Miss Christie (as delivered by Dame Maggie), "always could get his legs higher and wider than anyone else"!

Here's a little evidence...

I'm exhausted, now!

Carlos Acosta website

Wednesday 28 September 2016

Bayeux, Bayeux

On this, the 950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings and the Norman Conquest, I have found a gem of a song that explains the whole thing, for the uninitiated...

With apologies to Mr Justin Trousersnake (who I am certain would approve, actually) here's William the Conqueror by "The History Teachers"!

I love it!

All about 1066 and the Norman Conquest on the English Heritage website

Tuesday 27 September 2016

Mass debating

America's presidential candidates have clashed on live television – but who won the debate?

Clinton defended deleting 33,000 personal emails including Wowcher deals that no sane person could ignore.

Trump is insane.

Clinton denied that her hair is looking increasingly similar to Trump’s and that they will eventually become a celebrity couple known as Trumcli.

Trump is insane.

rebutted attacks on her physical stamina by asserting that she now drinks Horlicks every night and has the malt levels of a 22-year-old.

Trump is insane.

Clinton is not Trump. Trump is insane.

Trump See above.
The Daily Mash

Of course.

Monday 26 September 2016

She shows them pearly white

You'd hardly guess that we have booked our annual pilgrimage to Spain in February - as on this Tacky Music Monday, we're making another virtual jaunt to the delights of Iberia...

Señorita Barbara Rey is another in a long line of "new" (to us) wannabee-divas whose discovery has brought a bit of joy to us here at Dolores Delargo Towers. She seemed to specialise in OTT feathered showgirl spectaculars, largely miming to other people's songs, as far as I can gather.

However, on this Tacky Music Monday, I've found a rare treat - the lady herself singing. With the obligatory safety gays and spangled costume, what more could we ask for to cheer us on our way to work on this only-just-light morning than a Spanish version of Mack the Knife?!


Sunday 25 September 2016

Le temps passe et court

Morning Glory (Ipomoea tricolor) 'Heavenly Blue' brightens up the gardens at Dolores Delargo Towers, regardless.

With the days getting noticeably ever more autumnal (the sun is so much lower in the sky that we don't get any sunshine in the garden after about 4pm, and it's dark about seven), it feels as if this weekend has just rocketed away...

I think we deserve a little some "Sunday Music" to help us unwind, courtesy of Django Reinhart and his Quintett du Hot Club de France:

C'est magnifique!

Saturday 24 September 2016

Saturday night

Friday 23 September 2016

Milestones and boy-bands

"Memory... is the diary that we all carry about with us."
- Oscar Wilde

"I just wanna dance, I just wanna fucking dance!"
- Jerry Springer the Opera
Twenty years? Where do they go? Two decades is a long, long time, but some things you never forget.

For it was on this day in 1996 that my Garry died.

As always - but particularly on such a milestone - I raise a glass to "absent friends".

But, to quote another great diva, let's go on with the show..!

At the end of any working week, I am always in the mood for a party - and, knowing I was about to play one of his fave boy-bands Seventh Avenue, so would Garry be, no doubt.

So to get things started on a suitably boppy note, here's their first hit Love's Gone Mad:

And by way of a bonus, here are the boys again, showing off their (ahem!) talents at a gay club in Edinburgh called Fire Island - and Ending Upon a High:

Thank Disco (or should that be Hi-NRG?) It's Friday!

Clink clink, Garry. RIP.

Thursday 22 September 2016

If I knew you were comin' I'd 've baked a cake

Never mind Syria, the NHS funding crisis, proposed historical pardons for gay men convicted of "victimless crimes", Mark Zuckerberg thinking he is god, or even the impending Brad Pitt-Angelina Jolie divorce - the big headline news across all our newspapers is...

...the fact that venerable cookery expert Mary Berry is staying with the Beeb, after her show The Great British Bake-Off [popular televisual fare, M'Lud] was bought by rival network Channel 4.


Never having watched the show, I can't really comment, but here she is cooking an "exotic dish" way back in 1976 - Lasagne!

[*Mind you, if Monty Don ever decided to leave Gardeners' World, that would be a different matter...]

I'll make myself believe it; that this night will never go

Oh dear - today is the Autumn Equinox, folks, and that means from now till almost Easter next year, the nights are going to be longer than the days. I hate that.

Never mind, as ever, we need some appropriate music to lift the mood - and what better than the much-missed Miss Laura Branigan and one of my fave songs of all time..?

I, I live among the creatures of the night
I haven't got the will to try and fight
Against a new tomorrow, so I guess I'll just believe it
That tomorrow never comes

My feelings, exactly.

Wednesday 21 September 2016

Rhik slips in the carrot

For no better reason than he is on top form today, we revisit the magnificent Rhik Samadder's "Inspect a Gadget" column in The Guardian - as he reviews a protective glove for kitchen use. Who knew that "health'n'safety" could be such fun?
A lightweight glove that can repel a blade? Holy smoke. Has it been lifted from a superhero’s outfit? Does it mean I can stop bullets with the flat of my palm, like a vigilante lollipop lady? We’ll get to that. I must admit it is weirdly empowering to wear a single glove. A bit “assume the position” chic. This one is appealingly reminiscent of vintage Michael Jackson. But cut-proof? Shamone! How is that possible? From what I can see, it’s made of elastic spangles.

The problem is, to test the glove’s powers, I’d have to put it on and cut myself. I don’t mind the man in the mirror these days, so this seems a drastic step. A friend suggested putting a carrot in one of the finger sheaths, and chopping that through the material; an idea I dismissed as the ramblings of a fool. Having failed to come up with anything better in the following six days, I proceed with Operation Carrot Finger. If it works, I’ll say it was my idea all along...

As I slip in the carrot, the washing label reveals I have the wrong end of the stick. The one-size-fits-most, ambidextrous glove is “cut-resistant not cut-proof, and no claim is made for point-puncture resistance”. Hardly bulletproof. It’s mainly for protecting your fingers while grating cheese. With heavy heart, I test this simpler function, to which it proves excellently suited.

Now, you would have to be a contrary boob to have a problem with such a useful item; but I am and do. Firstly, I don’t mind skin-y food. My blood curry, flavoured with ginger and fingers, is renowned for its depth of flavour. Secondly, I like wearing plasters. Most importantly, wearing a glove to zest a lemon makes me melancholy in a TS Eliot sort of way. We cannot protect ourselves from all the sharp edges of our existence. We dice, and grate, with danger; that’s what gives life zest. Stay vulnerable, stay vital. There is no magic glove.
The man never ceases to bring a smile to my face.

And he's cute, too!

Thought for the Day

Tuesday 20 September 2016

Boom boody-boom

“Nothing makes a woman more beautiful than the belief that she is beautiful.”

“After all these years, I am still involved in the process of self-discovery. It's better to explore life and make mistakes than to play it safe."

The stunning Sophia Loren blows out 82 candles on her cake today! To celebrate, here's one of her most memorable musical moments, in the company of the much-missed Peter Sellers...

Her: Oh doctor, I'm in trouble.
Him: Well, goodness gracious me.
Her: For every time a certain man
Is standing next to me.
Him: Mmm?
Her: A flush comes to my face
And my pulse begins to race,
It goes boom boody-boom boody-boom boody-boom
Boody-boom boody-boom boody-boom-boom-boom,
Him: Oh!
Her: Boom boody-boom boody-boom boody-boom
Him: Well, goodness gracious me.

Him: How often does this happen?
When did the trouble start?
You see, my stethoscope is bobbing
To the throbbing of your heart.
Her: What kind of man is he
To create this allergy?
It goes boom boody-boom boody-boom boody-boom
Boody-boom boody-boom boody-boom-boom-boom,
Him: Oh!
Her: Boom boody-boom boody-boom boody-boom
Him: Well, goodness gracious me.

Him: From New Delhi to Darjeeling
I have done my share of healing,
And I've never yet been beaten or outboxed,
I remember that with one jab
Of my needle in the Punjab
How I cleared up beriberi
And the dreaded dysentery,
But your complaint has got me really foxed.
Her: Oh.

Her: Oh doctor, touch my fingers.
Him: Well, goodness gracious me.
Her: You may be very clever
But however, can't you see,
My heart beats much too much
At a certain tender touch,
It goes boom boody-boom boody-boom boody-boom
Boody-boom boody-boom boody-boom-boom-boom,
Him: I like it!
Her: Boom boody-boom boody-boom boody-boom
Him: Well, goodness gracious me.

Him: Can I see your tongue?
Her: Aaah.
Him: Nothing the matter with it, put it away please.
Her: Maybe it's my back.
Him: Maybe it is.
Her: Shall I lie down?
Him: Yes.
Her: Ahhh...

Him: My initial diagnosis
Rules out measles and thrombosis,
Sleeping sickness and, as far as I can tell,
Influenza, inflammation,
Whooping cough and night starvation,
And you'll be so glad to hear
That both your eyeballs are so clear
That I can positively swear that you are well,
Ja-ja, ja-ja-ja-ja.

Her: Put two and two together,
Him: Four,
Her: If you have eyes to see,
The face that makes my pulses race
Is right in front of me.
Him: Oh, there is nothing I can do
For my heart is jumping too.
Both: Oh, we go boom boody-boom boody-boom boody-boom
Boody-boom boody-boom boody-boom-boom-boom,
Her: Goodness gracious,
Him: How audacious!
Her: Goodness gracious,
Him: How flirtatious!
Her: Goodness gracious,
Him: It is me.
Her: It is you?
Him: Ah, I'm sorry, it is us.
Both: Ahhh!

Many happy returns, Signorina Sofia Villani Scicolone, aka Sophia Loren (born 20th September 1934)

Monday 19 September 2016

La Más Grande y sus homosexuales de seguridad

Ho hum. Another weekend has flown by, and we grit our teeth for our return to the joys of work.

Never mind, on this Tacky Music Monday we have another of our Patron Saints here at Dolores Delargo Towers, the sublime Señorita Rocio Jurado - who would have been 70 (or 72, depending on which source one believes) yesterday - to bring joy and sparkle into our lives!

Regardless of her purported birth date, she will forever be remembered as the mistress of all she surveyed ("La Más Grande", indeed), especially where traditional Copla music is concerned.

However, even such a great diva as she could occasionally turn her talents to a bit of a song'n'dance'n'safety-gays number, as this clip shows - Exitos de Revista, apparently...

That's put me in much better mood.

RIP María del Rocío Trinidad Mohedano Jurado (born 18th September 1946 [according to her family and her headstone], or 1944 [according to her obituaries in Spanish newspapers - and indeed my own tribute to her two years ago] – 1st June 2006)

Sunday 18 September 2016

I think I may be a Gongoozler, or maybe even a Mumpsimus

I am definitely going to have to try and find a way to get each and every one of these "lost expressions" - as investigated by BBC Radio 4's literature programme Word of Mouth - into casual conversation this week.

1. Owl Jacket
Taken from the Italian ‘Giacca civetta', which refers to a jacket left on the back of a chair at work, so it looks like you are in the office working, rather than skiving at Costa.

2. Flype

An Old English word meaning to roll up your socks, stockings, leggings or jeggings, before putting them on.

3. Leper juice

An old medical term that refers to the pus found in the wounds of the afflicted. Thankfully it fell out of use due to its general horribleness.

4. Vizzying-hole

A Scots word for a peephole in a door, derived from the Old French word visée meaning ‘look’.

5. Uhtceare
An Old English word meaning to lie awake anxiously before dawn.

6. Sloom
To gently sleep or lightly slumber, from the Middle English slumen and the Old English slūmian.

7. Biffin
A deep red cooking apple. The name derives from ‘beefing’, in reference to the colour of the fruit. People would often exchange biffins at Christmastime.

8. Gongoozler
A person who likes to mindlessly stare (at anything). If only we all had more time to stare idly and do nothing. Turns out this old word has been adopted by canal boat residents and survives there to this day.

9. Snollygoster
A 19th century American term for an unprincipled, dishonest person, especially a politician.

10. Mumpsimus
An obstinate person who holds on rigidly to a certain set of beliefs even though they are wrong or disproved. The term may have been coined by Erasmus.

11. Wamblecropt
To have digestive issues that are so severe, you can’t physically move.

12. Groke
An old Scots word originally used to describe dogs staring longingly at food in order to be given some, but extended to refer to anyone gazing at grub.

13. Trullibubs
Another word for a person’s entrails, but can also be an insulting term aimed at an overweight person.

14. Sprunt
Not the soft drink that Alan Partridge was sponsored by, but a Victorian-era Scottish word meaning to chase girls around a haystack after dark. Possibly a combination of ‘spring’ and ‘hunt’.

Why don't you try them too, dear reader..?

Saturday 17 September 2016

Mixing a Martini in a tacky mu-mu

As autumn has made its shuddering presence known - with grey skies and a dismal outlook - so we deserve a bit of a light music interlude, courtesy once again of the marvellous Soft Tempo Lounge...

And who wouldn't want to wallow in the cavortings of perfectly-coiffeured, super-cool people in exotic locations, just for Un Momento, on a day like this?

There's a rather hilarious "bonus" tacked onto the end of this particular reverie, too - the cheesiest-of-cheesy introductions to one of those 70s porno-masquerading-as-a-self-help-documentary films, The Sexually Liberated Female. It's rather well summed up by Matt Cimber (widower of Jayne Mansfield), writing for Third Eye Cinema, thus:
Lindis Guinness "taking a swim in a huge in-ground pool, wandering around the house in a bra (yeah, I’m sure she wore that beneath her bikini), switching to a very 70’s shift and pendant ensemble to get the mail, then to a tacky mu-mu to mix herself a Martini at her private bar, and finally an elephant bell jumpsuit to lounge out on a revolving red velour love-seat. More friggin’ costume changes than Cher, and we aren’t even two minutes into the picture!"

[Music: Friedhofsballade by Martin Böttcher]

I feel much more mellow now...

Friday 16 September 2016

A trip in the dark

Summer officially ends with the arrival of September, and our unseasonably summery weather broke in spectacular fashion in the early hours this morning, with the most apocalyptic thunderstorm.

But also coming to its end is another week at work - so autumn or no autumn, rain or no rain, soggy bottoms or no soggy bottoms, we need to get ourselves into a party mood!

Lord only knows why the scantily-clad dancers in the studio are wearing crash helmets, but maybe it's a precaution in case they get overcome with passion at Mr Nick Straker's stunning looks...

I wouldn't necessarily recommend A Walk In The Park for real in this weather - but Thank Disco It's Friday!

He and his band were one-hit wonders, but I am certain Mr S had a future as a Ronald McDonald looky-likey.

Have a good weekend, folks - and don't forget your cagoule!

Thursday 15 September 2016

'Till my body flows with energy

Timeslip moment time, again.

With the current hot weather [the hottest since 1911, apparently] that is unexpectedly crossing the UK, inevitably it is to the final throes of the Long Hot Summer of '76 we turn once more [possibly for the last time this year - at least not with thoughts of cracking pavements in mind!]. In many ways it was a year of change, as Harold Wilson resigned and the doomed Prime Minister-ship of Jim Callaghan began, with Maggie Thatcher just waiting in the wings; music veered from the familiar era of MOR, Glam Rock and Funk towards the much more ground-breaking Disco and Punk "movements" that were to follow; and technology appeared to be providing us all a view of a Brave New World, with the arrival of super-computers, re-usable space vehicles and photographs of Mars...

In the news in September 1976: the UK's great drought continued, and housewives in Surrey forced a nearby golf club to turn off its water sprinklers by keeping a constant vigil and harassing the groundsmen; a British Airways Trident and a Yugoslav DC-9 collided near Zagreb, killing all 176 aboard; the Argentine dictatorship began its hideous programme of human rights abuses, repression and "disappeared" opponents; in the ascendant were Egyptian president Anwar Sadat (who was re-elected), the first Space Shuttle "Enterprise", and Punk (with tickets on sale for the legendary "100 Club Punk Special", which launched the Sex Pistols, the Clash, The Damned and Siouxsie Sioux on an unsuspecting world), but Portsmouth FC were on the brink of filing for bankruptcy; and Patty Hearst was sentenced to seven years in prison for her part in that notorious bank robbery after she had allegedly been kidnapped. In our cinemas: Taxi Driver, All the President's Men and Gator. On telly: George and Mildred ; The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin; and The Muppet Show arrived - thanks to British ATV impresario Lew Grade, who commissioned it (and nothing was quite the same again).

As for the UK charts this week forty years ago: at the top was Abba's almighty Dancing Queen (of course), and also jostling for position in the line-up were Rod Stewart, Wings, Georghe Zamfir, Bee Gees, Stylistics, Lou Rawls and Billie Jo Spears... but zooming their way into the upper echelons were the rather fab Chi-Lites and You Don't Have to Go [complete with oddly-matched accompanying vintage cartoon]:

Well, you don't have to go
You just wanna see me
Go through changes
Oh don't you baby?

'Cos you bring out
What's deep in me
'Till my body flows with energy
Now well, well

My mind gets so weak
You make me pout
Just like a child
Oh don't you baby?

The height of my masculinity
Begins to get the best of me


Wednesday 14 September 2016

Cigarette-fuelled insouciance

Dahlias in the gardens here at Dolores Delargo Towers
One day of unexpected hot weather has transformed Southern Britons into languid continental-style sensualists.

As temperatures soared to ‘quite nice’ across the region, the national character was altered to cigarette-fuelled insouciance with an intolerance for bad coffee and poorly-reasoned philosophical debate.

Meteorologist Nikki Hollis said: “The Gulf Stream has shifted in such a way that much of Britain can now no longer sustain an indifference to opera or massively corrupt football teams.

“Climate change is altering how humans live in fundamental ways and in places like Essex, this means people reading books that aren’t biographies of footballers or gangsters for this first time in their lives.

“As temperatures peaked yesterday, a man in Margate was even seen writing poetry without being immediately assaulted.”

Hollis anticipates that people will return to their philistinism and frozen pizzas as temperatures cool but says that periods of sophistication could become annual occurrences.

Businesses will have to accommodate this change by offering two levels of service depending on whether customers are culturally-savvy world citizens or pin-eyed jaw-droopers who think Nigel Farage is in some way appealing.
The Daily Mash

Of course.

And it has indeed been "quite nice"...

Tuesday 13 September 2016

A lovely Dick

It would have been the birthday today of Mr Dick Haymes.

Who? I hear the youngsters out there ask...

Mr Haymes was quite simply one of the most popular singers of the Big Band era and beyond - in his day he was a genuine rival to the likes of Bing and Frank. As this clip proves, he certainly had the looks and vocal tone of what would latterly become known as "a heartthrob":

Unfortunately, plagued by drink problems (and seemingly, a wandering eye - he married six times, once to Rita Hayworth), his career was never a straightforward success story, and, despite several attempts at "comebacks" in Europe and America, he died a largely forgotten man.

Such a shame.

But he and Betty Grable made a good go of it when they got together again on a 1970s variety TV show:

Richard Benjamin "Dick" Haymes (13th September 1918 – 28th March 1980)

Monday 12 September 2016

The Voice of the Xtabay

I may be off today, but a Monday is a Monday after all, and we need something jolly to wake us all up...

On this warm and sultry Tacky Music Monday, let us once again bask in the glorious talents of tomorrow's (or Saturday's, depending on which source is given for her d.o.b.) birthday girl (and Patron Saint here at Dolores Delargo Towers) Miss Yma Sumac!

All together, now...

The Gopher must have been terrified.

Yma Sumac (born Zoila Augusta Emperatriz Chávarri del Castillo, 13th September 1922 or 10th September 1923; departed for Fabulon 1st November 2008)

Sunday 11 September 2016

And did those feet...

We've been having a bit of a "recovery day" here at Dolores Delargo Towers, after the excesses of yesterday's Proms in the Park celebrations - and what a fab event it was, too!

OK, we could have done without the rain, the "amateur orchestras", Tim Minchin and the precocious brats from the cast of his musical Matilda, School of Rock The Musical and, for that matter, The Feeling (who weren't bad, just not "our type of music"), but the rest was excellent.

What a joy to sing along in a torrential downpour to Rick Astley - like this lot did (whoever they are):

Only in Britain...

After the break, ABC brought back happy memories of that golden era of the early 80s:

Despite not performing our fave Under the Bridge, the re-formed All Saints were in fine voice:

And speaking of voices... even at 82, Frankie Valli's still got it!

The "pop bit" dispensed with, it was time to go over live to the Royal Albert Hall ["Hello Hyde Park" Hello, Hall!"] for the grandest of grand finales, with the massed talents of the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Chorus conducted by Sakari Oramo, and the star of the show, Peru's finest [hence the costume!], tenor Juan Diego Flórez:

Rule, Britannia...

...Land of Hope and Glory...

...and [in its centenary year] Jerusalem:

And, with God Save The Queen, Auld Lang Syne and the fireworks, that was it for another year (and another summer, sob)...

Utterly unforgettable!

Saturday 10 September 2016

We know the game and we're gonna play it

OK - we may all be a bit (ahem) long in the tooth to move like the charming wet young man above, but we are heading off - in what is forecast to be horrid stormy weather - to sit in Hyde Park for seven hours today for our traditional Summer Season-closer, Proms in the Park!

It will be worth it, however. As well as the traditional all-singing, all-cheering, flag-waving finale (Land of Hope and Glory, Rule Britannia, Jerusalem et al), on the bill are Michael Ball, The Feeling, Tim Minchin, Alfie Boe, All Saints, ABC, Sir James Galway, tenor Juan Diego Flórez, the BBC Concert Orchestra, and headliners Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons(!)...

...and the legendary Rick Astley!

He's "never gonna give up", so why should we?

Wish us luck...

Friday 9 September 2016

Invite yourself a piece of the action

Ah, the weekend arrives... I am on leave today, to get this house in some kind of order for guests and to go and buy provisions for tomorrow's end-of-summer extravaganza, Proms in the Park! End of summer is probably accurate, as despite the glorious weather we've had all week while I was in the office, and despite predictions that by mid week next week we'll be basking in sunshine again, tomorrow looks like it will be pissing down. So waterproofs will be in order, unfortunately.

Never mind, to gee us up and get us in the mood for a party, as is always the mission, here's another routine by the amazingly talented Legs & Co - here flapping around in their peignoirs (for some reason) to an irresistible classic by Frantique.

Thank Disco It's Friday!

Get up and stand up
Strut your funky stuff, sho’nuff
Get up and stand up
Strut your funky stuff, sho’nuff
Get up and stand up
Strut your funky stuff, sho’nuff
Get up and stand up

How you gonna be the attraction
If you wanna stick to the wall
Invite yourself a piece of the action
You got to get up to that and ring the bell
You got to know we got to go
Get up and dance down the...
(Here we go, here we go)

Get up and stand up
Strut your funky stuff, sho’nuff
Get up and stand up

What you doing there in the corner
Sitting by yourself in the dark
You don't really wanna be a loner
Come on now get up and dance
You got ants in your pants
Can't sit still the beat'll get your feet
The record spins to the funky disco beat
(That's right, that's right)

Get up and stand up
Strut your funky stuff, sho’nuff
Get up and stand up
Strut your funky stuff, sho’nuff
Get up and stand up
Strut your funky stuff, sho’nuff
Get up and stand up

Hope the forecast changes...

Thursday 8 September 2016

Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations

"The Starship Enterprise was a metaphor for Starship Earth. It was the diversity of this planet - people of different backgrounds, different cultures, different races ... all coming together in concert and working as a team ... I think that's why, even a half century later, it's as popular as it is." - George Takei ("Lieutenant Sulu")

Happy 50th birthday today to that most memorable (and one of the most profitable) of sci-fi creations, ever - Star Trek!

When the very first episode of Star Trek aired on American telly on 8th September 1966, no-one would ever have guessed it would have created such an enduring impression on the world - born as it was in a world dominated by the Cold War and Vietnam, an age of racial segregation in the "Land of the Free" [sic], its recipe of simplistic, classless integration, heroes, villains and cod-science was dismissed by many as "kids' stuff", and largely ignored by the pundits. Star Trek was cancelled twice by the network, and even the cast never believed it would have any kind of future.

The rest, of course, is history.

Facts about Star Trek:
  • Creator Gene Roddenberry used the acronym IDIC, or Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations to describe his vision of an almost Utopian future world.
  • When the producers originally approached Lucille Ball (then in charge of Desilu Productions) to tell her about the "Star Trek" idea, she thought it would be a series about a group touring a war zone to entertain the troops.
  • The original series was only three seasons long, yet blossomed in the wake of Star Wars into much more than just a "cult" - the Star Trek film franchise alone has grossed $2.2 billion.
  • James Doohan ("Scotty") was actually Canadian, and he chose to massively over-emphasise the accent as he believed that the Scots had a reputation for being great engineers; he also invented both the "Klingon" and "Vulcan" languages.
  • U.S. Censors initially rejected Spock because he was seen as a satanic representation with his pointy ears.
  • When Nichelle Nichols ("Lieutenant Uhura") confided to Dr Martin Luther King that she wanted to quit the show (his favourite, allegedly), it was he who managed to convince her to stay.
  • Captain Kirk never actually said "Beam me up Scotty".
Although I adored The Next Generation, the original series - and its cast - is indeed a classic.

And they sang!

...after a fashion.

An idiot's guide to Star Trek, courtesy of The Daily Mirror.

Wednesday 7 September 2016

Blue are the people here that walk around

Seventeen years ago, Britain’s best “Decade of Dance Music” was drawing to a close - but with a bang, not a whimper…

Throughout the Summer of 1999, massive club hits such as Toca Me by Fragma, King In My Castle by Wamdue Project, 9pm Till I Come by ATB, Flat Beat by Mr.Oizo, Moloko’s Sing it Back, and Alice Deejay Better Off Alone, the ubiquitous presence of the “Positiva” and “Multiply” labels in our record shops, and the rise of big names in the DJ re-mix world including Danny Tenaglia, Shanks & Bigfoot, Trouser Enthusiasts, Armand van Helden, Masters at Work and the Sharp Boys made the whole thing seem like one long party - with at one end of the scale the likes of Basement Jaxx and the Chemical Brothers, and at the other, the Vengaboys and Cher.

Even into the Autumn the “Ibiza influence” was rife, and people wanted to carry on that party vibe long after their holiday season was over. So it was in October of ‘99 that two entrepreneurs in London converted the Metropolitan Cold Stores in Smithfield Meat Market into one of the country’s most popular “super-clubs”, Fabric. With three dancefloors, a 2,500 capacity and a string of pioneering DJs, it was voted not just the UK’s, but the World’s best club on three occasions.

Now, sadly, the streets of Clerkenwell are “party-land” no more - with the decision yesterday by Islington Council to revoke Fabric’s licence after a couple of well-publicised drug-related deaths on its premises. How sad that a club these days is held responsible for the chemical constitution of its customers, but I digress…

I have no idea what the playlist was like on Fabric’s opening night, nor did I ever go there (we only arrived in London that same year - and clubbing for us meant G-A-Y in the Astoria, not the “serious-raver-oriented-and-only-slightly-gay” Fabric), but based upon what new dance music hit the charts in October I can hazard a few guesses:

Definitely this!

Probably a bit of this:

…and this...

And in the chill-out room, I am sure we would hear this one:

RIP Fabric. We may not have been among your punters, but we’re still very, very sorry to see you go…

Tuesday 6 September 2016

Bustin' it

Many happy returns today to Mr Douglas Trendle, better known to the world (well, anyone who was around in 80s Britain, anyhow) as Buster Bloodvessel!

With his band Bad Manners - formed in 1976 at Woodberry Down Comprehensive School, a stone's throw away from us at Manor House in North London - Mr Bloodvessel became a staple of our telly in those halcyon days, with a succession of ska-tinged hits that chimed neatly with the big Ska revival of the early 80s (that launched Madness, the Specials and their ilk to stardom).

Always a (literally) larger-than-life character, apparently Buster was too much for Auntie Beeb, and the band was banned from Top of the Pops for a while - and also from Italian TV after he mooned the audience when he was told that the Pope was watching. Fab!

Here's one of Bad Manners' most "memorable" performances - it's Ne Ne Na Na Na Na Nu Nu...

...whatever that means.

Monday 5 September 2016

Slap that...

I am really not in the mood to get my arse into gear this morning. But, hey ho, "needs must when the devil drives" and all that - at least it's a short week (I've taken leave either side of the Proms in the Park event this weekend, just because)!

And here to cheer us all up on this Tacky Music Monday is a real treat - how about a bit of the utterly gob-smacking talents of Mr Reg Kehoe and his Marimba Queens? As the recent song went: "It's all about the bass. The bass!"

Have a good week, my leetle chums...

Sunday 4 September 2016

Hold back, hold back


One of the most glittering of all our Patron Saints here at Dolores Delargo Towers blows out eighty-five candles today!

Miss Mitzi Gaynor (for it is she) has shimmied, shaken and high-kicked her way through myriad musicals, TV specials and award ceremonies in her long, long career - her screen legacy includes such classics as My Blue Heaven, There's No Business Like Show Business, Anything Goes, Les Girls and, of course, South Pacific, and she still makes occasional stage appearances to this day!

However, it is for this timeless moment of choreographed uber-campery - possibly one of my favourite clips, ever - that we celebrate her the most...

Many happy returns, Francesca Marlene de Czanyi von Gerber, aka Mitzi Gaynor (born 4th September 1931)

[See also our tribute to Miss Mitzi in the Dolores Delargo Towers Museum of Camp, on the occasion of her 80th]

Saturday 3 September 2016

Watching Bake-Off ironically?

People with an absurd sense of entitlement will no longer be able to watch BBC iPlayer for free, the broadcaster has confirmed.

The broadcaster closed the loophole, which allowed people access to billions of pounds worth of entertainment for free, after a high-level decision that those people could go fuck themselves.

Craft beer ambassador Tom Booker said: “I don’t own a television, I don’t have a television aerial on the chimney of my house, I don’t even have a house. I’m contemporary.

“So when I’m watching Bake-Off ironically on my MacBook I shouldn’t be liable for any licence fee, because what I am doing is completely different and cooler.

“YouTube’s free, and I don’t see the distinction between high-quality content by a broadcasting organisation which is the envy of the world and blurred smartphone footage of teenagers punching each other’s groins.

“Where does this end? Paying for music?”

A BBC spokesman said: “We’ve got Attenborough, you whiny bitches, so pay up.”
The Daily Mash

Of course.

Friday 2 September 2016

Night and day; there's a burning down inside of me

It was Mr Barry Gibb's 70th birthday yesterday. Among the myriad songs for which he and his late brothers Robin and Maurice were responsible was their 1979 mega-hit Tragedy...

...and that was given a memorable makeover in the 90s by the campest of all "manufactured pop acts" of that era - Steps!

So, get ready to do all the right moves - and Thank Disco It's Friday!

And in case anyone is in any doubt as to how to do that dance, here are some handy instructions ("step-by-step", geddit?):

Put your hands beside your ears in a "Tragedy" pose. Look shocked!

Raise your right arm.

Raise your left arm to join it!

Clasp both your hands to your heart in a protective manner.

Stretch both arms out in front of you with your palms facing up.

Put your arms up to your head as in Step 1 and take a step to your right.

Repeat the same move to the left, and then repeat both moves again.

Place your right hand on your hip and step to the left, swinging your right arm out.

Repeat the same move to your right.

Hold up your arm as if you're stopping traffic!

Turn to your right and roll your left shoulder three times. That's it!