Tuesday 28 February 2017

Thought for the Day

In Latin American countries (and across the world) today is Mardi Gras, a time for feathers, foof and faff and a gloriously camp carnival atmosphere...

...while in Britain, we have Pancake Day.

Still, any excuse to eat unhealthy food has to be a good thing, I say!

Monday 27 February 2017

What IS this thing called, love?

I am just not ready to start yet another week in the benighted office - I feel like I need "more weekend"...

Hey ho. These things are sent to try us. It pays the bills.

To lift the mood a little on this Tacky Music Monday, here's today's birthday girl the magnificent Elisabeth Welch, in the company of musical theatre aficionados Karen Morrow, David Kernan and [Alan Jay Lerner's widow] Liz Robertson, with a medley of Cole Porter numbers: What is This Thing Called Love?, Nobody's Chasing Me and Friendship.

That cheered me up! Have a good week, dear reader...

Elisabeth Margaret Welch (27th February 1904 – 15th July 2003)

Sunday 26 February 2017

Queeropolis, that fabled city - and a ginger bombshell!

Rounding-off what has proved to be an absolutely hectic week - not only my first one back in work after our holiday (with all that entails), but also Objects of Desire at the Petrie Museum, the open meeting of the organisers of Gay Pride in London 2017 and Polari LGBTHM special at the Southbank Centre on consecutive nights - Madame Arcati, Hils, History Boy, John-John and I trolled off to the quaintly old-fashioned Conway Hall last night for the traditional (almost) "end-of-term-party" for Camden & Islington LGBT History Month, the "Queeropolis" Ball!!

Sadly competing directly against the much-vaunted Winter Pride event that saw the one-night-only "revival" of London's legendary Popstarz alternative gay club night at The Scala in King's Cross, the crowd was admittedly smaller than one would have hoped-for - but we made our best efforts to get the party going! Always an excuse for dressing-up, this year's theme was "Legal and Civic Society" and "high court judge, an officer of the law, ancient Roman Senator or just ‘as you were’" were the suggestions. We opted to just go the latter, and go "smart'n'blingy", although Crog did say he'd modelled his "look" on Columbo, and Hils had a wig that could pass for a barrister's, so lots of fun was had with that...

DJs Jason Prince and Alexander Price certainly helped get us in the mood with their (largely) 80s and Disco playlist, and got everyone (including the lovely eccentric hostess-with-the-mostest at the aforementioned Petrie Museum Helen Pike) up and dancing. However, things really started shaking (literally, where her sexy dancing boys were concerned!) when the evening's Mistress of Ceremonies Lana Pillay took to the stage to perform her hit Pistol in My Pocket!

The evening's programme opened with a serious introduction by Camden LGBT Forum Trustee Natacha Kennedy, who reminded everyone of the importance of LGBT History Month and how some of the lessons learned from some of the darker chapters of our history were frighteningly close to being repeated today (particularly where Trans rights are concerned). After that we went for a fag and then to the bar, so missed both the poetry of Trudy Howson and the (very loud - we could hear it in the lobby) performance by former Adam Ant guitarist David Ryder Prangley.

However, on our return, there was a whirlwind on stage - "The Beyonce Experience". Not being a fan of "Queen Bey" nor her music, this was nevertheless surprisingly entertaining - just watching him/her and his/her backing dancers cavorting all over the stage was exhausting stuff, and brilliantly done.

After a special appearance from former creative director of Harvey Nichols (she was directly responsible to the store's prominent repeated presence in AbFab), reality television star (Mary, Queen of Shops) and proud lesbian mother (she was the first celeb to marry her partner once equal marriage became law in the UK) Mary Portas, it was time for the moment we had all been waiting for - our headliner, a veteran of Stock Aitken & Waterman, Eurovision and even the Lily Savage Show, SONIA!

For the uninitiated, the effervescent and diminutive ginger-haired diva was immensely popular in the late 80s and early 90s, with 11 UK Top 30 hits, before trying her hand at comedy acting and panto. Never one to take herself seriously, she charmed even the cynics among us with her infectious laugh, and was never to be seen without a smile. And she hasn't changed a bit! She still has that powerhouse singing voice, and she had the audience absolutely in the palm of her hand, everyone singing along and waving their arms as if the 1990s had never gone away.

And here, for your delectation, is a double-bill of her greatest hits:

She was Great. Sophisticated. Mersey.

We (literally) had a Ball!

Saturday 25 February 2017

Gay Vikings, the Papal curse, thirty-year-old fake news, a Fascist purge and New York resilience

The tail-end of Storm Doris may have subsided, but it would appear that the weather may have been a factor that prevented many of our regulars at Polari from attending on Friday - I went on my own and, apart from our host Paul Burston and one of our readers Suzi Feay, I only recognised among the literati the gorgeous Max Wallis, Polari stalwart Chris Chalmers, and sexy Lexi (with whom I shared a table) at the LGBT History Month 2017 special of "London's peerless gay literary salon"...

Regardless, this was - as ever - and evening of top-notch entertaining and thought-provoking literature.

Our opening reader was a case in point. With a confidence and erudition that belied her youthful looks, Leon Craig (Leonora Craig Cohen) - who has a postgraduate degree in Medieval Studies - read for us a fabulous short story all about the convoluted relationships of two Viking families, the husbands in which were evidently (and quite publicly) enjoying a gay relationship. Told in the first person position of the wife in one of the couples, it was both wryly funny and beautifully evocative of a lost world of savage feuds, intrigues and the privations of trying to eke out a living in bleak climes. Unfortunately, the story itself is not online, but another of Ms Craig's witty pieces is. Here's How to tell if you are in a Viking Saga:
  • You have started a bloody multi-generational feud by stealing cheese.
  • You have gone away to Constantinople and left your dashing blond brother to manage all your property. You are confident nothing can go wrong.
  • Everyone around you is named Thorolf, except for Thorstein Cod-Biter, who lives over in the next valley. Many say he is part-troll. But they have learnt not to say it to his face.
  • The current feud in which you are embroiled seems likely to be resolved by prodding a blindfolded horse off a cliff with poles. This horse is known for its malice.
  • You have a very muted reaction to losing your limbs.
  • As the house burns down around you, your elderly father reflects that fostering his enemy’s son was probably a mistake.
  • Your survival hinges on the arrangement of poorly-maintained paths through a remote swamp. You will not survive.
  • Your limp has provided you with the opportunity to become an expert in the convoluted Icelandic legal system. Small, seemingly insignificant comments allow you to manipulate justice for years after your untimely death.
  • You have enraged a family of Sami wizards, who like to stand on your roof and sing all night.
  • An elderly woman, known for her second-sight, gives you specific instructions to avoid being murdered. You ignore her.
  • You think a summer of raiding and mercenary warfare will curb the violent tendencies of your young relative.
  • Someone has accused you of being an arse-wizard and for this they will pay.
  • Your enemy has made a miniature wood-carving of you being sodomized and nobody asks him why.
  • You are a distant ancestor of Snorri Sturluson.
  • Your main concerns about Christianity are the bans on infant exposure and the ritualised eating of horseflesh.
  • You went to bed with Queen Gunnhildr and she has cursed you with a penis so large it cannot be used.
  • Your mother is a kidnapped Irish princess, but didn’t think to mention this for years.
  • At the age of three, you were already composing skaldic verse and outdrinking grown men. Your grandparents are very proud of you.
  • Everyone you have ever loved, been related to, or looked at flirtatiously during the summer parliament has died in a feud. You are raising your sons to continue the feud.
  • Most of your problems can be explained with the phrase ‘cold are the counsels of women.’
  • You once exiled someone from Norway using a severed horse head on a stick.
  • Greenland is horrible, but you have persuaded people to move there with false advertising.
  • You may have died in an unusually horrible manner, but at least this rocky outcrop is named after you.
  • If you can compose a sufficiently good poem praising the king, you’re off the hook for killing his infant son.
  • You and your cousins once beat a man to death over a piece of driftwood.
  • Everyone agrees you have the eyes of a thief.
  • No man in Iceland was your equal, so you became a zombie-killing nun instead.

Suzi Feay is a long-term Polari-ite, former journalist, book reviewer and grande dame of the literary events world - and a bloody good poet, too, it seems! Overcoming her "nerves", she read for us several of her (as yet unpublished) works. My favourite of these was Save it for the Pope in Rome, a pithy paean to the Eternal City and its effects on the lives and loves of people who pass through its hallowed environs. Again, unfortunately, no online evidence exists; however the following (completely unrelated) clip of a much younger Suzi amused me so much I just had to feature it here - as she tries to keep a straight face while modelling fetish clothing courtesy of Skin Two emporium:

Dr Sebastian Buckle is another whose fresh-faced prettiness masks the astonishing depth of knowledge and historical investigation that underpins his new work The Way Out: A History of Homosexuality in Modern Britain, from which he read us a segment that examined a familiar era for many in the audience, the 80s. As he said:
Rather than ushering in a new period of increased acceptance, 1967 had instead paved the way for a new political hostility and backlash, which was replicated in negative stereotypes played out with increased vitriol throughout the 1980s... [with] prosecutions for indecency, sodomy, soliciting and procuring at an all-time high.
Played out in salacious and outrageously homophobic terms in the newspapers of the day, the consensus of those influential right-wing media moguls in the midst of the "AIDS panic" was that “homosexuality is abnormal, unnatural, a bit evil because it’s wrong.” Such was the power of the press, Dr Buckle provided many examples where, during the key debates that ultimately led to the vilified Section 28, many Tory MPs directly quoted from newspaper opinion-pieces as if they were fact (or representative of public opinion) in the House of Commons. Chilling times. I remember them well.

I was engrossed. Had the (hardback) book not been £32 at the Foyles outlet on the night, I definitely would have purchased a copy.

Sarah Day, opening the second half, proudly informed the audience that her debut novel Mussolini's Island, from which she was to read was genuinely "hot off the presses", only having been published this week. And what a debut! Telling the tale of a little-known and sinister episode in Italy's pre-WW2 history, the forced imprisonment of gay men, her extract focused on the doomed attempt by the book's lead character Francesco as he tried to run away from the secret police who had come for him, and was utterly engrossing. Antonia Senior in The Times summarised the tale thus:
They were degenerates. Embarrassments to the new, imperial, fascist Italy. There was no place in Mussolini’s vision for homosexuality. Homosexuals were victimised and persecuted and, in some parts of the country, rounded up and sent into exile.

In 1939 a group of gay men were taken from their homes in Sicily and imprisoned on San Domino, a beautiful, but poor island in the Tremiti archipelago in the Adriatic Sea. Sarah Day has taken this fragment of history and written a fascinating debut, Mussolini’s Island.
I loved it!

Our headliner was Tim Murphy, a New York journalist on LGBT issues, culture and politics, now turned author. His magnum opus Christodora has also only just been published - and it was from it that he read a wonderful passage that evoked perfectly the "partying-in-the-face-of-doom" era of 1980s New York.

He introduced us to one of the book's many intertwined heroes and anti-heroes Issy - on a night out with her gay friends to one of the many "underground" clubs of the day - who gets herself into a rather unwanted situation; a "quickie" in an alleyway with a handsome stranger. Several consequences of this liaison permeate the rest of the novel: Issy herself contracts HIV and becomes an activist, and she also bears a son - who grows up (adopted after her death) in the "Christodora" building that gives the book its title, and around which many of the stories revolve.

It was a wonderful story, and certainly whetted my appetite to read more!

And so, with resounding - and much-deserved - applause for all concerned, the evening drew to a close. Because the next Polari (part of the Southbank's Women of the World festival) next month is completely sold-out already(!), it looks as if we're going to have to wait till summer for another outing [sniff, sniff]! I await details...

I love Polari.

Friday 24 February 2017

Storm in a teacup

Oh, the British tabloids do love a weather story... And now that the venerable bods at the Met Office have decided to take the Americanised "dumbed-down" approach to forecasting - giving weather fronts Tw*tter-friendly names, and using made-up cod-scientific terms such as "weather-bomb" to describe what is in fact a regular and common occurrence in the UK; rain, sleet and wind in winter - so we witness acres of coverage of the "devastation" (a few fallen trees) and "chaos" (airports postponing a few flights till the cross-winds subside) caused by this "deadly" (one unfortunate woman killed by falling roof tiles) event called Storm Doris.

Yes, Doris.

What better way to welcome in what appears today to be a gorgeous spring-like weekend, methinks, than with a simply faboo remix of an all-time classic choon by its namesake?

Thank Disco Doris Day it's Friday!

Have a great (storm-free) weekend, peeps.

Thursday 23 February 2017

A taste of honey is worse than none at all

The fact that today is the 59th birthday of the beauteous David Sylvian - apart from being a terrifying reminder of how time flies - provides me with an excuse (if any were needed) to wallow in a bit of 1980s fabulousness...

Here's David at his stylish peak, with his band the ultra-cool Japan, and their inimitable take on I Second That Emotion:

Maybe you want to give me kisses sweet
But only for one night with no repeat
Maybe you'll go away and never call
And a taste of honey is worse than none at all
Oh little girl

In that case I don't want no part
I do believe that would only break my heart
So if you feel like loving me
If you've got that notion
I second that emotion
So if you feel like giving me
A life-time of devotion
I second that emotion

Maybe you think that love will tie you down
And you don't seem to like to hang around
Or maybe you think that love was made for fools
So it makes you wise to break the rules

In that case I don't want no part
I do believe that would only break my heart
So if you feel like loving me
If you've got that notion
I second that emotion
So if you feel like giving me
A life-time of devotion
I second that emotion

I second that emotion

Many happy returns, Mr David Alan Batt aka David Sylvian (born 23rd February 1958)

Wednesday 22 February 2017

Every picture tells a story

News outlets are unable to find a picture of Donald Trump where he doesn’t look like an absolute maniac, it has been confirmed.

Every picture taken of Trump, since he rose to fame as a symbol of the eighties’ greed and arrogance, has been deemed to make him look ‘odd at best’, while more recent photos make him look like the end-of-level boss in a Nintendo martial arts game.

News website editor Tom Booker said: “We are constantly accused of bias for making him look ‘like that’.

“But ‘like that’ is what he looks like.”

A White House insider said: “We were hoping that the picture of him holding up a baby when he was running for election would have humanised him but if anything he just looked like he was about to eat the baby.

“Even when he took the oath everyone was still just focused on his tiny hands that are too small to even warrant a weight division in a boxing match.

“There is that picture of him taking the piss out of a disabled journalist. It doesn’t make him look normal but it’s definitely a good representation of him as a person.”
The Daily Mash

Of course.

Tuesday 21 February 2017

In the beginning there was Jack

Today's blog was intended to be just "another timeslip moment" - an opportunity to wallow in a bit of nostalgia from decades ago and to remember some of the events and trends that defined a particular moment in time. I settled upon this week in 1987, and then, on observing what was in the charts on that date I spotted something worthy of more detailed examination - thirty years ago we were in the midst of a musical sea-change. For there in the UK Top Ten of February '87 we witnessed the final throes of the type of "gay-gay-gay" uptempo electronic dance music typified by Man-to-Man meets Man Parrish, and, at the same time, the rise of a new soon-to-be-predominant "sound of the underground"...

In strictly historical or academic terms it is somewhat difficult to pin down exactly what defines the genre that is "House Music". From its oft-disputed (often mythical) origins sometime around the start of the 80s it embraced and absorbed many already existing types of music, and in time-honoured fashion it was batted back and forth across the Atlantic with various revamps that all, in their own way, enhanced and modified what was always a predominantly dance-based style into myriad incarnations.

As I recall, the decadence of (especially the late) Disco years - as epitomised by the celebrity-oriented hedonism of Studio 54 and, at the opposite end of the scale, a profusion of Disco versions of hits by "easy listening" artists such as Andy Williams and Ethel Merman - had supposedly led to a general feeling of ennui by the end of the 70s. Despite the fact that some of the biggest-selling Disco records of all time - such as those by Kool and the Gang, Michael Jackson/The Jacksons, Irene Cara, The Whispers, Stacy Lattisaw, Anita Ward, Diana Ross, Liquid Gold, Earth Wind & Fire, The Detroit Spinners and even Blondie and David Bowie - were actually produced after the notorious Redneck "Disco Sucks" rallies of summer '79 [which incidentally only ever occurred in America], the eternally recognisable format was fading under the weight of a "New Wave".

In Europe (of course) electronic music was the pioneering trend at that time, with (predominantly) British groups espousing a Kraftwerk-meets-pop sound and a dress sense that exploded into the New Romantic post-Punk 80s. On the continent (although there were recognisably similar fashion trends), that same passion for electronica channelled the more frenetic, adrenaline-fuelled style of artists such as Sylvester, Bobby O and Giorgio Moroder (especially in places like Italy and Belgium); and the club music variously known as "Italo-Disco" and "Hi-NRG" was the result. The latter style was enthusiastically embraced in the UK (particularly thanks to the efforts of DJ Ian Levine), and directly influenced the pop powerhouse known as Stock, Aitken, Waterman - who were to dominate the charts of that decade and beyond.

Over in the States, however (as famously stated by Mr Frankie Knuckles) "Disco never died - it merely changed its name to protect the innocent". He was referring to the type of dance club scene that still bought into the ever-popular funk, soul and dance styles that originally defined Disco but eventually, in the hands of innovative DJs in Chicago and New York, played with and mixed them up with other (newer) types of music (such as Italo) and random sounds to create something new. Sampling was born - and out of this "scratch" and "groove" art-form came "House", "Garage" and all that followed...

These trend-setters were not alone. From Belgium came a seminal "mash-up" of Italo-Disco and the more familiar funky US sounds, a style known as "New Beat". One of the pioneers of this genre, and of many innovations that travelled back Stateside to be incorporated into the blend [as I referred to above, club records and remixes were "batted back and forth" endlessly at the time] was the DJ Patrick DeMeyer, who was later to gain massive success with acts such as Technotronic. An early New Beat project of his was this filthy little slice of gorgeousness [a long-time fave here at Dolores Delargo Towers], Black Kiss - The Orgasm:

The aforementioned Hi-NRG music of the early-to-mid-80s (especially) here in the UK may have been a (albeit significant) flash-in-the-pan - being massively aimed at us gayers in the era of poppers and fan-dancing [with such choons as So Many Men So Little Time, You Think You're A Man, It's Raining Men, et al], it hit a bit of a crisis as the seriousness of AIDS began to make an impact - however a few of the producers who embraced it did cross over to the "House sound". One such was British writer-producer Andy Watkins [who later went on to mega-success working with Spice Girls, Atomic Kitten, Lisa Stansfield, Will Young and many more], who was responsible for this early classic that straddles the Hi-NRG and House Music eras perfectly - I Don't Believe by Erica Holland:

Popular though it was with the big-city clubbers, House Music - however it evolved or could be defined - was (surprisingly) not as commercially successful in its homeland of the USA as it was in the UK and in Europe in its early years. The first really big House Music success was a #1 single in the UK in January 1987 - Jack Your Body. The rave-hungry Brits had already given Farley Jackmaster Funk a hit with Love Can't Turn Around a year earlier, but by the time 1987 came around (and dance music was becoming huge again here) it was the turn of his Chicago compatriot Steve "Silk" Hurley to really get things moving...

House Music still persists, of course [as do Disco, Italo, Techno, "New Romantic-style" electronica and even Hi-NRG, but that's another matter]. Its proliferation throughout the 1990s and early 2000s in dance music dominated the world; its influence on Madonna, Daft Punk, David Guetta, Britney Spears, RuPaul and countless other huge artists worldwide is well-documented. Even in the past few years, acts like Calvin Harris, Gorgon City, Sigala, Tiesto, LMFAO and Kiesa have "kept the faith" in House Music, and clubs from Ibiza to Croatia to Miami continue to thrive on it.

I'll end this little reminiscence, however, with one final classic. In 1980s Holland too, House Music became a massive movement - especially when DJ Peter Slaghuis decided to work under the pseudonym of Hithouse; and this 1989 classic [and another fave] was the result:

Viva House Music!

Monday 20 February 2017

Let's not ask for the moon...

Oh, no! It's time to leave the world of dreams and return to the grindstone...

Well, almost. For on this Tacky Music Monday, we make one more welcome visit to Spain - and let the goddess Sara Montiel and her loincloth-clad "safety gays" transport us to another world!

Luna, indeed.

Have a great week, folks. I won't.

Sunday 19 February 2017

The Chevalier and Mel

We've had a great day to round off our second (and final) week away from the - ahem - joys of work. A visit to the British Museum for some more LGBT History Month culture (from primeval erotic gay sculpture in Palestine, to protest badges through the ages, to the often outré sexual art of classical Greek vases, to the Chevalier D'Eon - we lapped it up!), followed by a slap-up Sunday dinner and some drinkies...

Such a shame that the dream has to be broken tomorrow by the unfortunate inconvenience of having to return to work, but hey ho - here's a Sunday musical interlude courtesy of the ever-wonderful Soft Tempo Lounge to ease our troubled minds:

Oh, that's better...

Music: Moon Song by Mel Tormé

Saturday 18 February 2017

Totty of the Day

Happy 50th birthday today to Olympic hurdler and fellow Welshman Colin Jackson. Who could not love a man who "always could get his legs up higher - and wider - than anyone else"?

And indeed, rumours persist that the never-married Mr Jackson is in fact in a long-term relationship with fellow Olympian, swimmer Mark Foster, despite his denial in an interview several years ago that he was gay...

I leave it to the Three Degrees to have the last word on that one, methinks.

The taste of his skin, the gentle touch of his hand
Is worth waiting for, so I must understand
Yes you run, you just won't show love
That's the thing you're frightened of

He's a runner, he's a runner


Colin Ray Jackson, CBE (born 18th February 1967)

Friday 17 February 2017

Spring affairs

We've had a rewarding - if knackering - day in the sunny gardens of Dolores Delargo Towers, clearing, cutting-back, pruning and planting-up (foxgloves mainly).

It may only be February (and who knows what joys the weather has yet to throw at us), but Spring is definitely in the air (if those cyclamen are anything to go by)...

Which reminds me - we may be on holiday still, but it's another weekend looming [and a bijou "Winter Blues Cure" party, courtesy of John-John, to look forward to tonight]. Who better to suit the mood but the late, dearly departed Miss Donna Summer and a most appropriate number indeed..?

Thank Disco It's Friday!

Have a good one, dear reader.

Thursday 16 February 2017

Is it worth it, to look good in your coffin?

"I'm too old for surgery. Is it worth it, to look good in your coffin?"

"As long as I am capable of ­working, and can learn lines and move around, I will carry on. I’d be utterly bored if I stopped."

One of Britain's most beloved character actresses, June Brown - best known as "Dot Cotton" in Eastenders - celebrates her 90th birthday today.

And she's not afraid of getting nude...

Many happy returns, June Muriel Brown, MBE (born 16th February 1927)

June Brown at 90 - a Walford Legend is available to watch on BBC iPlayer.

Wednesday 15 February 2017

Rude flowers and a Dali muse

We are making the most of our week off in London - today, it was the turn of the Royal Horticultural Society Early Spring Show. A glorious array of snowdrops, irises, winter-flowering shrubs, hippeastrums and tulips, it also hosted an amusing little collection of botanical artworks that were considered in their day "unsuitable for viewing by women". Looking at the one pictured above, one can hazard a guess at the Victorian moral outrage that led to such a decision.

It was a lovely afternoon.

Speaking of loveliness, Miss Vittoria Marisa Schiaparelli Berenson celebrates her 70th birthday today...

Seventies supermodel, actress, socialite, friend of Salvador Dali - and singer? Who knew?

Here, by way of a celebration, is the lady herself with the incomparable Tom Jones! She's So Shy. Apparently.


Tuesday 14 February 2017

Classical and not-so-classical gayers

It was somewhat appropriate that this afternoon, I ignored Saint Hallmark Valentine's Day and went to a faboo "potted history" talk at the British Museum - to launch their recognition of LGBT History Month (and indeed their establishment of a special gallery dedicated to LGBT history and artefacts in this, the 50th year since the (partial) decriminalisation of homosexuality in the UK, opening in May).

What better way to start my sojourn through the month's events [we missed week #1 of course, being in Spain] than with the blatant sex scenes of The Warren Cup, the love story of Emperor Hadrian and Antinous, and with the lesbian love poetry of Sappho..?

However, not all things in life are so cultural.

While exploring the darkest recesses of La Nogilera gay scene in Torremolinos last week, we were delighted to discover [we're obviously late to the game, not being fans of RuPaul's Drag Race, from whence the first mix below emerged] the - ahem - talents of a certain Señor AB Soto, and here he is (twice), with Cha Cha, Bitch!:

(...and the original:)

I like to think that Hadrian and Antinous would have approved.

Monday 13 February 2017

While you were away

We have returned (reluctantly) from our seven days of (mainly) sunshine, enjoying the delights of Benalmadena by day and the flesh-pots of Torremolinos by night. But what did we miss?

Snow, damp and cold, mainly, by the looks of it...

The news doesn't seem to have been any different to when we left - Trump is still an arsehole, all the political parties in the UK appear to be in-fighting, the Middle East is still a hell-hole, and "celebrities" continue to wallow in the back-slapping mêlée of the awards ceremony season. Among other non-fake news: Britain's most reviled rip-off merchant supermarket giant Tesco announced a merger with Booker cash'n'carry (so they will continue to peddle even more bulk-buy shit upon the masses); that over-hyped "talent sponge" GaGa drew the smallest audience in four years for the American SuperBowl with her interval show; we gayers received some unlikely support from a group of "leading retired bishops", who criticised the church's intolerance of homosexuality; Mein Kampf the Daily Mail was exposed as an "unreliable news source" (surprise, surprise) by Wikipedia; and - far more relevant than the "courgette crisis" - there is a threat to Britain's fish'n'chips thanks to a strike by Icelandic fishermen.

We missed celebrating the 90th birthday of the magnificent Leontyne Price, "national treasure" Denis Norden's 95th and the centenaries of the peerless Zsa Zsa Gabor and of the romantic novelist Sydney Sheldon. We waved a fond farewell to the fab (out-gay) actor Alec McCowen, to comedy writer Alan Simpson (who with Ray Galton was responsible for some of Britain's best-loved comedies such as Hancock's Half Hour, Steptoe & Son and the Frankie Howerd Show), and of course the headline-grabber Tara Palmer-Tomkinson, socialite, "It-Girl", model and friend of Prince Charles.

We may be back in the cold and damp, but the daffs, snowdrops and cyclamen are all heralding the fact that Spring is just around the corner. And, as is traditional, we have brought back a little sunshine-and-tackiness-combo from our trip. Here, on this Tacky Music Monday, is the remarkable Dolores Vargas and Se va a Covadonga!


Sunday 12 February 2017

Se recomienda el sol

Darlings, we're home...

Here's just a little videographic sample of the delights of our holiday in Spain:

It's cold and miserable, and horrible to be back.

Music: Poppy by The Heinz Kiessling Orchestra

Saturday 4 February 2017


By the time you see this, dear reader, we should be well on our way to Andalusia for our much-needed week in the sun!

In time-honoured tradition, I have one song left to play that sums up our mood nicely - it is, of course, the lovely boys of Righeira and Vamos a la Playa...

"Normal" service will be resumed on our return in a week's time.

Friday 3 February 2017

Something about a sailor

Just one more day before we jet away to the sunshine, and we both have the day off, getting ourselves (and the flat) in order.

However, the end of every week deserves a celebration all of its own, so it is to the shiny Seventies in Spain we turn today for something "appropriate" to get us in even more of a party mood.

Here, for your delectation, we have the assembled "talents" of a group called Acuario, together with a very enthusiastic group of "safety gays" (all graduates of the "Raffaella Carra School of Dance" by the looks of it), and their paean to a sailor...

Thank Disco It's Friday - and ¡Viva España!

Thursday 2 February 2017

Libérate, indeed

Oh, thank heavens - I thought this moment would never come. I am now officially on holiday - and do not have to walk into the benighted office again for another eighteen days!

I am in such a magnanimous frame of mind, today I thought I'd share not one, but two of the campest-of-camp recent "discoveries" I've made on my quest for suitable music to continue this countdown to our week in Spain (that starts on Saturday)...

First up, someone who I can only describe as a sort of cross between Mae West, Bette Midler and a Northern pub landlady on a "hen night"! She appears to be inordinately proud of her (ahem!) décolletage - it's Rosita Amores and La Supervedette:

How does one follow that, you may ask?

...what about an outing [geddit?] from Spain's answer to Dale Winton, the flamboyant El Titi?!

At some stage during our week on the Costa we fully expect to encounter people who look like both...

Wednesday 1 February 2017

A party in Hell

Our holiday draws ever closer, and a countdown to Spain would not be complete without featuring one of the great wonders of that country - after the Alhambra, the Mezquita de Córdoba and Gaudi's Sagrada Família...

I am talking about that fantabulosa triumph of art over nature Alaska, and her band - house faves here at Dolores Delargo Towers - Fangoria, of course!

Un cuento de hadas desquiciado ["a crazy fairy tale"], indeed!