Thursday 30 November 2017

I'm glad I spent it with you

Timeslip moment again - and its quite scary how time flies...

We've beamed down in 1997 again, dear reader - a world mourning the death of Diana Princess of Wales; the year of Tony Blair, comet Halle-Bopp, Bill Clinton, Madeline Allbright, the Spice Girls, Teletubbies, IBM's Deep Blue computer, Oasis, massacres in Algeria, Great Britain's last (to date) Eurovision win, the launch of Channel 5, Gianni Versace's murder, the handover of Hong Kong to China, Titanic and Dolly the sheep.

In the news in November '97: 62 tourists were mown down by Islamic militants outside the Temple of Hatshepsut in Egypt, the BBC launched News 24 and its full-time online news service, attempts to extradite the Great Train Robber Ronnie Biggs from Brazil were thwarted, and the new British Library opened; in the ascendant were Mary McAleese (elected President of Ireland in succession to Mary Robinson, the first time in the world that one woman succeeded another as elected head of state), Bobbi McCaughey (who gave birth to the world's first surviving septuplets) and HM the Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh (celebrating their Golden Wedding anniversary), but the world reeled when the gorgeous Michael Hutchence was found dead in his hotel room. In our cinemas: Chasing Amy, GI Jane, Alien: Resurrection. On telly: I'm Alan Partridge, The Adventures of Paddington Bear, and the last ever series of Give Us a Clue.

And in the charts this week in November two decades ago? The infectious Barbie Girl had just been knocked off its perch. Also present and correct in the Top 10 were Natalie Imbruglia, All Saints, Lutricia McNeal [me neither], the Prodigy, MegaBabs with Slime Dion, Aaron Carter, Louise and Stephen Houghton [whooooo?]. However, there was one song that was to wipe the board with all of 'em, having just crashed into the top slot and summarily deposed the all-conquering Aqua - and lordy, it is a good one...

Featuring possibly the most amazing array of talent ever committed to one record - [in order of appearance] Lou Reed, Bono, Skye Edwards (from Morcheeba), David Bowie, Suzanne Vega, Elton John, conductor Andrew Davis and the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Boyzone, Lesley Garrett, Burning Spear, Thomas Allen, the Brodsky Quartet, Heather Small (from M People), Emmylou Harris, Tammy Wynette, Shane MacGowan (from The Pogues), tenor horn player Sheona White, Dr. John, Robert Cray, Huey Morgan (from Fun Lovin' Criminals), Ian Broudie (from The Lightning Seeds), Gabrielle, Evan Dando (from The Lemonheads), Courtney Pine, Brett Anderson (from Suede), Visual Ministry Choir, Joan Armatrading, Laurie Anderson and Tom Jones - it is, of course, Perfect Day!

Can it really be TWENTY YEARS since that slice of magnificence first hit our screens???

I feel old.

Wednesday 29 November 2017

Tuesday 28 November 2017

They said my fiery whiskers made the guns go off too soon

With Harry'n'Meghan's engagement set to dominate every single news programme, tabloid and "lifestyle" magazine article for the next few months, I think it only right that I should add my congratulations by way of an appropriate song...

Ginjah, Ginjah
They all know Captain Ginjah
Jolly old pot, O.T. 'ot
Ninety-five in the shade what, what.
I love all the ladies
Not one of them would I injure
All the girls love Gin-Gin-Gin-


Monday 27 November 2017

There's a chance that we may fall apart before too long

Oh bum. Monday again...

After a weekend of enjoyable meanderings, shopping for trimmings and stuff in Walthamstow and Camden markets (it gets me out of the house and away from murderous thoughts about those marauding brats upstairs), having to get up and out in the murk and gloom of Monday at this time of year is particularly harsh.

It is still a Tacky Music Monday, however! So let's thank heavens for the combined talents of yesterday's birthday girl Miss Tina Turner, together with the unstoppable Cher, and - rather incongruously - Miss Kate Smith [unknown over here, but notable in the US for her campaigns against "indecency" and her famous rendition of God Bless America] and their most bizarre "Beatles Medley" to cheer us up...

Have a good week, peeps!

Sunday 26 November 2017

An angelic troublemaker, a Smalltown Boy, The Bear... and Our Joey's been a very naughty boy

Can it really be TEN YEARS since the very first Polari? Although I wasn't actually at the earliest outings of "London's peerless gay literary salon", I first encountered the co-founders of the (now defunct) House of Homosexual Culture Rupert Smith and Paul Burston at a linked event that they hosted called Between the Covers (part of LGBT History Month) way back in February 2008, so I am probably the longest-serving audience member of them all...

But most deserving of any such "long service medal" is, of course, hostess-with-the-mostest Mr Burston. And it was with well-earned pride that he opened proceedings for this very significant anniversary.

Least said soonest mended where opening act Carey Wood is concerned, unfortunately. Suffice to say that one-line epigrams do not a "poet" make, in my book. Ahem.

Next up was the beamingly cheerful Mr Bisi Alimi - described on his website as “Angelic Troublemaker Incarnate” - to save the day. The first Nigerian to openly declare his sexuality on national television in 2004, the subsequent threats to his life led him to move to the UK as a refugee; happily he was granted British citizenship in December 2014. He has managed to carve quite a name for himself out of the experiences: he has been much in demand as a speaker, has written for The Guardian (among others), and remains a prominent gay rights activist and HIV/AIDS advocate.

The piece he read for us on Friday he admitted he only finished a week earlier. A marvellously pithy and often humorous exploration of "identity", Who Am I? was sublime. Here is Mr Alimi speaking about his experiences at a recent event hosted by The Daily Beast:

We might have wished for a little "light relief" after that, but, continuing with the "first-hand experiences" theme, our darling "Sexy Lexi" Gregory read a heart-stopping one (which, together with two more, he hopes to bring to the stage as a full production next year) - about an archetypal "Smalltown Boy" and his venture to London, his part in the world of gay rights activism through the tumultuous 80s, the impact of AIDS, and the state of the "gay world" today in the wake of the loss of a whole generation and their collective lived experiences.

It was only towards the end of his impressively-performed monologue that the penny dropped. This was Paul Burston's story. The audience was stunned, and Mr B was visibly choked-up as he adjourned the evening for a much-needed break.

Suitably refreshed, it was the turn of the eminent American writer and "theatre-maker" J Fergus Evans to take the stage, reading a currently unpublished piece that I believe might be called The Bear. With its subtly erotic tone - a young boy's hero-worship of/desire for the eponymous "Bear" (an assumed fling of the boy-narrator's mother) - the lavish descriptions of the "Bear"'s body, muscles, beard hair and even his scent caused quite a few ripples of thrill through the audience... not least our John-John, who came over all unnecessary...

However, as always, it fell to the ever-brilliant Mr Jonathan Harvey to steal the show! Revisiting his excellent debut novel All She Wants, the piece he read (hilariously, I might add) was a familiar one - the aftermath in the family of the protagonist Jodie, after her brother "Our Joey" was arrested in flagrante delicto in a park...
Mum didn't acknowledge my arrival, she just kept staring straight ahead, her eyes on the blank TV. "I suppose you knew." There was so much vitriol in her tone of voice. Like I'd made him gay just to spite them. Like I'd been laughing behind her back all this time.

"Mum?!" I was acting dumb. Something I was very convincing at as I'd had a lot of experience doing it for real.
"I suppose you knew Our Joey is a freak."
"He's not a freak."
Dad came bombasting in from the kitchen now.
"Oh, and I suppose you think it's normal to go shagging blokes in the great outdoors?"
Things must have been bad as Mum didn't tell him off for saying "shagging". Though she did shiver like someone had rubbed a piece of ice down her back.
"Well, no I don't," I agreed.

"Otterspool Prom!" cried Mum. "We used to take you there for picnics." He'd clearly sullied her memory of it forever.

"What was he actually arrested for?"
"Gross indecency in a public place," said Dad, and each syllable was punctuated with his disgust.
"He wasn't arrested; he was just cautioned. Coz of his age."
"I mean, Jeez, it's one thing being a gay; it's another thing doing it in a frigging park."
Dad shook his head.
"Malcolm!" Oh, so she was getting her mojo back. "And it's not a park is it? It's a beauty spot!"

"A beauty spot?!" I laughed involuntarily and she gave me one of her looks. It brought me up short. Time to back-pedal. "Well, yes, it is a thing of beauty in... spot form." God, must do better!
Mum sighed.

"Oh well," I said, trying to lighten the load, "now we know why he's put his career ahead of girlfriends!"
Mum rolled her eyes. "Don't make this about you, Jodie."
Why shouldn't I? Just for one moment. Surely she could see that I was fighting Our Joey for the crown of Golden Child. Surely I'd be allowed some Brownie points now for being... well... normal!

"The shame of it, Jodie. We had to go to the police station to get him. And he's completely unapologetic."
"He did say sorry, Sandra."
"Well I didn't hear him."
"I mean, he did sound a bit snarky when he said it, like."

"Poor Joey,"
I said. Whoops, bad move. Mum jolted in her seat like she was in the electric chair.
"Poor Joey? Poor Joey? What about poor us, having to go to the cop shop to fetch him?!" Mum had been watching too many soaps and had picked up most of her phrases from them. She'd start calling me Treacle or Princess next, like Dirty Den. "The shame of it, Jodie. The utter shame. The way they were looking at us. Judging us." And she dissolved into tears, pulling a paper hankie from the sleeve of her cardigan and burying her face in it. Dad rubbed her shoulder. It was hardly the most affectionate of moves: he looked like he was rubbing something off a car-seat cover.

Just then we heard footsteps coming across the carpet, and suddenly Our Joey was stood in the doorway with a bag over his shoulder. Greg followed behind him.
"Don't be a knob, Joe," Greg was saying. Joe? He called him Joe? I'd not heard that before.

"Where d'you think you're going?" said Mum, sounding like all the things she hated: common, unbecoming and fishwife-esque.
"As far away from here as possible!" gasped Our Joey. He sounded like he was in an episode of Dynasty.
"You've got nowhere to go," I pointed out.
"Haven't I?" said Our Joey.
Utterly faboo - and even better if you can imagine it all being said in a camp Scouse accent. Tantalising half-truths were yet to emerge, however. Just why is Jodie's boyf Greg so protective of Our Joey... and why did he have mud on his shoes? Where is Our Joey headed? And [in another passage Mr Harvey read] why is Jodie's best mate Hayls such a drama-queen, pretending to be disabled in order to "identify" with her wheelchair-using boyfriend?

As the applause (not least from our "gang" including John-John, Paul, Bryanne, Simon, Wayne and Roland, and a packed house that included Paul's hubbie Paolo and his cousin Elaine) threatened to take the roof off the Weston Pavilion (in which we had been uncomfortably located for the occasion), so Mr B called all the readers back to the stage, and... (more's the pity) that was that for a rather splendid evening's entertainment.

The last outing of the year will be A Very Polari Christmas on 11th December - with readings from Tony Peake, Susie Boyt, William Parker, Ian Elmslie and, of course, VG Lee.

Can't wait!

We love Polari.

Saturday 25 November 2017

Thought for the day

...from the public spirited burghers of Scarfolk Council.

Friday 24 November 2017

J-J-J-Jive talkin' - you're telling me lies

Another milestone was recently reached - it is 40 years this month since the soundtrack to Saturday Night Fever exploded all over our charts! One of the world's biggest-selling albums, it spent 18 consecutive weeks at No. 1 here in the UK; though we had to wait till March '78 to see the film.

Track after track after track would be an eminently suitable choice for our traditional party number to start the weekend. The album has 'em all - Stayin' Alive, Night Fever, How Deep Is Your Love, More Than a Woman, If I Can't Have You, Boogie Shoes, You Should Be Dancing, Disco Inferno...

...but, to get our juices flowing ready to boogie, I've chosen this one!

It's just your jive talkin'
you're telling me lies, yeah
Jive talkin'
you wear a disguise
Jive talkin'
so misunderstood, yeah
Jive talkin'
You really no good

Oh, my child
You'll never know
Just what you mean to me
Oh, my child
You got so much
You're gonna take away my energy

With all your jive talkin'
You're telling me lies, yeah
Good lovin'
Still gets in my eyes
Nobody believes what you say
It's just your jive talkin'
That gets in the way

Oh my love
You're so good
Treating me so cruel
There you go
with your fancy lies
Leavin' me lookin'
like a dumbstruck fool
with all your

Jive talkin'
You're telling me lies, yeah
Jive talkin'
You wear a disguise
Jive talkin'
so misunderstood, yeah
Jive talkin'
you just ain't no good

Love talkin'
is all very fine, yeah
Jive talkin'
Just isn't a crime
And if there's somebody
You'll love till you die
then all that jive talkin'
just gets in your eye

Jive talkin'
You're telling me lies,yeah
Good lovin'
Still gets in my eyes
Nobody believes what you say
It's just your jive talkin'
That gets in the way

I listened to The saintly Ana Matronic's recent Radio 2 documentary Night Fever - The Rise of the Bee Gees, and - among many fascinating insights and reminisces it featured - according to Barry Gibb, that unmistakeable percussive intro to the song was taken from the clack-clack noise the group's car made while crossing a metal bridge on their way to the recording studio!

The result is legendary.

And I hope your weekend is similar, dear reader.

Saturday Night Fever soundtrack on Wikipedia

Thursday 23 November 2017

Reline yourself, resign yourself, you're through

Lost among the coverage in the papers recently of the passings of "national treasure" Likely Lad Rodney Bewes, and (of course) the death of the superstar David Cassidy, I didn't hear till today [thanks to the lovely Marc over at Deep Dish] that dear old Della Reese had also departed for Fabulon...

Emerging out of poverty and the melting-pot of gospel churches in the segregated US Mid-West, Miss Reese rose through musical success singing jazz, blues and pop to become a well-loved character on mainstream American television. Of course much of this small-screen output is a mystery to us Brits, and so it is for her music she is best known - despite never having had a hit record here.

Her genre-defining "cha-cha-cha" musical era has been a particular favourite of ours here at Dolores Delargo Towers for many years - not least this one:

But she had a mighty fine pair of tonsils, no matter the genre:

I often got her mixed-up with her even more revered predecessor Pearl Bailey - and indeed, given the cohort of her fellow stars in this sketch [possibly one of the most camp televisual moments in history!], I might hazard a guess that she may have been an acceptable substitution rather then the producers' first choice...

She held her own admirably, nonetheless!

So admired was Miss Reese that none other than Martha Reeves admitted that her entire act was a tribute - she named her group "The Vandellas" after Van Dyke Street in Detroit and Della Reese. Tribute indeed.

RIP Della Reese (born Delloreese Patricia Early, 6th July 1931 – 19th November 2017)

Read my previous tributes to Miss Reese here, here, and (especially) here.

Wednesday 22 November 2017

Chasing after rainbows I may never find again

Very sad news - "the beauteous one" David Cassidy is dead.

We will never forget him...

RIP, David Bruce Cassidy (12th April 1950 – 21st November 2017)

Read my previous tributes to David here and here.

Tuesday 21 November 2017


Former Smiths frontman Morrissey has released a charity single raising funds for utter bastards.

Morrissey confirmed that all the money he makes from his new single Utterly Miserable Pretentious Christmas will go to BastAid, a charity that helps bastards, twats and arseholes.

He said: “Often bastards, especially older rich white bastards, don’t have anyone to speak up for them.

“All the money I make from my new single, which isn’t that good to be fair, will go towards helping these poor men.

“Perhaps it will help build a shelter for falsely accused Hollywood moguls or maybe it will fund further education courses for predatory actors.”

UKIP member and bloke who used to say The Smiths were for ‘fruits’ Wayne Hayes said: “As long as he doesn’t sing or wave any leeks around then Morrissey might just be our Christ figure.”
The Daily Mash

Of course.

[The "real" story]

Monday 20 November 2017

Down in Mehico

Love the "Queen of Hearts" 'do

Another week opens, dank and dark - and I feel completely unrefreshed, and in need of a long sleep.

Hey ho - this Tacky Music Monday also happens to be the birthday of the eternally lovely June Christy, so let's shake ourselves out of the "slough of despond" and get going, with this sickeningly cheerful faux-Mexican number featuring the great lady, in the company of the estimable Stan Kenton Orchestra:

Have a good week, dear reader!

June Christy (born Shirley Luster, 20th November 1925 – 21st June 1990)

Sunday 19 November 2017

Suffer little children

I was jolted from my slumber this morning by the cacophonous noise of screaming, crashing and banging from the "demon spawn" upstairs. It turns out there were visitors up there (on a Sunday morning??); three children in total. I am in a foul mood...

Now that they have finally gone out, I am in need of a little peace and quiet.

What better than the music of one genius (Beethoven) played by another master (Barenboim) to soothe the mood?

Oh, that's better...

Saturday 18 November 2017

Days may be cloudy or sunny

It's turned wet and downright miserable here in London, which did put a damper on Mother's visit today somewhat. I think she enjoyed it, nonetheless.

It also happens to be the birthday of a prodigious lyricist - the man who wrote [among well over 1400 other songs in the Great American Songbook] One for My Baby, Moon River, I Remember You, Jeepers Creepers, P.S. I Love You, Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah, Hooray for Hollywood, Something's Gotta Give, Girlfriend Of The Whirling Dervish, Blues in the Night, Fools Rush In, Autumn Leaves, The Waiter And The Porter And The Upstairs Maid, How Long Has This Been Going On?, Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive, Tangerine, Strip Polka, And the Angels Sing, That Old Black Magic, I'm Old Fashioned, Lazy Bones, Too Marvellous For Words, Goody Goody, You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby, Day In Day Out, Skylark...

...and this one!

Very appropriate.

The birthday boy in question is, of course, Mr Johnny Mercer (born John Herndon Mercer, 18th November 1909 – 25th June 1976)

Friday 17 November 2017

Blonde Friday?

The weekend looms at last, after a particularly long and tiresome week...

Mother's in town tomorrow, so there'll be no rest for the wicked. That's not going to stop the party, however! - not when we have a right pair of slappers those awesomely talented party animals, former "Page 3" topless models Miss Nina Carter and (birthday girl) Miss Jilly Johnson, aka Blonde on Blonde - to start the celebrations:

Thank Disco It's Friday!

Read more about the - ahem - musical career of Blonde on Blonde, courtesy of Dangerous Minds

Thursday 16 November 2017

O come all ye pastries

The bakery chain Greggs has apologised for offending Christians with a nativity scene advert that replaces Jesus with a sausage roll.

Greggs released the image to promote its £24 advent calendar, which goes on sale next Monday. Its decision...sparked criticism from Twitter users and religious groups.
Remarkably, this story is actually true.

Wednesday 15 November 2017

A word from our sponsor

"Tea, though ridiculed by those who are naturally coarse in their nervous sensibilities, will always be the favourite beverage of the intellectual." - Thomas de Quincey

Tuesday 14 November 2017

Hello, Princess

Heavens to Betsy - Den and Angie's "Little Princess" Sharon (Letitia Dean) is 50 years old!

Now, I am the first to admit I am no fan of the eternal grimness that is BBC 1's "blockbuster" soap EastEnders - haven't actually watched it for years, and am inclined to do so even less now that its original round of "tarts'n'matriarchs" [Angie Watts, Pauline Fowler, Ethel Skinner, Pat Butcher, Peggy Mitchell - of the pantheon, only Dot Cotton is left, and she's 90] have all gone. However, the "curvaceous" Sharon - despite two long absences-of-leave - is still very much centre-stage in Albert Square, so at least there is some continuity of "bitch-slapping"...

But never mind all that. Here is the remarkable pairing of Miss Dean with fellow 80s EastEnders actor Paul Medford ("Kelvin Carpenter") - singing!

This really should have been a Tacky Music Monday. But it's Tuesday. Hey ho.

Letitia Jane Dean (born 14th November 1967)

Monday 13 November 2017

Banana duro, Banana tieso

As the thermometers continue to drop here in London (it was bearable when we were stood by the Thames for Saturday's fireworks, but yesterday's winds were bitter), so we seek some solace in a bit of uber-camp Calypso-style nonsense from somewhere exotic to divert our attention away from the thick coats, fleeces and paraphernalia that could well be our lot for the next few months...

And, on this Tacky Music Monday, I have found just the thing to get another thrilling week in work off to such a start. Lord knows what to make of this one!

And, just in case you can't get enough of this fabulous number (and its filthy lyrics) - here is the official video, replete with semi-naked Hispanic youths in a swimming pool [thought that might get your attention!]:

Banana duro (banana)
Banana tieso (banana)
Banana perverso (banana)
Banana travieso (banana)
Banana chiquito (banana)
Banana sabroso (banana)

Have a fruity week, dear reader.

Sunday 12 November 2017

Her heart was warm and gay; no matter how they changed her, I'll remember her that way

We have a centenary to celebrate today! And it's one very close to our hearts... the eternally lovely Miss Jo Stafford.

With her languid vocal style, her impeccable diction and her hugely varied repertoire of songs, Jo was an integral contributor to the American songbook, working closely with the likes of Johnny Mercer.

The beauty of her voice is perfectly illustrated by the following...

Miss Stafford was never afraid of venturing further afield in her musical choices, however, not least by contributing her vocals as "Cinderella G Stump" to this gem:

  • Jo first came to prominence as part of the vocal harmony group the Pied Pipers, who sang backing vocals for Tommy Dorsey, Frank Sinatra and many others.
  • When she finally went solo, it was alongside Margaret Whiting and Peggy Lee at Capitol Records that she cemented her reputation as one of "America's sweethearts", performing concerts for the forces overseas both during and after WW2.
  • Her choices of vocal material ranged from Big Band to American folk, to pop and ballads, to Jazz, before retiring altogether in the mid-1960s.
  • It was also at Capitol that she met and married composer, arranger and bandleader Paul Weston; they worked together professionally throughout her "golden years" in the 50s, and remained together till his death in 1996.
And - of course! - I could not let a tribute to Miss Stafford go by without a mention of her and Mr Weston's ultimate creation - the phenomenon that was Jonathan and Darlene Edwards! Originally a bit of a party-piece for friends, "The Edwards" eventually overtook Jo and Paul's own fame - and indeed won Miss Stafford her only Grammy...

It gets me laughing (and "honking" along) every time...

Jo Elizabeth Stafford (12th November 1917 – 16th July 2008)

Saturday 11 November 2017

A sparkling debut...

...for London's 690th Lord Mayor Charles Bowman, whose amazing firework display (London's last remaining free one!) our "gang" went to see tonight:

[Camerawork not the author's own, I hasten to add - we were even closer to the action.]

Lord Mayor's Show 2017

Friday 10 November 2017

Now is the time for you to stride

Another weekend draws nearer and, despite everything, we simply must get ourselves in the mood for a party!

Tomorrow, we have the Lord Mayor's Show fireworks to look forward to, and the weather looks like it will stay dry for the occasion. The autumn/winter season has begun in earnest - and what more joyful way to kick it all off with the eternally chirpy Junior Giscombe?

Thank Disco It's Friday!

Said a small boy once asked, When will I grow up
When will I see what grownups do see
In his fight to come of age, he would have to know the age
To be recognized is when I'm not unmasked

And mama used to say, Take your time, young man
Mama used to say, Don't you rush to get old
Mama used to say, Take it in your stride
Mama used to say, Live your life

As the years went rushin' by he would cut down on his age
He would tell his girl of how it used to be
How his mommy passed away, but these lines she would say
And at the time he couldn't understand

Mama used to say, Take your time, young man
Mama used to say, Don't you rush to get old
Mama used to say, Take it in your stride
Mama used to say, Live your life

You're young, so young, don't hold on back
Do all you want to do
Now is the time for you to stride
For you to get better in what you are doin', oh

Now is the time for you to stride
For you to get better in what you are doin', oh

A small boy once asked, When will I grow up
When will I see what grownups do see
In his fight to come of age, he would have to know the age
To be recognized is when I'm not unmasked

And mama used to say, Take your time, young man
Mama used to say, Don't you rush to get old
Mama used to say, Take it in your stride
Mama used to say, Live your life, live your life, live your life, oh

Have a good one, peeps!

Thursday 9 November 2017

Everlasting baby

We have a new apprentice in the office starting soon, who was born in... 1999 (!).

With that terrifying news ringing in my ears, I thought it opportune that we should have a little timeslip moment, back to that very year - when Boris Yeltsin handed over to Vladimir Putin, and Bill Clinton was acquitted in his impeachment trial; the year of the Kosovo War, Harold Shipman, The Matrix, Tracey Emin, Bill Gates, the Jonathan Aitken trial, Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, Prince Edward and Sophie Rhys-Jones' wedding, Jill Dando's murder, Family Guy, the Columbine massacre and the Admiral Duncan gay pub bombing, the deaths of Dusty Springfield, Victor Mature, Stanley Kubrick, Madeline Kahn, Ernie Wise, Oliver Reed and Dirk Bogarde, and the births of East Timor, the Euro, MSN Messenger, the Scottish Parliament, the Welsh Assembly and - ahem - SpongeBob SquarePants.

In the news in November 1999: Gary Glitter was jailed for possession of child pornography, Australia voted in favour of retaining HM The Queen as Head of State in a referendum, an inquest began into the crash of EgyptAir Flight 990 off the Massachusetts coast (in which 231 people were killed), International Men's Day (November 19th) was launched in the UN, and the (then) largest corporation in the world ExxonMobil was formed; in the ascendant (literally) were the Millennium Wheel (now the London Eye) and China's first Shenzhou space craft; but we bade a fond farewell to Quentin Crisp, who died (while on a tour of his one-man show across the UK) in the inauspicious town of Chorlton-cum-Hardy. In our cinemas: East Is East, The Sixth Sense and Milk. On telly: Walking with Dinosaurs, DIY SOS and MacIntyre Uncovered, and Julie Goodyear returned as Bet Lynch in a Corrie spin-off After Hours.

And in our charts this week eighteen years ago? There was evidently a flurry of new releases, as Savage Garden, Jennifer Lopez and Another Level crashed into the Top Ten to join the likes of Christina Aguilera, Macy Gray, Westlife, R Kelly and Five. Also leaping into the upper echelons were Tin Tin Out featuring Emma Bunton with What I Am at #2, and this slice of loveliness from Our Geri, straight in at the top slot. Where she belonged:

Like the seasons ever changing
Everlasting baby, like you and I
It's going to be alright
But when my sky clouds over

(Lift Me Up) When the day is over
(Take me up) When the sun is going down
(Show me love) I will be your angel now
(Lift Me Up) When the lights are fading
(Talk me down) When I'm flying way up high
(Show me love) And I'll be your angel for life
Your angel for life

Flap, flap.*

[*Additional lyrics added by moi.]

Wednesday 8 November 2017

Shaken, not stirred

There's enough stress in this world - on the news, in our work - and noisy neighbours, to boot.

Time, methinks, for another sojourn into the lives of gorgeous people in exotic locations, and a soothing musical interlude - courtesy of our chums over at Soft Tempo Lounge!. Of course.

[Music: The First Time by Stanley Myers]

I feel much better now...

Tuesday 7 November 2017

Never lived too long to make right

Sharing her celebrations with a bizarre assortment of famous names including Dame Joan Sutherland, Neil Hannon, Marie Curie, Jean Shrimpton, Joni Mitchell, Billy Graham, David Guetta, Rio Ferdinand and Leon Trotsky, today is the [gulp!] 50th birthday of the lovely Miss Sharleen Spiteri - lead singer of one of the most popular UK bands of the 90s, Texas.

I've loved the band, and the brassy, potty-mouthed, no-nonsense Sharleen, for many years (I've seen her/them live three times!) - from their breakthrough hit I Don't Want A Lover to the all-time classic album White on Blonde, from whence came a slew if hits including Halo, Black Eyed Boy, Summer Son... and this one!

Twenty seconds on the back time
I feel you're on the run
Never lived too long to make right
I see you're doing fine

And when I get that feeling
I can no longer slide
I can no longer run
Ah no no
And when I get that feeling
I can no longer hide
For it's no longer fun
Ah no no

Well, you can say what you want
But it won't change my mind
I'll feel the same
About you
And you can tell me your reasons
But it won't change my feelings
I'll feel the same
About you

What I am is what you want of me
Yeh, now that I'm not there
I took the tables away from you
It's turned that I don't care

And when I get that feeling
I can no longer slide
I can no longer run
Ah no no
And when I get that feeling
I can no longer hide
For it's no longer fun
Ah no no

Well, you can say what you want
But it won't change my mind
I'll feel the same
About you
And you can tell me your reasons
But it won't change my feelings
I'll feel the same
About you

I've said goodnight
Try to sleep tight
Ah just dream of me
Go close your eyes
Cause I've closed mine
The sun will shine from time to time
Oh, when you dream of me, yeh

Well, you can say what you want
But it won't change my mind
I'll feel the same
About you
And you can tell me your reasons
But it won't change my feelings
I'll feel the same
About you

One of my favourite songs, ever.

Texas official website

Monday 6 November 2017

Slipper or cake?

Despite the lovely weather, winter has started to make itself felt in London - slightly sparkly roofs this morning, and the single-figure night-time temperatures mean that the central heating is now on all the time. To add insult to injury, we have acquired new upstairs neighbours... who have small children! It's only been one day of the incessant running up-and-down across our ceiling, but I am already wound up to the "Nth degree". If it keeps up, we may have to start planning to move. Oh dear.

Never mind, eh? With another lovely and - ahem - rewarding week in work to come, we are definitely in need of some cheering up. What better distraction on this Tacky Music Monday than Miss Leslie Caron and Mr Michael Wilding camping it up performing a lovely bit of ballet, in this glittering scene from The Glass Slipper?

Have a good week, folks!

Sunday 5 November 2017

I'm the bitch you hated, filth infatuated

Burning Guy Fawkes on your bonfire is so 1600s, but which of 2017’s many hate figures should you burn instead?

Check out our Mash guide:

Donald Trump
The obvious choice, effigies of Trump are easy to make at home because he already looks like clothes irregularly stuffed with newspaper, child’s gloves and a badly-sculpted papier-maché face. However the large amount of hay required to craft his hair could blow away once ignited and prove a fire risk.

Hillary Clinton
Could be considered passé, but still deserves ire for expecting to stroll into the White House like it was the family greengrocery business and then writing a whining, buck-passing book about it.

Jacob Rees-Mogg
Much as you should always check bonfires to ensure that children or hedgehogs are not hiding in them before lighting, always check any effigies of Jacob Rees-Mogg to ensure you are not inadvertently burning the genuine article.

Kim Jong-un
The man who threatens to turn the world into ashes deserves to be burned, despite the high probability that it’s all his dad’s fault for spoiling him. Fun and simple to construct: just pop a pair of glasses and poor man’s Elvis wig on an over-inflated balloon and you’re good to go.

A woman
If you’re holding a bonfire in an area of mixed political views, it can be difficult to choose an effigy that everyone agrees with. But whether you’re far-left or alt-right, everybody blames the ills of the world on women. One side can think it’s Angela Merkel, the other Laura Kuenssberg and everybody’s happy.

Harvey Weinstein
The Hollywood producer turned international sex abuse exposure catalyst should have been sitting atop bonfires for decades. A popular choice, but good luck getting it to the top of your bonfire without it being kicked to bits.

Has a £132 million fortune even though she is only 29. Burn the witch.
The Daily Mash

Of course.

Happy Bonfire Night, everyone!

There is really only one song to play now...

Friday 3 November 2017

Champagne for Lulu!

Eddie Monsoon: "Lulu! What would you like, Lulu?"
Lulu: "Three courses and a pudding, and don't talk to me."
Eddie: "Champagne for Lulu! Fantastic, isn't it? Like a reunion.
...You know what you need? You need a really good publicity machine. Who does your PR?"

Lulu: "You do."

And here - fresh from The "Edina Monsoon PR agency", sweetie! - is the birthday girl herself:

Many happy returns, Miss Lulu Kennedy-Cairns OBE (born Marie McDonald McLaughlin Lawrie, 3rd November 1948) - and Thank Disco It's Friday!!!!

Thursday 2 November 2017

Quiz Time!

What links these otherwise disparate tracks?

...the awesome talents of the recently-departed Mr George Young, who was behind them all! [He wrote all of the songs above with the exception of the AC/DC track, which he produced; Angus and Malcolm Young being his brothers - coincidentally, John-Paul was no relation]

RIP George Redburn Young (6th November 1946 – 22nd October 2017)

Wednesday 1 November 2017

The first man's name was Kiki, he wore such little pants

Just because... I had two intensive days studying the dreaded "management-speak-bollocks", and then straight back in today to a tedious day at work, I felt I needed some cheering up.

Then - along came this!!

Oh, that's better.