Monday 31 December 2018

Toot toot, hey, beep beep

It's New Year's Eve, and our party beckons...

...and we find that the (somewhat tainted) gay icon Donna Summer would have been seventy years old today!

This being a Tacky Music (New Year) Monday, let us first pay tribute with some - ahem - interesting covers of the great lady's hits...

...courtesy of the unlikely combo of Andy Bell of Erasure and - err - k.d. lang?

...that tacky music icon Iris Chacon:

...and the fantabulosa Blue Man Group:

However, there was ever only one Donna Summer - so here is the lady herself (unfortunately duetting with a rather creepy-looking "porn star"):

What a way to close a year!

Donna Summer (born LaDonna Adrian Gaines, 31st December 1948 – 17th May 2012)

Sunday 30 December 2018

RIP, 2018

With the death of the lovely Dame June Whitfield bringing the roster to a sad close, it is time once again, dear reader, to open the "Book of the Dead"; a list of notable people who died in 2018 - and it's quite a substantial one again this year...

Doreen Keogh (Irish actress, "Concepta Riley" in Coronation Street; Father Ted)
John Young (US astronaut)
Peter Preston (British journalist, editor of the Guardian 1975-1995)
France Gall (French singer, "yé-yé", Eurovision: Poupee De Cire, Poupee De Son)
Denise LaSalle (US blues and soul singer-songwriter, My Toot Toot)
Ray Thomas (British singer and flautist: The Moody Blues: Nights In White Satin)
"Fast" Eddie Clarke (British rock guitarist, Motörhead)
David Sherwin (British screenwriter, If..., O Lucky Man!)
Bella Emberg (British comedy actress, Russ Abbott Show)
Cyrille Regis (British footballer, England national team)
Dolores O'Riordan (Irish singer, The Cranberries)
Bradford Dillman (US actor, Compulsion, The Iceman Cometh; married to 50s model Suzy Parker)
Edwin Hawkins (US gospel singer, Oh Happy Day)
John Barton (British theatre director, co-founder of the Royal Shakespeare Company)
Peter Wyngarde (British actor and legend, Jason King)
Peter Mayle (British author, A Year in Provence)
Paul Bocuse (French top chef, described as "The Pope of gastronomes")
Dorothy Malone (US actress, Written On The Wind, Peyton Place)
Howard Lew Lewis (British character actor, Brush Strokes)
Hugh Masekela (South African Jazz trumpeter and anti-Apartheid campaigner)
Ursula Le Guin (US sci-fi author)
Mark E Smith (British post-Punk "singer" and cult figure, The Fall)
Hannah Hauxwell (British hill farmer and television "celebrity")
Ingvar Kamprad (Swedish entrepreneur, founder of IKEA)
Dennis Edwards (US vocalist, lead singer of the Temptations)
John Mahoney (British-born US actor, Frasier)
Kenneth Haigh (British actor, Look Back in Anger)
John Gavin (US actor, Psycho, Thoroughly Modern Millie)
Vic Damone (US swing and cabaret singer, On the Street Where You Live)
Morgan Tsvangirai (Zimbabwe politician, Robert Mugabe’s opponent and rival for power for 20 years)
Thomas Bopp (US amateur astronomer, co-discoverer of the Hale-Bopp comet)
Billy Graham (US evangelist preacher and homophobic bigot)

Eddie Amoo (British soul singer, The Real Thing)
Emma Chambers (British actress, "Alice" in The Vicar of Dibley)
Judy Blame (British fashionista, "Blitz Kid", stylist: Duran Duran Wild Boys, Neneh Cherry, Boy George)
Nanette Fabray (US actress and comedienne, The Band Wagon)
Sridevi (Indian Bollywood film star)
Penny Vincenzi (British best-selling novelist)
Lewis Gilbert (British film director, Alfie, Educating Rita, The Spy Who Loved Me)
Michele Hanson (British writer and newspaper columnist, The Guardian, Grumpy Old Women)
Sir William McAlpine (British businessman, steam railway enthusiast, saved The Flying Scotsman)
Sir Roger Bannister (British athlete, first man to break the four-minute mile barrier)
Trevor Baylis (British inventor, the clockwork radio)
Zena Skinner (British television chef)
John Pitman (British television reporter and producer, Man Alive, 40 Minutes)
David Ogden Stiers (US actor, "Major Charles Winchester" in M*A*S*H)
Sir Ken Dodd (British comedian, entertainer and "national treasure")
Hubert de Givenchy (French haute couturier, favourite designer of Audrey Hepburn, Jackie Kennedy)
Professor Stephen Hawking (British physicist and genius)
Jim Bowen (British comedian and TV quiz host, Bullseye)
Morgana King (US jazz singer and actress, The Godfather)
Katie Boyle (British TV personality and host, Eurovision Song Contest, TV Times agony aunt)
Scott Ambler (British dancer and choreographer, Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake, Nutcracker and Highland Fling)
Stéphane Audran (French actress, Babette’s Feast, Brideshead Revisited)
Carmel McSharry (British television actress, Beryl's Lot, The Liver Birds)
Lys Assia (Swiss singer, first winner of the Eurovision Song Contest in 1956)
Bill Maynard (British television comedy actor, Selwyn Froggitt, Heartbeat)
Winnie Mandela (South African ex-wife of Nelson, convicted of the kidnapping and murder of a 14-year-old boy)
Steven Bochco (US television producer, Hill Street Blues, L.A. Law, NYPD Blue)
Bob Bura (British animator and pioneer of "stop-motion" puppetry: Camberwick Green, Trumpton)
Ray Wilkins (British footballer, former England team captain)
Eric Bristow (British darts player, world champion five times)
Lill-Babs (Swedish singer, Eurovision contestant, launched the career of ABBA)

Ronald Chesney (British comedy screenwriter, On the Buses, The Rag Trade)
Miloš Forman (Czech-US film director, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Amadeus)
Neil Shand (British comedy writer: David Frost, Spike Milligan, Bob Monkhouse, Kenny Everett, Russ Abbot)
Dale Winton (British uber-camp television host and entertainer, Supermarket Sweep)
Barbara Bush (US First Lady)
Avicii ((born Tim Bergling) Swedish superstar DJ and electronic dance music producer)
Verne Troyer (US actor, "Mini-Me" in Austin Powers)
Paul Junger Witt (US film and television producer, The Partridge Family, The Golden Girls, Soap)
Rose Laurens (French singer-songwriter, American Love)
Maggie Stredder (British singer, bespectacled founder of The Ladybirds [Top of the Pops backing vocalists])
John Stride (British actor, The Main Chance)
Robert Mandan (US actor, "Chester Tate" in Soap)
Abi Ofarim (Israeli-German singer, Cinderella Rockerfella)
Dennis Nilsen (British serial killer)
Baroness Tessa Jowell (British politician, New Labour minister under Tony Blair)
Margot Kidder (Canadian-US actress, "Lois Lane" in the 1978 Superman film)
Beth Chatto OBE (British plantswoman, RHS-awarded garden designer and author)
Peter Byrne (British actor, Dixon of Dock Green)
Tom Wolfe (US journalist and novelist, The Bonfire of the Vanities)
Clint Walker (US actor, The Dirty Dozen)
Philip Roth (US author, Portnoy's Complaint)
María Dolores Pradera (Spanish singer of classics and standards, became successful in Latin America)
Cornelia Frances (British-Australian actress, "Sister Scott" in Young Doctors; Home and Away)
John Julius Norwich (British historian, writer, TV and radio broadcaster)
Glynn Edwards (British character actor, "Dave the barman" in Minder)
Mary Wilson (widow of 60s-70s British prime minister Harold Wilson)
Kate Spade (US fashion designer)
Peter Stringfellow (British nightclub entrepreneur and media personality)
Anthony Bourdain (US chef, broadcaster and writer, Kitchen Confidential)
Eunice Gayson (British actress, the first "Bond girl"; in Dr. No)

Teddy Johnson (British singer, husband and professional partner of Pearl Carr)
Leslie Grantham (British actor, "Dirty Den" in Eastenders)
Joe Jackson (US talent manager and patriarch of The Jacksons)
Harlan Ellison (US science fiction writer)
Liliane Montevecchi (French-Italian actress, dancer, and singer)
Steve Ditko (US graphic illustrator and cartoonist, co-creator of Spiderman and Doctor Strange)
Peter Firmin (British animator and puppeteer, Noggin the Nog, Ivor the Engine, Pogles' Wood)
Dame Gillian Lynne (British theatrical choreographer, Cats, Phantom of the Opera)
Alan Longmuir (British (Scottish) musician, founder member of the Bay City Rollers)
Tab Hunter (US heartthrob actor, singer and writer)
Nancy Barbato Sinatra (first wife of Frank, mother of Nancy)
Lord Carrington (British statesman, foreign secretary who resigned at the time of the Falklands crisis)
Clive King (British children's author, Stig of the Dump)
Carolyn Jones (British actress, "Sharon Metcalfe" in Crossroads)
Peter Blake (British comedy actor and singer, Dear John, Agony)
Bernard Hepton (British actor, Colditz, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy)
Tony Bullimore (British solo round-the-world yacht sailor)
Barry Chuckle ((born Barry David Elliott) British children's TV entertainer, the Chuckle Brothers)
VS Naipaul (British-Trinidadian author)
Aretha Franklin (US singer and icon, "The Queen of Soul")
Kofi Annan (Ghanaian statesman and diplomat, former UN secretary-general and Nobel laureate)
Janet Hargreaves (British soap actress, "Rosemary Hunter" in Crossroads)
Barbara Harris (US actress, Freaky Friday)
John McCain (US politician and presidential candidate)
Lindsay Kemp (British choreographer; artistic mentor to David Bowie and Kate Bush)
Oliver Hoare (English art dealer, lover of Princess Diana)
Neil Simon (US playwright and screenwriter, The Odd Couple, Goodbye Girl; wrote the book for Sweet Charity)
Jacqueline Pearce (British actress, "Servalan" in Blake's 7)
Liz Fraser (British actress, Carry On films)
Burt Reynolds (US actor and legend)
Fenella Fielding (British actress and national treasure, Carry On Screaming)
Dudley Sutton (British actor, Lovejoy)

Sheila White (British actress and singer, "Bet" in Oliver!; "Messalina" in I Claudius)
Denis Norden (British comedy writer, TV presenter, The Glums, Frost Report, It'll Be Alright On The Night)
Chas Hodges (British musician and songwriter, Chas'n'Dave)
John Cunliffe (British children's author, creator of Postman Pat and Rosie and Jim)
Ernest Maxin (British TV producer and director, memorable musical sketches for Morecambe & Wise)
Charles Aznavour (French-Armenian singer-songwriter, "The French Sinatra", What Makes A Man, She)
Geoffrey Hayes (British children's TV presenter, Rainbow)
Montserrat Caballé (Spanish opera singer, diva and legend)
Anna Harvey (British fashion editor (Vogue) and personal stylist to Princess Diana)
Pik Botha (South African statesman, long-serving cabinet minister before and after apartheid)
Tom Jago (British distiller, created Baileys and Malibu)
Ray Galton (British comedy scriptwriter, Steptoe & Son, Hancock's Half Hour)
Professor Aubrey Manning (British academic, zoologist and BBC television and radio documentary presenter)
Wim Kok (Dutch statesman, prime minister and social reformer)
Sondra Locke (US actress, former partner (and frequent co-star) of Clint Eastwood)
Francis Lai (French composer, Love Story, Un homme et une femme)
Stan Lee (US comics creator, Marvel Comics: Fantastic Four, Spiderman, the Hulk, the Avengers etc)
Katherine MacGregor (US actress "Mrs Harriett Oleson" in Little House on the Prairie)
William Goldman (US screenwriter and author, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Marathon Man)
Babs Beverley (British singer, The Beverley Sisters)
Richard Baker (British broadcaster, BBC's second-longest-serving newsreader)
John Bluthal (British-Polish-Australian comic actor, Spike Milligan's Q, Never Mind the Quality Feel the Width)
Nicolas "Nic" Roeg (British film director, Don’t Look Now, The Man Who Fell to Earth)
Bernardo Bertolucci (Italian film director, Last Tango in Paris, The Last Emperor)
Jean Barker Baroness Trumpington (British politician, former minister, member of the House of Lords)
David Conville (British actor and entrepreneur, founder of Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre)
George Bush Sr (US statesman, former President of the United States)
George A Cooper (British character actor, Grange Hill, Billy Liar)
Peter Armitage (British actor, "Bill Webster" in Coronation Street)
Pete Shelley (British singer, songwriter and guitarist, The Buzzcocks)
Nancy Wilson (US jazz singer and civil rights activist)
Michael Wild (British musical producer, singer, songwriter and playwright, Maggie)
Penny Marshall (US film-maker and actress, Laverne & Shirley)
David Austin (British horticulturalist, "Godfather of the English Rose")
Norman Gimbel (US lyricist, Killing Me Softly, Sway, The Girl from Ipanema)
Donald Moffat (British actor, Logan's Run, Tales of the City)
Paddy Ashdown (British politician, former leader of the Liberal Democrat party)
Sister Wendy Beckett (British nun and art historian, television cult sensation)
Bill Sellars (British TV producer, All Creatures Great and Small)
Honey Lantree ((Anne Margot Lantree) British drummer, The Honeycombs Have I the Right?)
Dame June Whitfield (British actress, comedienne and national treasure, AbFab, Terry & June)

To most of the individuals on this list: RIP.

To a small minority, a hotter place awaits...

Saturday 29 December 2018


...Dame TWIGGY!

Alongside such luminaries as Companion of Honour Margaret Atwood; Sir Michael Palin (former member of Monty Python and natural history documentary maker), Sir Bill Beaumont (former England Rugby captain and broadcaster), Sir John Redwood MP, Sir Philip Pullman (author, His Dark Materials) and Sir Alastair Cook (former England cricket captain); Commanders of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) film director Christopher Nolan, violinist Nicola Benedetti, musician Nitin Sawhney, author of The Gruffalo Julia Donaldson and TV presenter and conservationist Chris Packham; Officers of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) actor Jim Carter ("Carson" in Downton Abbey),England football manager Gareth Southgate, cyclist and Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas and actress Thandie Newton; Members of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) England footballer Harry Kane, guitarist Gordon Giltrap, pop singer and vocal coach David Grant and professional darts player John Lowe; in a list of 1,148 people in HM The Queen's New Year's Honours list, the former Miss Lesley Hornby becomes a DBE for services to fashion, the arts and charity.

Congratulations, every one. And here's the Dame herself...

S'wonderful, indeed!

Friday 28 December 2018

Still moving strong on and on

We're well into "the bit in the middle" (or as Mr DeVice would have it, "the Winterval"), but, as this is actually the end of another week - so we need to start getting ourselves into the party mood...

...and how could we not, with the fun'n'games of our traditional New Year's Eve party to look forward to? Let's get The Whispers fired up, twirling, and ready to go - and Thank Disco It's Friday!!!

And the beat goes on
Just like my love everlasting
And the beat goes on
Still moving strong on and on

Do you ever wonder
That to win, somebody's got to lose
I might as well get over the blues
Just like fishing in the ocean
There'll always be someone new
You did me wrong 'cos I've been through stormy weather

And the beat goes on
Just like my love everlasting
And the beat goes on you'd better believe it
Still moving strong on and on

Don't stop for nobody
This time I'll keep my feet on solid ground
Now I understand myself when I'm down
Like the sweet sound of hip music
There'll always be something new
To keep the tables turning
Hey this super song
There'll never be an ending

And the beat goes on
Just like my love everlasting
And the beat goes on
Still moving strong on and on (the beat goes on) on

Get down playing that feel, sure the beat is real
The beat goes on

And the beat goes on

I have no doubt that on Monday, it certainly will...

Thursday 27 December 2018

Winter Warmer...

The extensive gardens of Dolores Delargo Towers on my birthday in August.'s the song that took over the dancefloors during that long, hot, glorious five-month summer of 2018:

Pass me the suntan oil, would you?

Wednesday 26 December 2018

Viens m’faire la bise

The madness of Xmas is over, thankfully. There's still sod all on the telly, but at least the shops are open again (not that in our - largely Turkish - area any of the grocers actually closed; even the bakery was open). Unfortunately that also means that the sales have begun, so the queues will no doubt be horrendous. I am off to brave them anyway. Wish me luck...

...and to get ourselves into a suitably chilled mode, how about something from today's birthday girl, our Patron Saint of Nightclub Hostesses, the remarkable Régine?

Oh, c'est mieux!

Régine (born Regina Zylberberg, 26th December 1929)

Tuesday 25 December 2018

What a crock of...

It's traditional...

Bah Humbug.

Monday 24 December 2018

Gone away is the bluebird; here to stay is a new bird

I wouldn't mind unwrapping Chris Hemsworth on Xmas morning

It's the Most. Pointless. Monday. Ever.

So, we've struggled to wake ourselves on a dank and dark morning once again, and for what? A morning of sitting in a deserted office, "checking emails"; then (if the bosses are feeling magnanimous) off to the pub at lunchtime, before doing some last minute shopping and heading home again...

On this Tacky Music Xmas Eve Monday, only the Del Rubio Triplets can save the day:

That put a smile on my face. Briefly.

Sunday 23 December 2018

Even though the prospect sickens, brother, here we go again

As my regular reader will already know, I hate this stupid Festering Season, with all the ugly "festive" jumpers, paper hats, foods you don't want to eat and never would if it wasn't somehow a "tradition" (wtf dates, fruitcake, turkey-and-stuffing, mixed nuts or sweet sherry have to do with any kind of "festival" is beyond me); the forced jollity, tacky decorations, awful music, and people who don't like each other very much all gathering to pretend to be happy...

I'm with Tom Lehrer:

Bah Humbug.

Saturday 22 December 2018

It's much the simplest of crimes

It was with trepidation that we received the news that someone had dared to "subvert Sondheim", when back in the early summer we heard that a new production of The Master of the Musical's groundbreaking 1970 hit Company was coming to the West End with - heaven forfend! - a woman playing the show's pivotal role. [Previous incumbents of the part include Dean Jones, George Chakiris, Adrian Lester, John Barrowman and Neil Patrick Harris, so there's a lot to live up to.]

Political correctness being such an anathema to us - in particular the way, in the hands of "modern" writers, well-established characters are given a "reboot": a new gender, ethnicity or sexuality [in the world of superhero comics we have recently been "treated" to a female Thor, a black Captain America, a black female Iron Man and a gay Green Lantern, and on telly Dr Who is now a woman] - we didn't bother to rush and get tickets, as we avid Sondheimites would have normally done. Only when my sister stumbled across a £20 ticket offer did we book to see it...

...but, heavens above - we are so glad we did!

In the hands of producer Marianne Elliott, with the apparent blessing of Mr S himself, this new production works brilliantly. Such is its allure, even the giant of Broadway Miss Patti LuPone (who had previously sworn never to do another musical) was inveigled into the supporting cast, alongside the superb Rosalie Craig as the pivot of the show, now called "Bobbie".

We were stunned from the outset by the wonderfully clever moveable, modular sets, all illuminated frames surrounding the almost suffocating domestic spaces of the New York apartment world in which our ensemble circulates - each looking for all the world like an old-fashioned Polaroid within an ever-changing album.

The premise of the whole show - and its title - revolves around relationships (or the lack of them). The show opens with a group of her closest friends huddled into her apartment, preparing to throw Bobbie a surprise party for her 35th birthday. Of course, now she's reached that so-called "milestone" age, this also provides the oddball characters in her circle (all of them variously partnered, married, or on the cusp of being so) with the perfect opportunity to cajole, emotionally blackmail and browbeat the poor cow into joining them in their world of "happily" settled life...

Bobbie...Bobbie...Bobbie baby...
Bobbie bubbi...Bobbie darling...
Bobbie, we've been trying to call you.
Bobbie...Bobbie...Bobbie baby...Bobbie bubbi...
Angel, I've got something to tell you.
Bob...Bobbo...Bobbie love...Bobbie honey...
Bobbie, we've been trying to reach you all day.
Bobbie...Bobbie...Bobbie Baby...Angel...Darling...
The kids were asking-
Bobbie, there was something we wanted to say.
The line was busy...
Bobbie...Bobbie bubbi...
Bobbie honey...Bobbie sweetie...

...or something. They're a motley crew; each giving our heroine a differing perspective on what it really means to be married - for a start there's Sarah (played by none other than telly favourite comedian Mel Giedroyc) and Harry (Gavin Spokes), who entertain themselves by goading each others' inability to give up their vices (food and booze), then inexplicably launch into a bout of jiu-jitsu in front of Bobbie that may or many not be playful; then there's urbanite Susan (Daisy Maywood) and acrophobic Peter (Ashley Campbell), whose cheery passive-aggressive relationship masks the fact they are actually in the midst of a divorce, yet planning still to live together; and Jenny (Jennifer Saayeng) and David (Richard Henders), she a smart-dressing city slicker, he a lost soul struggling to keep up appearances (as is revealed when the pair and Bobbie get stoned; in vino veritas, and all that). Hardly much to convince a girl that she's be better off in that kind of "company".

And then, there's Joanne. A part created by (and for) the immortal Elaine Stritch, Miss LuPone has played it before, of course. And with The Little Things You Do Together, we get the first inkling that although Bobbie is the tie that binds the lives of this assembled gang of oddballs together, it is the world-weary Joanne who represents the most appropriate reflection of what her destiny might be:

It's sharing little winks together
Drinks together
Kinks together
That make marriage a joy
The bargains that you shop together
Cigarettes you stop together
Clothing that you swap together
That make perfect relationships...

It's not so hard to be married,
It's much the simplest of crimes.
It's not so hard to be married -
I've done it three or four times!


It's not just the leading lady in this production who has been given a gender swap. The trio of frustrated exes (George Blagden, Richard Fleeshman and Matthew Seadon-Young) who sing You Could Drive a Person Crazy, "chorus-girl-style", inject an even heavier layer of camp into the number than it already possessed; and the hilarious "one-night-stand-who-won't-go-away" scene Barcelona is masterfully transformed with the presence of the hunky Mr Fleeshman (impressively filling his scanties), playing the dumb trolly-dolly role to perfection, and Miss Craig thoroughly enjoying the role-reversal.

Look, you're a very special boy,
Not just overnight.
No, you're a very special boy,
Not because you're bright-
Not *just* because you're bright...

Best of all, however, is the presence of the gay Jewish couple Jamie (Jonathan Bailey) and Paul (Alex Gaumond); the former getting very cold feet indeed about their forthcoming nuptials. We never thought it possible, but Mr Bailey's convincingly maniacal show-stopper Not Getting Married was one of the very best performances of one of Mr Sondheim's most complicated numbers we've ever seen/heard! [Apart from the divine Madeline Kahn of course.]

Go! Can't you go?
Why is nobody listening?
Goodbye! Go and cry
At another person's wake
If you're quick, for a kick
You could pick up a christening
But please, on my knees
There's a human life at stake!

Listen everybody, look, I don't know what you're waiting for
A wedding. What's a wedding? It's a prehistoric ritual
Where everybody promises fidelity forever
Which is maybe the most horrifying word I ever heard of
Which is followed by a honeymoon, where suddenly he'll realize
He's saddled with a nut, and want to kill me, which he should
Thanks a bunch, but I'm not getting married
Go have lunch, cause I'm not getting married
You've been grand, but I'm not getting married
Don't just stand there, I'm not getting married
And don't tell Paul, but I'm not getting married today

The denouement of this whole story comes, after a typically bitter-and-twisted evening out with Joanne and her faithful but browbeaten husband Larry (Ben Lewis) - and, of course, Miss Lupone's biggest and best solo number The Ladies Who Lunch [which she did indeed make her own on this occasion, wisely not choosing to ape the classic Stritchy version] - with Bobbie, in a reflective mood, back where she began; about to enter that dreaded "surprise party" all over again. This time, however, she does not enter, the assembled couples disperse and, alone at last, she steals the show with the most beautiful and heart-wrenching rendition of that classic twist on a love song, Being Alive. And she leaves us guessing where exactly she's heading...

Someone to hold you too close
Someone to hurt you too deep
Someone to sit in your chair
And ruin your sleep
And make you aware of being alive

Someone to need you too much
Someone to know you too well
Someone to pull you up short
And put you through hell
And give you support for being alive, being alive

Make me alive, make me confused
Mock me with praise, let me be used
Vary my days, but alone is alone, not alive!

Somebody hold me too close
Somebody force me to care
Somebody make me come through
I'll always be there
As frightened as you of being alive

Being alive, being alive!

Someone you have to let in
Someone whose feelings you spare
Someone who, like it or not
Will want you to share a little, a lot of being alive

Make me alive, make me confused
Mock me with praise, let me be used
Vary my days, but alone is alone, not alive!

Somebody crowd me with love
Somebody force me to care
Somebody make me come through
I'll always be there
Frightened as you to help us survive,
Being alive, being alive, being alive, being alive

Everything about this show is wonderful. The songs (some of Sondheim's finest), Miss Craig and the cast, the choreography, the staging, and, bizarrely - especially - the inversion of the sexes. We absolutely adored it!

Company has just had its run extended at the Gielgud Theatre until 30 March 2019. You'd be mad to miss it!

Friday 21 December 2018

Someone's sack needs emptying

It's the last weekend before the Festering Season reaches its crescendo, after which we can all get back to a bit of sanity. Unfortunately, Xmas Eve on Monday is still a working day, so I am not quite done yet. It ain't over till the fat lady sings, dears...

...and speaking of which, here's two of 'em!

Thank Disco It's the-last-Friday-before-Xmas!

Don't forget to practice your dance moves, dear reader:

You'll get yours
If you've done everything you should extra special good
He'll make this December the one you'll remember
The best and the merriest you ever did have
Everybody's waitin,' they're all congregating
Waitin' for the man with the bag


Thursday 20 December 2018

RIP Laverne

RIP Penny Marshall, better known to millions as "Laverne DeFazio" in the Happy Days spin-off Laverne & Shirley...

On your marks, get set, and go now
Got a dream and we must know now
We're going to make our dreams come true

And we'll do it our way, yes our way
Make all our dreams come true
When we do it our way, yes our way
Make all our dreams
Come true
For me and you

Happy days, indeed.

Wednesday 19 December 2018

Had enough of all the buggering about now

Turkeys across Britain have agreed that we should stop discussing what kind of Christmas we are going to have and just get on with it.

The turkeys, who backed Christmas by an overwhelming 52 per cent margin, believe there has been too much argument already and cannot see what is delaying things.

Tom Booker, a free-range turkey living in Norfolk, said: “We’ve set the date and we’re going to bloody well see it through.

“Enough shilly-shallying. It’s not complicated. Christmas means Christmas, and we’re going to make a success of it.

“I tell you what, even the turkeys here who were against it have had enough of all the buggering about now. They want it done and dusted as much as the rest of us.

“Enough Project Fear. Bring it on. I bet it won’t be nearly as bad as everyone says.”
The Daily Mash

Of course.

Tuesday 18 December 2018

Totty of the Day

Many happy returns, Mr William Bradley Pitt (born 18th December 1963)!

Somebody hose me down...

Monday 17 December 2018

Diamond Horseshoes a-go-go

Bloody Mondays. Hate them - and even more so when one's journey to work is impeded by a combination of mad people going shopping in rush hour, children and broken-down buses (wrong kind of fog, or something, I expect).

Let's get something jolly on, and forget all about it for a moment...

...on this Tacky Music Monday, how about a bizarre number by tomorrow's birthday girl Miss Betty Grable?!

That'll do nicely.

Have a good week, dear reader!

Sunday 16 December 2018

I only wanted to one time to see you laughing

As predicted, Our Sal's birthday party was quite an event. I didn't get to bed till 6am, and, understandably, today was rather curtailed by a long lie in (I didn't surface till 2 this afternoon!).

Hey ho - a perfect excuse (if any were needed) for another outing for our resident orchestra, Mr Scott Bradlee and his Postmodern Jukebox.

I think the late, great Prince would approve of this one:

..and, by way of a little celebration for today's birthday boy Benny Andersson from Abba, this:

Oh, that's better.

Saturday 15 December 2018

Is this the party?

We're off to celebrate Our Sal's birthday this evening. Should be another - ahem - sober and sedate evening, I predict...

...or something.

Friday 14 December 2018

Where are they?

Darlings! We missed Miss Connie Francis's birthday on Wednesday...

Let's make up for this heinous oversight, and get ourselves into the party spirit with the lady herself, her greatest (and campest) hit - and a disco remix version to boot. Thank Disco It's Friday!

Where the boys are, someone waits for me
A smilin' face, a warm embrace, two arms to hold me tenderly

Where the boys are, my true love will be
He's walkin' down some street in town and I know he's lookin' there for me

Well, who knows what may happen this weekend, if we're lucky!

Have a good one, peeps.

Connie Francis (born Concetta Rosa Maria Franconero, 12th December 1937)

Thursday 13 December 2018

Earworm of the day...

...can it REALLY be ten years since this one was in our charts?!

As earworms go, at least it's better than all the Xmas shit that saturates our airwaves at the moment.

Bah Humbug.

Does he wash up?
He never wash up
Does he clean up?
No, he never cleans up
Does he brush up?
He never brushed up
He does nothing
The boy does nothing
Work it out now
Work it, Work it out now
Do the mambo
Shake it all around now

If you insist, dear...

Wednesday 12 December 2018

Traditional gripes

The ‘deep divisions’ in British society are mainly just people enjoying getting angry about things, experts have found.

The Institute for Studies discovered many of the grievances were simply traditional gripes such as other people doing better than you or sausages going up in price.

Professor Henry Brubaker said: “I expected Britons to be demanding a fairer society, but it was more things like hating people in the next town for having a slightly better bus service.

“Many of the economic and geographic divides turned out to be weird made-up bollocks, like thinking employers immediately put your job application in the bin if you’re from the North.

“I sympathise with the woman from Croydon who can’t find a vet her chihuahua ‘gets on with’, but I’m not sure how voting Brexit will have helped.”

Marketing manager Nikki Hollis said: “Britain is totally divided. My sister lives near a Waitrose and we’ve only got a Tesco. Why isn’t anyone helping people like me who’ve been ‘left behind’?

“Also it was pissing with rain this morning. I bet that wasn’t happening in posh places like Oxford. They’ve probably got a dome.”

Builder Roy Hobbs agreed: “I’m furious about Toblerones getting smaller, even though they’ve changed them back.”
The Daily Mash

Of course.

Tuesday 11 December 2018

El Zorzal - The King of Tango

An "international man of mystery", Carlos Gardel was born on this date in 1890 in Toulouse, France (or 1887 in Tacuarembó, Uruguay - if one were to believe the myths the man himself created around his nationality and age). Who? I hear you say...

Señor Gardel, after settling with his mother first in Uruguay then in Buenos Aires, became well-known as a cabaret/folk singer on the circuit of payadores that were all the rage in South America in the early 20th century, before turning his hand to an even newer (and even more popular) style known as Tango.

Being in the centre of such a "craze" he soon gained international fame, both for his inventiveness in creating vocal versions of popular Uruguayan and Argentine instrumentals and for his matinee idol looks, and especially for his own compositions - such as this one [which was my "new fave thing" back in April]; here with a rather stylish scene from a film I have never seen, Easy Virtue starring Jessica Biel, Colin Firth and Kristen Scott-Thomas:

El Zorzal ("The Song Thrush"), as he was nicknamed, mysterious to the end (he hid his domestic relationships from the public for fear it might affect his adulation amongst his female fans), was on a whirlwind tour of North and South America when, sadly, he and his band died in a plane crash in Medellín, Colombia. He was only in his 40s - and the hysteria was immense.

His funeral was spectacular; his body was taken on a posthumous tour that included New York, Rio de Janeiro, Montevideo and Buenos Aires, where he was interred in a grand tomb, complete with statue, that is adorned with flowers by mourners to this day.

Carlos Gardel (born Charles Romuald Gardès, 11th December 1890 – 24th June 1935)

Monday 10 December 2018

You are too too too too too divine

Oh, bugger. Back to work time. Again.

Maybe we need some exercise - why not let tomorrow's birthday girl (aka our Patron Saint Googie Gomez) Miss Rita Moreno show us how?


I'd rather join her for pizza instead...

Better yet, on this Tacky Music Monday let's just enjoy her in her element - singing Carmen Miranda songs while dancing with The Muppets!

Of course.

Have a good week, folks.

Sunday 9 December 2018

Strictly Ballroom

[Photo: Gavin Conlan]

John-John and I (and a little crowd of chums) were treading in the footsteps of the stars last night, as we bravely traversed the badlands of South London for Piers's 50th birthday bash at the fantabulosa Rivoli Ballroom in Brockley.

With its perfectly preserved arched ceiling, maroon velvet and gilded walls, chandeliers and banquettes, not only has this legendary vintage 1950s ballroom (one of very few still in existence across the UK, and probably the most intact) played host (on and off the stage) to such luminaries as Kylie Minogue, Meatloaf, Oasis, Florence & the Machine, Kings of Leon, Damon Albarn, Rumer, the White Stripes, Jimmy Page, Rihanna, and Chris Evans and the cast of the WW2 flashback scene in Avengers: Age of Ultron, but also...

...Dame Elton:

...that "professional weirdo" Miss Del Ray:

...The Beautiful South:

...and none other than Mama Tina!

Fabled company, indeed.

It was a great evening!

Rivoli Ballroom on Wikipedia

Rivoli Ballroom official website

Saturday 8 December 2018

Totty of the Day

Jim Morrison would have been 75 years old today...

You know that it would be untrue
You know that I would be a liar
If I was to say to you
Girl, we couldn't get much higher

Come on baby, light my fire
Come on baby, light my fire
Try to set the night on fire

The time to hesitate is through
No time to wallow in the mire
Try now we can only lose
And our love become a funeral pyre

Come on baby, light my fire
Come on baby, light my fire
Try to set the night on fire, yeah

Hot, indeed.

James Douglas "Jim" Morrison (8th December 1943 – 3rd July 1971)