Monday 30 April 2018

It's... The Eunice Quedens Show!

It's Monday again. It's freezing. Again. It's pissing-down with rain. Again. It's back-to-work time. Again. Groan.

It's apparently "National Gardening Week" (although I can't imagine many brave souls wanting to venture into the murk to prick out the petunias!).

However, today is also the 110th anniversary of the birth of the lovely and ascerbic Miss Eve Arden - so, on this Tacky Music Monday, I have just the clip to cheer us all up...

Eve Arden (born Eunice Mary Quedens, 30th April 1908 - 12th November 1990)

Have a good week, dear reader!

Sunday 29 April 2018

Music, Maestro, Please

No, it's not Venice, nor even Venice Beach - it's just off Chelsea's Sloane Square!

Last night, Madam Arcati and I went "way up West" - to the upmarket environs of Belgravia, no less [the locale around which Upstairs Downstairs was based].

The reason for our trip? I had spotted online Midnight in Mayfair, an event at the impressive Cadogan Hall (pictured above), that was advertised thus:
Keith Nichols and his Mayfair Orchestra take us back to the 1920s and ’30s when the great British dance bands performed at London’s exclusive clubs and great hotels; Carroll Gibbons and Fred Elizalde at the Savoy, Sydney Lipton at the Grosvenor House, Lew Stone at the Monseigneur, Jack Jackson at the Dorchester, Henry Hall on the BBC and Ambrose at the Mayfair. Their bandsmen and singers such as Al Bowlly, Sid Phillips, Tiny Winters, George Chisholm and Nat Gonella soon became household names.
Understandably, I could not resist booking us tickets...

I am so pleased I did. It was a brilliant evening of perfectly-arranged period dance band numbers, beautifully precise vocals, and the sheer entertainment value of watching (from a very good vantage point) a group of obvious enthusiasts for this lost world putting their every effort into the performance - thoroughly enjoying themselves in the process!

Here are some examples of the talents of [several of] last night's players:

With the assembled talents of trumpeters Enrico Tomasso, Andy Schumm and Duke Heitger, trombonists Jim Fryer and Alistair Allen, saxophones and clarinets by Robert Fowler, Lars Frank, Richard Exall and Jean-François Bonnel, violinists Emma Fisk, Dawn Allen and Jessica Graham, Martin Litton on the piano (often duetting with Keith Nichols), banjoist Martin Wheatley, Malcolm Sked on double-bass, the fantabulosa drummer Richard Pite and the marvellous vocalists the glamorous Janice Day and the multi-talented Thomas "Spats" Langham (at times paying suitable homage to Al Bowlly, at times playing the banjo), it was simply the very best way to spend a Saturday night I could imagine.

I'll be looking out for more Mr Nichols' entertaining evenings in future...

Saturday 28 April 2018

Shopping and..?

So Sainsburys - never the cheapest of supermarkets - is in talks about a merger with Asda (which is the UK branch of the USA's chavviest of chains Wal-Mart)? Heavens; just imagine the culture clash...

It remains to be seen a) whether this will be allowed to go ahead by the Competition and Markets Authority; and b) whether this may mean improvements to the current soul-destroying drabness of the Sainsburys shopping experience.

Time will tell.

Ah, sod all that stuff! Let's escape this miserable wet weather and go somewhere exotic!

I wish.

Friday 27 April 2018

Fosse Friday

Another tiresome week is over and done with, and I, for one, am ready for a party!

It happens to be Miss Kate Pierson of the B-52s' birthday today - and what better excuse do I need to play one of their (lesser-known) choons to get us in the mood [in a brilliant video "mash-up" with one of the dance sequences from Sweet Charity; of course]?

Thank Disco Bob Fosse It's Friday!

Have a good one, dearies.

Thursday 26 April 2018

You're so damn hard to please, we gotta kill this switch

The atmosphere in work is simply delightful at the moment, as one might imagine when so many people are weighing-up their options, and worrying about whether they are likely to remain in a job at the end of this "restructure consultation". To add insult to injury, some lucky bastard in the UK scooped the £121 million jackpot in the Euromillions lottery this week - and it wasn't me!!

Hey ho. Here's a song for my mood:

I got this feeling on the summer day when you were gone.
I crashed my car into the bridge. I watched, I let it burn.
I threw your shit into a bag and pushed it down the stairs.
I crashed my car into the bridge.

I don't care, I love it.
I don't care.

You're on a different road, I'm in the Milky Way
You want me down on earth, but I am up in space
You're so damn hard to please, we gotta kill this switch
You're from the 70s, but I'm a 90's bitch

I love it!
I love it!

Ah... That's better.

Wednesday 25 April 2018

To have or have Knot

The world's largest field trial on the control of Japanese Knotweed, conducted in Wales, has found that eradicating the plant is "not possible".

Dr Dan Jones, the founder of a consultancy that solves complex invasive plant species problems, said: "Off the back of the first three years of data we've found that eradication is not possible. Hopefully over the longer term we may move towards that by using new chemicals we're looking at.

"But it's not a question of eradication, it's a question of sustained control and management and well informed control and management.

"Claims made by companies, stating that they could eradicate Japanese Knotweed using herbicides in short spaces of time have now been proven to be false, based on our experiments.

"Furthermore, we have shown that applying the wrong herbicides at the wrong time of the year leads to greater herbicide use and environmental impacts."

The trials covered the four main herbicide groups used in weed control. The chemical found to be the most effective was Glyphosate. However, very low doses were applied - the lowest of all the other herbicides used.
Pah! The moment we discovered the presence of the dreaded Japanese Knotweed here, in the extensive gardens of Dolores Delargo Towers #4, we've been applying rather large doses of Glyphosate on it. I'd rather kill the bastard stuff than bugger around the edges like these "scientists" appear to have done in this trial.

We will eradicate it. Have no worries about that.

Either that, or we'll eat it!

Here are some recipes:

Tuesday 24 April 2018

Save your Waterloo Ding Dong Phoenix for Me

Our little gang had another faboo night out on Sunday - the return of the extravaganza that is West End Eurovision!

Basically, the premise of the event - a major fundraiser for the charity Make A Difference Trust (aka TheatreMAD), which supports HIV and AIDS projects that build awareness and provide care, support and education in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa - is that the casts of renowned West End musicals all perform song'n'dance numbers from former entries in the Eurovision Song Contest, before a panel of judges, with votes from panels from each competing show and an audience vote at the end to decide the winner. A bit like the real thing, but with a West End twist.

And just like the real thing, the audience was about 99% composed of gay men! Understandably so, as just about every second of it - from our MC, veteran Music Hall player Richard Gauntlett, to the judges: former Hot Gossip chorographer and stalwart of Strictly Come Dancing Arlene Phillips, former Eastenders actor and West End star John Partridge, and, campest of the lot, comedian, actor, and writer Tom Allen; the performances themselves, and the plethora of surprise guests (in person and in the "ident" videos) - was as camp as knickers, dear...

Here, for your delectation, is a summary of the contest highlights, courtesy of Scott Matthewman, in his excellent review on The Reviews Hub [how I despise that word!] website:
...While the cast of Hamilton start strongly, with a rendition of 2014 Denmark entry Cliché Love Song that is mashed up with their show’s own The Schuyler Sisters, it is pleasant enough but no more. One almost wonders whether, if this is all West End Eurovision has to offer, its revival was worth it...

...A couple of shows’ choices, both of song and creative performance, veers towards the traditional Eurovision style of presentation. In particular, Kinky Boots’ choice of Warrior, Georgia’s 2015 entry, fits in with the musical’s message of acceptance and defiance, while Mamma Mia! seems to step away from its everyday life of Abba-infused camp with a rendition of Undo (Sweden, 2014) that is rather too serious.

At the other end of the scale, the cast of Young Frankenstein perform a rendition of Sweden’s 1999 entry Take Me To Your Heaven with a tongue-in-cheek rendition that seeks to cast show’s matriarch Lesley Joseph in the role of God, while Aladdin’s performance of the Danish 2007 entry Drama Queen relies on muscular men in leather harnesses and an oversized drag queen – performance staples that go down well amongst an audience which is predominantly composed of gay men.

The best performances tend to be those that take a well-known Eurovision number and take it in a new direction. 42nd Street chose UK winner Boom-Bang-a-Bang for this treatment – initially performing it reverentially in a 1969-style performance, until an interruption from Lulu (the song’s original singer, and who has recently joined the 42nd Street cast) causes the cast to break out into a samba-infused version.

But this is eclipsed by the cast of Dreamgirls, who similarly start with a “straight” version of Making Your Mind Up, before junking it in favour of a hyped-up, soulful rendition that is both 100% Dreamgirls and also a thrilling and faithful interpretation of the original.

Good as it may be, though, it is the cast of The Phantom of the Opera that dominates the proceedings...

...Choosing Rise Like a Phoenix, Conchita Wurst’s 2014 winner for Austria, [it] initially looks like it is going to be a straightforward performance, the combination of beautiful golden dress and full facial beard channelling Wurst’s signature look. But as the backing performers emerge, it is clear the Phantom team are running with the idea. Women from other West End shows, including Donna from Mamma Mia! and Elphaba from Wicked, are recreated with their own beards, before being joined by other hirsute theatrical characters – Harry Potter’s Dumbledore, The Greatest Showman’s Bearded Lady, even Cousin It from The Addams Family.

It’s a performance which is simultaneously bonkers, bold and brilliantly executed. It comes as no surprise, then, when in the scoring part of the evening Phantom takes an early lead and only pulls further ahead with each round of scores. It is an appropriate win, as guest Graham Norton points out as he hands over the trophy: in recent weeks, Conchita Wurst has been forced to discuss her HIV status in public after facing blackmail threats from a former boyfriend, and her refusal to treat her diagnosis as a source of shame is the sort of message that TheatreMAD works hard to promote.

The show concludes with two genuine Eurovision performances. As with previous West End Eurovision shows, a former entrant is invited to perform. Last year’s entrant, Lucie Jones, is an appropriate choice for the event’s revival, as she is enjoying a career in musical theatre herself, currently on tour with Legally Blonde. And kicking off what is hopefully a new tradition for subsequent charity events, the UK’s current entry SuRie performs her entry, Storm.

But great as these performances are, it is the companies of the West End shows who deserve the greatest attention. With each performance predominantly undertaken by the junior members of each show’s ensemble, the evening is both a celebration of the depth of talent within the West End and a valuable fundraiser for HIV charities.

Long may it continue.
Amen to that!

There is (unfortunately) no footage of any of the actual performances from the night itself, but here is the "official ident" from Phantom crew, done in the style of [the improbably popular Channel 4 telly show about - erm - people watching telly] Gogglebox:

And here, again, is the UK's entry for the real, official Eurovision Song Contest in Lisbon 2018:

She was great - and let's hope she does well! Lucie Jones was great (with her "big gay hands in the air poppers o’clock remix of 'Never Give Up On You' to quote Eurovision blogger Monty on the OnEurope site). Graham Norton was great. Lulu was great. Phantom was great. In fact, everything about this was an absolute hoot - roll on next year (and roll on our Eurovision party in just a few weeks' time)!


Monday 23 April 2018

Cry 'God for Harry, England, and Saint George!'

The new Royal baby born on St George’s Day will be possessed with the spirit of King Arthur and is fated to save England, unless it turns out to be a girl.

Nationalists believe that the baby, born on the dragonslayer’s sacred day, is destined to become either a great leader who will conquer the whole of Europe by fire and sword or a princess.

Patriot Stephen Malley said: “He will emerge from his mother with a St George’s cross birthmark on his face, marked by Albion.

“As he grows he will prove himself a master swordfighter, a skilful tactician, and a boy who refuses to accept that we are a second-class nation, swearing to restore our country to greatness.

“Accepting the sword Excalibur, by his 16th birthday he shall ride up and down Britain to form a great army of true patriots, leading them through the Chunnel to lay waste to the EU and force its leaders to declare fealty to him in perpetuity.

“Then we’ll start building the fleet.”

He added: “A girl couldn’t do that. Come on, this isn’t Game of Thrones. You need to get out of your fantasy land.”
The Daily Mash

Of course.

"Patriots" needn't have worried, of course - it's a boy!

To celebrate the Royal sprog - and all things English (even though I am Welsh) - on this Tacky Music Monday, here's something appropriate(ish):

Have a good week, dear reader - and don't forget to raise a toast to little Prince Arthur, Albert, Frederick, James, Philip or whatever they decide to call him. Kanye? Verne? Zayn? Joaquin? Kendrick? Donald?!

Sunday 22 April 2018

Thought for the Day

Happy Sunday!

Saturday 21 April 2018

Lust for Life

Sharing a birthday today with Her Maj is another individual who has gone through huge ups and downs and has lived life in the spotlight, but born nineteen years later.

They really couldn't be much further apart, culturally speaking.

Many happy returns, Mr Iggy Pop (for it is he)!

And speaking of opposites - by way of a celebration, let us revisit an old favourite - a clash of the titans, in fact:

Miss Norma Deloris Egstrom, as always, emerges victorious.

Iggy Pop (born James Newell Osterberg Jr, 21st April 1947)

Friday 20 April 2018

Yeah, one day I might get it right; am I ready for tonight?

It has been an absolute bitch of a week! Stuck in the office merely getting glimpses of the glorious sunshine is bad enough, but, yet again our team is going through a "consultation" about a "restructure" - which in effect means my job is at risk, and I will have to have an interview. Furthermore there are only three posts in the level to which I can apply, where previously there were six. Oh happy day.

Never mind, it is still sunny and possibly will remain so on the weekend, and Our Princess Kylie is riding high at the top of the charts [where she should be] with her new (slightly Country-inspired) album Golden. And from it, this...

Thank Disco - and Kylie - it's Friday!!!

Love this.

Have a faboo weekend, dear reader - we deserve it!

Thursday 19 April 2018

Off to the eternal Supermarket Sweep in the sky

The ranks of "light entertainment stalwarts" continues to be depleted. Following on from the likes of Bruce Forsyth, Keith Chegwin and William G Stewart last year, and Jim Bowen earlier this year, Dale ("Mr Perma-Tan") Winton has died, aged just 62. Soon there will be no-one left with experience of presenting game-shows! Apart from fucking Jim Davidson.

Here is my personal favourite of Mr Winton's telly moments - courtesy of a clever spoof created by Victoria Wood and Jennifer Saunders, of course...

RIP Dale Jonathan Winton (22nd May 1955 – 18th April 2018)

Wednesday 18 April 2018


This is currently My. Favourite. Thing.

Simply divine.

[Por una Cabeza literally translated means "by a head", and is a horse racing term.]

Tuesday 17 April 2018

My Credo

A study has found that alcohol can significantly shorten your life, at which point millions of Britons said “Fine with me!”

But while it’s easy to look at the negative effects of drinking, what are the benefits? Read our guide.

Most conversations are intolerably boring without alcohol. It’s fine being sober if you happen to be friends with wits like Stephen Fry, but listening to your mate Dave telling you about resurfacing his drive definitely requires those eight pints of Stella.

Copping off with people. While sober it is extremely difficult to approach someone and say "Hello, I find you sexually attractive. Would you like to start kissing me?". But when you are shitfaced it just seems to happen. The only plausible explanation is some form of ‘alcohol magic’.

Alcohol aids exercise. Going to the gym while plastered can hugely increase your performance. You can run for miles on the treadmill and those heavy, intimidating weights are no problem because you can’t feel the pain. You may wish to die the next day but that’s the price of being healthy.

Booze leads to exciting adventures. All manner of unusual things happen when you’re pissed, usually late at night. You might find yourself yourself in a Goth club or talking to a strange man on the Tube who claims he was in the SAS. Note: If you find yourself in a zoo enclosure being stalked by a panther that may be a sign to cut down a bit.

Spiritual enlightenment. Buddhist monks spend decades meditating in order to reach a transcendent state. However getting totally sloshed in a pleasant pub will also make you feel remarkably at one with the universe. Especially if you have a gourmet burger.

Alcohol prevents society collapsing. Alcohol is an integral part of many activities that form the fabric of society. Does anyone seriously think you’re going to turn up to their wedding just for a slice of cake? Fuck that.
The Daily Mash

Of course.

Monday 16 April 2018

"He was a lunatic"

  • “I thought I’d begin by reading a poem by Shakespeare, but then I thought, why should I? He never reads any of mine.”
  • “And God said, ‘Let there be light’, and there was light, but the electricity board said he would have to wait until Thursday to be connected.”
  • “You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all the people some of the time, which is just long enough to be president of the United States.”
  • “Money couldn’t buy friends, but you got a better class of enemy.”
  • "It was a perfect marriage. She didn't want to and he couldn't."
  • “Contraceptives should be used on every conceivable occasion.”
  • “I’m a hero with coward’s legs.”
  • "My father had a profound influence on me. He was a lunatic."
  • “All I ask is the chance to prove that money can’t make me happy.”
  • “The best cure for sea sickness is to sit under a tree.”
  • “How long was I in the army? Five foot eleven.”
  • “I turned and rubbed my hands with glee. I always keep a tin of glee handy.”
  • “I can speak Esperanto like a native.”
  • “Is there anything worn under the kilt? No, it’s all in perfect working order.”
We have another centenary to celebrate, dear reader - the much-missed comedic genius that was Spike Milligan was born one hundred years ago today!

From the moment he arrived on BBC Home Service radio after the war, in the madcap company of Peter Sellers, Harry Secombe and Michael Bentine in The Goon Show, British audiences took to Spike's weird brand of humour with a vengeance. It is true to say that without him/them, such classic examples of the truly bizarre as Monty Python's Flying Circus and the The Goodies, and off-beat talents such as Marty Feldman, Kenny Everett, Peter Cook and Dudley Moore, would - and probably could - never have had the success they did.

Long after Sellers hit the big time, Bentine went to children's telly and Secombe became more well-known as a singer than a comic, Spike continued to create mayhem with his "Q" series, and zillions of cameos in everything from the Two Ronnies to Life of Brian to Gormenghast.

He's the man who - after sitting through a panegyric of praise from His Royal Highness at an award ceremony - called Prince Charles "a grovelling bastard" [thankfully, in real life, the two are great friends]. Irreverent to the last, his headstone reads "Told you I was ill!".

On this Tacky Music Monday, here (again) is my favourite number of his...

Terence Alan "Spike" Milligan KBE (16th April 1918 – 27th February 2002)

Sunday 15 April 2018

Life is a Cabaret

left to right: Oliver Savile, Diana Vickers, Alexander S Bermange, Suzie Mathers and Liam Tamne

Hils, History Boy, John-John, Madam Arcati and I treated ourselves to an evening of fabulousness last night - a long-overdue visit to one of our fave venues, Crazy Coqs cabaret bar at the beautiful Art Deco Brasserie Zedel [see more here, here and here] near Piccadilly Circus.

The show in question was a hilarious concoction called I Wish My Life Were Like A Musical by Alexander S Bermange (who also played piano for the show, and to whom we spoke afterwards); a revue of songs based around the trials and tribulations of being a West End trouper. Mr Bermange certainly has a way with words (his songs have been performed by many of our faves in the comedic cabaret world, including Miriam Margolyes, David Bedella, Tracie Bennett, Christopher Biggins, Four Poofs & a Piano and Kit & The Widow), and, in the hands of our talented foursome of performers, it was a brilliant show! Apart from being adroit singers, it helped that the boys Oliver and Liam were very easy-on-the-eye...

...but some of the songs the girls Diana and Suzie (also possessors of remarkable voices) sang were just brilliant!

Unfortunately no video evidence is out there of any of them doing songs from the show, but here instead are just a few of the wittiest, by other artists:

  • Oliver has appeared in The Phantom of the Opera, Wicked and Les Miserables, and most recently played "Bobby" in a production of Sondheim's Company.
  • Diana was a semi-finalist on The X Factor in 2008, and had a UK Number 1 single in 2010 with Once [me neither]; she also played the lead in a West End production of Little Voice.
  • Suzie has received numerous accolades for her role as "Glinda the Good Witch" in the Australian, Asian and London productions of Wicked.
  • Liam was not only a runner-up contestant on The Voice in 2013, but also entered the You Decide competition to represent the UK at Eurovision this year.
All of them were utterly wonderful.

I Wish My Life Were Like A Musical ends its run at Crazy Coqs this Tuesday, but surely must get a run elsewhere soon.

I hope!

Saturday 14 April 2018

The sun is shining, and Spring is here...

...and so, we sing:

Nothing much to add, really...

Friday 13 April 2018

Totty of the Day and paraskevidekatriaphobia

Any excuse, really, for another picture of Tom Daley in his skimpies

The walking sex god that is Tom Daley has not only recovered from his hip injury [I wonder how that happened? Dustin: we're looking at you!] to win his fourth Commonwealth Games gold medal (alongside his synchronised dive partner Dan Goodfellow), but he has also had a very public dig at many of the countries with whom he is participating:
"Coming to the Gold Coast and being able to live as an openly gay man is really important," said Daley, 23.

"You want to feel comfortable in who you are when you are standing on that diving board, and for 37 Commonwealth countries that are here participating that is not the case."

Speaking to BBC Breakfast, Daley added: "I feel extremely lucky to compete openly as who I am, not worry about ramifications. But for lots of people living in those countries it is not the case.

"We have to talk about these things and shine a light on them in order to get change.

"By Birmingham and the next Commonwealth Games [in 2022], I really hope we see a decrease in that number of countries that criminalise LGBT issues.

"I feel with the Commonwealth, we can really help push some of the other nations to relax their laws on anti-gay stuff."
Good for him! We need more people in the public eye to speak out against anti-gay bigotry and discrimination, especially in the Commonwealth - an organisation supposedly dedicated to upholding "democracy, human rights and the rule of law" - which is so dear to Britain and HM The Queen...

Changing the subject completely, however, we have reached the crescendo of yet another gripping week's work - and for the superstitious among us it is also Friday the Thirteenth!

Pah, I say - I am not paraskevidekatriaphobic. I just wanna fucking dance! Thank Disco It's Friday, and let's let Daft Punk and Pharrell get the party started:

Have a good one, peeps!

Thursday 12 April 2018

Love is a rebellious bird that nobody can tame

That greatest of living opera stars, María de Montserrat Viviana Concepción Caballé i Folch - better known, of course, as Montserrat Caballé - celebrates her 85th birthday today!

I think a master-class in vocal perfection is called for here, by way of a celebration of this milestone for the great diva:

L’amour est un oiseau rebelle
que nul ne peut apprivoiser,
et c’est bien en vain qu’on l’appelle,
s’il lui convient de refuser.
Rien n’y fait, menace ou prière.
l’un parle bien, l’autre se tait:
Et c’est l’autre que je préfère,
Il n’a rien dit mais il me plaît.

L’amour! L’amour! L’amour! L’amour!
L’amour est enfant de Bohème,
il n’a jamais, jamais connu de loi;
si tu ne m’aimes pas, je t’aime:
si je t’aime, prends garde à toi!

L’oiseau que tu croyais surprendre
battit de l’aile et s’envola …
l’amour est loin, tu peux l’attendre;
tu ne l’attends plus, il est là!

Tout autour de toi, vite, vite,
il vient, s’en va, puis il revient …
tu crois le tenir, il t’évite,
tu crois l’éviter, il te tient.

L’amour! L’amour! L’amour! L’amour!
L’amour est enfant de Bohème,
il n’a jamais, jamais connu de loi;
si tu ne m’aimes pas, je t’aime:
si je t’aime, prends garde à toi!

Translated into English:

Love is a rebellious bird
that nobody can tame,
and you call him quite in vain
if it suits him not to come.
Nothing helps, neither threat nor prayer.
One man talks well, the other’s mum;
it’s the other one that I prefer.
He’s silent but I like his looks.

Love! Love! Love! Love!
Love is a gypsy’s child,
it has never, ever, known a law;
love me not, then I love you;
if I love you, you’d best beware!

The bird you thought you had caught
beat its wings and flew away …
love stays away, you wait and wait;
when least expected, there it is!

All around you, swift, so swift,
it comes, it goes, and then returns …
you think you hold it fast, it flees
you think you’re free, it holds you fast.

Love! Love! Love! Love!
Love is a gypsy’s child,
it has never, ever, known a law;
love me not, then I love you;
if I love you, you’d best beware!

Well deserving of her nickname "La Superba", methinks.

Que cumplas muchos más, Montserrat Caballé (born 12th April 1933)

More Montserrat here and here.

Wednesday 11 April 2018

"Maybe we could move it"

Hils, James, Jude and I were privileged to spend a pleasant evening in the company of an eminent nonogenarian tonight...

Clue: it wasn't Her Maj.

Tuesday 10 April 2018

"You're more microbe than you are human."

Scary news from the world of science:
More than half of your body is not human, say scientists.

Human cells make up only 43% of the body's total cell count. The rest are microscopic colonists.

Understanding this hidden half of ourselves - our microbiome - is rapidly transforming understanding of diseases from allergy to Parkinson's.

The field is even asking questions of what it means to be "human" and is leading to new innovative treatments as a result.

"They are essential to your health," says Prof Ruth Ley, the director of the department of microbiome science at the Max Planck Institute, "your body isn't just you".

No matter how well you wash, nearly every nook and cranny of your body is covered in microscopic creatures.

This includes bacteria, viruses, fungi and archaea (organisms originally misclassified as bacteria). The greatest concentration of this microscopic life is in the dark murky depths of our oxygen-deprived bowels.

Prof Rob Knight, from University of California San Diego, said: "You're more microbe than you are human."
Remarkably, this story is actually true.

There is only one song to play in such circumstances, methinks:

I'm only human
Of flesh and blood I'm made.

Or maybe not.

Monday 9 April 2018

Gloom and misery everywhere

Malign, that's what this weather is. We had one sunny-ish day on Saturday, then yesterday and today the miserable drizzling rain returned. Just in time to go back to the office, as if that weren't depressing enough already. Will we ever get a proper Springtime?

Hey ho, on this Tacky Music Monday, I have the perfect pick-me-up - a battle-royal between Miss Viola Wills and Miss Lena Horne!

Oh, that's better...

...and could have been equally at home on a Thank Disco It's Friday...

Sunday 8 April 2018


Happy centenary, Betty Ford, from all your loyal customers!

Saturday 7 April 2018

Till you feel like bursting

Madame Arcati, our chums Al and Mark and I went to our first RHS Flower Show of the season yesterday - the Orchid and Spring Plant Fair. It was stunning, over-the-top and a feast for the eyes, so we all felt well at home... [I went on for one or two drinkies at Halfway II Heaven afterwards, met up with a cohort of chums, and ended up getting to bed at gone 2am; quite a Friday, indeed - I didn't arise today till 2pm, which has meant the day has been somewhat curtailed; although I did manage to get out, do shopping, and lop some very tall branches off one of the weed trees with our new extendable pruner, so not entirely lost.]

Speaking of floral beauties, today would have been Miss Billie Holiday's birthday, so let us wallow in some classy music (for a change). Take it away, Lady Day (and Satchmo)!

Billie Holiday (born Eleanora Fagan, 7th April 1915 – 17th July 1959)

Friday 6 April 2018

I want Candy

As the sugar tax comes into force, millions of Britons are failing to declare the absolutely fucking massive amount they consume.

The government is facing an epidemic of sugar appreciators concealing their intake, whether in the form of sweets, fizzy drinks or simply eating spoonfuls straight from the bag.

Office worker Nikki Hollis said: “I may have appeared to be eating an enormous Danish pastry earlier but I was just holding it for a friend. I often do that, hold cakes for people.”

School pupil Wayne Hayes said: “I did not consume a ludicrous 14 cans of Coke today. I was only incapable of sitting still for three seconds in geography because I get so excited about oxbow lakes.

“Me and my mates go to the corner shop every lunchtime without fail but we don’t just buy loads of sweets. Today Liam had a mango and I ate a bag of raw broccoli.”

Businessman Nathan Muir said: “My accountant is doing my sugar tax return. He’s managed to calculate it so I ate no sugar in the last year and the government actually owes me 30 kilos.”

A government spokesman said: “If you know someone fiddling their sugar tax, you should report it to our hotline and an Inland Revenue official will come round and brush their teeth.”
The Daily Mash

Of course.

[The "real" story is just as childish.]

To greet this latest example of Nanny State interference in our freedoms with the contempt it deserves, here's another sojourn into the mega-talented world of Swedish schlager queens Lili and Susie (or is it Sussie? who cares), and an appropriately titled number:

Thank Disco It's Friday - let's celebrate with a triple loaded ice-cream soda and doughnuts!

Thursday 5 April 2018

The pickings are poor and the crop is lean

It's Miss Bett-ee Davis's birthday today, folks - her 110th, indeed.

All hail!

You rushed away and left this house as empty as can be
And I am like the driftwood in a deadly calm at sea
I can't sit under the apple tree with anyone else but thee
For there is no secret lover that the draft board didn't discover

They're either too young or too old
They're either too gray or too grassy green
The pickings are poor and the crop is lean
What's good is in the Army, what's left will never harm me

They're either too old or too young
So, darling, you'll never get stung
Tomorrow I'll go hiking with that Eagle Scout unless
I get a call from grandpa for a snappy game of chess

They're either too warm or too cold
They're either to fast or too fast asleep
So, darling, believe me, I'm yours to keep
They're isn't any gravy, the gravy's in the Navy

They're either too fresh or too stale
There is no available male
I will confess to one romance I'm sure you will allow
He tried to serenade me, but his voice is changing now

They're either too bald or too bold
I'm down to the wheelchair and bassinet
My heart just refuses to get upset
I simply can't compel it to, with no Marine to tell it to

I'm either their first breath of spring
Or else, I'm their last little fling
I either get a fossil or an adolescent pup
I either have to hold him off or have to hold him up

The battle is on, but the fortress will hold
They're either too young or too old

Ruth Elizabeth "Bette" Davis (5th April 1908 – 6th October 1989)

Wednesday 4 April 2018

Miss Båbs, vila i frid

From the ESCtoday website comes more sad news for Eurovision fans:
Another Eurovision star has fallen away, as iconic singer Barbro Svensson, professionally known as Lill-Babs (“Little Babs”), has passed away. Lill-Babs, who recently celebrated her 80th birthday and was referred to as “Sweden’s grand old lady”, died after being hospitalized following a heart failure.
Sad, indeed. This was the woman who, after all, was the top-billing performer when the Beatles first appeared in concert in Sweden, and the star for whom the four vocalists soon to be known as ABBA first hit the big-time as backing vocalists...

By way of a tribute, here's the lady herself, in her absolute camp prime, accompanied by (and occasionally beating-up) her obligatory bevy of safety gays!

There are going to be quite a few black armbands at the Eurovision Song Contest this year, methinks...

RIP Barbro Margareta Svensson (known as Lill-Babs, 9th March 1938 – 3rd April 2018)

Read my previous tributes to the great lady here, here and here.

Tuesday 3 April 2018

"Cool" and knitwear do not mix

He wasn't always such a cool playboy

Oh, FFS - after a wet Easter weekend, we're back to the gloom of the office. Again.

Never mind, sweeties! We can always rely on the delightful peeps at Soft Tempo Lounge to ease us gently back into the routine - today paying tribute to the cool, suave, debonair (and much-missed) Sir Roger Moore:


[Music: Footprints On The Moon by Johnny Harris]

Monday 2 April 2018

I'm not your toy, you stupid boy

Apart from all the "ooh-ing" and "aah-ing" at John-John's new place on Saturday, our little gang embarked on a mammoth session of pre-Eurovision madness - watching all 43 confirmed entries for the contest 2018 in Lisbon...

Among the dreary balladry, childishly whiny "political" messages about peace, the cod-rock and truly dreadful hairstyles, the UK's own SuRie and Storm came across rather favourably (and is certainly the only song we came away singing, so that's promising). However, on this Tacky Music (Bank Holiday) Monday, I have a "treat" in store to cheer us all up as we sit and watch the constant, never-ending, rain.

Laydeez'n'gennlemens, meet Netta!

The contest has been crying out for several years for a Beth Ditto-looky-likey doing chicken noises.

Sunday 1 April 2018

Easter is for chocolate, right?


...would you want to eat THESE??!

To wash it all down, how about some fabulous new Coca-Cola flavours?

Avocado, Sourdough - and Charcoal..?

Errrr, yuk. At least, if you're travelling, there's a way to burn off those calories:

[PS check the date today...]