Wednesday 30 May 2018

England won't miss it

Meghan Windsor, the Duchess of Sussex, has outlined plans to move the county to just off the coast of California.

The former Suits actress has told friends that while she likes Sussex the weather is rather changeable and it is too close to her in-laws for her to properly relax.

A palace insider said: “The plan is to saw along the county boundary, attach it to a few of the Navy’s stronger battleships and simply tow it across the Atlantic.

“Harry’s all for it – he went to Afghanistan just to get away from his family, let’s not forget – because he understands marriage is about compromise.

“England won’t miss it, it’s only a little sideways scoop from the bottom, and it’ll hugely boost house prices in newly-coastal Surrey so the government can’t oppose it without alienating their core voters.

“And finally Brighton will be just across the water from its big brother San Francisco like it always wanted. It’s a visionary move.”

Bognor Regis resident Mary Fisher said: “Well, I suppose it’ll make a nice change from staring out to sea and hating the French.”
The Daily Mash

Of course.

Tuesday 29 May 2018

Locos, ellos son como tú y yo

It is quite the season for birthdays we like to celebrate, it would seem...

Not only did we miss a clutch of favourites while we were away (although I just had to make sure I posted a tribute to Miss Grace Jones; I dare not risk her wrath), then along came Our Princess Kylie's 50th [gulp!] yesterday...

...but to add to that, there was one more birthday last week worthy of our notice - and we were in her homeland to boot!

I never need much of an excuse to play something by the ultimate "La Reina de la Histrionica", Señorita Mónica Naranjo, so by way of a belated tribute, here are some examples of her sublime talents:

Here's her most successful hit in Spain: early example of her burgeoning affinity for all things OTT:

...our house favourite here at Dolores Delargo Towers:

...and probably the Gran Dama's finest hour:

¡La quiero!

Mónica Naranjo (born 23rd May 1974)

Monday 28 May 2018


Darlings! We're home...

We had an utterly marvellous week of basically doing bugger all except drink, admire the beautiful Mediterranean, drink, banter and gossip with friends we've made on the Costa over the years, drink, party, cruise the fleshpots of La Nogalera, drink, laugh, eat - and drink. Oh, and did I mention it was sunny? Very sunny indeed! Although we heard that the UK and Northern Europe were also getting a heatwave, as we said throughout the holiday: "They are in work; we're not. They are all looking at computer screens while we sup Tinto de Verano and gin cocktails in a beach bar. Ha ha!"

So apart from tabloid headlines about soaring temperatures, water shortages and dramatic thunderstorms, what did we miss while we were away?

Apparently there was some kind of a wedding between a posh ginger Brit and a Yank actress, but you'd never guess it. Nobody in the media was talking about it at all...

There may have been other things happening in the news however, such as: the height of the horticultural season, the Chelsea Flower Show took place; Mount Kilauea in Hawaii erupted; Ireland voted to lift a ban on abortion; the Trump-Kim Jong-un summit was on then off then on again (yawn); Harvey Weinstein was (finally) charged with rape; former London Mayor, ex-MP and all-round twat Ken Livingstone resigned from the Labour Party after having been suspended for years; email inboxes across the universe were clogged by bloody GDPR privacy declaration emails...

...and, in a story that sounds familiar: an Oregon man is in custody after he used an AK-47 to shoot at his upstairs neighbours; he was reportedly involved in a long-running dispute about their noisy children.

We missed marking the 90th anniversary of the birth of the lovely Rosemary Clooney, the 85th birthday of the divine Dame Joan Collins, the 75th birthday of the multi-talented Miss Leslie Uggams and what would have been the 75th of the dearly departed Cilla Black, the 70th of You Make Me Feel Like Dancing singer Leo Sayer, what would have been the 65th birthday of the very much-missed Victoria Wood, the 60th of "Modfather" Paul Weller (of The Jam and The Style Council), the 24th birthday of sex god Tom Daley, and the birthdays of our Patron Saints Peggy Lee (who would have been 98), Cher (72), Siouxsie Sioux (61) and Sir Ian "Serena" McKellen (79). We were also away when the deaths of Portnoy's Complaint author Philip Roth and the hunky actor and star of many a Western Clint Walker were announced.

We're both utterly pissed off to be back, but I do have another full week's leave in which to recover. At least we have lovely deep tans to show off, and may even (dramatic hailstorms and murky humidity aside) be able to carry on topping them up.

And, as is my wont, I have brought a little something back from Spain with which to entertain you, dear reader, on this Tacky Music (Bank Holiday) Monday!

Meet Señorita Carmen Hierbabuena - once seen, never forgotten...

Is it good to be back? No.


[NB Ardiento means "Ablaze" in Spanish]

Saturday 19 May 2018

We're vamos-ing as we speak, sweetie

As you read this, we are likely to be alighting into the sunshine of El Andalus - and yes! We shall be heading to the beach...

Back in a week, dear reader!

Friday 18 May 2018

Two decades?! on earth did we manage it?!

Madam Arcati and I have reached a milestone - this month (we don't have a set date; the whole of May will do as a celebration) we have been together for TWENTY bloody years...

That, of course, is the reason for our second trip in a year to the delights of the Costa del Sol tomorrow, for a week of unabashed hedonism. Why change the habits of a lifetime, I say?

We've been through a lot, have Tony and I: several house moves (including from Plymouth to London a year after we met), several changes of job, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, and all that malarkey. [Meghan and Harry have all that to come. But they're multi-millionaires so I doubt the "for poorer" bit applies.]

As we're off to Spain, I thought it appropriate to check out what would have been playing there two decades ago this week in May - and I discovered that their Number 1 and ours in the UK were exactly the same. So here she is, the Queen of Fucking Everything herself, Our Glorious Leader Madge - and Thank Disco (Techno? Trance? EDM?) It's Friday!

Faster than the speeding light she's flying
Trying to remember where it all began
She's got herself a little piece of heaven
Waiting for the time when Earth shall be as one

Time flies - "Quicker than a ray of light", indeed.

[See also - our fifteenth.]

Thursday 17 May 2018

Very, very much

In our "comfort zones" in the West, it is easy for people to say - as the usual pundits tend to do, in particular when such things as Gay Pride events are debated - that we have it all "sorted"; that the battles for equal treatment and recognition for gay people have largely been won. But even during the recent glitteringly camp Eurovision Song Contest, there was still evidence of homophobia - be it institutional, such as the Chinese censorship of rainbow flags and gay performers, or attitudinal: some of the commenters "below the line" in such august media as The Independent or The Telegraph still found the need to heap scorn and condemnation on the fact that Ireland's entry had the temerity to feature a gay kiss. At Eurovision, for fuck's sake!

Gay people in all societies - "First World" and "Third World" alike still encounter insults, discriminatory behaviours and sometimes violence. Trans people in their own struggles for recognition are regularly disparaged by right-wing and left-wing groups alike.

HIV/AIDS organisation Avert has some optimism:
"...progress is being made in overturning anti-gay laws. Last month saw the total number of countries with anti-LGBT laws drop to 74 with Trinidad being the latest country to join the modern statute books (pending an appeal).

"Activists hope that upcoming court rulings in Kenya and India will see this figure drop to 73 or even 72."
There was actual good news as Australia (finally) made same-sex marriage legal (as did Slovenia, Germany, Malta, Taiwan and Austria during 2017); darling Tom Daley used his position as a Commonwealth Games medal-winner to highlight homophobia in the world's media; cute Justin Trudeau's Canadian government formally apologised to the thousands of Canadians who suffered injustices during a decades-long campaign to root out homosexuality from the military and public service; and gay producer-director James Ivory received an Oscar for Call Me By Your Name (which itself was a smash hit in cinemas across the world).

None of this is anywhere near enough.

The continued active persecution, discrimination, imprisonment and even murder of gay people by ISIS and Islamist states such as Brunei, Iran, the Gulf States, Morocco and Saudi Arabia; and the spite, bile, cruelty and violence towards us that is actively encouraged by Russia and its ex-satellites, Catholic and African churches, US gobshite evangelists, and right-wing politicians across the globe proves that this is not the case for the majority of people in this world.

The list of modern-day horrors in just the last twelve months includes the persecution and torture of gay people in:
Shamefully, our own Commonwealth is a collective that includes a high proportion of the World's homophobic states. Prime Minister Theresa May last month expressed “deep regret” for Britain’s role in criminalising same-sex relations in its former colonies and announced Foreign & Commonwealth Office funding for an ambitious £5.6 million two-year programme to advance equality and equal protection before the law. Baby steps.

And I haven't even mentioned Trump...

As ever, on this International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHo), there is a simpler message for our oppressors, bullies and haters out there:


Wednesday 16 May 2018

¡Es hora de fiesta!

And so, dear reader - with Eurovision well and truly over, in the middle of my last week in the office for a fortnight - another countdown begins...

This weekend Madam Arcati and I will be jetting off (at stupid o'clock, but that's another matter) once again to the sunshine and delights of Benalmadena!

It has been a long struggle this Spring - moving house and garden in January was such a stressful situation that even our regular week in Spain in February (during which the weather was not exactly tropical) could not quite take the edge off it. Then came the coldest, darkest March on record (during which we sincerely thought we'd lost most of the plants we'd moved, after all that; but thankfully the losses were minimal), and teething problems with the telly connection and the heating, and budgeting for the higher rent, and getting this place into some semblance of decorative order (building wardrobes and shelves, hanging pictures, planting up pots), and the continued looming threat of redundancy in work, and, and, and...


We also need some utterly exagerado entertainment to remind us why we love Spain so! How about the pairing of an ageing burlesque stripper and a delightfully camp mariquita, having the party to beat all parties?!

That'll do nicely:

Inevitably, I have featured both "Señoritas" here before.

Tuesday 15 May 2018

The gardening goddess

"Any death of a loved one is sad. But Beth Chatto lived to a great age and enriched the lives of so many of us with her writing, teaching and incomparable garden - so let's celebrate a life supremely well lived." - Monty Don
Britain has a long history of celebrated gardens and gardeners - from Romanesque villas to monastic cloisters, through Tudor knot gardens to William Kent's vistas, "Capability" Brown's landscapes, Humphrey Repton's Romanticism, and Joseph Paxton's formal designs in the industrial Victorian era.

In the 20th century, Gertrude Jekyll was one of the most influential gardeners - embedding all the quintessential elements of what we now think of as the "British Cottage Garden", such as herbaceous borders based on colour schemes, climbers on trellises, and garden "rooms" as an extension of the house. These ideas were taken to extremes by Vita Sackville-West at Sissinghurst, whose single-colour garden rooms became the height of fashion; but in the mixed borders favoured by Christopher Lloyd, planted beds went a step further still, with a kaleidoscope of sub-tropical plants and colours.

However it was Beth Chatto who put it all back together in some semblance of "order". Hers was the philosophy of "the right plant for the right place" - not merely creating gardens based upon the colour of flowers, their exoticism, their height or their contrasting shapes and habits, but on their preferred habitat; be that not only in her fabled "dry gardens", but also in waterlogged gardens, shady gardens, managing to find plants that thrive in clay, scree and gravel. In that, she was a pioneer - and, indeed was the last of the "gardening greats"; her influence and her expertise were universally admired by the perhaps more famous gardeners of more recent years, whose skills are demonstrated nowadays via a medium she herself largely eschewed, television.

With no horticultural experience herself, but with the guidance of her plantsman husband Andrew, she carved a unique niche in gardening lore - her books became international best-sellers, she was in great demand for lecturing tours, and her greatest legacy, The Beth Chatto Gardens near Colchester [which is on our list to visit sometime this year, with "the Essex Boys" Baby Steve and Alex who live quite near] receives thousands of visitors every year. And no wonder...

She's a sad loss. But I have found a (somewhat appropriate) song:

RIP Beth Chatto OBE (27th June 1923 – 13th May 2018)

Monday 14 May 2018

You're so thrilling, and I'm so willing

Oh lordy. Monday again.

After a rollicking weekend, it is time to grit one's teeth, paint on that false plastic smile, and spend another week in that soulless place called "the office".

At least it is only five more days - then we're off to Spain again. Yay!

While we were otherwise distracted by all things Eurovision, passing unnoticed was the fact that it also happened to be the 90th birthday on Saturday of the prestigious talent that is Mr Burt Bacharach! So, by way of a belated celebration, on this Tacky Music Monday let's hand it over to the faboo Tom Jones (and his ever-ready performing trousers) to give us a rendition of one of Mr B's catchiest numbers...

Have a good week, dear reader!

Burt Freeman Bacharach (born 12th May 1928)

Sunday 13 May 2018

We wuz robbed. Again! #589 in a recurring series...

Our Katie Boyle shrine

If the whole thing wasn't so ridiculously, gloriously, over-the-top; if it weren't our excuse for a blinder of a house party; if it had not carved its well-deserved niche in our Social Calendar as the "Gay World Cup" - we might boycott the Eurovision Song Contest for its blatant political bias against the UK. Despite entering one of our best songs, and an excellent singer, to represent us, we still only managed 24th place out of 26...

Ho hum. As per usual, our home was invaded by a host of our best chums, all variously attired to represent one of the participating countries; I was hostess-with-the-mostest/"Graham Norton"; vast quantities of booze and exotic foodstuffs were consumed; the rafters shook with cheers, jeers, singing and general merriment; and this morning the floor is covered with so many sequins, it looks like Liberace sneezed on our carpet! Quite the housewarming party for Dolores Delargo Towers #4.

Of the contest itself? It was (as is quite usual) a "mixed bag" of juvenile political worthiness ("peace", "love", and - ahem - "asylum-seekers" being heavily featured themes) and sheer unadulterated madness, and as usual the voting system was an esoteric mix of the obvious (Cyprus always gets 12 points from Greece, Eastern European and Scandi countries inevitably vote for their neighbours, and so on) and the random, but it also threw up some odd disparities - the jury votes favoured the "Justin-Timberlake-wannabee" from Sweden and the impassioned soul singer from Austria, but the popular (phone) votes pushed the likes of the Czech Republic's poor imitation of Justin Bieber, the over-emoting Italian duettists and the ugly Vikings from Denmark out of the lower reaches where they were languishing into the top ten).

Highlights? The fantastic operatic vocals of Estonia's Elina (and, of course, that dress) [BBC host Graham Norton's comment: "Her wedding dress is going to be a real disappointment after that, isn't it? 'This old thing'."]:

...the craziness of Moldova's DoReDos [Graham Norton's comment: "It's like they've got a time machine and gone back to 1978. It's like some children's television presenters got a bit over-excited at their Christmas party.... Answers on a postcard please. I've no idea what was going on."]:

...and the powerful performance by Miss Saara Alto (quite a feat, while spinning on a knife-thrower's board!):

Our girl SuRie faced the horror of having some lunatic political protestor rush her on stage to snatch her microphone - but then went on to perform the best rendition of her faboo song Storm we'd seen her do. Despite being offered a second chance to perform, which she declined, she didn't benefit from any "sympathy vote". Our "jury" gave her top marks, however:

United Kingdom 233
Israel 218
Finland 209
Moldova 208
Estonia 186
Bulgaria 182
Cyprus 168
Denmark 155
Austria 140

In the end, in the real contest, it was quite a nail-biting voting countdown as the phone votes were announced - frustratingly slowly - and the "horse-trading" between countries began in earnest. Austria had an early lead, then it was threatened by Sweden, then, eventually, the winning position was a close-run thing between Cyprus's sassy Eleni Foureira (Beyonce-style hair-flicking dance routine, and all) and Israel's kooky Netta. As the crescendo arrived, it was obvious that the "Beth Ditto-looky-likey doing chicken noises" had won - and well-deserved, I'd say!

Netta - Toy:

Here's the runners-up:

Eleni [Graham Norton's comment: "Wow. We must applaud the use of flame-resistant hairspray there. That was impressive stuff."]:

...and Cesár [Graham again: "Now he can go and get out of that outfit. Must be like a paddling pool in those trousers - not a very breathable fabric."]:

Despite the injustice meted out to SuRie, it was a supremely fun night - and we all had a fantabulosa party!

Same time, next year?!

Saturday 12 May 2018

From the fading light I fly

This house is cleannnn! The flags are up [that's not them in the picture!], the buffet just needs preparation, and all is well for tonight's Eurovision Song Contest party. Apart from the weather, which has decided to turn to shit...

Hey ho, we'll have a faboo time even if our smokers do get soaked while standing outside. I do, of course, feel the urge to play a classic Eurovision song to kick the festivities off - but what to play? I played Bucks Fizz yesterday. I have never played Brotherhood of Man, and don't intend to start now. How about Abba? Katrina and the Waves? Volare [yes - it did begin life at Eurovision, before Dean Martin got his mitts on it]? Scooch? Verka Serduchka? Jedward?


It just HAS to be The Queen of Eurovision!

Waking in the rubble
Walking over glass
Neighbours say we’re trouble
Well that time has passed

Peering from the mirror
No, that isn’t me
Stranger getting nearer
Who can this person be

You wouldn’t know me at all today
From the fading light I fly

Rise like a phoenix
Out of the ashes
Seeking rather than vengeance
You were warned
Once I’m transformed
Once I’m reborn
You know I will rise like a phoenix
But you’re my flame

Go about your business
Act as if you’re free
No one could have witnessed
What you did to me

Cause you wouldn’t know me today
And you have got to see
To believe
From the fading light I fly

Rise like a phoenix
Out of the ashes
Seeking rather than vengeance
You were warned
Once I’m transformed
Once I’m reborn

I rise up to the sky
You threw me down but
I’m gonna fly

And rise like a phoenix
Out of the ashes
Seeking rather than vengeance
You were warned
Once I’m transformed
Once I’m reborn
You know I will rise like a phoenix
But you’re my flame

Nothing tonight will beat that.

Friday 11 May 2018

That European singsong competition thing you guys lose your shit over

Another tedious week drags to a close, and we are on the eve of our grand Eurovision Song Contest/house-warming/20th anniversary/"any excuse" party!

Good news - the fascist Chinese TV channel that airbrushed rainbow flags from its broadcast of the semi-finals has been banned from showing the contest. Bad news - Deadpool says we have "woken the sleeping moose" for not allowing Canada into the contest ("You let in Australia and they're barely on the planet!"):

Love that. But, enough of the distractions - let's get this year's party started (a little prematurely, maybe) with a clutch of some (vaguely) Disco-themed or just plain danceable classics, and thank Eurovision it's Friday!

Don't forget to rip your skirt off at the key-change, peeps...

Thursday 10 May 2018

Satisfying relaxation and tension relief

Oh, this is priceless! With the countdown to the Eurovision Song Contest - and the mayhem of a houseful of guests in preposterous clothing all cheering and filling in scorecards while balancing buffet food and booze on their laps - in full swing, so I discover that today is the birthday of a "national treasure" in Sweden, Kikki Danielsson, who has enjoyed a long career as a singer, mainly schlager, country and pop, with the occasional bout of yodelling(!).

Miss Kikki also happened to be a contender in Eurovision way back in 1985. Hilariously, her song - which came third - had the misfortune of a title (which actually translates as "Good Vibrations") that could be interpreted very differently in English-speaking countries...

All together, now!

Eurovision Song Contest official site

Wednesday 9 May 2018

Rockerfella, Rockerfella

And so, farewell, then Wolfman Abi Ofarim, one half of the "kooky" 60s singing duo Esther and Abi Ofarim. In the UK, theirs was a somewhat fleeting moment in the limelight - in fact, they only had one (massive) hit Cinderella Rockerfella, and this is as good an excuse as any to play it.

I loved this song when I was a child, and I still love it today!

You're the lady
You're the lady that I love
I'm the lady, the lady who
You're the lady
You're the lady that I love
I'm the lady, the lady who
You're the little lady
I'm the little lady

I love your touch
Thank you so much
I love your eyes
That's very nice
I love your chin
Say it again
I love your chinny chin chin

You're the fella
You're the fella that rocks me
Rockerfella, Rockerfella
You're the fella
You're the fella that rocks me
Rockerfella, Rockerfella
You're my Rockerfella
I'm your Rockerfella

Abi Ofarim (5th October 1937 – 4th May 2018)

Tuesday 8 May 2018


Groan. After a fantabulosa weekend, its time to go back to the perennial dullness of the office...

The sun is still blazing away out there, and, despite the glowing tan from Essex, my dreams are still of Spain - and there's always room for a bit more cheese from the "Land of Tackiness" here at Dolores Delargo Towers, after all!

Sharing a birthday as she does with a bizarre range of famous names such as Sir David Attenborough, "H" from Steps, Sid James, Norman Lamont, Enrique Iglesias, Dame Felicity Lott, Tom of Finland, Ricky Nelson, Ezio Pinza, Phyllida Law, Toni Tennille, Philip Bailey, and - ahem - Gary Glitter, here (again) is one of the biggest-selling artists in Spain Marta Sánchez, doing what she does, accompanied by a bevy of glittering safety gays...

That certainly cheered me up!

Marta Sánchez López (born 8th May 1966)

[*Caradura means "shameless" or "bare-faced" in Spanish]

Monday 7 May 2018

From Braintree to Benalmadena, and every disco I get in

Blossoms at RHS Hyde Hall

Whew! What a scorcher!

It has been (officially) the hottest May Day Bank Holiday in recorded history - the thermometers reached 28C (82F) today - and (as you, dear reader, may have noticed) I have been away. When people ask in the office tomorrow why I have such a tan; have I been on holiday? I shall answer yes! To Braintree...

The boys - Baby Steve and Houseboy Alex - were very good hosts; driving me across the highways and byways of Essex, to plant nurseries, antiques centres and to the Royal Horticultural Society's excellent gardens at Hyde Hall near Chelmsford.

Needless to say, I left (on the bus from nearby Stansted Airport) today weighed down with plants to fill our new garden - including sixteen new fuchsias from our fave specialist grower B & HM Baker, to add to the four we recently purchased from The Gardening Club. We're on our way to recreating our collection, peeps - fingers crossed the bloody gall mite doesn't get to this new locale...

I have not, of course, forgotten that it is (regardless of bank holidays) still a Tacky Music Monday! The boys and I (obviously) also spent a lot of time sat in their large and rambling garden, enjoying the sunshine - and playing loads of camp music. Like this one...

A block-buster of a collaboration, it not only features the divine Alaska of house favourites Fangoria, but also Baccara(!!), La Prohibida, La Terremoto de Alcorcón, and myriad other Spanish popstrels such as Marta Sánchez, Chenoa, Ruth Lorenzo, Nancys Rubias, Soraya Arnelas, Rosa López, Vicky Larraz, Boris Izaguirre, Javiera Mena, Innocence, and Alberto Jiménez (Miss Cafeína). ¡Muy bien!

That's just the thing to not only round off a lovely long weekend, but also to remind us that is is less than two weeks before we will be back in Spain... for our twentieth anniversary!

Have a good week, one and all...

Friday 4 May 2018

No wind (no wind), no rain (no rain), nor winter's cold

Oh, lordy - we need this! A three-day Bank Holiday weekend, with all the forecasts pointing to a heatwave...

Today also happens to be the 85th birthday of the late, great Nick Ashford, best known with his wife Valerie Simpson for their 80s blockbuster sing-along Solid ["Solid as a cock rock"...].

Perhaps less well-known was the fact that - alongside the far more lauded Holland–Dozier–Holland, Norman Whitfield and Smokey Robinson - the duo was responsible for writing several of the songs that became "Motown Classics", including You're All I Need To Get By, Remember Me, Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing, The Onion Song and Reach Out and Touch (Somebody's Hand). After Motown, they wrote It's My House for Miss Ross, Chaka Khan's I'm Every Woman and Quincy Jones's Stuff Like That...

...and they also wrote this:

Thank Disco It's Bank Holiday Friday!

Have a great one, my lovelies...

Thursday 3 May 2018

It's all balls...

In addition to the shock announcement from the Scandi superstars ABBA that they have recorded two new songs for a forthcoming performance tour featuring "avatars" of Benny, Bjorn, Frida and Agnetha, so more blockbuster news has arrived from Sweden! From today's Guardian:
Turks have reacted with undisguised glee to what many have described as an official – and certainly long overdue – confession from Stockholm that Sweden’s signature national dish is, in fact, Turkish...

"Swedish meatballs are actually based on a recipe King Charles XII brought home from Turkey in the early 18th century," [the official Twitter account administered by the Swedish Institute] revealed abruptly and for no immediately apparent reason.
I'm not bothered - I love a bit of Turkish meat, myself!

Speaking of which...

Mr Boz is evidently Turkey's answer to Ricky Martin. Like Our Favourite Latino I imagine he probably takes it up the pooper, too.

Wednesday 2 May 2018

Ancient wisdom


Tuesday 1 May 2018

Hooray Hooray

...the first of May:

Outdoor sex begins today!

Gore Vidal and friend