Wednesday 31 October 2018

The Transylvania Twist

Happy Hallowe'en, dear reader!

...and we all know what this means - it's time for the clip that scares my dear sister witless, every time:

It's traditional.

Among those unfortunates who were born on Hallowe'en: Dick Francis, Helmut Newton, John Candy, Russ Ballard, Chiang Kai-shek, Barbara Bel Geddes, Peter Jackson, Jan Vermeer, Bernard Edwards, Johnny Marr, Ethel Waters, Annabella Lwin, Zaha Hadid, Vanilla Ice, the truly monstrous Jimmy Saville, Michael Landon, Tom O'Connor, David Ogden Stiers, and...

The Cheeky Girls. [Who happen to have been born in Transylvania, Romania!]

Oh, the horror...

Twins of Evil, indeed.

Tuesday 30 October 2018

Don't touch me I'm a real live wire

Continuing our half-arsed attempt at sneaking a few "spooky" themes into this Hallowe'en week, how about this classic Talking Heads hit - played on ukuleles?


Monday 29 October 2018

I can face a new tomorrow - if I make it past today

Monday again! Sod it.

As we haul ourselves back out into the bleak and bitter air, just to sit and be bleak and bitter in the office, so we need something jolly to cheer our spirits...

...and, with it being Hallowe'en this week, who better to sing for us on this Tacky Music Monday but... Morticia Addams!

Death is just around the corner
Waiting patiently to strike.
One unplanned electrocution
That's the kind of end
I can comprehend.

When I'm feeling uninspired
Or I need a little spree
I'm reborn knowing
Death is just around the corner
Coming after me.

Death is just around the corner
Waiting high upon the hill
Someone buried in an avalanche (gasp)
That's the kind of fig
I can really dig.

Marriage often disappoints you.
Not each husband is a gem.
So I'll mourn
Knowing death is just around the corner
Coming after them.

If life were plums
I'll muddle through some.
But when death comes
I hope it's gruesome. (hot-cha)

Some people die from public stoning,
Faulty wiring, faulty zoning,
Cherry pits they didn't know were there.

It could be by a jungle cat
A slippery mat.
A baseball bat.
Perhaps an unsuccessful love affair.

It could be on a speeding train,
It could be underwater.
It could be too much Novocain
Or even by your daughter.

Perhaps a bad mosquito bite.
A title fight.
Religious rite.
My darlings, it might even be tonight.

Death is just around the corner
No one's ever been immune.
Turning off a respirator
With a simple click
Strenuously quick.

I can face a new tomorrow
If I make it past today.
I feel good saying
Death is just around the corner
Simply on its way.

Death is just around the corner
And you have to be enthralled.
For your death is just around the corner
Happy being both the mourned and mourner
Because death is just around the corner
Coming for us all.

I'll drink to that!

Sunday 28 October 2018

Days of future past?

"Can I do this, or will I look like some sort of gay superhero?"

As I am enjoying a verrrrry slow day - I made the most of that "extra hour in bed", and have just basically mooched about all day: a bit of watering in the garden, a bit of shopping, mainly recovering from the excesses of John-John's birthday bash last night (which ended with me not getting to bed till 2am - which would have been 3am the night before, the clocks having gone back) - I think we need something lovely from those geniuses over at the Soft Tempo Lounge to complement the mood, as it begins to get dark (so early!)...

How about this faboo little trip into the future - as it was envisioned back in 1970 - featuring that cult Gerry Anderson epic series UFO? [Which starred Benedict Cumberbatch's Mum Wanda Ventham!]


[Music: Blue Media by Lee Selmoco Orchestra]

Saturday 27 October 2018

Careless memories, indeed

Another scary birthday today, as we discover that the lovely Simon Le Bon is sixty years old! Lordy.

Never the prettiest one in Duran Duran (that was always John Taylor), nor the coolest (that was Nick Rhodes), nevertheless, it was Mr Le Bon's distinctive voice that carried the band through its ups and downs through the decades; and they are indeed survivors, celebrating forty years in the business this year!

Without further ado, let's wallow in just a soupçon of their fabulous back catalogue of hits...


Many happy returns, Simon John Charles Le Bon (born 27th October 1958).

Friday 26 October 2018

You even asked me to wear your ring

The weekend's just about here, it's payday, our friend John-John's birthday bash is on Saturday, and the clocks go back so we have an extra hour in bed on Sunday!

What better way to start the party with a bang than by donning a silver fringed sequinned top, frizzing our hair to buggery, and boogying along with Miss Viola..? Thank Disco It's Friday!

Ah ha, hmm, gonna get along without you now
Ah ha, hmm, I'm gonna get along without you now

You told me I was the neatest thing
You even asked me to wear your ring
You ran around with every girl in town
You didn't even care if it got me down

Ah ha, hmm, gonna get along without you now
Ah ha, hmm, I'm gonna get along without you now
I got along without you before I met you
Gonna get along without you now
I'll find somebody who is twice as cute
'Cause I didn't like you anyhow

You told everybody that we were friends
But this is where our friendship ends
'Cause all of a sudden you change your tune
And haven't been around since way last June

Ah ha, ooh, ooh, gonna get along without you now
I got along without you before I met you
Gonna get along without you now
So long my honey, goodbye my dear

Gonna get along without you now, ooh, hoo
Get along without you now, ooh, hoo
Get along without you now
Get along without you now

You tell him, girlfriend!

Have a faboo weekend, dears...

Thursday 25 October 2018

And there was music, and there were wonderful roses

Today would have been the 91st birthday of the dearly-departed and peerless Barbara Cook. All hail.

By way of a little tribute to the lady with the golden tonsils, here she is (as a very young gal), performing songs from the show that launched her long and legendary career...

There were bells on the hill
But I never heard them ringing
No, I never heard them at all
Till there was you

There were birds in the sky
But I never saw them winging
No, I never saw them at all
Till there was you

And there was music

And there were wonderful roses
They tell me
In sweet fragrant meadows of dawn, and dew

There was love all around
But I never heard it singing
No, I never heard it at all
Till there was you!


Barbara Cook (25th October 1927 – 8th August 2017)

Wednesday 24 October 2018

Once upon a song

"A man will never grow old if he knows what he’s doing tomorrow and enjoys it. There are many who treat it as just a business, but it’s more than a business. Unless you get goose bumps listening to ‘Porgy and Bess’ or ‘Carousel,’ then you’re in the wrong game.”

“A lot of people don’t love writing as much as I do. I would rather write a song than do most things in life. When I have a song to write I’m very happy.”

Madam Arcati and I were thrilled to bag tickets for the BBC Radio 2 recording of An Evening With Don Black, hosted by Michael Ball, at the Radio Theatre (in the glittering Art Deco surroundings of BBC Broadcasting House) last night. Don Black, the lyricist who has won an Oscar , two Tony awards, a Golden Globe and six Ivor Novellos! We haven't ben in such esteemed company since Stephen Sondheim...

Needless to say, it was an excellent, often funny, often poignant tribute to one of our greatest living songwriters - and featured not only a lengthy in-depth exploration of his life and work, and a selection of the great man's own choices from his estimable back catalogue, but also special performances by Lee Mead, Marti Webb and Mr Ball himself!

We loved it.

...but, what of that back catalogue? Well, it is indeed quite remarkable how many songs that are dear to everyone's hearts - whether pop chart hits, numbers from musicals or Bond (and other) movie themes - were actually written by Mr Black. He wrote the theme song from Born Free, Sam for Olivia Newton John, The World Is Not Enough (as recently featured here) for Garbage, Surrender for kd lang, Ben for Michael Jackson, Love Changes Everything - the song that made Mr Ball a star - and indeed all the songs for the theatrical blockbusters Aspects of Love, Tell Me On A Sunday/Song And Dance and Sunset Boulevard (with Andrew Lloyd-Webber), I'll Put You Together Again for Hot Chocolate, The Man with the Golden Gun for Lulu, just about the entire repertoire of Matt Monro (he was the crooner's manager and great friend, after all), songs for True Grit, Out Of Africa and Dances With Wolves; and he worked with a vast range of composers in the process, including John Barry, Charles Strouse, the aforementioned Mr Lloyd Webber, Quincy Jones, Jule Styne, Henry Mancini, Meat Loaf, Elmer Bernstein, Michel Legrand, A. R. Rahman, Marvin Hamlisch and Debbie Wiseman...

...and here's a roll-call of just some of them:

...and, finally, possibly my favourite of all of 'em [and certainly one that I would love to think would be played at my funeral]:

In my heyday
Young men wrote to me
Everybody seemed to have time to devote to me
Everyone I saw all swore they knew me
Once upon a song

Main attraction, couldn't buy a seat
The celebrity celebrities were dying to meet
I've had every accolade bestowed on me
And so you see

If I never sing another song
It wouldn't bother me
I had my share of fame
You know my name

If I never sing another song
Or take another bow
I would get by, but I'm not sure how

Always posing, but you love it all
Though you have to learn to act like you're above it all
Everything I did the world applauded
Once upon a star

Framed citations, hung on every wall
Got a scrapbook full of quotes, I can recall them all
There were times I felt the world belonged to me
And so you see

If I never sing another song
It wouldn't bother me
I had my share of fame
You know my name

If I never sing another song
Or take another bow
I would get by, but I'm not sure how
But I'm not sure how
But I'm not sure how

Not bad for a humble Jewish boy from Hackney!

Don Black OBE (born 21st June 1938)

Tuesday 23 October 2018


The world’s ‘oldest intact shipwreck’ must have a hole in it somewhere or it would not be a shipwreck, experts have reasoned.

The discovery of a 2,400-year-old vessel at the bottom of the Black Sea has some experts claiming its mast, rudders, rowing benches and hull are perfectly preserved, and others calling bullshit.

Maritime archaeologist Julian Cook said: “Completely intact? What happened then, did it just forget how to float?

“Stands to reason it suffered some damage. You check that hull properly and I bet there’s a great big hole in it somewhere, where the water came in.

“Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a great discovery, but let’s not get carried away. When I was a kid they went on about how incredibly preserved the Mary Rose was. Have you seen it? It’s a fucking wreck.

“Or the alternative is that it is completely intact, but it was just a really, really crap ship. In which case who cares anyway.”
The Daily Mash

Of course.

And, just because... this:

[The "real" story]

Monday 22 October 2018

That gay, old-fashioned way

So true.

No sooner was I just settling into the combination of beautiful weather and gentle pottering, when it's time to lurch reluctantly out of bed. In the dark. Again.

Hey ho, on this Tacky Music Monday - just because I heard it played on Moira Stewart's Music 'til Midnight show on Radio 2 last night - we have a song written by one greatly-missed icon Charles Aznavour, but here performed by another - the incomparable Liberace!

Dance in the old-fashioned way.
Won't you stay in my arms?
Just melt against my skin and let me feel your heart.
Don't let the music win by dancing far apart.
Come close where you belong, let's hear our secret song.

Dance in the old-fashioned way.
Won't you stay in my arms and
we'll discover heights we never knew before,
if we just close our eyes and dance around the floor.
That gay, old-fashioned way that makes me love you more.

Come closer, forget about the others.
It's nice to be like this, cheek to cheek,
in the old-fashioned way.
It's funny, but, I have the feeling
that we are dancing as our parents used to do.
Well, maybe they weren't wrong: the world changes, love stays.

Dance in the old-fashioned way.
Won't you stay in my arms
and we'll discover heights we never knew before,
if we just close our eyes and dance around the floor.
That gay, old-fashioned way that makes me love you more.

Nobody did it like him!

Have a good week, peeps...

Sunday 21 October 2018

Yesterday's gone, yesterday's gone

A self-sown Cleome - usually a late summer flower - which accompanied us in the move and is now 4 feet tall!

It makes a bloody change! We have had the most glorious - and most unexpected in late October - warm, sunny weekend, and both of us have spent a bit of time and effort on the garden, clearing dead leaves, waving bye-bye to more of the annuals that have gone over and replacing them with pansies and violas, general pruning and pottering - and all the while taking pleasure in the fact that everything in the garden is bloomin' lovely...

To reflect the "Sunday mood" in appropriate fashion - and also because the lovely Miss Scarlet has taken them to her heart - here's another brilliant cover by those talented folks of the Postmodern Jukebox, for your delectation:

Fleetwood Mac never sounded so good.

Saturday 20 October 2018

I see innocence shining through

Timeslip moment again...

Our trusty TARDIS has dumped us into the inaugural year of a brand-new exciting decade! It's 1980 - the year of the Mount St. Helens eruption, The Empire Strikes Back, Robin Cousins, the Iranian Embassy siege (and the dramatic televised SAS rescue), Alton Towers, the eradication of smallpox, an independent Zimbabwe and the rise of Robert Mugabe, Greenham Common, the boycott of the Olympics in Moscow, Yes Minister, the so-called "Dingo Baby" case, Andrei Sakharov, Pac-Man, the St Paul's riot in Bristol, Hi-de-Hi, civil war in El Salvador, and the murder of John Lennon; the births of Chelsea Clinton, Christina Aguilera, Venus Williams, Katherine Jenkins, Ryan Gosling, the MRI whole body scanner, CNN, the Audi Quattro and - erm - Kim Kardashian; and the deaths of Cecil Beaton, Alfred Hitchcock, Jimmy Durante, Peter Sellers, Tamara de Lempicka, Marshal Josip Tito, Ian Curtis, Yootha Joyce, Steve McQueen, and the pre-decimal sixpence coin.

In the news in October thirty-eight years ago: Margaret Thatcher delivered her famous "The lady's not for turning" speech, Polish trade union Solidarity was formally recognised by the country's government, prisoners in the Maze prison in Northern Ireland started a hunger strike that lasted till December, "Right to Buy" (for council tenants) was launched, Jim Callaghan resigned as Labour Party Leader, HM The Queen visited the Vatican (the first monarch to do so), and Greece rejoined NATO; in the ascendant were Reza Pahlavi (who proclaimed himself successor to the Peacock Throne after the death of his father the Shah of Iran), and the Austin Mini Metro (launched by British Leyland as the successor to the Mini); but we bade a sad farewell to "national treasure" Hattie Jacques. In our cinemas: The Blues Brothers; Close Encounters of the Third Kind (special edition); Breaker Morant. On telly: The Amazing Adventures of Morph, Metal Mickey, and the last ever episode of The Onedin Line.

But what was in the charts this week in October 1980? Top of the tree was the all-conquering "MegaBabs" Barbra Streisand with Woman in Love, which had just knocked The Police Don't Stand So Close To Me off its perch after four weks. Also in the running were Ottawan, Status Quo, Madness, Matchbox, Odyssey, The Nolans, George Benson and a really weird piece of ambient/relaxation/lift music featuring real birdsong called Et les oiseaux chantaient [to this day nobody will ever admit to buying this, but it did get into the Top 5]. However, lurking outside this fairly pedestrian Top Ten, the future was looming - in the form of Adam and the Ants [soon to dominate the UK charts for several years in the early 80s]!

Thirty-eight years? Oh, heavens...

Friday 19 October 2018

He's my gigolo and my Romeo

As we slide slowly towards the weekend, and keep our fingers crossed it stays as warm and sunny as it has all week (some chance!), so we also have not one, not two, but three birthday celebrants to get us in the mood for a party!

First up, our Patron Saint of Schlock, Mr Harris Glenn Milstead aka Divine (19th October 1945 – 7th March 1988) - here in a mad - and completely brilliant - Disco mash-up with the BeeGees:

...also celebrating (and still very much with us), the original Disco Stud, Mr George McCrae (born 19th October 1944) - in a bizarre duet on his greatest hit with none other than Holland's "real" Queen, Gerard Joling(!):

And, finally - Sinitta (who is either 50 today, or 55 - Wikipedia says "born 19th October 1963 or 19th October 1968")!

Thank Disco It's Friday!

Have a good weekend, dear chums...

Thursday 18 October 2018

‘Have a tinnie inbetween’

British tobacco warnings will be replaced by Australian ‘You probably won’t get cancer, mate, but go easy in case’ warnings in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

The UK will no longer be allowed to use harsh EU warnings and instead will print chilled Aussie ones, including ‘Not when the little buggers are about, mate’ and ‘Have a tinnie inbetween’.

Health secretary Matt Hancock said: “Australia isn’t like the nanny state EU. They know that the real dangers in life are riptides, crocodiles and spiders hiding under the seats of outdoor lavatories.

“So their health warnings on cigarettes, which at worst will save you the bother of spending your 70s in a care home, are relaxed, proportionate, and friendly.

“Pictures will include a cancer patient nonetheless smoking a fag and giving a thumbs-up, a tar-blackened lung riding the surf on the Gold Coast, and an outback-dwelling uranium miner with a ciggie in one hand and a Western brown snake in the other, laughing.

“There will be no impotence warnings because the condition is unknown down under, and nothing about smoking in pregnancy because those girls have got enough to worry about.”

Smoker Norman Steele said: “I knew cancer was the EU’s fault. Bastards.”
The Daily Mash

Of course.

[The "real" story]

Wednesday 17 October 2018

Here's one I made earlier...

The world's longest-running children's television show Blue Peter celebrated its 60th birthday yesterday!

Pre-dating America's Sesame Street by eleven years, its whirlwind mixture of educational topics, "make-at-home" arts and crafts, pets, gardening, special guests, charity fundraising appeals, features, time capsules, and general "derring-do" adventures has been a staple diet for generations of children in the UK (including my own) - some of whom are probably grandparents today (gulp), and is (quite rightly) revered as one of the BBC's best innovations.

All but five (Simon Groom and Mark Curry gave apologies due to ill-health, Christopher Wenner, Tina Heath and Gethin Jones were not mentioned) of its surviving presenters, together with the show's founding producer Biddy Baxter, gathered for the party - and what a line-up!

So who's who among the Blue Peter presenters at the 60th anniversary party?

  1. Barney Harwood, 2011-2017
  2. Zoe Salmon, 2004-2008
  3. Konnie Huq, 1997-2008
  4. Stuart Miles, 1994-1999
  5. Lesley Judd, 1972-1979
  6. Tim Vincent, 1993-1997
  7. Sarah Greene, 1980-1983
  8. Romana D’Annunzio, 1996-1998
  9. Janet Ellis, 1982-1987
  10. Richard Bacon, 1997-1998
  11. Valerie Singleton, 1962-1972
  12. Peter Purves, 1967-1978
  13. Leila Williams, 1958-1962
  14. Simon Thomas, 1999-2005
  15. Radzi Chinyanganya, 2013-present
  16. Lindsey Russell, 2013-present
  17. Peter Duncan, 1980-1984 and 1985-1986
  18. John Leslie, 1989-1994
  19. Anthea Turner, 1992-1994
  20. Liz Barker, 2000-2006
  21. Diane-Louise Jordan, 1990-1996
  22. Joel Defries, 2008-2010
  23. Yvette Fielding, 1987-1992
  24. Ayo Akinwolere, 2006-2011
  25. Katy Hill, 1995-2000
  26. Anita West, 1962
  27. Helen Skelton, 2008-2013
RIP (of course) John Noakes (the show's longest-serving presenter, from 1965-1977), Christopher Trace (1958-1967), Michael Sundin (1984-1985) and Caron Keating (1986-1990).

For the uninitiated, or just as a nostalgic indulgence for fans such as I, here, for your delectation - a whole hour of the best bits from the classic era of the show, the 60s and 70s:

All hail, Blue Peter! Here's to the next sixty years.

Read my tribute to the show on it's 50th (yes - this blog has been going a while...)

Tuesday 16 October 2018

Ever as before, and ever just as sure as the sun will rise

It's Dame Angela Lansbury's 93rd birthday today!

All hail.

And to celebrate, here is our Patron Saint of theatrical perfection herself live in 2003, in the company of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir:


Many Happy Returns, Dame Angela Brigid Lansbury, DBE (born 16th October 1925)

Monday 15 October 2018

El go-go

What a hideous change in the weather - from balmy to maelstrom in just 24 hours. On Saturday night I was sat outside in shorts after 10pm. Yesterday, it was utterly foul, wet and gloomy, and this morning is much the same. I hate getting up in the dark, but such is our lot from now until March...

Enough of the dankness - on this Tacky Music Monday we have something special from Spain to cheer us up. Señorita Silvana [or Sylvana; nobody seems to know how she actually spelt her name] Velasco (for it is she) was a teen singer who rose to fame in the mid-60s, just when the French yé-yé style of go-go-pop was at its height. She had a few successes at the time, mainly with covers of songs by artists such as Dusty Springfield, Sandy Shaw and Petula Clark, but, according to the Ready Steady Girls website [the font of all knowledge in such matters]:
"Theoretically, Silvana was the perfect yé-yé singer. She was already known to the public for her films, and her prettiness and up-to-the-minute fashion sense caught the eye of young and old alike. However, her sexiness failed to translate musically..."
Regardless, what I do know, is that whether or not she hit the "big time", her legacy certainly appears camp as old tits. On this Tacky Music Monday, let's yé-yé!

That's better.

Have a good week, dear reader!

Sunday 14 October 2018

Do you want to feel how it feels?

Yesterday was apparently National Album Day, and was heavily promoted by the BBC (of course). I missed it, being somewhat occupied at John-John's "film show" yesterday, at which we were treated to a mammoth "Marvel-fest": back-to-back viewings of Avengers: Infinity War, Thor: Ragnarok and Avengers: Age of Ultron - a faboo day, indeed!

The best disco in town

However, let's make up for it, a day late. I thought I'd treat you, dear reader, to a little snapshot of ten of my all-time-fave albums - and then it's your turn...

I have excluded "Various Artists" anthologies (of course) and "Greatest Hits" collections from this list, so that means that certain albums that were never off my player such as Madonna's Immaculate Collection, Siouxsie & the Banshees Once Upon a Time, The Best of Bowie, and those by Queen, Abba, Bananarama, Dusty Springfield, Amanda Lear, Vicki Carr, X-Ray Spex, Blossom Dearie, Celia Cruz, The Supremes, Dalida, Petula Clark, Noel Coward, Erasure, Eartha Kitt, Max Raabe, Doris Day and so on (and on and on - they're probably the bulk of our music collection) do not count. The same goes for soundtracks, so that's Gypsy, Saturday Night Fever, Hairspray, Moulin Rouge, Cabaret, South Pacific, Chicago, Sweet Charity, Side by Side by Sondheim, Rocky Horror and many more (probably the second-biggest part of our collection) off the list.

However, by a process of whittling down the "long-list" (which included Ofra Haza - Yemenite Songs; Scissor Sisters - Scissor Sisters; Paul Anka - Rock Swings; Alison Moyet - Alf; Texas - White on Blonde; Dame Shirley Bassey - Performance; Elaine Stritch - Stritch; Yazoo - Upstairs at Eric's; Freemasons - Unmixed; T Rex - Electric Boogie; and Human League - Dare), here is my Top Ten (not in strict order of preference):

10: Beautiful South - Blue is the Colour.
There is not a single duff track on this delightful - and the band's most popular - album. Top tracks: Artificial Flowers, Blackbird on the Wire, Alone, Don't Marry Her (Fuck Me), and this one:

09: Kylie Minogue - Light Years.
The ultimate party album; it includes On a Night Like This, Disco Down, Loveboat, Kids (with Robbie Williams), Please Stay, Spinning Around, the wonderful title track, and this - the "Gay National Anthem"!

08: Blondie - Parallel Lines.
What can I possibly say about this album that hasn't already been said in droves? It is undoubtedly the one that would feature in just about anybody's Top Ten; it contains no fewer than five mega-hit singles (six were released, but I'm Gonna Love You Too never made the charts) - Sunday Girl, Heart of Glass, Hanging on the Telephone, One Way or Another, Picture This - and also includes this one:

07: Liza Minnelli - Results.
Darling Liza-with-a-zee found herself suddenly back in vogue with this one, thanks to the estimable hit-making talents of the Pet Shop Boys. I loved it when it came out, and love it still. Every track is a winner, including Losing My Mind, Love Pains, Twist in My Sobriety, Don't Drop Bombs, So Sorry, I Said - and this fragile version of a PSB classic:

06: Bronski Beat - Age of Consent.
Coinciding neatly with my own coming-out explosion onto the gay scene in a cloud of pink glitter and poppers, Jimmy Somerville and the boys really broke the mould with this sumptuous array of passion and anger, including the huge hits Smalltown Boy, Why? and I Feel Love/Johnny Remember Me (with Marc Almond), as well as Need-a-Man Blues, Love and Money and this:

05: Pet Shop Boys - Actually
Yes, them again. The Boys were probably the biggest thing to come out of the UK throughout the late '80s and early '90s; their music was everywhere, and they worked with loads of other favourite artists (cf Miss Minnelli at #7 on this very list, as well as Dusty Springfield, Patsy Kensit, Queen Madge (on Sorry), Robbie Williams, Kylie Minogue (In Denial), David Bowie, Tina Turner (Confidential), Boy George and Pete Burns). But this album, in my opinion, was their finest hour. Every track here is a classic - from the opener One More Chance to the closing number Kings Cross (which was an "earworm" for me just the other day), via Shopping, Rent, What Have I Done to Deserve This? (with Dusty), It's a Sin, and another eternal fave:

04: Soft Cell - Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret.
There never was before, and will never be another band quite like Soft Cell. The combination of Northern Soul, Marc Almond's tearfully-broken-diva vocals, loads of sleaze, and Dave Ball's absolutely-of-the-moment synthesizers was an instantaneous and massive hit both sides of the pond. It is the magnum opus of synth-pop, against which those who followed would be judged [Nine Inch Nails, Goldfrapp, Suede, Róisin Murphy, Scissor Sisters and many more besides all owe Marc and Dave some debt for their own success] - with such world-conquering numbers as Tainted Love, Say Hello Wave Goodbye and Bedsitter, as well as Frustration, Entertain Me, Seedy Films, and this controversial classic Sex Dwarf, I played this album to death!

03: Grace Jones - Nightclubbing.
After spending a large part of the 1970s as a "Disco muse"/Studio 54 icon/art-house model, at the beginning of the '80s Miss Jones truly hit the zeitgeist when she was spotted by Island Records' entrepreneur Chris Blackwell, teamed-up with Sly & Robbie - and this masterpiece [her second for Island, after Warm Leatherette] was the result. Like just about all the albums on this list, every track here could have been a stand-alone single - and indeed, quite a few were, including Walking in the Rain, Demolition Man, I've Seen That Face Before (Libertango), Use Me, Feel Up [the latter two in the US only], and this:

02: David Bowie - Hunky Dory.
An artist who simply must appear in any countdown of the all-time greats, David Bowie is indeed here. As any regular reader will know, Mr Bowie is, was, and always will be my favourite artist of all time. On the occasion of his 65th birthday, I posted a huge and in-depth pair of features on his back catalogue:
And following his untimely death I posted a week of Bowie tributes (the final one here has links to the preceding six).

Unsurprisingly, as I have mentioned my love of the album so many times over the years, it is his 1971 masterpiece Hunky Dory [which I described previously thus: "...on balance - even with strong competition from 'Station to Station' - in my opinion it is his greatest album, across a five-decade career"] that is almost-but-not-quite at the top of this list. Its tracklist alone features several of the songs that could be considered "definitive Bowie" - including Changes, Oh! You Pretty Things, Queen Bitch and Life on Mars?, and the rest of the album is track after track of masterpieces such as Fill Your Heart, Song for Bob Dylan, Andy Warhol, Kooks, Quicksand, and the one that contains one of the most-quoted of all his lyrics ("He's chameleon, comedian, Corinthian and caricature"):

01: Kate Bush - Hounds of Love.
David Bowie is indeed considered to be "god" round these parts, but even he is pipped to the post by what is, definitely and definitively, the very best album ever released! [OK, OK, that is in my opinion - others out there will argue for their own, and indeed, as far as "popular" taste may be judged, the likes of Michael Jackson, Fleetwood Mac, The Beatles, Pink Floyd and - ahem - The Eagles will always appear in such "Top Ten" lists in the meejah. Not in mine.]

Miss Bush began as a bit of a "novelty act" - all unusual and often squeaky vocal warblings and arty "interpretive dance" steps, she became the butt of many a "comedic" impersonation and pastiche - but eventually the British public realised what a fantastic talent she has, and nowadays she couldn't really be higher up the "national treasure" ladder. When she released this work of genius, it had been three years since her last (commercially unsuccessful) album The Dreaming, and no-one had huge expectations of her. Yet it became a massive success, and proved the defining moment of her career - with hits from it such as Cloudbusting, Hounds of Love and The Big Sky. Side two of the album (separately titled The Ninth Wave) included some of her most mysterious yet captivating work on tracks such as And Dream of Sheep, Waking The Witch and Under Ice. However, it was this track, the opening salvo of the double-album, that really was the ground-breaker:

It doesn't hurt me.
Do you want to feel how it feels?
Do you want to know that it doesn't hurt me?
Do you want to hear about the deal that I'm making?
You, it's you and me.

And if I only could,
I'd make a deal with God,
And I'd get him to swap our places,
Be running up that road,
Be running up that hill,
Be running up that building.
If I only could, oh...

You don't want to hurt me,
But see how deep the bullet lies.
Unaware I'm tearing you asunder.
Ooh, there is thunder in our hearts.

Is there so much hate for the ones we love?
Tell me, we both matter, don't we?
You, it's you and me.
It's you and me won't be unhappy.

And if I only could,
I'd make a deal with God,
And I'd get him to swap our places,
Be running up that road,
Be running up that hill,
Be running up that building,
Say, if I only could, oh...

It's you and me,
It's you and me won't be unhappy.

'C'mon, baby, c'mon darling,
Let me steal this moment from you now.
C'mon, angel, c'mon, c'mon, darling,
Let's exchange the experience, oh...'

And if I only could,
I'd make a deal with God,
And I'd get him to swap our places,
Be running up that road,
Be running up that hill,
With no problems.

Well, that's quite enough self-indulgence.

What are your favourite albums, dear reader?

Saturday 13 October 2018


Off to the sunny East End this afternoon to John-John's place for a party-cum-Film-Club!

I anticipate there may be some outside drinking:

...lots of gossip:

...and some frolics!

Can't wait!

Friday 12 October 2018

Totty du Jour

In the long-gone comedy Someone Like You, Hugh Jackman and Ashley Judd were in underwear. As he remembers it: “Men’s drawers have this little slot around the front. My button had come off. I wasn’t hanging out but, looking down, the shorts had flapped open.

“Embarrassed, I explained, ‘My fly was open and you could see everything. Sorry. I apologise. Did you see that during the take?’

“She said, ‘No, I didn’t.’ Then she added, ‘But two takes before I did.’”
Lucky Ashley Judd, I say!

My gorgeous future husband Hugh Jackman is 50 years old today, and is still hotter than all the members of One Direction, or Years & Years, or any of the tweeny singers or so-called "reality-TV-celebrities" around today. And we know a most appropriate song to help him blow his candle...

Thank Disco It's Friday!

...and many happy returns, Mr Hugh Michael Jackman (born 12th October 1968)

Thursday 11 October 2018

Thought for the day

"Old age is no place for sissies" - Bette Davis.

"All the boys think she's a spy, she's got Bette Davis eyes" - Kim Carnes.

Wednesday 10 October 2018

Haunting notes, pizzicato strings

You know you're getting old when... find out that Midge Ure is sixty-five years of age!

Former member of Slik, The Rich Kids and Thin Lizzy, Mr Ure was airlifted into becoming the frontman for Ultravox in 1979 (after their founder and vocalist John Foxx left to go solo) by keyboardist Billy Currie (with whom he had worked as part of Visage with Steve Strange and Rusty Egan). Arriving just at the right time for the rise of the "New Romantics" - a style movement they themselves had partially instigated with Visage - this brand-new incarnation of the band became an instant hit, dominating the charts alongside the likes of Spandau Ballet, Depeche Mode, Soft Cell and Human League.

In 1981 alone, Midge (it's a nickname, from reversing "Jim"; the shortened form of his name) and the boys had a string of reasonably successful chart hits, including Sleepwalk, Passing Strangers, All Stood Still and, of course, this one - notorious as "the nation's favourite Number 1-that-never-was", thanks to the awful novelty song Shaddup You Face by Joe Dolce - it is a classic song that (together with its video, which was largely filmed about as far from its eponymous location as possible, in Covent Garden in the heart of London) just about summed up that brave new musical world...

We walked in the cold air
Freezing breath on a window pane
Lying and waiting
A man in the dark in a picture frame
So mystic and soulful
A voice reaching out in a piercing cry
It stays with you until

The feeling has gone, only you and I
It means nothing to me
This means nothing to me
Ah, Vienna

The music is weaving
Haunting notes, pizzicato strings
The rhythm is calling
Alone in the night as the daylight brings
A cool, empty silence
The warmth of your hand and a cold grey sky
It fades to the distance

The image has gone, only you and I
It means nothing to me
This means nothing to me
Ah, Vienna

This means nothing to me
This means nothing to me
Ah, Vienna

Mystic and soulful, indeed.

Many happy returns, James "Midge" Ure OBE (born 10th October 1953)

Tuesday 9 October 2018

Food, glorious food?


Monday 8 October 2018

Come and meet those dancing feet

My secret's out!

Another week begins...

As we struggle with the ups-and-downs of the weather, the distinct lack of light in the mornings, and the continuing realisation that a "Lucky Dip" on the Lottery is completely mis-named - let's lose ourself in some Terpsichorean madness this Tacky Music Monday, in the company of the West End 42nd Street cast at the London Palladium!

Have a good week, peeps!

Sunday 7 October 2018

I want a perfect body, I want a perfect soul

Our glorious six-foot Salvia "Amistad"

The weather reverted back to an unnaturally warm and mellow tone today, and I have taken full advantage of it pottering in the extensive gardens here at Dolores Delargo Towers, enjoying the glorious blooms of fuchsias, salvias, begonia, asarina and cobaea, which are the best they've been all year!

Today happens to be the 50th birthday of arch-miserabilist Thom Yorke of Radiohead - however, although I love the original, as I am in a "Sunday music" mood I think it is far better to feature the faboo Postmodern Jukebox version of Thom'n'the boys' biggest-selling single...

When you were here before
Couldn't look you in the eye
You're just like an angel
Your skin makes me cry
You float like a feather
In a beautiful world
I wish I was special
You're so fucking special

But I'm a creep
I'm a weirdo
What the hell am I doing here?
I don't belong here

I don't care if it hurts
I want to have control
I want a perfect body
I want a perfect soul
I want you to notice
When I'm not around
You're so fucking special
I wish I was special

But I'm a creep
I'm a weirdo
What the hell am I doing here?
I don't belong here

Oh, oh

She's running out again
She's running out
She run run run run

Whatever makes you happy
Whatever you want
You're so fucking special
I wish I was special

But I'm a creep
I'm a weirdo
What the hell am I doing here?
I don't belong here
I don't belong here

If it's not too much to ask, have a happy birthday, Mr Thomas Edward Yorke (born 7th October 1968)!