Tuesday 31 December 2019

Baby how you feelin'?

I have generally been less-than-attentive to whatever passes for new music these days - or at least, I haven't been doing those "Pick of the Pops" posts with compilations of same for your delectation, dear reader.

However, needless to say, there have been a few "earworms" that have emerged every now and again on the playlist of BBC Radio 2 that have caught my ear in the last twelve months; just not the whiny-creatures-with-guitars such as Ed Sheeran, Lewis Capaldi and their ilk; nor the nasally girls with no diction like Ariana Grande, Little Mix and others with very odd eyebrows who would fit in quite neatly at a suburban "Ritzy" disco.

Unsurprisingly, our actual musical highlights were such classic performances as Pet Shop Boys live in Hyde Park [and their collaboration with Olly from Years & Years Dreamland was a new song, so there!], Frances Barber as "Billie Trix" in Muzik [more PSB, d'accord] and Our Princess Kylie at Glastonbury...

...but there is one "youngster" - who did indeed create what I can only describe as an earthquake of media coverage... and one of the best songs of the summer. I still do the actions in the office - all together, now: "I do my hair-toss, check my nails!"

We're planning a BIG New Year's Eve - how about you?

Monday 30 December 2019


Another week of overindulgence begins... Just as everyone in the Western world is sick of the sight of roast meats and the inevitable leftovers from the pig-fest of Xmas, and we're covered in bruises and our feet are aching from fruitlessly looking to see if there's anything worth buying in the sales, so it's time to plan for the New Year bash!

Among the myriad names on the list in yesterday's "Book of the Dead" was one Gershon Kingsley. Who? I hear you ask.

Well, he wrote this familiar choon - and I've found an accompanying routine eminently suitable for a Tacky Music Monday to go with it. So let the party preparations start...

...with Popcorn!

We have a houseful of guests coming tomorrow evening. I intend to get us all doing this one!

Sunday 29 December 2019

RIP, 2019

As it is still that "bit in the middle", before we start winding up again towards our Grand New Year's Eve party, I think it is time - as is traditional here at Dolores Delargo Towers - to open the Book of the Dead 2019.

It's quite a list (again)...

Ray Sawyer (US singer, Dr Hook)
Dean Ford (British (Scottish) singer, Marmalade: Ob-la-di Ob-la-da)
Daryl Dragon (US singer and pianist, "The Captain" of Captain & Tennille)
Julia Grant (British trans woman, the subject of a pioneering "fly-on-the-wall" BBC documentary A Change Of Sex)
Joe Casely-Hayford (British fashion designer, Gieves & Hawkes)
Larry Cunningham (US singer, The Floaters Float On)
Carol Channing (US singer, actress, comedienne and legend)
Windsor Davies (British actor: It Ain't Half Hot Mum, Never The Twain)
Masazo Nonaka (Japanese inn-keeper, World's oldest man, 113)
Kaye Ballard (US actress and singer, The Ritz, Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In)
Michel Legrand (French composer and lyricist, Windmills Of Your Mind, Les Parapluies De Cherbourg, Summer of '42)
Martha Ross (British actress, mother of Paul and Jonathan Ross)
James Ingram (US singer, Yah Mo Be There)
Stewart Adams (British chemist, inventor of Ibuprofen)
Jeremy Hardy (British comedian, panellist on Radio 4 I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue)
Clive Swift (British actor and comedian, "Hyacinth"'s husband "Richard" in Keeping Up Appearances)
Sylvia Kay (British TV character actress, Just Good Friends, Shelley)
Rosamunde Pilcher (British author, The Shell Seekers)
Albert Finney (British actor, Tom Jones, Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, Murder on the Orient Express)
Patricia Nell Warren (US author, the first gay-themed best-selling novel The Front Runner)
John Haynes (British publisher, writer and car enthusiast, founded Haynes Manuals)
Marcia Falkender (British political adviser and "power behind the throne" of PM Harold Wilson; later became a Baroness at his behest)
Gordon Banks (British footballer, renowned goalkeeper for the England national team)
Dick Churchill (British RAF squadron leader, last survivor of the Great Escape)
Lee Radziwill (US socialite, sister of Jackie Kennedy)
John Stalker (British Deputy Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police and later a TV personality)
Ethel Ennis (US jazz singer, sang the National Anthem acapella at Richard Nixon's 1973 presidential inauguration)
Paul Flynn (British politician, MP for Newport West for 32 years)
Fred Foster (US record producer, launched the careers of Roy Orbison, Dolly Parton and Willie Nelson)
Karl Lagerfeld (German couturier and legend: Chloé, Fendi, Chanel)
Peter Tork (US musician and actor, The Monkees)
Stanley Donen (US film director, Singin' in the Rain, On the Town, Funny Face)
Tony Pike (British-Australian founder of Ibiza's legendary celebrity party venue Pike's Hotel, setting for Wham's Club Tropicana video)
Mark Hollis (British musician and singer-songwriter, co-founder of the band Talk Talk)
André Previn (German-US conductor, composer and pianist; famous collaborator with Morecambe & Wise)

Katherine Helmond (US actress, Soap, Brazil)
Tania Mallet (British actress, "Tilly Masterson" in Goldfinger)
Keith Flint (British vocalist, lead singer of The Prodigy)
Luke Perry (US actor, Beverly Hills 90210)
Jacques Loussier (French jazz pianist and composer, his reworking of Bach's Air on the G String was used for the Hamlet cigar advertisements in the UK)
Magenta Devine (British television presenter, Rough Guides, Network 7)
Jan-Michael Vincent (US actor, Airwolf)
Danny Kustow (British rock guitarist, Tom Robinson Band)
Dick Dale (US "surf" guitarist, Miserlou [featured in the Pulp Fiction soundtrack])
Dame Mary Warnock (British moral philosopher and academic, chaired the committee of inquiry into human fertilisation and embryology)
Scott Walker (US-British singer songwriter and legend, the Walker Brothers)
Ranking Roger [Charlery] (British musician and vocalist, The Beat: Mirror in the Bathroom, Hands Off...She's Mine)
Agnès Varda (French film director, "mother of the French New Wave")
John Quarmby (British character actor, The Hotel Inspector in Fawlty Towers)
Sandy Ratcliff (British actress, "Sue Osman" in the early days of Eastenders)
Bibi Andersson (Swedish actress, Imgmar Berman films: The Seventh Seal, Persona)
Les Reed (British songwriter: Delilah, It's Not Unusual, There's a Kind of Hush (All Over the World))
Ken Kercheval (US actor, "Cliff Barnes" in Dallas)
Grand Duke Jean of Luxembourg
Edward Kelsey (British voice actor, "Joe Grundy" in The Archers, "Baron Greenback" in Danger Mouse)
Peter Mayhew (British actor, "Chewbacca" in Star Wars)
Alvin Sargent (US screenwriter: Ordinary People, Paper Moon, Spider-Man)
Nan Winton (British broadcaster, first female newsreader on BBC television)
Irene Sutcliffe (British actress, "Maggie Clegg" in Coronation Street)
Freddie Starr (British comedian)
Brian Walden (British journalist, broadcaster and former MP)
Doug McAvoy (British trade union leader, National Union of Teachers)
Doris Day (US singer, actress and legend: Que Sera, Sera, Secret Love, Pillow Talk, Sentimental Journey)
I. M. Pei (Chinese-US architect, supercentenarian, designed the notorious pyramid at the Louvre)
Bob Hawke (Australian statesman, former Prime Minister)
Herman Wouk (US author (and supercentenarian): The Caine Mutiny, The Winds of War, War and Remembrance)
Niki Lauda (Austrian Formula 1 racing driver, three-time world champion)
Andrew Hall (British character actor, "Russell" in Butterflies)
Judith Kerr (German-British children's author and illustrator, The Tiger Who Came To Tea)

Claus von Bülow (Danish-British socialite, accused then acquitted of attempted murder of his wife)
Stephen Thorne (British stage, radio and TV actor, "Omega" in Doctor Who: The Three Doctors)
John Tidmarsh (British journalist and broadcaster, presented Outlook on the BBC World Service for 34 years)
Paul Darrow (British actor, "Avon" in Blake's 7)
Dr John ([Malcolm John Rebennack] US blues singer, songwriter and musician)
Sylvia Miles (US actress, Midnight Cowboy, Farewell, My Lovely, Evil Under The Sun)
Franco Zeffirelli (Italian director and producer of operas, films and television: Romeo and Juliet, The Taming of the Shrew)
Gloria Vanderbilt (US heiress, model, designer, writer and artist)
Mohammed Morsi (Egyptian politician, former President ousted in a military coup)
Philippe Zdar (French musician and producer, founder member of house music band Cassius)
William Simons (British (Welsh) actor, appeared in every episode of long-running TV series Heartbeat)
Judith Krantz (US "bonk-buster" author: Scruples, Princess Daisy, Mistral's Daughter)
Dave Bartholomew (US musician and composer, co-writer with Fats Domino, and supercentenarian: Ain't That a Shame, I Hear You Knocking, My Ding-a-Ling)
Bryan Marshall (British character actor, Long Good Friday, The Spy Who Loved Me)
Douglas Fielding (British actor, "Sergeant Alec Quilley" in Z-Cars from 1969 to the end of the series in 1978)
Max Wright (US actor, "Willie Tanner" in the sitcom ALF)
Glyn Houston (British (Welsh) character actor, Z-Cars, Doctor Who)
Christopher Booker (British journalist, sceptic and satirist, co-founder of Private Eye)
Arthur Ryan (Irish retail magnate, founder of Primark)
Arte Johnson (US comedian, the "German stormtrooper" in Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In: "verrry interrresting")
John McCririck (British racing pundit and eccentric television "celebrity")
João Gilberto (Brazilian singer, songwriter, and guitarist, the "father of bossa nova")
Rip Torn (US character actor, The Man Who Fell to Earth, Men in Black, Larry Sanders Show)
Ross Perot (US billionaire businessman and independent presidential candidate in 1992)
Freddie Jones (British character actor, The Elephant Man, Emmerdale , Jackanory; father of Toby Jones)
Duncan Lamont (British (Scottish) jazz saxophonist and composer, wrote the theme to Mr Benn)
César Pelli (Argentine-US architect: Canary Wharf Tower, Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur)
Rutger Hauer (Dutch actor, Blade Runner, Batman Begins)
Jeremy Kemp (British character actor, Colditz, Z-Cars)
Hal Prince (US musical producer and director and legend, West Side Story, Fiddler on the Roof, Cabaret, Phantom of the Opera)
Barrington Pheloung (Australian composer, Inspector Morse theme)
Anna Quayle (British actress, "The Baroness" in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang)
Toni Morrison (US author, first black woman to win the Nobel Prize for Literature)
Joe Longthorne (British singer, impressionist and variety show entertainer)
Henri Belolo (French music producer and promoter; co-founder of the Ritchie Family and Village People)

Kary Mullis (US biochemist, Nobel Prize in Chemistry, sceptic of the theory of HIV as the cause of AIDS)
Richard Williams (Canadian-British animator and director, Who Framed Roger Rabbit)
Peter Fonda (US actor, Easy Rider)
Jeffrey Epstein (US financier, philanthropist and convicted sex offender)
Princess Christina of the Netherlands (youngest sister of Queen Beatrix)
Richard Booth (British bookseller, eccentric, and self-proclaimed "King of Hay-on-Wye")
Freda Dowie (British character actress, Distant Voices, Still Lives, The Omen, Our Friends in the North)
Tim Bell (British public relations guru, masterminded Margaret Thatcher's election campaigns)
Sheila Steafel (South African-British actress, comedienne and singer, The Good Old Days, Ghosts of Motley Hall)
Hans Rausing (Swedish-British multi-millionaire entrepreneur and philanthropist, Tetra-Pak milk cartons empire)
Terrance Dicks (British author, Dr Who novels based upon the TV series, and its regular script editor)
Valerie Harper (US actress and comedienne, Rhoda)
Laurent Sinclair (French keyboard player and composer, Taxi Girl - Cherchez Le Garçon)
LaShawn Daniels (US songwriter, Say My Name [for Destiny's Child], The Boy Is Mine [for Brandy and Monica])
Robert Mugabe (Zimbabwean dictator, homophobe and bigot)
Peter Nichols (British playwright, Privates on Parade, Georgy Girl)
Ric Ocasek (US singer, songwriter and musician, The Cars: My Best Friend's Girl, Drive)
Jacques Chirac (French statesman, former Prime Minister and President)
Lady Anne Berry (British plantswoman, built Rosemoor Garden in Devon and later donated it to the Royal Horticultural Society)
Jessye Norman (US opera singer and legend)
Peter Sissons (British TV newsreader and presenter, BBC and ITN)
Karel Gott (Czech singer, "the Frank Sinatra of the East")
Diahann Carroll (US singer and actress, "Dominique Deveraux" in Dynasty
Barrie Masters (British singer-songwriter, Eddie and the Hotrods)
Ginger Baker (British drummer, founder-member of Cream)
Juliette Kaplan (British character actress, battleaxe "Pearl Sibshaw" in Last of the Summer Wine)
Malcolm "Molly" Duncan (British (Scottish) jazz saxophonist, Average White Band; played the solo on Pick Up The Pieces)
Reg Watson (Australian television producer, Neighbours, Prisoner Cell Block H, Crossroads)
Stephen Moore (British actor, "Marvin the Paranoid Android" in Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy, "Kevin's Dad" in Harry Enfield & Chums)
Alexei Leonov (Russian cosmonaut, first man to do a spacewalk)
Scotty Bowers (US "pimp"/faciltator of illicit sexual encounters for the stars of 1950s-70s Hollywood)
Leah Bracknell (British soap actress, pioneering lesbian character "Zoe Tate" in Emmerdale)
Deborah Orr (British (Scottish) journalist and columnist, New Statesman, The Guardian)
Raymond Leppard (British composer and musician, revivalist of Baroque music in the 1960s)
Anne Phelan (Australian actress, "Myra Desmond" in Prisoner: Cell Block H)

Robert Evans (US movie mogul, head of Paramount Studios and film producer: Marathon Man, Chinatown; known as "The Godfather of Hollywood")
Gay Byrne (Irish broadcaster, for 37 years the host of RTE's Late Late Show)
Brian Mawhinney (British (Northern Irish) politician and peer, former chairman of the Conservative Party)
Andrea Newman (British author, Bouquet Of Barbed Wire)
Frank Dobson (British politician, health secretary under Tony Blair and unsuccessful candidate for Mayor of London)
Field Marshal Lord Bramall (British military hero, former chief of the defence staff; falsely accused of child abuse in Operation Midland)
Jean Fergusson (British actress, "Marina" in Last of the Summer Wine)
Terry O'Neill (British photographer, famous for portraits of the stars of the 60s and 70s and the Royal Family; executive producer: Mommie Dearest)
Iain Sutherland (British (Scottish) musician, Sutherland Brothers & Quiver: The Arms of Mary)
Gary Rhodes (British Michelin-star-winning restaurateur and television chef)
Sir Jonathan Miller (British theatre and opera director, actor, author, television presenter, humourist, medical doctor, co-founder of Beyond the Fringe, prominent atheist and campaigner for gay rights)
Clive James (Australian author, critic, broadcaster, poet, translator and memoirist; and (adopted) "national treasure" in the UK)
Irving Burgie (Barbadian composer, The Banana Boat Song (Day-O), Mary's Boy Child)
Mariss Jansons (Latvian conductor)
Andrew "Greedy" Smith (Australian vocalist, musician and songwriter, Mental As Anything)
Caroll Spinney (US puppeteer, "Big Bird" and "Oscar the Grouch" in Sesame Street)
René Auberjonois (US actor, Benson, Star Trek: Seep Space Nine)
Marie Fredriksson (Swedish singer and musician, Roxette)
Barrie Keeffe (British playwright and screenwriter, Long Good Friday)
Gershon Kingsley [Götz Gustav Ksinski] (German-American composer and synthesizer pioneer, wrote the pop hit Popcorn)
David Bellamy (British botanist, author, campaigner and popular TV character for his presenting style)
Danny Aiello (US character actor, Moonstruck, Madge's Papa Don't Preach video)
Sheila Mercier (British actress and supercentenariam, "Annie Sugden" in Emmerdale Farm)
Robert Walker Jr. (US actor, "Charlie X" in Star Trek)
Anna Karina (French actress, star of "New Wave" cinema, former wife of Jean-Luc Godard)
Nicky Henson (British actor, Fawlty Towers, Eastenders)
Kenny Lynch (British singer, songwriter, comedian, actor and "national treasure")
Claudine Auger (French actress, Bond Girl "Domino" in Thunderball)
William Higgins (US gay porn producer and director: The Young & The Hung, The Pizza Boy - He Delivers, Big Guns)
Tony Britton (British actor, Don't Wait Up, Robin's Nest, The Day of the Jackal)
Emanuel Ungaro (French fashion designer, The House of Ungaro)
Allee Willis (US songwriter, September, Boogie Wonderland, I'll Be There for You [theme from Friends])
Sue Lyon (US actress, Lolita)
Jerry Herman (US musical theatre composer and songwriter, Hello, Dolly!, Mame, La Cage aux Folles, Mack and Mabel)

RIP, just about all.

Alasdair Gray (British (Scottish) artist and author)
Neil Innes (British writer, comedian and musician, Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, Rutland Weekend Television)
Marion Chesney (British (Scottish) authoress, aka MC Beaton, creator of "Hamish Macbeth" and "Agatha Raisin")
Neville Buswell (British soap actor, "Deirdre"'s first husband "Ray Langton" in Coronation Street)

Saturday 28 December 2019


Among a slew of honours for the great and the good in HM The Queen's New Years Honours list - including Companion of Honour Sir Elton John; Dame Floella Benjamin; Sir Humphrey Burton, Sir Iain Duncan Smith, Sir Clive Lloyd, Sir Sam Mendes, Sir Christopher Hampton; Commanders of the British Empire (CBE) Wendy Craig, Annie Nightingale, Rudolph Walker, Gillian Reynolds and Billy Ocean; Officers of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) Roger Taylor, Nigel Slater, Oz Clarke and June Sarpong; and Members of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) Ainsley Harriott, Gabby Logan, Drek Griffiths and Gok Wan - there is also...

...DAME Olivia Newton-John!!

Magic, indeed.

New Years Honours list on the BBC.

The full honours list on the government website.

Friday 27 December 2019

But we won't let nothin' hold us back

It's that "bit in the middle" time again - and John-John and I are off on our annual shopping trip to Chiswick.

There ain't no stopping us...

Thank Disco It's Friday!

Thursday 26 December 2019

Il parait que mon optimisme est contagieux

Among her fellow birthday celebrants, she's a full ten years older than the disgraced legend Phil Spector, and there's also a mixed bag of luminaries such as Denis Quilley, Jared Leto, Chairman Mao, Richard Widmark, Dermot Murnaghan, Kit Harington and Donald Moffat; but forget all of them. Today we light a candle (or several) for one of our revered Patron Saints - Mademoiselle Régine Zylberberg is 90 years old!!

Many and varied are the Grande Dame's achievements: she and her family escaped the Holocaust by remaining in hiding for much of the war, she emerged as a cabaret singer in Paris, and went on to become an international nightclub impresario - her clubs were patronised by royalty and the showbiz elite in an era when the likes of Studio 54 weren't even embryonic - and purportedly invented the discotheque by introducing DJs instead of a jukebox.

I posted an extensive tribute to the lady over at the Dolores Delargo Towers Museum of Camp in 2012, so without further ado... continuons avec le spectacle!

Camp, moi?!

Que vous puissiez être heureuse encore de nombreuses années, Mlle Régine!!

Wednesday 25 December 2019


Today, we ALWAYS sing this song! It's a lovely tradition...

Bah Humbug!

Roll on New Year.

Tuesday 24 December 2019

It ain't no sin

Not so much "another piece of my childhood" as a formative influence on my entire gay life - the pioneering gay porn film director and producer William Higgins, founder of the legendary Catalina Video label and the man behind such well-loved titles as The Young & The Hung, The Pizza Boy: He Delivers, Big Guns and Route 69, has died.

His - ahem - classic output was a mainstay of my under-the-bed VHS collection, and he made "household names" [in certain households, anyhow] of a cavalcade of perfectly proportioned - ahem - actors such as Kip Noll, Chad Johnson, Rick Donovan, Christopher Lance, Kevin Wiles, Chad Douglas, Cory Monroe, Mike Henson, Jeff Stryker and (my fave) Kevin Williams, among many more "shags-that-never-were".

RIP William Higgins, aka "Wim Hof" (19th December, 1942 - 20th December 2019)

Another of my fabled convoluted connections exists between this sad news and the continuing Festering Season countdown. By complete coincidence I had already scheduled another "throwback" rediscovery from my continuing trawl through the annals [oo-er!] of this blog (repairing broken links as I go) - and it's a perfect fit. From December 2013... this!
...to make our "festering season" really special, it seems appropriate to dispense with this religious claptrap and offend as many people as possible.

But it seems Kenny and Mr Hankey from South Park have beaten us to it!
And just in case anyone failed to understand the eloquent Kenny...
Mr. Hankey: Howdy Ho!
The Virgin Mary was sleeping when Angel Gabriel appeared,
He said, "You are to be the virgin mother"
And Mary thought that was weird.

Kenny: Mary said "I'm not a virgin, I blew a guy last year"

Mr. Hankey: But then Gabriel said to Mary,
"My child, have no fear."

Kenny: 'Cause you can suck all the dick you want...

Together: And still be a virgin, Mary!

Kenny: You can suck all the dick you want...

Mr. Hankey: And still not be considered flawed.

Kenny: Although you went to town, and sucked some semen down,

Together: You're still a virgin in the eyes of God.

Mr. Hankey: There was no room at the inn
When Mary and Joseph did arrive
They were so very tired you see

Kenny: and Mary had to offer a bribe,

Mr. Hankey: Since she had no money

Kenny: How would she pay for a place to sleep?

Mr. Hankey: Gabriel appeared to Mary and told her not to weep

Kenny: 'Cause, you can suck all the dick you want...
And still be a virgin, Mary!

Kenny: You can suck all the dick you want...

Mr. Hankey: And still be the mother of Christ.

Together: If there's no room at the inn
Then it's not considered a sin

Kenny: To suck some dick to get a room for the night!

Mr. Hankey: That's right!
And three wise men did appear
Bearing gifts of myrrh and such
They said that they had followed a star
And missed a woman's touch

Kenny: Mary thought she might pleasure them, but could not take them to bed,

Mr. Hankey: But again Gabriel appeared to her and this is what he said

Kenny: You can suck all the dick you want...

Together: And still be a virgin, Mary!

Kenny: You can suck all the dick you want...

Mr. Hankey: Every one in the nation.

Kenny: Fellatio ain't no sin
She gonna blow those three wise men,

Mr. Hankey: And you'll still be a virgin

Kenny: 'Cause there was no penetration

Kenny: You can suck all the dick you want...

Together: And still be a virgin, Mary!

Kenny: That donkey, and the ox and the lamb...

Mr. Hankey: And even the little drummer boy.
Folks will remember your name quick.

Kenny: They'll say "Damn! that bitch could suck a good dick!"

Together: Cause sucking dick brings peace on Earth and joy!

Kenny: Cause sucking dick...

Mr. Hankey: ..brings peace on Earth and joy!

Kenny: Mary, Mary suck that dick!
So seasonal.

Monday 23 December 2019

Three former husbands, two giant breasts and a flashy modelling agency


It's that "pointless bit" in work just before the office closes for Xmas and New Year. There's hardly anyone in, and most people who do turn up will be just coasting; eating chocolate biscuits and pretending to have some "important photocopying to do".

It is, however, a Tacky Music Monday - and who better to inject some silliness into the situation than arch-supermodel Janice Dickinson..?

Ho ho ho.

Sunday 22 December 2019


This has been a proper Sunday. I've not even got dressed - why bother? It's been pissing down all day, I stocked-up on booze and fags yesterday, and there's no particular reason I would ever want to venture into Wood Green Shopping City on the last Sunday before the dreaded Xmas.

On the whole, I'd rather be listening to Postmodern Jukebox...

Ho ho ho.

We love Scott Bradlee's Postmodern Jukebox.

Saturday 21 December 2019

Friday 20 December 2019

Are my silent thoughts coming through?

My last full week in the office in 2019 is dragging itself verrrry slowly to a close, and tonight we're off to Our Sal's sparkling birthday party tonight...

...there's plenty of fun to look forward to, so let's back-comb our hairdos to buggery, grab that shiny jumpsuit out from the back of the wardrobe, and practice our best mad-eyed stare and jerky "dance" moves - just like the lead singer of Shakatak!

This is priceless. Thank Disco It's Friday!

Have a good weekend, peeps - the Festering Season's almost over...

Thursday 19 December 2019

Like no office Xmas party I've ever been to...

...more's the pity:

There's nothing "discreet" about this lot!

Wednesday 18 December 2019

Down from the roof

And so, farewell then Mr Kenny Lynch, one of the last of the great British "all-round entertainers" - singer, dancer, comedian and actor, he was often on our telly in the heyday of "variety" shows in the 60s and 70s, alongside the likes of Bruce Forsyth, Anita Harris, Cilla Black and his "old mucker" Jimmy Tarbuck.

He had a slew of chart hits in the early 60s, including his version of Goffin & King's Up On The Roof (also a hit for the Drifters, who then went on to record some of Mr Lynch's own compositions) and You Can Never Stop Me Loving You (which became a hit for Johnny Tillotson in the US); he even toured as a support act to The Beatles. He was also an accomplished songwriter; he co-wrote Sha-La-La-La-Lee for the Small Faces, Long Dark Road for The Hollies and Love's Just A Broken Heart for Cilla. For a time, he had his own record shop in the heart of Soho; and he famously appeared (with an odd assortment of characters that included Michael Parkinson, James Coburn, Clement Freud, John Conteh and Christopher Lee) on the cover of Wings' Band On The Run LP!


By way of a tribute, here is the great man himself, performing two of his own "Swinging 60s" numbers. First up, I featured this one in my tribute to Kenny on his 80th:

And this is another rather groovy little number:

RIP, Kenny Lynch OBE (born 18th March 1938)

Tuesday 17 December 2019

A space odyssey

Timeslip moment again...

We've crash-landed, not on Planet of the Apes, but in the not-so-distant-yet-still-unfamiliar world of 2001 - the year of the September 11th terrorist attack on the Twin Towers, equal age of consent in the UK, George Dubya Bush, foot-and-mouth disease, Michael Barrymore, Michael Owen, Paul Burrell, Brian Dowling, race riots in Bradford and Brixton, Deputy PM John Prescott punching a protester, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Slobodan Miloševic on trial, V. S. Naipaul, Victoria Climbié, Bridget Jones's Diary, Iain Duncan Smith, War in Afghanistan, Iraq disarmament crisis, "Who shot Phil Mitchell?", the release on licence of James Bulger's murderers Robert Thompson and Jon Venables, Jeffrey Archer, Can't Get You Out Of My Head, Tony Blair's second Labour landslide election win, Lily Savage hosting Blankety Blank, an earthquake in Gujarat that killed around 20,000 people, Shrek, Neil and Christine Hamilton, Hear'Say, Silvio Berlusconi, Barry George, Blue Planet, the Nepalese royal massacre, Robot Wars, picketing of Holy Cross Catholic school in Belfast, Peter Mandelson, Phoenix Nights, the destruction of the Buddhas of Bamiyan by the Taliban, IRA disarmament, Major Ingram caught cheating on Who Wants to be a Millionaire, the takeover of TWA by American Airlines, David Beckham and Moulin Rouge; the births of Wikipedia, the Eden Project, the iPod, Cardiff Bay Barrage, Windows XP, Billie Eilish and HBOS plc; and the year that Jack Lemmon, George Harrison, Perry Como, Joan Sims, Harry Secombe, Dorothy Tutin, Douglas Adams, Swissair, Lord Hailsham, Nigel Hawthorne, Michael Williams, Charlotte Coleman, Lord Longford, Larry Adler, Christiaan Barnard, Sabena airlines, Don Bradman, Mary Whitehouse, Anthony Quinn, Aaliyah, Troy Donahue, Joey Ramone and Stuart Adamson of Big Country all died.

In the headlines in December 2001 - Roy Whiting was sentenced to a full-life prison term for the murder of Sarah Payne, the arrest of the "Shoe Bomber", Post Office cost-cutting plans including 30,000 redundancies, Enron bankruptcy, terrorist attack on the Indian parliament, riots in Argentina, and the murder of former BBC newsreader Lynette Lithgow in Trinidad. In our cinemas: Zoolander, Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring , The Princess Diaries. On telly: Walking with Beasts, Richard & Judy, The Kumars at No. 42.

And in our charts this week eighteen years ago? Robbie Williams and Nicole Kidman's cover of Something Stupid had just crashed into the top slot, where it would stay for Xmas and into the New Year, shunting Daniel Bedingfield and Miss Sophie Ellis Bexter down to #2 and #3 respectively. Also present and correct were Stereophonics, S Club 7 and Samantha Mumba, and (inevitably) there were novelty songs from Tweenies and Hermes House Band [nope - me neither] to contend with. Despite all the usual fare it's obvious that the dance genre known as Trance was still popular, with Ivan Van Dahl straight into the top five, and this one - which I had quite forgotten about...

I feel dizzy.

Monday 16 December 2019

Hör dess dingle-dång

Oh dear. The Festering Season really is in full swing. Queues everywhere, stupid naff decorations all over the place, tannoy-piped cover versions of horrid Xmas pop choons [when will shops realise no-one wants to listen to Paul McCartney Simply Having A Wonderful Christmastime or Jonah Lewie Stop The Cavalry while buying moist toilet tissue?], the nauseating smell of "mince-pie scented" candles, gift-boxes of Lynx deodorant, dangerous-looking flashing toys of dubious origin, office parties of once-a-year amateur drinkers blocking the bar with orders of 35 "festive shots", and a million-and-one ways to pay over-the-odds for chocolate...

And to top it all, there's still a week-and-a-bit to go in work!

Bah Humbug.

Let's see if the - ahem - superbly talented Lili and Susie can cheer us up on this Tacky Music Monday:

Camp as tits, dear.

All together, now!

Bing bong, bing bong, bing bong, bing bong

Ute faller snö
I splittan blacken stå
Och äter lugnt sitt hö
När ljudet honom når

Att selen lyftes ner
Och framför släden snart
Med oss han sedan sig beger
I väg med väldig fart!

Bjällerklang, bjällerklang
Hör dess dingle-dång
Flingor som nu virvlar
Om i munter vintersång

Följ oss ut, följ oss ut
Blacken travar på
I hans spår vår släde går
Där höga furor stå

Vi sitter under fällen och snön omkring oss yr
Och inte förn, till kvällen vi färden hemåt styr

Bjällerklang, bjällerklang
Hör dess dingle-dång
Flingor som nu virvlar
Om i munter vintersång

Över mo och myr
Vi hastigt far åstad
Åh, vilket äventyr
Det står som en kaskad

Av snö, som muntert yr
Och hem mot hö och stall
Det bär nu ystert av i trav
Till Karos glada skall

Bjällerklang, bjällerklang
Hör dess dingle-dång
Flingor som nu virvlar
Om i munter vintersång

Följ oss ut, följ oss ut
Blacken travar på
I hans spår vår släde går
Där höga furor stå

Vi sitter under fällen och snön omkring oss yr
Och inte förn, till kvällen vi färden hemåt styr

Bjällerklang, bjällerklang
Hör dess dingle-dång
Flingor som nu virvlar
Om i munter vintersång
Flingor som nu virvlar
Om i munter vintersång

Have a good week, dearies!

Sunday 15 December 2019

Coqs, cocktails and cocks in frocks

We had to start the "Festering Season" somewhere - and what better way to do so than in the company of that faded Vegas icon, Miss Hope Springs and her Christmas Agogo! show - at one of our favourite venues, the swanky cocktail bar Crazy Coqs at Brasserie Zedel?

Apparently based on her "lost 1971 Granada TV Special, considered by many to be an unaired classic", Miss Springs reminisced about her co-stars (including Shari Lewis and Lamb Chop - who came to a drug-fuelled end at a Los Angeles pool party, allegedly - Sonny and Cher, Mama Cass, Harry Belafonte, and many more stars of the day; well, in her imagination, anyhow), and her own "Ritz to the pits" journey from Vegas to Paris to her current abode in a mobile home in - erm - Dungeness.

Every one of the "festive" numbers on the bill - despite her woozy attempts to get the audience to sing and clap along as though they'd known them for years - is her own creation; she included such delights as Santa is a Woman, Christmas Calypso, the quite sad ballad Paper Snow, the hilarious Bagels and, of course, her show-stopper The Devil Made Me Do It - all of them brilliant.

With her "Dusty in Memphis" 'do, and her "Joey Heatherton" pill-popper stare, Miss Hope Springs is the masterful creation of none other than Lionel Jeffries' [of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang fame] son Ty Jeffries, and it is obvious that beneath the sequins lies a great musical talent indeed. But when it comes to intimate cabaret, of course, it's sequins that spell success!

We adored this show.

Miss Hope Springs: Christmas Agogo! is touring the country as we speak - catch her if you can!

Saturday 14 December 2019

Get over it

Remainers have announced that, three-and-a-half years after the referendum, they are to get over it.

Following yesterday’s landslide election win, Remainers across Britain have admitted there is a strong chance that the country did want to leave the EU after all.

Nathan Muir of of Reading said: “You know what? Maybe it’s time I moved on.

“There was just something about the referendum result I didn’t like – maybe it was that my side lost – so I decided it must be wrong, and must be reversed, and did everything I could to achieve that.

“But I have to admit it’s looking very much like my efforts were wasted, and Brexit is happening, and perhaps it’s time to be the bigger man and accept it.

“Brexit it is. Brexit for everyone. Fine. Doesn’t bother me.”
The Daily Mash

Of course.

Friday 13 December 2019

Maniac brainiac winning the game

As the country settles back down to what laughingly passes for reality, and Boris basks in his landslide election victory - so there is really only one appropriate song to play.

Of course, being moi, it just has to be the Bhangra version...

"It's gettin' it's gettin' it's gettin' kinda heavy
I've got the power
I've got the power oh-oh-oh-oh!"

Indeed he has.

Thank Disco(?) It's Friday [the thirteenth - oo-er]!!

Thursday 12 December 2019

Gwapple Me Gwapenuts!

And so, farewell to yet another part of my childhood - with the sad news that David Bellamy, one of British television's more memorable "characters" and eminent naturalist, has died aged 86.


Among the many programmes that made him a household name, including the amazingly popular Don't Ask Me [in which he and Professor Magnus Pyke perpetually vied for the crown of "most eccentric boffin presenter"] and Bellamy's Backyard Safari, was this one...

  • As a child he wanted to be a ballet dancer, but it soon became evident that his lumbering frame was probably unsuitable for the art.
  • His first exposure to the limelight was as an environmental scientific adviser in the clean-up operation after the Torrey Canyon oil tanker disaster in 1967.
  • So distinctive was his voice - he famously had difficulty pronouncing his "R"s - he became a target for comedy impressionists such as Lenny Henry, who even released the novelty song "The Bellamy Wap" [based around the catchphrase "Gwapple Me Gwapenuts!"]. He found himself as much in demand for voice-overs and audiobooks for kids as he was for his passion for botany and nature.
  • Several conservation awards and a lectures programme have been inaugurated in his honour.

RIP David James Bellamy OBE (18th January 1933 – 11th December 2019)

Wednesday 11 December 2019

Xmas shopping

"Take five with this revolutionary cocoon-like pillow that helps block out light for an immersive napping experience at your desk."

It's amazing what one can find on eBay.

Tuesday 10 December 2019

A walking Terry O'Neill photograph, a Yorkshire harridan, dirty deeds in Berlin and a house full of sinister secrets

Just two short weeks since we were enthralled by Mr Russell T Davies for the Polari twelfth anniversary, John-John and I took our seats in the Fifth Floor Function Room at the Royal Festival Hall (at one of the "special tables" for a change) for the last outing of the season for "London's peerless gay literary salon" - a Very Polari Xmas! More treats in store for good little boys'n'girls (and anything in-between) and, as always, our genial host Paul Burston (resplendent in silver shoes, Bowie t-shirt and "bibberty-bobberty hat") was there to welcome them...

With a perfect show-opener, Carolyn Robertson, esteemed author of several children's books about gay parents and adoption [and none other than Will Young read one of hers in a LGBT+ milestone for the CBeebies Bedtime Stories show], treated us to one of her short stories aimed at adults - the tale of a young lesbian couple's seemingly doomed attempt at a "dirty weekend" over Xmas in York. Having had a screaming row with the evidently homophobic middle-aged harridan at the city's tourist accommodation bureau, and facing the prospect of trying to "do an all-nighter" without a hotel room to go to, the couple was fortuitously "adopted" by a gay waiter who let them crash in his room at his auntie's house. But guess who turned out to be the aunt...

It was hilarious, and really broke the ice - with resounding applause from the audience in that packed-out room.

Next up was a familiar face at Polari Ben Fergusson, reading from An Honest Man; the third in his trilogy of Berlin tales [he read from the first, The Spring of Kasper Meier, way back in November 2014]. A typically sinister tale of intrigues, mistrust and secret surveillance in the paranoid world of Berlin in 1989, just months before the wall came down, it followed the budding relationship between young closeted Fritz and a strange individual who seemed to be stalking one of his neighbours. Mr Fergusson's evocation of a very strange and claustrophobic era, and the obviously looming trouble afoot for our naive "hero", held us glued to our seats - and it is no surprise that this novel has featured on multiple "Best Books of 2019" lists...

Like a walking evocation of THAT photo of David Bowie in his Diamond Dogs phase, Professor Will Brooker took to the stage. Here's a man so dedicated to his work he actually spent a year trying to live as Bowie. Now Will has consigned to published form his intellectual analysis of the great man in Why Bowie Matters, his new book, from which he read some passages.

How does one address the apparent contradictions and convolutions of Bowie's sexuality and gender-bending? Many have criticised the man for "playing with" homosexuality/bisexuality merely to sell records; as a way of enhancing one of his multi-faceted personas, only to ditch it all when the next career move, tour or record deal beckoned. Yet, as our Professor argues, are we equally guilty of taking things David said or did out of the context of their time and applying a critique based on our more modern perspectives? Merely because definitions of "sexuality", "gender" and "fluidity" have newer connotations, can any of this be used to define a man who challenged established norms with extreme make-up, dresses and flame-red hair almost half-a-century ago?

We thought this was a superb and intriguing and well-reasoned piece, and look forward to exploring more...

After a break for a pee, a fag and another trip to the bar, it was time to settle down for our headliner, the worldwide best-selling author Miss Lisa Jewell. First off, reading from her eighteenth novel The Family Upstairs - a tangled web of a tale about the intertwined lives of young gay Henry, whose mother has inherited a big spooky house in Chelsea with a mysterious and grisly history, his family, their friends also living there, and another soon-to-be-dominant-in-the-household family (with a pretty son who Henry falls madly in love with) and some very dark secrets indeed. Oh, and lurking out there somewhere, and linked to it all is a woman busking in the South of France. All very enigmatic. We were hooked!

As has become the customary format of Polari, to its benefit in my opinion, Miss Jewell and Mr Burston sat for a more in-depth conversation and audience Q&A that covered topics such as writing styles and genres [Miss Jewell has, like so many female authors, to her annoyance been tarred with the "chick-lit" label on more than one occasion], how characters develop [Henry didn't necessarily start out as a gay boy, she said, he "spoke to her"], whose opinions should be trusted when revisions are suggested to an author's work, and where the inspiration comes from to continue producing successful works of fiction for such a long time. It was a delight to be part of, and the time just flew by.

We wait with bated breath for the 2020 timetable to arrive, but with the customary curtain call, that was indeed it for 2019 - Happy New Year, Polari!

Monday 9 December 2019

Not a moment in life could be more entrancing

"I think you should take your job seriously, but not yourself - that is the best combination."

Many happy returns today to Dame Judi Dench, who blows out 85 candles on her cake! I won't call her a "national treasure|", as she despises the term, but suffice to say... eveybody loves her.

Despite her many and varied roles over the years, some Shakespearean, some comedic, some deadly serious, some romantic, some dramatic - today is a Tacky Music Monday, so let's settle on something in the Folies Bergère style, shall we?

Le cinema today is in a crisis
Directors are so existentialistes
The movies are not worth their entrance prices
If no one sings a love song when he's kissed

Love cannot be love without le singing
A string, a clarinet, a saxophone
Take a lesson from this old Parisienne
And the finest entertainment she has known

Folies Bergère
Oh, what a showing of color, costume and dancing
Not a moment in life could be more entrancing
Than an evening you spend aux Folies Bergère

Folies Bergère
Not a soul in the world could be in despair
When he is glancing at the fabulous stage
Des Folies Bergère

Folies Bergère
La musique la danse, leson, la lumiere
Les petits jolies seins des belles bouquetieres
Sur la belle passarelle des Folies Bergère

Pas de mysteres
Le spectacle est tout a fait decouvert
"Et pas trop cher"
Viens ce soir avec moi aux Folies Bergère

Folies Bergère
The music, the lights and the laughter
The answer to what you are after
Each night at the Folies Bergère

Folies Bergère
By the heavens above you will swear
There is nothing rarer
Than the Folies Bergère

Folies Bergère
The stage overflowing and giving
A musical reason for living
Each night at the Folies Bergère

Folies Bergère
To your modern ideas I compare
One derriere
At the Folies Bergère

The answer to what you are after
The music, the lights and the laughter
Of the Folies Bergère

Many happy returns, Ma'am!

Dame Judith Olivia Dench CH DBE FRSA (born 9th December 1934)

Sunday 8 December 2019

She opened a new door

"She opened a new door for us, for all the singers in the world, a door that had been closed. Behind it was sleeping not only great music but great idea of interpretation. She has given us the chance, those who follow her, to do things that were hardly possible before her." - Montserrat Caballé

We missed celebrating the birthday of "La Divina", Maria Callas - one of the most influential opera divas of the 20th century...

...all hail!

Maria Callas (born Maria Anna Cecilia Sofia Kalogeropoulos, 2nd December 1923 – 16th September 1977)