Saturday, 4 April 2020

Motivational



We Brits have the perfect answer to how we deal with this bally virus-thingy!

What do we do...?


Indeed.

[Thanks, Crog, for this one]

Friday, 3 April 2020

If that's all there is my friends, then let's keep dancing



Oh, dear, Another one.

The loss of the lovely Cristina, darling of early 80s New York's artistic post-punk, post-Studio 54 scene; collaborator with August Darnell (of Kid Creole and the Coconuts and Machine fame), Don Was, Jean Paul Goude, Robert Palmer and even John Cale is a great one - for it has brought fond memories flooding back from when I first encountered the lady; with her sardonic and slightly twisted cover of this Peggy Lee classic:


However, this is also the end of another week working in our living-room during lockdown - and I have greater cause for a celebration that even that fact, for as of 4.30 today I will be officially on leave (albeit in similar environs) until after Easter!

Yay!

Thus, we need to lift our spirits and pretend we have a party to plan. And what better way than with another of the lady's faboo numbers - here with admirable support from (an uncredited) Kevin Kline - and Thank Disco It's Friday!!


RIP, Miss Cristina Monet Zilkha (née Monet-Palaci, 2nd January 1959 – 1st April 2020)

Thursday, 2 April 2020

"I heard that!"


Glorious tulips in the extensive gardens here at Dolores Delargo Towers

Sharing a birthday with another mismatched ensemble of notable names such as Marvin Gaye, Serge Gainsbourg, Émile Zola, Camille Paglia, Linford Christie (who is - gulp - 60 years old; as was the gorgeous Michael Praed yesterday!), Ken Tynan, Emmylou Harris, Casanova, Sir Alec Guinness, Paul Gambaccini, Buddy Ebsen, Sue Townsend, Hans Christian Andersen, Michael Fassbender and Keren Woodward of Bananarama, our eternal house favourite Dame Penelope Keith blows out 80 candles on her cake today!



In these troubled times, we need as much uplift as we can possibly get, so let's wallow in just a few clips from the great lady's classic comedy moments - as the indomitable Margo Leadbetter...




Many happy returns, Dame Penelope Anne Constance Keith, DBE, DL (née Hatfield; born 2nd April 1940).

We love you.

Wednesday, 1 April 2020

Your quarantine theme song



A bizarre "meme-y" thing has apparently taken off out there in the interwebs, and as it's quite fun, I thought I'd share. Just enter your twelfth birthday into the Official Charts Company archive, and what ever is Number 1 in the charts on that date is allegedly your "quarantine theme song"! [The Yanks presumably should use the Billboard Chart search engine?]

Being greedy, I thought - why stop at one song when you could have two, and both in the company of the lovely and talented Pan's People?

At #2, last week's #1, an enduring novelty song classic:


...and the chart-topper:


August 1975 was indeed another world.

So, dear reader - WHAT'S YOURS?

Tuesday, 31 March 2020

I can't wait for the musical


Disney has announced that they are delaying a film about a loveable ill pangolin who is saved by his trusty friend, a market-dwelling bat.

Piper’s Poorly Pango was already in production when the studio cancelled the sentimental movie about the unlikely duo’s quest to find a cure for a mystery illness, which takes them across all of Hubei province.

Director Tom Logan said: “It’s gutting to have to pull the plug. Pango the pangolin and Piper the horseshoe bat would have roamed China, interacting with all kinds of other creatures, to find a cure.

“The illness was really a metaphor for fear, so the movie had an important message to children about how if you share your fears by hugging as many people as possible, they’ll go away. Which is apparently ‘irresponsible’ now.

“The climax of the movie, a thrilling chase through Wuhan’s wet market, would have had audiences on the edge of their seats. Such a shame it’ll never be seen.”


Disney’s head of marketing Carolyn Ryan, commented: “Pangolins are incredibly cute. We’ve got warehouses full of cuddly pangolins, pangolin bedsheets, pangolin backpacks.

“Now people are only going to want to buy them to beat them while screaming furiously. Which works for us.”
The Daily Mash

Of course.

[The "real" story.]

Monday, 30 March 2020

Of de tijd stil heeft gestaan



It's the start of another turgid week in lockdown, but we just have to grit our teeth and just get on with it, I suppose.

The sad news that one of our fave Dutch artists the lovely Liesbeth List joined the great oom-pah band in the sky last week provides us with a chance, however, for a triple-bill of jollity on this Tacky Music Monday, as we recall her typically up-beat music...

...first up, with an early hit from way back in 1969:


Next, a remarkable bit of weirdness; a duet with frequent collaborator Ramses Shaffy from the lady's own television show - about which I said back in 2013 when I first came across it:
The accompanying footage features (for some baffling reason) Mr Shaffy in what can only be described as a gold sequinned strongman costume, trapped in a topaz globe, while Miss List reclines nonchalantly and appears to sing a completely different song. No drugs involved there, then.

And, finally, the song that first brought Miss List to our attention her at Dolores Delargo Towers, when we purchased a vinyl compilation album of Dutch hits from 1974. We love this, and sing it whenever we are in, heading to, or even thinking about, Amsterdam [which is a lot; but less-than-likely to happen this year - sob, sob]:


That's brightened me up!

RIP Liesbeth List (born Elisabeth Dorathea List, 12th December 1941 – 25th March 2020)

Sunday, 29 March 2020

An important public message from Maria Von Trapp



I couldn't resist posting this:


Brilliant...

[Thanks to my sister for alerting me to this one!]

A lesson in Lounge



In these troubled times of lockdown, we all need "a lesson in Lounge... laid back and sophisticated sounds to indulge in."

Trust the geniuses over at Soft Tempo Lounge to deliver!

Here's another hour of music to soothe our jangled nerves:


Track List
00:00 The ORF Orchestra 'Bossa Galante'
03:31 Ugo Fusco 'Archi in Bossa'
06:27 Angelo Baroncini 'Devaneio'
09:52 Vladimir Cosma 'En Sifflotant'
11:57 G. Postella 'Bossa Nova Party'
14:47 Steve Race Orchestra 'Coronation Street'
18:20 Amedeo Tommasi 'Samba Amedeo'
20:43 Carlo Pes 'Bossa Party'
24:23 Carlo Savina 'Cocktail Party'
26:17 Franco Chiari 'Bossa di Primavera'
28:46 Daniela Casa 'Si Io Potessi'
31:41 Luigi Zito 'Traffico'
35:29 Max Raffeng 'Bosseggiando'
37:35 Sante Palumbo 'Swingin Bossa'
40:45 Manfredo Fest 'Madalena'
43:23 Heinz Kiessling Orchestra 'Falena'
46:14 Horst Jankowski Orchestra 'Nightpeople Only'
49:38 Marina Moran 'Eden Rock'
52:07 Vladimir Cosma 'Allo Samba'
54:26 Berry Lipman 'Girl Talk'


Ah, that's better...

...and the clocks went forward last night, so, gloomy times or no, it's officially British Summer Time, dear reader!

Saturday, 28 March 2020

Octo-divas



Good heavens. Two of our fave songbirds have hit a milestone year - Patron Saint Signorina Mina Mazzini [yes, her again!] and the lovely Senhorita Astrud Gilberto both blow out eighty candles on their cakes this week!

By way of a celebration, here are two jolly nonsense numbers from their extensive repertoires:

First, Mina...


... and second, Astrud...


I do hope you're singing along!

Friday, 27 March 2020

There's a new me coming out



Thank goodness for that - this second week of being sat in our living room, plugged into work while staring longingly out of the window at the sunny garden, has been the cruellest of all! And to add to the ignominy, this weekend is forecast to be grey and cold...

Bollocks (as Ms Scarlet would say) to all that, dears! - my sister and hubbie are hosting a "virtual party" via Zoom tonight, so at the very least that gives us an excuse to get dressed.

It also happened to be the birthday yesterday of the sparkling Miss Diana Ross [who must be mightily pissed-off her much-promoted "Legend" headline slot at Glastonbury's been cancelled], so let's ramp up the camp factor by way of a celebration - with not one, but two gay icons taking to the stage, with an anthem I think we'll all be singing once this self-isolation business is over!


...or is there a bit of a trompe-l'œil going on?

Thank Disco It's Friday!

Have a good one, dear reader, as far as that is possible in these locked-down times...

Thursday, 26 March 2020

Deferred gratification


These are stressful times and you’ve probably stocked up on booze. But how do you hold out until noon, when it is fine to start getting leathered? Read our guide.

Pace vigorously up and down muttering ‘Mustn’t, mustn’t mustn’t’
This is great exercise and the sounds of you ‘keeping fit’ will convince your neighbours that you are in good, strong mental health.

Consider extra masturbation
You may already be self-abusing to a degree you never thought possible. Summon all your willpower and see if you can crank out another to make it till 12 o’clock. It’s probably your patriotic duty, or something.

Promise yourself an extra drink after midnight if you refrain until midday
This is what psychologists call ‘deferred gratification’. Stiffen your sinews now and you’ll be rewarded in the small hours with a well-deserved very large whisky.

Put a severe-looking picture of your mother on your fridge
She may be self-isolating and unable to track your every movement, but see how she seems to glower at you as you open that fridge door for a can of lager instead of lettuce.

Drink till five in the morning so you don’t wake up until one in the afternoon
This may seem like a heroic effort but if carried out properly you might get the bonus of not wanting a drink before 12pm the day after the day after.
The Daily Mash

Of course.

Wednesday, 25 March 2020

Mere class on a higher plane



It's the age-old story - society only starts to realise it's serious when famous people begin getting affected...

Prince Charles has apparently tested positive for Covid-19.

Dear old Terrence McNally - read my tribute to the man on his 75th - the playwright behind some of our fave films and shows here at Dolores Delargo Towers, such as The Ritz, Kiss of the Spider Woman - the musical and Master Class, has been carted off to Fabulon as a result of catching it [he was seriously ill beforehand, but...].

Others whose cause of death has also been attributed to it include Manu Debango (of Soul Makossa fame, one of the seminal songs that was pioneered by the legendary David Mancuso, founding father of Disco), Lucia Bosè (actress, and mother of the lovely Miguel), and Nashom Wooden (drag queen and founder member of possibly the campest House/Dance combo of the '90s, The Ones).

RIP, all.

There is some good news among all this gloom, of course. The weather is gorgeous, and even with those annoying interruptions of work, getting outside into our garden gives us great joy. And now the government has declared that off-licences and wine emporia are "essential shops", so can stay open during the crisis. Yay!

It is indeed very sad news indeed about Mr/Ms Wooden, but - heavens! - what a legacy. Trust a drag queen to get the last word:


Ah, memories

Tuesday, 24 March 2020

You and I in a little toy shop



The gorgeous, pouting Steve McQueen would have been 90 today.

Every "gay icon"'s favourite costume designer Bob Mackie - see here and here - blows out 80 candles on his cake today.

But here's the shocker!

That waif-like German popstrel "one-hit-wonder" - she of the unshaven armpits that generated banner headlines in the trashy tabloids - with the worldwide smash hit about the Cold War, Nena is 60 years old!

Now I feel old...


Correction. I am old.

Monday, 23 March 2020

Cycling through it



On it goes...

McDonalds, Primark, National Trust gardens and open spaces (the buildings were already closed), Coronation Street, Emmerdale, Next, New Look, TK Maxx... and the Gay Pride Parade! All closed.

On this Tacky Music Monday, I think a little nonsense from the Dutch in Spain is in order:


That gave us something to laugh at - now back to the garden [I have been off today; back to "WfH" tomorrow]!

Sunday, 22 March 2020

Mama's got the stuff!



It's a very odd Mothers' Day (Mothering Sunday) here in the UK, what with the current "Self-Isolation Society", and all. My sister and I (and Crog and Madame Acarti) were all supposed to be travelling down to visit her yesterday, but that was off for obvious reasons. However we're keeping in touch as best we can - we're even trying to get her on video-conferencing, which might help; I sent her a nice bouquet which she really loved, and it is gloriously sunny so she can - as have we all day - keep occupied pottering in the garden...

...it also happens to be the 90th birthday today of the most prominent and influential man in musical theatre (and Patron Saint here at Dolores Delargo Towers), Mr Stephen Joshua Sondheim, so let's combine the two things in an appropriate manner, methinks:


To all mothers out there, we salute you!

Sondheim website

Saturday, 21 March 2020

A Flash o' Me Bloomers!


A small part of our Spring display in the extensive gardens here at Dolores Delargo Towers

Spring is in evidence all around us and, despite the closure of just about everything entertaining in the country, at least we still have a garden to keep us out of mischief! Our local garden centre is still open for the foreseeable future, so I we'll be trolling off there forthwith to look at filling the gaps that will inevitably appear once the bulbs start to fade and the herbaceous plants have yet to bloom.

Here's something "pastoral" for your delectation, dear reader...


Oh, she sits among the cabbages and peas
And she talks to all the little bugs and bees.
They climb up her legs and arms
And all round her other charms.
They see lots of things nobody ever sees.


Lovely...

Friday, 20 March 2020

To get me through another day


Doing the "Social Isolation Shuffle"!

It's the final knockings at the end of a most peculiar week. For the first time I have been forced to work from home; a situation that's taking a lot of mental adjustment. On a more optimistic note today does mark a turning point in the seasons - it's the Vernal Equinox, in some quarters the First Day of Spring!

It also happens to be the birthday of one of our fave dance artistes of the late 90s (whose career, unfortunately, was not destined to get very much further than that) - the lovely Ultra Naté...

...and, in these troubled times of pandemics, social isolation and lock-downs, she may just have the solution - so let's Thank Disco It's Friday!


I searched all over
Could not find
Someone to hold
Some peace of mind
Yesterday is gone
Nothing else to do
But let it go
Before I lose
All of my hopes
And my dreams
For something that ain't real
Things ain't always as they seem

Cause there's sunshine
After rain
And after the night comes morning
And in the spring the flowers bloom again
When I'm feeling down
Like there's no way out
I know the love I have inside will make it alright

And when it feels like I'm going crazy
When it feels like I'm going insane
When it feels like I'm going crazy
Found a cure
To get me through another day

Found a cure
To get me through another day

How many times before have you
Been left alone and you feel confused
Do you have the strength to keep trying
When the walls just keep on closing in
But you got everything that you need
Inside your heart
If you just believe
Things ain't always as they seem


Ultra Naté (born 20th March 1968)

Thursday, 19 March 2020

Good old Auntie!



Praise indeed - from one media outlet in support of another:
Boris Johnson’s special adviser Dominic Cummings has expressed a desire to “whack” the BBC. Nicky Morgan, until recently the secretary of state for culture, media and sport, compared the broadcaster to the defunct video rental chain Blockbuster and has spoken wistfully about the possibility of the BBC moving towards a Netflix-style voluntary subscription funding model. A combination of Johnson’s large majority and widespread disquiet about the BBC’s recent political coverage seemed to open a clear route towards the creation of a radically different, significantly diminished public broadcaster.

But we have arrived abruptly in a different era. From our new perspective, adrift in the most significant public health crisis of our age, those days feel suddenly distant. There are new, more urgent questions. Would market forces offer religious services on local radio stations across the country? Or virtual gallery tours and musical and comedy performances? Would Netflix launch extensive additional educational programming to help children unable to attend school to keep up with their studies? Would Amazon dig into its massive archive of sport, arts and drama content to offer prime cuts to a quarantined population?

The BBC is proposing all this and more – including everything from home exercise classes for older people to dietary advice in a time of potentially scarce supplies. There is a name for such initiatives: public service broadcasting. And we may soon realise how much we missed it if we lost it.
Amen to that!

Austin Powers agrees...

Wednesday, 18 March 2020

Fly me away. Please...



It's all getting a bit silly now!

Glastonbury, the Edinburgh Festival, Stonehenge, all the major museums and galleries, National Trust properties, West End theatres, Royal Opera House, Royal Albert Hall, the Southbank, the Barbican, nightclubs, cinemas, Selfridges, EastEnders - and the "Gay World Cup" (Eurovision)! All closed. And, as of today I'm working from home (which is a first for me)...

...I think we need a little light relief!

Let our minds drift into the exotic world of Soft Tempo Lounge with, in their words: "a little something to make those isolated days blissfully drift by..."


Almost 50 minutes of bliss, indeed:

Track list:
00:00 Syd Dale 'London Life'
02:17 Joe Pass 'The Phoenix Love Theme (Senza fine)'
05:09 Chris Montez 'One Note Samba'
07:21 The Peggy Brown Singers 'Dreamin' Stars'
09:33 Ray Manning 'Montego Bay'
11:33 Gianni Fallabrino 'Serata'
12:45 Briamonte Orchestra 'Roda do Samba'
15:16 Unit 7 Band 'Letter to Jane'
17:20 Briamonte Orchestra 'Zip'
19:22 Heinz Kiessling 'Gentle Woman'
21:40 Les Baxter 'Boca Chica'
23:20 The Pete Jacques Orchestra 'Round trip to Rio'
25:33 Willi Furth 'Sun of Jamaica'
27:50 Warren Kime 'Going someplace'
30:50 Acly Aguero 'Sao Paulo'
33:33 Heinz Kiessling 'Remember Rio'
36:00 The Perry Singers 'Olivia'
38:12 Frederic Gaffel 'Burros de Bahia'
40:40 Briamonte Orchestra 'Tema de Cristina'
43:39 Ulli Gigg 'Chica de Verrao'


Sigh.

Tuesday, 17 March 2020

They love the sound of our female droning; we’re the pretty face of cloning



OK - there may be a lot less "jigging" going on in Dublin and New York during this draconian age of "coronavirus closures" (which appears about to decimate the entertainment and hospitality industry across the world), but nevertheless, it's traditionally the day for people to pretend they're Irish and to drink copious amounts of alcohol, and that's always welcome!

Here, to aid the celebrations is one of the Emerald Isle's finest fiddle bands, The Corrs:


...but, of course, we can never think of them without thinking of the French & Saunders version, can we?!



Sláinte!

Happy Paddy's Day.

Monday, 16 March 2020

Umpa! Umpa! That's enough of that...



We bade a fond farewell to Nicholas Parsons in January this year, and the late, dearly missed "Humph" (Humphrey Lyttelton) only yesterday came up in conversation as a result of my post about Clare Teal, and now another stalwart of radio, television and the stage, another "national treasure" has departed for Fabulon - the marvellous Roy Hudd.

As his obituary in The Guardian succinctly put it:
What was he – a comedian, an author, a radio satirist, a serious actor, a soap star, an archivist, or a leading authority on British music-hall and variety entertainment?

Hudd was all of these, but saw himself primarily as a man born too late to fulfil his dream of life as an old-style variety comic, which is how he started out in the late 1950s at the bottom of bills topped by artists such as the comic Max Miller and the male impersonator Hetty King.

In 1958 Hudd’s agent, Morris Aza, suggested he audition for Launcelot Gobbo in The Merchant of Venice. As Hudd later explained: “Morris said, ‘In about three or four years variety will be finished. You’ve got to learn scripts and do other things.’ It was great advice. I’ve kept on the move ever since.”

And in the past two decades this diversity consolidated into a well-earned niche for him in the pantheon of British national treasures. With his round, laughter-lined clown’s face and warm, gap-toothed grin (but with a hint of sadness and loneliness around the eyes), he could always be relied upon to raise a smile, inspire a sing-song or amaze audiences with his knowledge of the good old days.

He wrote or co-authored around 20 books; some, such as Roy Hudd’s Cavalcade of Variety Acts (1997), remain invaluable records of long-gone performers and their accompanying billing. Without Hudd (whose own variety billing was the Peculiar Person), how would we be aware that outlandish turns such as the Mysterious Werth (Banana Skin and Stone Manipulator), Tom Mennard (Juggles with Live Geese), Juna (the Human Gasometer) and the Three Aberdonians (Too Mean to Tell You What They Do) had captivated audiences back in the day?
In his long career, he was part of the line-up of David Frost's follow-up to That Was The Week That Was (the short-lived Not So Much A Programme, More A Way Of Life), presented the satirical radio show The News Huddlines for more than a quarter of a century, had his own variety show on the BBC, played up to comic "type" in numerous comedies from Up Pompeii to Benidorm, played the local undertaker in Coronation Street for eight years, and surprised audiences with lauded dramatic roles in such series as Dennis Potter's Lipstick On Your Collar and Broadchurch. Phew!

We have, inevitably, seen the man on stage many times - his one-man "potted history of Music Hall" [where we were seated with Dame June Whitfield, Prunella Scales and Timothy West!], as the photographer in JB Priestley's When We Are Married, in the all-star version of Sondheim's Follies at the Royal Albert Hall, and in panto at Wilton's Music Hall not once but twice...

We will sorely miss that twinkly smile.

He genuinely could turn his hand to anything, as this clip of him with another sadly-missed "all-rounder" Cilla Black proves:


Sand bags, wind bags, camels with a hump,
Fat girls, thin girls, some a little plump,
Slave girls sold here, fifty bob a lump,
In the old bazaar in Cairo.

Brandy, shandy, beer without a froth,
Braces, laces, a candle for the moth.
Bet you'd look a smasher in an old loin cloth,
In the old bazaar in Cairo.

You can buy most anything,
Thin bulls, fat cows, a little bit of string,
You can purchase anything you wish,
A clock, a dish and something for your Auntie Nellie,
Harem, scarem, what d'ya think of that,
Bare knees, striptease, dancing on the mat,
Umpa! Umpa! That's enough of that,

In the old bazaar in Cairo.
Rice pud, very good, what's it all about,
Made it in a kettle and they couldn't get it out,
Everybody took a turn to suck it through the spout,
In the old bazaar in Cairo.

Mamadan, Ramadan, everything in style,
Genuine, beduine carpet with a pile,
Funny little odds and ends floating down the Nile,
From the old bazaar in Cairo.
You can buy most anything,

Sheeps eyes, sand pies, a watch without a spring,
You can buy a pomegranate too,
A water-bag, a little bit of hokey pokey,
Yashmaks, pontefracts, what a strange affair,
Dark girls, fair girls, some with ginger hair,
The rest of it is funny but they censor it out there,
In the old bazaar in Cairo.


RIP Roy Hudd, OBE (16th May 1936 – 15th March 2020)

La voir danser me transforme en excitée


Let's throw a COVID-19 Quarantine Party right here, kids!!

Monday again - but not as dire as usual, as I am still on leave; we're expecting delivery of a new freezer from our landlady as our old one finally gave up the ghost (at its venerable age), so it's just as well...

However, I have not forgotten it is still a Tacky Music Monday - so, without further ado, let's lurch straight into that territory with a vengeance!

Back in February nine years ago I was celebrating the fact that I had manfully, post by post, finally transferred everything I had posted (blog-wise) from the rapidly-becoming-defunct MySpace to Blogger.

And this, dear reader, was one of the tracks I chose to celebrate that moment:


But here, my dears, I have found a far more intriguing "version". Lord only knows what the hell is going on, but it involves the saintly Catherine Deneuve, Line Reynaud and a semi-naked Idris Elba - which certainly looks like a party we'd love to go to!


Have a great week, peeps. Now wash your hands!!

Sunday, 15 March 2020

It don't mean a thing if...



The Madame and I braved the OTT scaremongering of this threatened "Covid-19 lockdown" to go to the swanky Cadogan Hall [the second time in two weeks] last night for an evening in the company of the very lovely Clare Teal, presenter of one of our favourite shows on Radio 2, with her "Big Mini Big Band"!

Miss Teal alone is a charming and sincere host and a sublimely-talented singer, so we knew we were going to be in for a good night. As one reviewer put it:
"Despite holding the title of having the biggest recording contract for a British jazz singer, Clare Teal is as down-to-earth as they come. She strolls onto the stage with a big smile and a wave, from then on it feels almost like being at home with her having a cup of tea and a chat."
However, when combined with an array of jazz talent, courtesy of her own band - conducted by trumpeter and composer Guy Barker - pianist extraordinaire Jason Rebello, and special guests clarinettist Giacomo Smith and guitarist Dave Archer of Kansas Smitty's House Band, this was something very special indeed.



The combo played a full set of familiar standards (the likes of My Funny Valentine, From This Moment On, Cry Me A River, Perfidia and more), lesser-known numbers (including 30s singer Maxine Sullivan's If I Had a Ribbon Bow, a long-forgotten '70s number by the Little River Band Reminiscing, and an obscure Elvis number Don't), big band showpiece numbers (including It Don’t Mean A Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)) and some rather marvellous jazzy re-workings of unexpected musical choices that included a version of Tea For Two as arranged by blind accordionist Joe Mooney, Radiohead's No Surprises performed as a smoky late-night cabaret number - and we whooped with joy when she sang Tainted Love done in the style of Miss Peggy Lee!

Despite some unnecessary early heckling from the audience about Miss Teal's microphone being drowned out by the band (which was soon addressed by the venue's audio team) and the asthma-inducing clamber up and down the stairs of the Hall to and from the bar and toilets, this was a superbly-structured evening's entertainment, and a much-needed treat, indeed.

There's a dearth of videos out there to show off Miss Teal and her Big Mini Big Band's talents, but here are a few selections I have found from the interwebs for your delectation:




We love Clare Teal!

Saturday, 14 March 2020

The delightful scent of Spring



Madame Arcati and I went again yesterday to Kew Gardens, to take full advantage of this beautiful early spring: to catch the magnificent magnolias in full bloom and the fruit trees in blossom, before the seasonal gales blow them all away. One tree in particular (above) has a captivating scent - Pyrus calleryana, commonly known as the Callery pear.

From Vice magazine:
This pretty, floral tree somewhat resembles the cherry blossom. Its five-petalled flowers are dainty and white. If they could talk, I imagine they'd say, "come and have a picnic under us!"

Wrong.

The Callery pear smells like ... semen. At the University of California, Santa Barbara, they want you to know that it smells like human male semen, to be sure. So many people have called it the "semen tree" that it warranted an entry in Urban Dictionary, aptly defined as the odour of "used sex rags."
We had a sniff, and moved on. The old, old story.

[I have, inevitably, featured this unusual tree before]

Friday, 13 March 2020

Acércate y oye como bate mi corazón



Oo-er - it's Friday the Thirteenth!

I also happen to have been posting to this very blog (in one form or another) for thirteen years this month...

...and I have sneaked a long weekend out of annual leave I needed to use up so we are off to Kew Gardens today...

...plus it's the birthday of one of our tackiest ever Patron Saints, the original "triumph of art over nature", Charo!

As I said way back in 2015:

She wants to Dance A Little Bit Closer - and who are we to stop her? Thank Disco It's Friday!


Feliz compleaños, María del Rosario Mercedes Pilar Martínez Molina Baeza, aka Charo

Thursday, 12 March 2020

Wednesday, 11 March 2020

Inescapable. Cloying.


Astronauts on the International Space Station have confirmed that the odour of a Lush shop can be detected 250 miles above the Earth’s surface.

Lush, famous for their handmade soap and fragranced bath bombs, have celebrated the news as a triumph for themselves and their inescapable cloying aroma.

A Lush spokesman said: “We were bored of merely stinking out Britain’s high streets. Every brand likes to grow and set big goals.

“The smell was first detected by Russian cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov two weeks ago, who angrily accused the Americans of bringing flowers on board, then the Americans caught a whiff and investigations began.

“Eventually they realised the fragrance recurred every time their orbit took them over the three-floor Lush shop in Liverpool. It’s official. We have successfully conquered space.

“It’s our hope that, if alien life ever discovers our solar system, they will see the mysterious, multi-coloured, lavender-scented swirling sphere of our planet and assume it is just an enormous bath bomb.”
The Daily Mash

Of course.

And we (and Signorina Mazzini) know an appropriate song for the UK's most fragrant soap shop...


Fruity.

Tuesday, 10 March 2020

Sermon of the Day



Swap the word "feminism" for "gay rights", "women" and "girls" for "homosexuals", "men" and "male" for "heterosexual(s)" and so on in this treatise by Dr Jessica Eaton:
“Feminism is the liberation of women and girls all over the world from the patriarchy and misogyny that continues to harm and oppress them as a class of people. Feminism centres women unflinchingly and unapologetically. Feminism is the conversation about women’s issues in the world; without having to add some tokenistic sentence at the end acknowledging that men also experience some things too. Yah, we know. But we are talking about women right now, so hush.

The problem with saying that we are working towards women becoming equal to men is that it frames men and male cultures as being the optimum culture or the ideal goal that women should reach to become equal. I’m here to say: what a crock of shit. For women to be valid, whole human beings in society – feminism has got to move beyond this notion that women are striving for what men already have.

I don’t want anything men already have. None of it. It’s a mess.”
Amen.

Monday, 9 March 2020

There's no business like it



Sometimes, my quest for a "wake-up call" on a Tacky Music Monday brings some genuinely tacky moments. This, dear reader, is one of those.

From the same producer as a previous bizarre discovery - one that involved both The Ritchie Family and the Village People - comes another slice of sheer insanity...

...welcome to the heady world of Chobizenesse!


This is exactly how I anticipate this week in the office to be.

Have a great week, folks!

Sunday, 8 March 2020

She got legs, and knows how to use them








Cyd Charisse (born Tula Ellice Finklea, 8th March 1922 – 17th June 2008)

Saturday, 7 March 2020

Sensual..?



A musical interlude is well overdue, methinks - so let's once again wallow in the company of impossibly beautiful people cavorting in exotic locations, courtesy or the faboo Soft Tempo Lounge... and why not?


Ah, that's better!

Music: Letter To Jane by Unit 7 Band ‎

Friday, 6 March 2020

You better believe...



It's almost the end of another week, and thank heavens for that! It also happens to be the centenary of the influential director Lewis Gilbert (without whom we wouldn't have had classic movies such as Alfie, You Only Live Twice, The Spy Who Loved Me, Moonraker, Educating Rita or Shirley Valentine); other birthday celebrants include Frankie Howerd, Michelangelo, Stephen Schwartz, Kiki Dee, David Gilmour of Pink Floyd, Alan Davies, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa...

...and Mary Wilson (formerly) of the Supremes!

To get the party started with the appropriate level of sparkle, how about a little something from the later stages of the lady's career as part of that esteemed girl-group-sensation? Thank Disco It's Friday!


Have a great weekend, peeps!

Mary Wilson (born 6th March 1944)

Thursday, 5 March 2020

When you dance, you're charming and you're gentle, 'specially when you do the Continental



Madam Acarti, our friend Al and I are long-term fans of the German bandleader Max Raabe - indeed I first posted a blog about him twelve years ago. At that time, we adored discovering Herr Raabe and his Palast Orchester and their novelty "cod-dance-band" versions of hits by Britney Spears and Tom Jones, but before long our exploration of the man's musical repertoire led us to collect several of his albums, including his collaborations with the faboo Nina Hagen (who nowadays leads a Big Band of her very own).

Imagine our delight when we managed to land tickets for the opening concert of the very first UK tour by the maestro himself, at the swanky Cadogan Hall in Chelsea, no less!

Herr Raabe's is a loving tribute to the music of the Dance Band era of the 1920s and 30s, from both sides of the pond - and we were treated to not only some familiar standards from the golden age of British dance bands and from early Hollywood, but also a portfolio of (sometimes less-than-familiar) music from his native Germany, all interspersed with some dry-as-dust humour from the man himself, and some very amusing interplay between band-members and the audience as they "played-up" the sillier moments of some of the musical arrangements.

It was utterly faboo from beginning to end. Here is just a small selection of the musical numbers we enjoyed:




Particularly inventive and great fun were these two less familiar numbers:



Time just flew by in the company of Max Raabe. Getting up and down the myriad staircases at the Cadogan Hall from seats to bar and back again, on the other hand, seemed to take half a lifetime...

The evening was faboo, nonetheless - es war wunderbar, meine Lieben!

For details on the continuing tour visit Max Raabe and Palast Orchester website.

Wednesday, 4 March 2020