Saturday 29 February 2020

Convoluted connections, #394 in a series

What links this song...

...with this...

...and this one?

French songwriter and producer Daniel Vangarde began as an avant-garde synthesizer music pioneer in the early 1970s, and released a pseudo-Japanese album masquerading as a band called the Yamasuki Singers. Once the Disco boom began, however, he went on to write and produce some of the biggest (and cheesiest) hits of the era, including Ottowan's D.I.S.C.O., and local hits in France with artistes such as Rocky et Vandella, The Great Disco Bouzouki Band, Sheila (later of B Devotion fame), and the Soul Iberica Band.

He also launched the Gibson Brothers onto an unsuspecting world.

Along the way, he was also responsible for the song originally titled Aieaoa, that was later given Swahili lyrics and re-named Aie a Mwana. In the 1980s, a trio of wild-child girls, who were hanging around with The Sex Pistols at the time, decided to record it as a demo. While doing so, they improvised the lyrics to rhyme with "banana" - and lo and behold, Bananarama was born!

Finally - what possible connection is there with song #3?

Well... Mr Vangarde was actually born Daniel Bangalter. His son Thomas, who with daddy's encouragement became an electronic music maestro in his own right, is one half of the enigmatic synthpop duo Daft Punk!

The apple doesn't fall far from the tree, they say...

Hoorah...'s a Leap Year!

Here's an appropriate number, methinks:


Friday 28 February 2020

Quick slick, pull the tricks

The weekend looms, and for that we are grateful; however the weather remains stubbornly grim, cold, grey and wet. London's bleak enough, but parts of the Midlands and now Yorkshire are rapidly evolving as inland seas, it seems. Hey ho - at least coronavirus has a rival for the tabloid headlines.

Regardless of the weather, there's still a requirement here at Dolores Delargo Towers to "crank things up a bit" as we near the end of any week. Today's treat comes from a late, great artiste around whom there is somewhat of a mystery: for, according to several obituaries, she was born on this date in 1946, yet according to her Wikipedia entry and indeed several other sources she was actually born in August!

Whatever the truth might be, the former Mrs Stevie Wonder [and co-writer with him of hits such as Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I'm Yours] Syreeta Wright (for it is she) was lauded in her short career for her sweet ballads - notably the Billy Preston duet With You I'm Born Again. As it turned out, that was the pinnacle of her recording career but, before she left the business, she had a stab at a more dance-oriented style.

From that era comes this long-forgotten number, so let's wiggle-along-a-'reeta and Thank Disco It's Friday!

Not really surprised that it wasn't a big hit.

Syreeta Wright (28th February OR 3rd August 1946 – 6th July 2004)

Thursday 27 February 2020

And I know that we're in trouble, but I swear that we'll survive

Hoorah! The UK has announced its entrant for the Eurovision Song Contest 2020 - Mr James Newman:

The world yawns...

I do not foresee us winning again this year.

Tuesday 25 February 2020

Men tossing

That got your attention, didn't it?

Yes, it's Pancake Day again... 'em quick, before the Nanny State health-freaks ban them!

Monday 24 February 2020

El bufón?

Oh, the horror of Mondays!

Grrrr. The alarm's gone off, and I'm still not a Lotto millionaire. Dammit!

As we drag ourselves blinking into the start of another week, what better than another trip back to Spain [we wish!] to brighten the mood..? Lord only know what the hell is going on here, but it's eminently suitable for a Tacky Music Monday:

Apparently he's a former clown and a very popular Spanish comedian.

I think I need more coffee...

Have a good week, dear reader!

Sunday 23 February 2020

I do my hair toss, check my nails

Spring is just around the corner? Cyclamen coum in the extensive gardens here at Dolores Delargo Towers.

It's been a slow and slightly frustrating weekend - every time I mustered up the energy to tackle some of the tasks that need doing in the garden at this time of year (cutting back dead stuff, tipping out and splitting up perennials, possibly pruning the fuchsias) the blustery wind picked up and it started raining.

Never mind, eh? A restful weekend was probably needed, after the first week back from holiday...

A band that definitely lends itself to such a laid-back mood, we're well overdue a little something from Scott Bradlee's Postmodern Jukebox - so, for the first time this year, here they are with another faboo cover:

We love them. Their concert at the London Palladium in October 2020 is completely sold out, too, so we're not alone in that!

Saturday 22 February 2020

What is it, muesli?

Remarkably, sharing a birthday with some of the "Best of British", including Kenneth Williams, Bruce Forsyth, Christine Keeler, Nigel Planer, Judy Cornwell, Sheila Hancock, Sir John Mills, Lord Baden-Powell, the Duchess of Kent and, erm, James Blunt; as well as George Washington, Marni Nixon, Drew Barrymore, Luis Buñuel, Guy Mitchell, Jonathan Demme, Ted Kennedy, Niki Lauda, Steve Irwin and Ellen Greene; our beloved Dame Julie Walters celebrates her 70th birthday today!

All hail.

One of our all-time favourite actresses here at Dolores Delargo Towers, Dame Julie has turned her hand to a little bit of everything, from drama to comedy to musicals, and in her long career quite rightly earned herself that well-trodden epithet "national treasure". She's been much in the news lately, talking about her recent all-clear after treatment for cancer - and for that we breathe a sigh of relief!

So without further ado, here's a random selection of favourite bits from her career...

Filth: The Mary Whitehouse Story

Two Soups

An inspiration in my life...

Many, many happy returns, Dame Julia Mary Walters DBE (born 22nd February 1950)

Friday 21 February 2020

Just like a paperback novel; the kind the drugstore sells

Oh. My. Gawd. This has been a looonnnggg week...

...but it's almost over! And to celebrate that fact and get that party started, how about a double-bill from the late, great Viola Wills?

First up, a track from way back in 1992 that I first heard this week, courtesy of the lovely Ana Matronic Dance Devotion show on Radio 2:

To add to the sparkle, however, here's one of the lady's more familiar numbers, a cover of an old Gordon Lightfoot standard:

That's brought the energy levels up a bit - Thank Disco It's Friday!

Have a great one, peeps!

Thursday 20 February 2020

Fairy foul-mouth, the obsessions of youth, gold star lesbians, Olympian lust and Diamonds Are Forever - in Heaven

John-John, little Tony and I trolled along to the legendary gay nightclub Heaven on Tuesday evening - not for a night of dancing and debauchery, needless to say at our venerable age, but for a special edition of "London's peerless gay literary salon" Polari!

As it was when last we were there, the main dancefloor was packed with punters (seated for a change) - including Our Paul, Emma and Toby, Bryanne and Simon, Adele Anderson, Karen McLeod, Paulo, our former Scope colleague David and his hubbie Max, Ian Elmslie, and many more regulars and assorted literati - eagerly awaiting a cultural, rather than hedonistic, experience. Our host Mr Paul Burston, paying tribute to Madonna's "Madam X" at stages throughout the show, opened the proceedings with aplomb...

...and first up we had a pantomime (after a fashion) - "oh, yes we did!" - a Trans Fairy Tale, performed by Cerys Evans. As the review in Broadway Baby described:
Once upon a time there was a fairy godmother. Except, this fairy godmother is more likely to say ‘bibbity-bobbity-fuck-you’ than turn a pumpkin into a silver carriage. She’s not magical, she doesn’t really care about her spoilt princess clients and she wakes up with her wild hair, her nightgown inside out and blowing raspberries...
Subversive, or what? The snippet of the show we got probably didn't do the show justice, but this was a good ice-breaking opener nonetheless.

As this special event formed part of this year's LGBT History Month, Paul Burston stepped outside his usual "safe zone" of MC, interviewer or reader of his own works of fiction into a more autobiographical mood [he hinted that there may indeed be a memoir-in-the-making]. Accompanied by a mini-slideshow of photos from his youth, to varying degrees somewhat embarrassing, he gave us a little vignette from his younger (more naive) days on the gay scene - enamoured of a Greek Adonis to such a degree he abandoned a family holiday to seek him out on a neighbouring Aegean isle, only, as is the way with whirlwind romances, to be sorely disappointed by the reunion. Lessons learned all round, but all part of life's rich tapestry, I suppose.

I look forward to seeing this salacious tell-all story being serialised in the Sunday People in the near future!

Completing the triumvirate of acts in the first half was the award-winning performance poet and activist Joelle Taylor, with her dramatic poem Cunto, latterly re-titled Butterfly Fist - which she herself described as:
"highlighting the journey we masculine women, we butches, we gold star lesbians have taken. It speaks of the female body as a political act and focuses on one simple intent: the taking back of a body. It looks at homophobia and misogyny and talks about the community we forged to overcome the grief of our own lives."
And here's just the merest clip of it, for your delectation:

Stunning stuff, indeed!

We really needed a fag after that, and, after the much-needed "comfort break", a trip to the bar and a little chance to mingle, it was up with the strobe and on with the rest of the show...

Opening proceedings was the glamorous Nikita Gill - a self-made success story thanks to her posts on social media - who read a few marvellous pieces from her new poetry anthology Great Goddesses, exploring some of the hidden-in-plain-sight same-sex desires of the Olympians. With stanzas such as these, who could resist?

“You, who wove stars into your hair as a girl,
and equally let them freckle your skin,
held the moon up as a looking-glass
and bewitched existence for eternity.”

"I watch Girl become Goddess
and the metamorphosis is more
magnificent than anything
I have ever known."

Of course, it could not end there.

There was a real treat in store, as the very lovely David McAlmont and his esteemed collaborator Janette Mason took to the stage, to perform a series of numbers from LGBT+ artists - including David Bowie and George Michael - and those we adore, such as Dame Shirley Bassey (Mr McAlmont's impeccable version of Diamonds Are Forever, of course!).

Despite the occasional crack in his voice (due to a cold), the shivers were riding up and down my spine throughout this brilliant performance! Why-oh-why is Mr McAlmont not up there with the great soul legends?!

We were left speechless.

Another triumphal night co-ordinated by Mr Burston - and, despite the absence of the DJ as advertised on our Eventbrite tickets, a thoroughly enjoyable one.

Next month, "the salon" returns to the Southbank, with headliner Philip Hensher, plus readings from Susie Lynes, Jennie Stone and Jamie Christian. I can't wait!

We love Polari!

Wednesday 19 February 2020

Thought for the day

“Coming from your friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man!”

Tuesday 18 February 2020

Berger King

Sigh. The world of work takes some getting used to again.

To soothe our furrowed brows, how about a little jaunt into the past, to wallow in the glamorous lives of impossibly gorgeous people once again - this time in Swinging London and the Home Counties, it seems - courtesy of the geniuses over at Soft Tempo Lounge..?

That's a bit better.

I had quite forgotten how attractive Helmut Berger was back in his heyday.

[Music: Strollin' Along - Lee Mason and His Orchestra (Pete Moore)
Film: Dorian Gray (1970)]

Monday 17 February 2020

When I say hit it, I want the big strong Jackie Gleason

I am really spitting feathers today.

After a lovely fortnight of total indulgence - our faboo week in Spain, then a week at home doing bugger all - it's time to drag myself queasily back to that dreariest-of-dreary places, the office.


Never mind, eh? Our little gang had one of our irregular regular gatherings on Saturday to mark Madam Arcati's birthday, and among the films we watched was one of his (and my) favourites, John Waters' original Hairspray. So, on this Tacky Music Monday, let's forget the impending tribulations of work for a moment and practice some dance moves.

It's Madison Time!

...and, to add to the uplift, here's the original version, featuring the late Annette Funicello...

Have a good week, peeps. I won't.

Footnote: Speaking of Hairspray, the singer of one of the film's musical numbers [A Town Without Pity] Gene Pitney - sharing a birthday with the likes of Barry Humphries (Dame Edna Everage), Ruth Rendell, Dame Patricia Routledge, Brenda Fricker, Alan Bates, Julia McKenzie, Rory Kinnear, Ed Sheeran, Ron Goodwin, and (erm) Paris Hilton - would have been 80 years old today...

Sunday 16 February 2020


Wales is not there anymore.

After a brutal night of hefty winds, Britain woke up to discover that its western chunk had been sheered off and was now tossing in the north Atlantic, 150 miles off the coast of Iceland.

People in Herefordshire were first to realise the principality had been removed when they awoke to find themselves living on the coast.

Martin Bishop, from the village of Clifford, said: “At first I thought my house had been picked up and dumped next to the sea, like some sort of ‘Wizard of Oz’ fantasy that I’m always having.

“I said to my dog, ‘we’re not in Herefordshire anymore, Toto’, but then I realised that Wales wasn’t there.

“At last.”

Bishop’s neighbour, Margaret Gerving, said: “It seems very traumatic at the moment, but it’s for the best.”

Jane Thompson, from Shrewsbury, added: “The A458 is now a road to nowhere. Sorry, the A458 is still a road to nowhere.”

Meanwhile, the government said it was studying a range of options on what to do about Wales and would announce a decision sometime next year.
The Daily Mash

Of course.

[The "real" story.]

*Ngholl = "missing" in Welsh

Saturday 15 February 2020

A word from our sponsors

I'm washing as we speak.

Friday 14 February 2020

Hearts and... peanut butter jelly?

[click to embiggen]

Groan. "St Hallmark's Day" is upon us. Cheap bouquets, oversized teddies, Love Island boxed scent'n'shower-gel sets from Savers - all will no doubt be flying off the shelves.

Bollocks to all that, I say - when I go shopping I want THIS to happen!

Thank Disco It's Friday! - and don't bother trying to book a table at Pizza Express...

Thursday 13 February 2020

Jane plays with Willi, Willi is happy again

A wealth of colour on display at the Orchid Festival at Kew Gardens yesterday

Sharing a birthday as he does with a mish-mash of "names" such as Kim Novak, Stockard Channing, George Segal, Peter Tork, Oliver Reed, Robbie Williams, Jerry Springer, Simon Schama, Tennessee Ernie Ford, Peter Hook of New Order, Joyce DiDonato, Emanuel Ungaro, Kevin Bloody Wilson and Sonia, another of our fave artists Mr Peter Gabriel blows out 70 candles on his cake today.

To my surprise, in almost thirteen years of this very blog, I have never featured the man (nor his extraordinary stage costumes) nor his music before! To make up for that, here are just a few hits from his memorable (and decades-long) back-catalogue - from when he left Genesis in the 1970s to his commercial breakthrough in the 1980s:

...and my personal fave:

Jeux sans frontières
Jeux sans frontières
Jeux sans frontières

Hans plays with Lottie, Lottie plays with Jane
Jane plays with Willi, Willi is happy again
Suki plays with Leo, Sacha plays with Britt
Adolf builds a bonfire, Enrico plays with it

Whistling tunes we hide in the dunes by the seaside
Whistling tunes we're kissing baboons in the jungle

It's a knockout

If looks could kill,
They probably will
In games without frontiers
War without tears

Games without frontiers
War without tears

Jeux sans frontières
Jeux sans frontières
Jeux sans frontières

Andre has a red flag, Chiang Ching's is blue
They all have hills to fly them on except for Lin Tai Yu
Dressing up in costumes, playing silly games
Hiding out in tree-tops shouting out rude names

Whistling tunes we hide in the dunes by the seaside
Whistling tunes we piss on the goons in the jungle

It's a knockout

If looks could kill,
They probably will
In games without frontiers
War without tears

Games without frontiers
War without tears

Jeux sans frontières

Many happy returns, Peter Brian Gabriel (born 13 February 1950)

Wednesday 12 February 2020

Shooting stars never stop even when they reach the top

We've just got back from a lovely day at Kew Gardens - more on that later, no doubt, once we've had a chance to look at all the photos - but it dawned on me earlier that we had missed a milestone birthday (his 60th!) of one of our favourite artists, the outrageous and ground-breaking Mr Holly Johnson (formerly frontman of Frankie Goes to Hollywood)...

Let us make up for that with a blast from the Frankies in their absolute heyday!

The world is my oyster........
Ha ha ha ha ha........

The animals are winding me up
The jungle call
The jungle call

Who-ha who-ha who-ha who-ha

In Xanadu did Kublai Khan
A Pleasuredome erect!

Moving on keep moving on-yeah
Moving at one million miles an hour
Using my power
I sent it by the hour
I have it so I'm mocking it
You really can afford it-yeah
Really can afford it

Shooting stars never stop
Even when they reach the top
Shooting stars never stop
Even when they reach the top

There goes a supernova
What a pushover-yeah
There goes a supernova
What a pushover

We're a long way from home
Welcome to the Pleasuredome
On our way home
Going home where lovers roam
Long way from home
Welcome to the Pleasuredome

Moving on
Keep moving on

I will give you diamonds by the shower
Love your body even when it's old
Do it just as only I can do it
And never ever doing what I'm told

Keep moving on
Got to reach the top

Don't stop
Pay love and life-oh my
Keep moving on
On again-yeah

Shooting stars never stop
Shooting stars never stop

Shooting stars never stop
Even when they reach the top
There goes a supernova
What a pushover

Who-ha who-ha
Welcome to the Pleasuredome!

Many happy returns, William Holly Johnson (born 9th February 1960)

More Holly here, here, here, here and here.

Tuesday 11 February 2020

Got up and got out

And so, farewell then, Miss Paula Kelly.

Who? I hear some people ask...

Miss Kelly may not have been a huge household name - indeed, much of her on-screen career was spent in supporting roles in Blacksploitation movies and US telly shows such as Police Woman - but it is for one memorable screen appearance we love her the most: that of the sassy "Helene" in Sweet Charity, more than holding her own alongside the estimable talents of Shirley MacLaine and Chita Rivera in my favourite movie musical number, ever!

Here's the lady herself in a bizarre clip from the Oscars [yes, them again!], in the company of the great Miss Bergman and Mr Poitier...

...and again, with Miss Verdon, Miss McKechnie and Miss Gallagher at the 1973 Tony Awards [did they only ever drag her out for awards ceremonies?]:

A sad loss.

RIP, Paula Kelly (21st October 1943 – 9th February 2020)

Monday 10 February 2020

Puttin' On the Ritz?

As always, Billy Porter had the best "look" of them all.

We never bother to watch the Oscars here at Dolores Delargo Towers. It's broadcast in the middle of the night in the UK, for one thing, and for another - it's just a boring load of pretentious speeches, frocks, and inevitably wrong nominees and winners. Apart from winning Best New Song for the unmemorable new one Dame Elton and Bernie Taupin wrote for the film, Rocketman didn't even receive a nomination for Best Picture nor Best Actor for Taron Egerton, which is criminal (especially considering the lashings of accolades that were heaped upon Bohemian Rhapsody last year)!

I digress. We may still be on holiday this week, but it is a Tacky Music Monday - so let's get on with the show, in the company of today's birthday boy the late, great Peter Allen, together with the very lovely Bernadette Peters.

Now this is what I call an Oscars ceremony performance!

This year's ceremony featured homophobic cunt Eminem. Say no more.

Have a good week, peeps!