Sunday 31 May 2020

It doesn't make a difference if we make it or not

"Coronavirus tan"

Another beautiful, warm, sunny day again spent mainly in the garden - bliss.

It's really put me in the mood [when am I not?] for a bit more from our "house band" Postmodern Jukebox - first up, putting Jon Bon Jovi in the shade...

...followed by a rather - ahem - unusual tribute to Miss Peggy Lee [see my centenary tribute to her this week]:


Saturday 30 May 2020

So don't be persistent; please keep your distance

It has been a scorcher today in the extensive gardens here at Dolores Delargo Towers. As the BBC confirms, we couldn't have asked for better weather to be in lockdown:
The UK has experienced its sunniest spring since records began in 1929, the Met Office has said.

It is also set to be the driest May on record for some parts of UK, including the driest in England for 124 years.
Of course, this gives me the perfect excuse [as I do every time we have anything resembling hot weather here in the UK] to hark back forty-four years ago to that idyllic long, hot summer of '76...

The heatwave hadn't even started yet in May 1976 - we had another month to go before the UK began to bake. The fashions veered towards gypsy skirts and maxi-dresses for women, corduroys and high-buttoned flared denims for men (before all that was cast off for the rest of the summer in favour of swimming costumes, of course). In the headlines were "Gentleman" Jim Callaghan, our new Prime Minister, already facing falling Labour Party ratings; his predecessor Harold Wilson's controversial Resignation Honours list ("the Lavender List") was published, with a number of dodgy businessmen given peerages; we were celebrating the inaugural flight of Concorde to New York; former "millionaire's playground" the Lebanon was in flames in a bloody civil war; all eyes were on British tennis champion Sue Barker; and "Elsie Tanner" (Pat Phoenix) returned to Coronation Street after three years.

And in our charts this week? Abba's Fernando was at #1, and JJ Barrie, The Wurzels, Andrea True Connection, Sutherland Brothers & Quiver, Wings, Rolling Stones, Bellamy Brothers and Miss Ross were all present and correct... was this little oddity:

Can you imagine anyone having a hit with a song written by Hoagy Carmichael today?

Friday 29 May 2020

Scary. Twice over.

Another sunny weekend is looming, and I can't wait for 4 o'clock to arrive!

Meanwhile, with the scary news is that Scary Spice (aka Melanie Brown) blows out 45 candles on her cake today, so let's get her and the girls back together one more time (without too much hair-pulling) to start us off with a bang! [And check out the "world's greatest lip-syncher" Posh trying desperately to convince us that someone had actually let her sing on this...]

Of course, this being the end of another particularly tortuous week, we couldn't just leave it there.

Miss Brown shares her birthday with another "party girl", the very weird and distinctly untalented Jackson sister, LaToya. So, it is to another of that lady's unintentionally hilarious performances we turn to really get us into the party mood - and Thank Disco It's Friday!

Have a great weekend, peeps!

Thursday 28 May 2020

Whoa oh oh oh oh oh oh oh

How faboo! Today is the birthday of one of our most glittering Patron Saints, THE Princess, Miss Kylie Minogue - and, by way of a double celebration, she's not only launched her own-label Rosé wine [available at branches of Tesco here in the UK; probably not at our local one, more's the pity], but also...

...has a new Disco-themed album coming out!!!

I can't wait. Meanwhile, let us all wiggle our tushes to one of her classic numbers in that very genre, and clink a (virtual) glass of her "delicate and alluring" Chateau Minogue!

Many happy returns, Kylie Ann Minogue, AO, OBE (born 28th May 1968)

Wednesday 27 May 2020

Are you a muffin-walloper?

From The Guardian:
Like language, our emotions are universal and whatever fears and anxieties we are now experiencing, someone else in centuries gone by has felt the same way. Here is an A-Z of archaic and forgotten words that at some point in the past exactly described an elusive sense of peace, calm and delight. So, if you want to know your agathism from your euneirophrenia, read on and draw comfort from these linguistic oddities:
  • Agathism
    It’s hard to be an optimist knowing that there are tough times ahead. But in lieu of optimism, there’s always agathism – a word coined in 1830 for the belief that all things eventually get better, though the means by which they do is not always easy. It is a word to remind us that though we may be in for hard times, there is light at the end of the tunnel.
  • Bummel
    Our daily constitutional needn’t be an exhausting run around the block. Derived from a German word for “strolling”, a bummel is nothing more than a relaxing leisurely walk or wander.
  • Concubium
    Adopted into English from Latin in the 1600s, the concubium is the soundest, calmest, deepest part of your sleep. “That time of night when all men are at rest”, as one 17th-century dictionary put it.
  • Dolorifuge
    Whatever it is that makes you happy, that is your dolorifuge: this 19th-century term describes anything or anyone that alleviates feelings of pain or sadness.
  • Euneirophrenia
    One of the strangest side-effects of our curtailed routines at the moment is that our brains are working overtime while we sleep, so the word “euneirophrenia” might come in useful. It describes the wholly pleasing feeling you have on waking from an equally pleasant dream.
  • Focillation
    Derived from the Latin for “nourish”, a focillation is a momentary act of comfort or refreshment. Take it as a reminder that it is perfectly fine to take some time out, whenever you need it.
  • Glee-dream
    If you find solace in films or music, or find that you’re dearly missing the theatre or cinema, the word you are looking for is glee-dream. The modern form of the Old English “gleodream”, the Oxford English Dictionary defines this as “delight of minstrelsy” – that is, the pleasure that comes from a musical performance or similar entertainment.
  • Heterocentric
    How we all should – and, thankfully, how a great many of us currently are – living our lives: if you’re heterocentric then you’re more concerned with other people than you are yourself.
  • Interfulgent
    A fitting metaphor for the triumph of light in dark times. Derived from the Latin word for “shining”, something that is interfulgent shines through or between that which would otherwise obscure it – as sunshine through clouds or the leaves of trees.
  • Jamb-friend
    A jamb is a supporting timber, of course, which makes a jamb-friend an early 19th-century word for a friend with whom you could quite happily sit by a fireside talking and relaxing well into the early hours.
  • Kaffeeklatsch
    Borrowed from German in the 1800s, a kaffeeklatsch is a chattering catch-up with friends and family over endless cups of coffee. It’s a lot more poetic than the Victorian alternative: according to one contemporary dictionary, “scandal-loving women” who like to “meet over a cup of tea” were once known as muffin-wallopers.
  • Laetificate
    It’s a word not much used since the 1600s, but it’s one you might need today – or might be called on to offer to someone else. Quite simply, to laetificate is to lift someone’s spirits.
  • Meliorism
    George Eliot coined the word “meliorism” to define her outlook on life, once writing to the psychologist James Sully to explain that: “I don’t know that I ever heard anybody use the word ‘meliorist’ except myself.” Operating halfway between optimism and realism, meliorism is the belief that the world – no matter what shape it may be in – can always be improved by the concerted effort of mankind.
  • Nikhedonia
    Nike was the Greek goddess of victory. Hedone (as in hedonism) was a Greek word for pleasure. Put those two together and you have nikhedonia – a term from psychology for the inspiring, adrenalin-raising excitement of anticipating a future success.
  • Omnibenevolence
    Just as an omnipotent person has power over everything, an omnibenevolent person exhibits kindness to everything and everyone. That endless, all-encompassing compassion is omnibenevolence.
  • Peeled-egg
    We’re all guilty of worrying that the worst could suddenly befall us, but rarely imagine that something just as unexpectedly wonderful could take place. JRR Tolkien coined the word “eucatastrophe” to describe an unforeseen event of sheer good fortune, but the Scots beat him to it. First recorded in Scottish proverbs dating from the 1800s, a peeled-egg is: “A stroke of good fortune which one has not had to strive for.” It was once a popular name given to farms established on land with unanticipated natural advantages.
  • Queem
    Something described as queem is perfectly calm or serene – or by extension, perfectly smooth and level. Queemness, likewise, can be used to describe perfect serenity, or perfect smoothness and levelness, while two things that work queemly with one another are either perfectly harmonious, or, like two parts of a joint, snug and well adapted to one another.
  • Retrouvailles
    Adopted from French, retrouvailles literally means “refinding” – but it’s more usually understood as the French equivalent of what we might call a reunion or homecoming. Recently the word came to be used more imaginatively to describe the utter happiness or joy sparked by reuniting or catching up with someone you haven’t seen in a long time. A word well worth recalling in the months ahead.
  • Supernaculum
    It might be a fine glass of wine or whisky – or nothing more than a perfectly brewed and timed cup of tea. A supernaculum is a drink so appreciated that it is savoured to its very last drop.
  • Traumatropism
    A tree partly felled by gales or lightning can often continue growing – albeit in some ever more unwieldy or implausible shape. That undeterred response to earlier damage is an example of a phenomenon called traumatropism. Taken literally, it reminds us that nature is stronger and more resilient than we could ever imagine; metaphorically, it tells us that harsh setbacks need not end our progress.
  • Unsoulclogged
    It’s not the most handsome of words, but we’re all striving to be unsoulclogged. It is total contentment, peace of mind, and freedom from sadness and dejection – or, as one 1881 dictionary defined it, the state of “not being weighed down in spirit”.
  • Villeggiatura
    When you’re tired of the city or your usual routine, it’s time for a villeggiatura. Adopted into English from Italian in the 18th century, a villeggiatura is a restorative trip or holiday to the countryside, taken to lift the spirits and unwind the mind.
  • Worldcraft
    Ageing is hardly the most welcome of life’s certainties. But for every word to remind us of its drawbacks (to be eildencumbered is to be held back by age), there is one for its seldom considered positives. Worldcraft is an 18th-century word for the unmatched cumulative wisdom of an aged person whose long life has given them unique and much venerated insight – far beyond anything a younger, less experienced person could ever imagine.
  • Xenodochy
    Hospitality offered to strangers. The prefix xeno comes from the Greek word for “strange” or “foreign”, but we only tend to encounter it today in xenophobia. Now seems an apt time to highlight one of its overlooked opposites.
  • Yahrsider
    We are all looking out for our yahrsiders at the moment. A dialect term from the 18th century, a yahrsider is someone from the same family or town as you, or who shares the same community spirit.
  • Zenobia
    A courageous and effective third-century queen of Palmyra, Zenobia expanded her kingdom into the almighty Palmyrene Empire, stretching from Ankara to Aswan. Her name has been adopted as a term for a powerful, unstoppably determined woman.
So which words are going to enter your lexicon, dear reader?

Tuesday 26 May 2020

Miss Egstrom requests the pleasure

"One night in the elevator up to the hotel room where the singer would make-up, do her hair, and don the gown, a stranger asked, 'Are you Peggy Lee?' Her answer: 'Not yet, I'm not.'"

We have another centenary to celebrate today, dear reader - and it's one very close to our hearts.

In the mid-1930s, Miss Norma Deloris Egstrom wisely quit the unhappiness of her home life [weak and ineffective alcoholic father; abusive wicked stepmother] and her job in a bakery in rural North Dakota, and headed out into a world that offered opportunities for a pretty blonde with a remarkable jazzy singing voice. The newly-renamed Peggy Lee (for it is she) wound her way through a succession of nightclub engagements in California and Minneapolis before ending up in Chicago. It was here that none other than Mr Benny Goodman discovered this sultry, smokey-voiced singer just at a time when he was looking for a replacement for Helen Forrest. And the rest, as they say, is history...

From the Big Band era, through Walt Disney's Lady and the Tramp, jazz standards and calypso novelties, to the glittering legend (and gay icon) that she became, Miss Lee was always at the top of her game. The great and the good, including Ray Charles, Count Basie, Ella Fitzgerald, Lena Horne, Marlene Dietrich, Cary Grant, Jimmy Durante, Sammy Davis, Jr., Joan Crawford, Art Carney, Louis Armstrong and Judy Garland all queued to see her, heaping on the praise. Duke Ellington said of her: "If I'm the Duke, man, Peggy Lee is Queen." She allegedly had affairs with Frank Sinatra, Quincy Jones and Robert Preston, among many others; she married four times, three of them briefly, and outlived just about everyone in her retinue - to the end, sick and in a wheelchair, she was the consummate performer, and at any and every gala appearance she never failed to turn heads as she made her entrance.

We at Dolores Delargo Towers (inevitably) adore the woman, and have a huge swathe of her back catalogue in our multifaceted music collection. Including these [featuring the campest performance ever of her greatest hit]:

All hail Miss Peggy Lee! (26th May 1920 – 21st January 2002)

Monday 25 May 2020

Mucho gusto

[A view up my back passage]

{The wreckage of the ghastly tree that used to shade our midday garden - one down, several more to go]

Another glorious day - and it is a Bank Holiday, to boot!

After moving just about everything in the garden around yesterday, today was just a day for pottering, and basically enjoying the sunshine, topping up the tans.

Despite being still in lockdown and unable to go anywhere, the weather has made it all a bit more bearable. I just hope this self-isolation business all lifts before we start planning our next holiday to Spain...

...because on this Tacky Music Monday, here's the effervescent Señorita Durcal to remind us of the kind of entertainment we've become accustomed to expect!

Have a good week, dear reader.

Sunday 24 May 2020

Don't know what I want, but I know how to get it

After the hurricane yesterday that brought down one [just one, unfortunately] of the hideous weedy trees that surround and shade the extensive gardens here at Dolores Delargo Towers, we've spent today humping and shifting [oo-er] the pots around, potting-up and watering - to begin the transition between the late Spring flowers that are going over and (to give prominence to) those specimens that are going to give us the greatest show for the rest of the year.

And here, to accompany our sunny Sunday efforts - the Sex Pistols as you've never heard them before!

The Puppini Sisters

Saturday 23 May 2020

An update...

...on how my hair's doing under lockdown.

I may need to resort to using the hedge trimmer...

Friday 22 May 2020

Papa Africa

Oh dear. Sad news reaches us of the death of Mory Kanté, the legendary Mandinka/Guinean singer who surprised the world - and led the way for numerous African musicians such as Youssou N'Dour, Amadou & Mariam, Angélique Kidjo and Salif Keita (to varying degrees of success) into the Western pop market - with a song that became an international success in 1988, making it the first ever African single to sell over one million copies!

It was, and remains utterly irresistible, and is one of my favourites - and so, to add to the party mood that marks the start of the Bank Holiday weekend, here it is!

Love the suit. Love the dancers. Love everything about it!

RIP, Mory Kanté (29th March 1950 – 22nd May 2020)

But you, you think I'm not that kind of girl


Yesterday I spoke of simple pleasures in life, such as jasmine, lounge music and sunshine as being ideal ways to relax our minds in these strange times. Here's another, perhaps even more rewarding, way I'd like to ease some tensions - with today's birthday boy...

[Full video here]

Before I ruin another pair of knickers watching that, however, there are plenty of other reasons to celebrate - it is almost the weekend (and another Bank Holiday, to boot), it's almost pay day (even if there's nowhere to go to spend it) and there's more sunny and warm weather afoot, so let's travel back (scarily) twenty years this week to when this unforgettable little number was at the top of our charts, and...

...Thank Disco It's Friday!!

Have a faboo long weekend, dear reader!

Thursday 21 May 2020

Pleasure is our principle

Come in the garden, Love,
Come and enjoy the jasmine bloom;
It blooms for you.

The greatest joy in the extensive gardens here at Dolores Delargo Towers at the moment is the heavenly scent of our magnificent Jasminum polyanthum - finally paying us back for years of nurturing [and suffering; its buds have been devastated by winter gales, not least the "Beast from the East", several years running]. You only have to step out of the back door and the perfume is overwhelming...

Another ideal way to "de-stress" in these lockdown, confined-to-quarters times is, of course, to wallow in the lives of impossibly glamorous people in exotic locations once again - courtesy of the ever-reliable Soft Tempo Lounge!

Heavenly, indeed.

[Music: Alan Moorhouse - Now and Then]

Wednesday 20 May 2020

Queen of the Cobbles

She certainly was quite the glamour-puss in her day...

We have a centenary to celebrate today, dear reader - none other than everyone's favourite "Hotpot Queen" herself, Betty Turpin (later Williams) from Coronation Street, aka the lovely Betty Driver, born on this date in 1920.

Long before Corrie was even a twinkle in Tony Warren's camp little eye, however, "Our Betty" had a very different career path in mind. Having been pushed by her domineering mother into talent contest after talent contest, revue show to revue show, young Betty ended up a child singer on on BBC radio, as a singer-actress in some minor Ealing films, and eventually landed a career during the war as a Big Band vocalist - often appearing with Henry Hall.

Here she is, trilling beautifully:

...and here's her biggest "hit":

Of course, it is for her role as the ever-reliable (and longest-serving) barmaid at "The Rovers Return" that she will forever be remembered. But, it seems, her wartime singing talents never left her!

  • She originally auditioned for the role of "Hilda Ogden" in Corrie, but the producers wanted someone more "slightly-built".
  • Betty and her sister Freda ran a real-life pub in ­Derbyshire for many years before soap stardom beckoned.
  • Originally, Betty was told her character would only appear in six episodes but she went on to appear in 2,800.
  • Most famous for her catchphrase "Hotpot, Ken?", apparently in real life she was an ardent vegetarian and would never have cooked nor eaten it.

We loved her.

Betty Driver (born Elizabeth Mary Driver, 20th May 1920 – 15th October 2011)

Tuesday 19 May 2020

Never stop the action

People rarely find it difficult to get out of her way, but she has her "social-distancing hat" on just in case...

A horde of famous names - from Nancy Astor to Nellie Melba, Ho Chi Minh to Martyn Ware of Heaven 17, Sam Smith to Victoria Wood, Sandy Wilson to Pol Pot, James Fox, Edward de Bono, Joey Ramone, Pete Townshend, Nancy Kwan, Nora Ephron, Kemal Atatürk, Robert Kilroy-Silk, Malcolm X and Alma Cogan - were all born on this day...

...and it's also the birthday of our "Patron Saint of Snarling"!

Heeeere's Grace!

Work all day, as men who know
Wheels must turn to keep, to keep the flow

Build on up, don't break the chain
Sparks will fly, when the whistle blows

Never stop the action
Keep it up, keep it up

Work to the rhythm
Live to the rhythm
Love to the rhythm
Slave To The Rhythm

Axe to wood, in ancient time
Man machine, power line

Fires burn, heart beats strong
Sing out loud, the chain gang song

Never stop the action
Keep it up, keep it up

Many happy returns, Miss Grace Beverly Jones (born 19th May 1948)

Monday 18 May 2020

Come on, shake your body baby

Oh dear. After a rip-roaring weekend's "Eurovision replacement party" and a subsequent lie-in yesterday till 2pm, one might have thought we here at Dolores Delargo Towers might have been sick to the back teeth of overly-earnest, talentless-yet-energetic acts from Europe. Yet here we are again, dear reader, at the start of week #8 in lockdown...

...and what have I discovered to lift our spirits and wake us up on this Tacky Music Monday?

Miss Gloria Estefan must have been so proud.

Have a good week, dear reader - it's forecast to be a warm one...

Sunday 17 May 2020

'Cause we hate what you do

A statement from UN Secretary-General António Guterres:
The world marks International Day against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT) at a time of great challenge.

Among the many severe impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic is the increased vulnerability of LGBTI people. Already facing bias, attacks and murder simply for who they are or whom they love, many LGBTI people are experiencing heightened stigma as a result of the virus, as well as new obstacles when seeking health care. There are also reports of COVID-19 directives being misused by police to target LGBTI individuals and organizations.

As the pandemic unfolds, the United Nations will continue to highlight these and other injustices, as well as the need for everyone to be protected and included in the response to the crisis. Together, let us stand united against discrimination and for the right of all to live free and equal in dignity and rights.
As ever, on this important day in the gay rights calendar, to the regimes exercising and encouraging discrimination against us across the world; to Putin in Russia, to Jarosław Kaczyński in Poland, to the Sultan of Brunei, to Muhammadu Buhari in Nigeria, to the rulers of Jamaica, Saint Lucia, Uganda, Chechnya, Cameroon, Azerbaijan, Indonesia, Turkey, Barbados, Malaysia, Ethiopia, Antigua and Barbuda, Egypt, Kenya, Tanzania, Dominica, Grenada, Malawi, Zambia, Sudan, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, the mullahs of Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Palestine, Yemen, Afghanistan, the Maldives and Iran, and any other tinpot dictator, so-called preacher, so-called "family values" advocate, or right-wing politician who hates us, there is, and will forever be, one message...

I'll drink to that.

Socially-distanced Euro-madness

We're nothing if not troupers, our gang! Despite the limitations and frustrations of watching the telly with sound turned down and only one person's telly playing the audio, fifteen of us convened last night via Zoom for the whole marathon four-and-a-half hours of Eurovision-themed broadcasting, including Graham Norton's Eurovision: Come Together [which featured a selection of past Eurovision winners who were then subject to a vote from the public for the best ever; Abba's Waterloo won, unsurprisingly], the "official" trans-European broadcast Europe Shine a Light [which gave a snippet of every one of the 41 entries who would have been featured in this year's cancelled contest - with sarky commentary from Mr Norton again, as is traditional - plus appearances from Johnny Logan, Mans Zelmerlöw and many many more, remote sing-a-longs and a huge smattering of shmaltz], followed by the much more tongue-in-cheek A to Z of Eurovision hosted by Rylan Clark-Neil [which took an irreverent "sideways" look at the madness that is the secret of why we all love the contest so].

A helluva lot of alcohol, bitching about the performers and general merriment ensued...

Of the acts-that-missed-out this year [and none of the songs are permitted to be re-entered next year according to the rules, even if some of the acts may return], not many caught our ear - apart from these...

And the one that we, and the bookies, predicted might well have won it:

We all did THAT dance in our living-rooms...

Roll on next year - if this pandemic shit is indeed over by then - when the Eurovision Song Contest proper is set to (finally) be hosted in Rotterdam (where it was supposed to be yesterday)!

Saturday 16 May 2020

Like a queen in all her glory

As Madam Arcati and I happen to be celebrating(!) our 22nd anniversary in the month of May [we don't have a set date; just sometime this month], let's have another timeslip moment, dear reader - back to that long-distant world of...

...1998! The year of Tony Blair, commemorations of the death of Princess Diana the previous autumn, Geri Halliwell leaving the Spice Girls, the Kosovo War, the Second Congo War, the Good Friday Agreement in Northern Ireland, the dreadful Omagh bombing by dissidents opposed to that agreement, B*Witched, Charlotte Church, Titanic, the Human Rights Act, Hugo Chávez, Bittersweet Symphony, Welsh Secretary Ron Davies' notorious "error of judgment" with a man on Clapham Common and subsequent resignation, Robbie Williams, the "Free Deirdre" tabloid campaign, the singer from Chumbawamba throwing a bucket of ice over Deputy PM John Prescott, the BBC's Perfect Day, the President Clinton-Monica Lewinsky affair, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, All Saints, abolition of hereditary peers' right to sit in the House of Lords, Cher Believe, The Wedding Singer, the murder of Matthew Shepard, the devastating Yangtze river floods, Brimful of Asha, Blue Peter presenter Richard Bacon sacked for taking cocaine, the arrest of General Augusto Pinochet, Madonna's Frozen and Hurricane Mitch; the births of Shawn Mendes, the Akashi Kaikyō Bridge, the European Central Bank, the two pound coin and Google; and the year Roddy McDowall, Alice Faye, Patricia Hayes, Dermot Morgan (Father Ted), Jerome Robbins, Sonny Bono, Frank Muir, Enoch Powell, Catherine Cookson, Falco, Joan Hickson, Lew Grade, Shari Lewis, "Tiffany Mitchell" in Eastenders, Tammy Wynette, Linda McCartney, Maureen O'Sullivan, Florence Griffith Joyner and World in Action all died.

In the headlines in May twenty-two years ago this month? The death of crooner Frank Sinatra, two British nurses convicted in Saudi Arabia for the murder of Yvonne Gilford were pardoned, India and Pakistan tested nuclear missiles in an escalation of hostilities, gay footballer Justin Fashanu committed suicide after being arrested in the USA over an allegation of sexual misconduct with a 17-year-old, and Kevin Lloyd ("Tosh Lines" in The Bill) was found dead a week after having been sacked for alcoholism. In our cinemas: Sliding Doors, Deep Impact and The Big Lebowski. On telly: Open House with Gloria Hunniford, Don't Try This at Home and Invasion: Earth.

And what of our charts this week in May '98? Aqua was at #1 with Turn Back Time, and All Saints, Tamperer ft Maya, Wyclef Jean, Cleopatra, the Corrs, Simply Red, Queen Madge, Steps and the Mavericks were all present and correct.

But it is to the other (and most) important musical "happening" of May 1998 we turn for the "song of the moment". Hosted in Birmingham [after the UK triumph courtesy of Katrina & the Waves the previous year; the UK's last win], and against strong competition from our own Imaani, Malta's Chiara and the Netherlands' Edsilia (as well as bigotry from Orthodox Jews in her own country), it was the crowning moment for...

...the Eurovision Song contest's first trans competitor, Dana International!

She is all you’ll ever dream to find
On her stage she sings her story
Pain and hurt will steal her hearts alight
Like a queen in all her glory

And when she cries, Diva is an angel
When she laughs, she’s a devil
She is all beauty and love

Viva nari’a, viva Victoria, Aphrodita
Viva la Diva, viva Victoria, Cleopatra


Roll on tonight's (replacement for the cancelled contest) Eurovision merriment!

Friday 15 May 2020

I'm gonna strike like thunder

Of all the things hit by this dratted coronavirus thingy, the loss of our beloved Eurovision Song Contest is one of the hardest blows. Our "gang" is going to try and make up for the absence of the usual madness that accompanies our traditional house-party via Zoom tomorrow evening - but without the dressing-up, the scorecards, the raucous cheering, the buffet-of-all-nations and the flags, and only a contest-free evening of programmes on the BBC to console us, it could never be quite the same...

Still, we're in the closing throes of another weird week of being house-bound, and the sun is shining, so let's start the party mood a bit early - in the company of another in a long line [see here and here] of Ukrainian wannabee-divas, Ms Ani Lorak and her safety gays - and Thank Disco Eurovision It's Friday!

Shady, alright.

Don't forget to practice your shimmies and your gyrations, dear reader. You, too, could be the next Gina G.

Eurovision 2020 on the BBC

Thursday 14 May 2020

A chance to change the scene?

Oh, this "working from home" stuff is soooo tedious.

We know a song about that, don't we, children?

Everyone gets into a dull routine
If they don't get a chance to change the scene
I could not be wearier
Life could not be drearier
If I lived in Siberia
I'll tell ya what I mean...


Wednesday 13 May 2020

Quarantine Queens

Snap for me, Bea, snap!

An important public service announcement from... Todrick Hall:

"Febreze for me, Febreze!"


[The original may be found here...]

Tuesday 12 May 2020

Recommended daily portions?

Seven weeks into staying in all day with nothing to do but eat, we’re all already fat. But how much fatter will you get? Find out:

How many meals do you eat a day?

A) Three, of course.
B) We’re now up to around seven. It could be more, but the eating is so continuous they blend into each other.

Do you know how much cheese is the recommended daily portion?

A) A surprisingly small piece, around the size of a matchbox.
B) I walk around the house taking bites of a wedge of cheese like it was a slice of toast. So probably a lump about the size of my own head?

Where are you reading this?

A) In the park which I’m running round rapidly while doing quizzes on my phone to keep my mind active as well as my body.
B) Slumped on the stairs because the sofa has Deliveroo boxes on it from last night that I can’t be bothered to move, and because my body now provides its own cushioning.

What’s first dinner?

A) What? Dinner isn’t a numbered meal.
B) First dinner comes before second dinner. Second dinner is what comes before supper. It’s simple. You have to maintain some coherent logic in these challenging times.


Mostly As: You will emerge from lockdown no more than ten pounds heavier, which you will talk about constantly while your bloated colleagues stare blankly at you.

Mostly Bs: If you emerge from lockdown at all, you will look like Jabba the Hutt. But so will everyone else so it’ll be normal, so keep eating the Hobnobs.
The Daily Mash

Of course.

Monday 11 May 2020

The star

RIP, Nigel. The true star of Gardener's World.

Gigolo or gigolette?

Taking "Bal masqué" to a new level.

And here we are again - all locked up and nowhere to go. Boris's address to the nation yesterday basically left us as unclear as ever whether retail outlets other than "essential" will re-open any time soon, or pubs, or other entertainment venues. I doubt, given that social isolation rules on staying six feet apart are still in place, that we'll be thronging into a Wetherspoons or any West End theatre at any time soon till they work out how we can be kept at a safe distance from each other. Garden centres, however, have been lifted out of the "non-essential business" category, so we'll see if any of our local ones will pluck up the courage to re-open...

In the meantime, another week of cricking my back working from home on a teensy unergonomic laptop beckons - but while there's a Tacky Music Monday, there's hope. Especially when "The Queen of the Night", our beloved Régine hoves into view in her shocking pink boa!

In this typically bizarre clip, at first the great lady appears to be in a casino with some extras from a soft porn film, draping herself over Serge Gainsbourg. Then he stomps off, smoking, she appears to get escorted off the premises by a load of safety gays, and suddenly she she comes over all "Mama Rose". It's exactly what we need at a time like this...

Have a good week, dear reader. In familiar surroundings, inevitably.

More Régine here, here, here and (of course) here [and even more if you click her name in the "small print" at the foot of this post].

Sunday 10 May 2020

When I'm stuck with a day that's grey and lonely

Geranium "Johnson's Blue" is bursting with colour in the extensive gardens here at Dolores Delargo Towers, despite everything.

Weird weather. April was unseasonably hot and sunny, now May is behaving more like April should have - we basked in sunshine and 25C/77F temperatures yesterday; tomorrow it's forecast to be 12C/53F, with a drop to 4C/39F overnight! WTF?

Regardless of the sudden chill winds, the garden is throwing flowers out right, left and centre - the alliums, geraniums, iris, thalictrum, aquilegia, jasmine and fuchsias are all covered in buds and blooms. Even if we can't sit out there at the moment, it's a joy to look at through our kitchen window...

...meanwhile, it's clear that whatever Boris announces later today, we're still going to be in lockdown for a while yet. To tie thoughts of weather and self-isolation neatly together, here's another (corny) message from Postmodern Jukebox!

The dog is the star.

Saturday 9 May 2020

How evolution works...

...without the pioneering campery and extravagant styling pioneered by Little Richard, where would either Mr Rick James or Mr Prince Rogers Nelson have been?

RIP, "the King and Queen of Rock'n'Roll", Little Richard (born Richard Wayne Penniman, 5th December 1932 – 9th May 2020)

Friday 8 May 2020

There’ll be socially-distanced bluebirds over the White Cliffs of Dover

Socially-distanced wreath-laying, a two-minute silence, a re-broadcast of Winston Churchill's speech and an address from the Queen are among the national events taking place on this, the 75th anniversary of VE Day [the British Empire's victory over the beastly Hun]. We might well dress up as Anne Shelton.

Anniversaries - a forte of this here blog, as any fule kno - are remarkable things. Whoever would have dreamed that there might have been a possibility that centenarian Tom of Finland could blow out birthday candles on the same day as Sir David Attenborough [they were only born six years apart on this date, after all]? Or that these two maestros of such very different - ahem - specialisms might also share their big moment with the likes of Sid James, President Harry S. Truman, Enrique Iglesias, Melissa Gilbert, Marcus Brigstocke, Lex Barker, Darren Hayes of Savage Garden, Toni Tennille, former Chancellor of the Exchequer Norman Lamont, Roberto Rossellini, Gary Glitter, eminent historian Edward Gibbon, Dame Felicity Lott, Philip Bailey of Earth Wind & Fire, Roddy Doyle, Ricky Nelson, Phyllida Law, and - erm - Dave Rowntree, drummer with Blur... why not, on this most British of celebrations, have a little number from that most British of bands?

Hold on! I'm not finished yet...

Girls & Boys is indeed a bit of a party choon. Heaven forfend, however, that we should forget that some traditions are always adhered to at the close of any week here at Dolores Delargo Towers.

So, to complete the circle of "Britishness", let's let the "UK's answer to Donna Summer" Miss Tina Charles lead the way to our own socially-distanced virtual street Zoom party this evening - and Thank Disco It's VE Day Friday!

Have a good weekend, dear reader - and don't let your "Victory Rolls" get too messed up!

Thursday 7 May 2020

Heute Abend die Mensch-Machine

As a shorter-than-usual week's "excitement" working from home draws to its close (it's a bank holiday for the 75th anniversary of VE Day tomorrow), so our thoughts should normally be drawing towards party planning, and all that!

By bizarre happenstance, the sad news of the death of the "Chief Robot", founder-member of the one of the most influential bands in pop history Kraftwerk Florian Schneider has provided us with an opportunity (of sorts) to do so - firstly with an unexpectedly camp remix of one of their classic hits by the genius that is Matt Pop...

...and a possibly even more unexpected appearance by another of their tracks, here being whooped up by the enthusiastic dancers on what appears to be a "modern" follow-up to America's iconic Soul Train show:


RIP Florian Schneider-Esleben (7th April 1947 – 30th April 2020)

Wednesday 6 May 2020