Saturday, 25 September 2021

A word from our sponsors

[click any pic to embiggen]

Friday, 24 September 2021

That was just a lie!

Reach! For the stars...

Yesterday, regular reader Uptonking said: "I need me some disco ball fairy dust magic, dammit."

Who am I to argue?

Let's boogie our way into the weekend with this selection of fabulosity - and Thank Disco It's Friday!

Have a great one, daaaahlings!

Thursday, 23 September 2021

False memory syndrome

Childhood was an idyllic, carefree time where everything was wonderful. Or was it? Here are five lies your brain tells you about it:

The sun always shone all summer long

Bollocks. Your brain can’t be arsed remembering the endless days of incessant rain, and why should it? No one wants to dwell on being bored shitless stuck in the house before they’d  invented the internet and all you had to entertain you was Connect 4.

Subbuteo was brilliant

Even in the primitive world before Playstations, Subbuteo was unrealistic rubbish. Have you ever seen a real life footballer shoot from 30 yards out and somehow end up flying into the back of the net before the ball did? Let’s face it: Subbuteo was shit.

We’d graze our knees playing and it wouldn’t bother us one bit

The truth is you bawled your eyes out every time you came off your bike and skinned your knee, just like any other child. Not least because you knew it meant your mum would scrub it with TCP that stung worse than the original injury, after first giving you a clip round the ear for being so clumsy.

Christmas was such a magical time

Christmas as a kid was about hoping and praying you’d get the new BMX you wanted so desperately, and then experiencing crushing disappointment when your parents had fobbed you off with a Care Bear. And they made you eat lunch while the Top of the Pops Christmas special was on, the vindictive bastards.

School days were the best days

If you were at school during the 70s, 80s or 90s bullying was basically part of the curriculum and if you told a member of staff about it they’d give you detention for being a tell tale. In those days the teachers could fling chalk, blackboard rubbers or even chairs at you and nobody would bat an eyelid. It was Grange Hill on steroids.

The Daily Mash

Of course.

Wednesday, 22 September 2021

Homework

Tuesday, 21 September 2021

Hey Sister, Go Sister, Soul Sister, Go Sister

RIP, Miss Sarah Dash, the "least scary" of the estimable ladies of LaBelle!

[More Sarah here, on the occasion of the death of her collaborator Ari Gold earlier this year]

Monday, 20 September 2021

Isn't she cute, isn't she sweet? An eyeful you'd die for, a pleasure to meet

Groo. Another weekend bites the dust.

To ease our troubled minds and weary bodies back into the fray, yesterday marked the 80th anniversary of the birth of the faboo Mama Cass - and on this Tacky Music Monday (rather than play the obvious), here is the lady herself as you've probably never seen her before!

[Shame the video is such crap quality, but it is over half a century old, after all!]

All hail Cass Elliot (born Ellen Naomi Cohen, 19th September 1941 – 29th July 1974)!

Sunday, 19 September 2021

Our memories, well, they can be inviting


RIP, Jane Powell

After a sultry and warm day yesterday followed by a grand night out, today has brought things down with a bump with the return of the rain and mizzle.

Hey ho, we have a welcome return to celebrate - that of the magnificent Postmodern Jukebox! Perfect "Sunday Music" on a grey day, and doing a magnificent job on one of my fave songs of the late 1990s, to boot...

Ah, that's better...

Scott Bradlee's Postmodern Jukebox official site

Saturday, 18 September 2021

Helenism

I'm off out tonight to a celebration of the life of a faboo lady.

Helen Pike (for it is she) was the ebullient hostess-with-the-mostest at many an event - LGBT History Month or otherwise - at our fave, the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology.

Always the first to find an excuse for a "dressing-up occasion", she and "emcee" John J. Johnston formed an enduring "double-act" that kept us coming back time and again to any event she organised.

She is indeed a huge loss to The Petrie, and to its parent body University College London. I miss her, and look forward to raising a "glass of" in her memory tonight. RIP.

Read a very lovely tribute to Helen by her colleagues at UCL.

[Click the "Petrie Museum" tag below for more about events she organised - and click here for even more in my other blog the Dolores Delargo Towers Museum of Camp.]

Friday, 17 September 2021

Day-O, day-ay-ay-O!


Is this Ms Scarlet, doing "a lot of side-to-side stepping and arm movement"? We should be told!

Whoopee! The weekend is almost upon us...

We have a smattering of sunshine here at the moment, which is always cheerful (albeit for a shorter and shorter time, as the nights draw in) - but to really lift our spirits, we need a proper burst of summertime, courtesy of LOBO!

Thank Disco It's Friday!

Cheesy or what?

Have a great weekend, my leetle chums!

Thursday, 16 September 2021

We have several floors in our office...

...going down the stairs is the easy part...

Wednesday, 15 September 2021

Take my tears and that's not nearly all

"What we're gonna do right here is go back, way back, back into time."*

Yes, folks, another timeslip moment beckons - and off we hurtle yet again through the mists of time four decades to the year I turned eighteen...

In September 1981 - apart from the strange sensation that for the first time I did not have to go back to school - the news was full of frothing headlines about the arrival of the "Women's Peace Camp" at Greenham Common (proposed site of a US Cruise Missile base) and about the "decimalisation" of petrol and diesel (now to be sold by the litre, not the gallon). Also in the headlines: the continued rise of the Social Democratic Party (with the defection from Labour of the sitting Islington MP) and its alliance with the Liberals (which prompted the notorious speech by their leader David Steel: "go back to your constituencies and prepare for government"; it never happened, as Maggie Thatcher's Tory party remained in place for the whole decade), the salvage of gold ingots worth £40 million from the wreck of HMS Edinburgh off Norway, and the massive free concert in New York's Central Park given by Simon and Garfunkel; in the ascendant were Cecil Parkinson (who became chairman of the Conservative Party), and Belize (which gained independence from the UK); the first Boeing 767 aeroplane was "born", but we bade a sad farewell to "Young Mr Grace" from Are You Being Served? Harold Bennett. In our cinemas: An American Werewolf in London; The French Lieutenant's Woman; Escape to Victory. On telly: the debuts of Only Fools and Horses, Danger Mouse, Bullseye and Postman Pat.

And in our charts this week four decades ago? Adam and the Ant's Prince Charming had just crashed in at #2, destined to dominate our consciousness for months to come, mainly thanks to its magnificently camp video [which I realise to my surprise I have never featured on this blog before; and, even more surprisingly, there's only a lo-res version on YouTube]:

All present and correct was some fab stuff from The Human League, Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, Gary Numan, UB40 and the Rolling Stones, and also - ahem - Cliff Richard, ELO and Aneka's bloody Japanese Boy.

But holding onto the top slot for a second (and final) week was one of my all-time favourite songs - and the stirring of my foray into the world of hair-dye, eyeliner, diamanté, pegged trousers and pointy shoes had begun...

40 years on, and this choon is still a mainstay of all our parties [although the dancing to it is nowadays much creakier], and every time I hear it I still do that "wrists together" action Marc did on Top of the Pops.

Time flies when you're having fun...

[* The "back, back into time" quote and clip above - as used by Johnny Walker in the intro to his Sounds of the Seventies show on BBC Radio 2 - is an extract from Troglodyte (Cave Man) by The Jimmy Castor Bunch.]

Tuesday, 14 September 2021

Totty of the Season


Paul Walker (12th September 1973 – 30th November 2013)


Ben Cohen (born 14th September 1978)


Colin Firth (born 10th September 1960) as "Mr Darcy"


John Curry (9th September 1949 – 15th April 1994)


Hugh Grant (born 9th September 1960)


George Chakiris (born 16th September 1934)


Barry Sheene (11th September 1950 – 10th March 2003)


Prince Harry (born 15 September 1984)


Ryan Philippe (born 10th September 1974)

Sigh.

[click any photo to embiggen]

Monday, 13 September 2021

I would rather be just a little shady


Gosh, our "1970s camp Disco icons" are dropping like flies this year. We've lost both Patrick Juvet and Raffaella Carra, and now comes that sad news that Maria Mendiola [the one in white in all the photos and videos], founder-member of the world-conquering Spanish duo Baccara, has died, at just 69 years old.

We at Dolores Delargo Towers are bereft again - but on a Tacky Music Monday, for a "wake-up call" as we return to the joys of work, I never need an excuse to pay due tribute to Spain's original "tacky music Queens"!

First up, of course, is their debut hit - which has sold an estimated 18 million copies so far [the best-selling Disco record according to the Guinness Book of Records, no less), and shows no sign of abating since it was adopted by (of all things) Scotland football fans as an "anthem":

Even more camp was their second hit [despite their cult status, they only ever had two hits in the UK]:

The duo produced a few more singles that were hits in Europe, and even entered the Eurovision Song Contest - before they finally called it a day in 1979 and split into two rival camps, both using the name Baccara, neither of which had much success. Let's revel in a few more from their back catalogue, opening with this eye-opener:

RIP Maria Mendiola (4th April 1952 – 11th September 2021)

Have a good week, dear reader.

Sunday, 12 September 2021

Bring me my arrows of desire

It was with a palpable sense of relief last night that we welcomed the return of one of the eternal highlights of our "Social Calendar" - its final denouement, indeed - the Last Night of the Proms, in front of a (traditionally "rowdy") live audience again [and in the 150th anniversary year of Royal Albert Hall, no less]! The Madam and I, despite being on our own at home (not even a Zoom meet-up, as was the case with last year's "cut-down version"), grabbed our Union Jacks and cleared our voices for the traditional sing-along...

For once, there wasn't too much dross to sit through in the run-up to the finale, thank goodness [of course we only joined it in part 2, after the interval], as it opened with the jolly Juba Dance by Florence Price.

The duo of Tango numbers (Piazzolla's Libertango and Aníbal Troilo's Sur) featuring the rising star accordionist Ksenija Sidorova was actually rather brilliant [no footage our there yet; thanks BBC!]. The round-the-UK folk song segment, not so much.

Apart from the marvellous BBC Symphony Orchestra, the BBC Singers and the genial conductor Sakari Oramo, the real star of the show, however, was Australian "James Corden looky-likey" tenor Stuart Skelton. He had already tackled Wagner in the first half, and in the second not only sang the traditional Brigg Fair (as arranged by Percy Grainger) and the aforementioned Tango elegy Sur, but also performed a sentimental version of Peter Allen's I Still Call Australia Home - wearing a sequinned shirt in tribute to the uber-camp singer-songwriter [see here] (who was, of course, immortalised by the lovely Hugh Jackman in the musical The Boy from Oz).

That done, the "fun bit" began - starting with the customary opener, Sir Henry Wood's Fantasia on British Sea-Songs, with the audience all bobbing along to the shanties and doing the "fake dabbing-of-the-eyes" for "There's No Place Like Home" (Tom Bowling), before Mr Skelton returned to the stage, this time in full Aussie cricket gear, for the rousing Rule, Britannia!

We'd hardly put our flags down for a swig of booze, and we were off again, singing along with gusto to the "National-Anthem-in-all-but-name" Edward Elgar's Land of Hope and Glory:

After Sakari Oramo's heartfelt speech, highlighting the devastating impact the pandemic had had upon the lives and livelihoods of musicians and singers over the past year, as well as the traditional "three cheers" to the founder of the Proms Sir Henry, we headed to the finale, with that other magnificent sing-along number Hubert Parry's Jerusalem:

And, with The National Anthem and the closing Auld Lang Syne, that was it for another year...

Utterly wonderful - and a tradition that should be preserved against "the slings and arrows" of hand-wringing "wokeness", self-delusional Europhiles and the rest!

Read about this year's Last Night of the Proms in detail, song by song, courtesy of the BBC.

Saturday, 11 September 2021

Remember me, remember me, but ah! forget my fate

There are certain events in history that are so significant that everyone remembers where they were when they heard the news: Princess Diana's death; the Kennedy assassination; the fall of the Berlin Wall and so on.

Twenty years ago today was one of the most dramatic of them all - the terrorist-hijacked plane attack on the twin towers of the World Trade Centre in New York.

I was in a meeting out of town when news started to trickle through. The office only had a radio so it wasn't until I had a lift with a colleague who was staying over in a hotel in London, where the lounge had a big screen television showing the news footage, that the full impact hit home. Three thousand civilians lost their lives that day. An act of war. Life could never be the same again...

Overshadowed forever by the remembrance of this horror, today is the birthday of the sublime soprano Catherine Bott, so here she is with something appropriate for the occasion:

11 September 2001 remembered

Friday, 10 September 2021

I'm happy - I'm carefree - I'm gay

Another weird week is almost over - it began with some welcome sunshine and actual heat on actual skin, but is drawing to its end with a return to dankness, with heavy rain forecast for this afternoon. Such is life in the UK.

To top it all, we should have genuinely been "in the mood for a party" - for tomorrow was supposed to have been the (rescheduled) Gay Pride march in London, which is now cancelled thanks to the ineptitude of the "organisers" as much as the dreaded you-know-what.

Coincidentally, this week we also heard the sad news of the death of Mr The Reverend Carl Bean, a very early gay rights pioneer who made a cult Disco classic under the aegis of no less than Motown Records way back in 1977 and went on to found a church catering for a black LGBT+ congregation and a prestigious AIDS Foundation, to boot!

I can think of few better ways to launch a weekend than by featuring that very anthem - and Thank Disco It's (another non-Pride) Friday!

I'm walking through life in nature's disguise
You laugh at me and you criticise

'cause I'm happy, carefree and gay - Yes, I'm gay
It ain't a fault it's a fact
I was born this way Now I won't judge you
Don't you judge me
We're all the way nature meant us to be

I'm happy - I'm carefree - I'm gay
I was born this way

You call me strange 'cause you don't understand
God's role for me in life's overall plan
I've learned to hold my head up high
Not in scorn nor disgrace
Doin' my thing individually
Entwined with this human race
Now I won't judge you - don't you judge me
We're all the way nature meant us to be

I'm happy - I'm carefree - I'm gay
I was born this way

You laugh at me and you got the nerve to criticise
If I were you I'd sit down
And consider what you're doin'
Love me and I love you
And together ain't no tellin' what we'll do

Yeah - born I said
From a little bitty bitty boy
I was born this way
I love you, I love you
And even you - born this way - yeah

I'm tellin' y'all one more time
I was born this way, proud to tell it
I was born this way
Gonna shout it, tell the world about it
I was born this way

[Yes, this song was allegedly "credited as an inspiration" for La GaGa's much later similarly-named "song"/cover of Madonna - but looking at this early review, she didn't even acknowledge its existence at first...]

RIP, Carl Bean (26th May 1944 – 7th September 2021)

Much, much more about the singer and the song at the dearly-missed Queer Music Heritage site.


Footnote:

The article I linked to above also happened to feature yet another song with a similar title...

...from one of our most treasured Patron Saints!

Have a fab weekend, dear reader!

Thursday, 9 September 2021

Public Service Announcement, #639 in a series

You were warned.

[click to embiggen]

Wednesday, 8 September 2021

Mullet!

It's technically impossible for a sound to have a mullet – and yet 80s music persisted. These bands were roughly 4:1 on the haircut to music front:

Bananarama
Venus is still popular today everywhere from dancefloors to razor ads, and Gillette chose the song especially because you can actually hear Bananarama’s stiff, vertical hairsprayed locks in the track’s vocals.

Van Halen
Beloved by teens worldwide, Van Halen’s hair resembled what any 13-year-old boy finds most comforting: his mother. Cut layers into shoulder-length, chestnut hair and you’re looking at either a young Eddie van Halen or the new head of the PTA.

Kajagoogoo
Kajagoogoo believed that if you take Bananarama hair, then hack away at it with scissors and dye, it’ll make for songs that are just as beloved and commercially successful, right? What was that one hit they had?

The Police
Eventually The Police split, which was obviously going to happen once they stopped having identical looks and admitted Sting’s hair was best. You can’t perform as a unit if you don’t all have flicky bleached blonde ‘dos.

Wham!
Not even sarcastic: George Michael had a mullet and it looked good. Conspiracy theorists reckon he couldn’t actually sing at all, we were all just so mesmerised by his tresses we never noticed.

Duran Duran
The band were actually named after the ‘dur-an, dur-an’ noise of hairdryers desperately trying to tease their hair into anything like the majesty of George Michael’s. Ended up resembling the row of photos in a hairdressers’ window that optimistic customers point to.

Bon Jovi
Listen to Livin’ On A Prayer and the very riffs themselves tell you it’s by five men with the silhouettes of cocker spaniels after nasty encounters with static electricity.

Phil Collins
Collins’s midlife crisis albums powerfully demonstrated that you can be a multi-million selling artist and still it all means nothing because you’re losing your hair. That’s what makes his records so emotionally raw and harrowing.

The Daily Mash

Of course.

Tuesday, 7 September 2021

Do I have it in me? I believe it is in there


"Hey Mr DJ, put your knickers on"..?

Time for a selection of the "newer" choons that have caught my ear again, dear chums!

Before we go there however, it's worth noting that we're currently in the midst of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year - traditionally celebrated by "raising a noise" and blowing a horn. There are a few "horns" in this video featuring house fave Uriel Yekutiel that I wouldn't mind blowing...

Shanah Tovah!

Onwards and upwards... Let's start with the "big releases" [since their reunion and forthcoming album is all over the news, it's inevitable] from ABBA, shall we?

The portent for the album is very promising, indeed - of these two "teasers", however, I prefer the second of the pair...

By complete contrast, here's the latest from everyone's favourite spunky Croatian pluckers - doing battle with Bon Jovi and winning:

Speaking about "winning battles"... We haven't heard much from [another house fave here at Dolores Delargo Towers] Señorita Monica Naranjo in a while, but here she is, paying tribute to smashing a song originally recorded by none other than Kim Wilde...

The next video is included here not because I particularly like the song, the music nor the singer's voice, but merely because of the excessive amount of ripe flesh Mr Mendes likes to show off - and who are we to argue? Watch it with the sound down, and it's rather good...

[The review in the Guardian made me hoot, as well: "In the UK, it has only been a summer of love if your passion is lateral flow tests or overpaying for a holiday cottage in Cornwall – but clearly, Shawn’s had a better couple of months. Here he boasts about drinking tequila, staying in bed all day and shagging so much it “felt like we were 18” again, which, given he’s still only 23, isn’t actually that impressive."]

As highlighted recently by Mr Device, I do like the new one by "Our Sophie" and her hubby's band The Feeling (from the soundtrack to the forthcoming Everybody’s Talking About Jamie film):

And finally... "Little Miss Weekend-without-an E" and his latest banger!

As usual, let me know what you think, dear reader.

Monday, 6 September 2021

Breathless

RIP Jean-Paul Belmondo, icon of the French "New Wave" (9th April 1933 – 6th September 2021)

[click any photo to embiggen]

Meanwhile, at the Palace


Monday again.

Grrrrr... Another fab weekend over too soon.

Never mind, eh? The fact that today happens to be the birthday of the lovely Jo Anne Worley gives me the perfect excuse on this Tacky Music Monday to revisit a mightily-odd-yet-glittering cavalcade of ill-matched stars, of which she was one, pretending to like Mr Anthony Newley...

Bizarre, but faboo!

Have a good week, dear reader.

Sunday, 5 September 2021

Kinda Ooooh


Kimberley, Sarah, Cheryl, Nadine and Nicola

Sad news today of the death of singer Sarah Harding, aged just 39, of breast cancer prompted me to go back through the back catalogue of her band Girls Aloud - and I found this rather snazzy number from fifteen years ago, which I loved at the time...

...and this, from 2008:

Having had a verrrry slow day - I didn't arise till 2pm after the excesses of yesterday's BBQ at friends Russ and Joe's place; I didn't get home till the wee small hours - mainly pottering in the garden on what has been a much-needed warm and sunny day after all the gloom of August, that's a perfect wake-me-up, methinks!