Friday 31 December 2021

Missin' several angels

Go, girl! *

It's the final, final countdown - not merely the end of a week, but the end of a year!

Having depressed everyone yesterday by opening the "Book of the Dead 2021", it's time to (sort of) make amends - with a party. We shan't be hosting a real one again this year, more's the pity, thanks to fucking Omicron ["our gang" will be gathering via Zoom/Teams/wotever instead] - but let's get some dance choons lined up for a (solitary) boogie nonetheless!

Every track on this playlist is from someone who has departed for the ever-growing dancefloors of Fabulon this year - so let's raise a glass to the memory of each and every one of 'em, and Thank Disco It's New Year's Eve Friday!!

Have a faboo New Year, dear reader! Clink, clink. It can only be better. Can't it?

[* Scary fact: the boy in that classic "meme-y thing" is now 39 and living in Boston]

Thursday 30 December 2021

RIP, 2021

And so, the year we thought might have provided us with a respite after all the fear and dread that 2020 flung at us - yet was in many ways even worse - is almost over, and it is time once more, dear reader to open "The Book of the Dead".

As I said this time last year, "I am aware that there were thousands more who will never make such a list, who will be mourned as well" - but here it is; the roll-call of the great and the good, and the definitely not-so-good to whom we waved farewell this year.

Again, it's quite a haul...

Mark Eden (British actor, the villain "Alan Bradley" in Coronation Street)
Gerry Marsden (British musician, Gerry and the Pacemakers: Ferry Cross the Mersey, How Do You Do It, You'll Never Walk Alone)
Gordon "Butch" Stewart (Jamaican businessman, founder of Sandals resorts, newspaper proprietor, arch-homophobe)
Barbara Shelley (British actress, Hammer Horror's number-one female star in the 1960s)
Shelley Hack (US model and actress, sixth "Angel" in the final series of Charlie's Angels)
Albert Roux (French-British award-winning chef and restaurateur, Roux Brothers)
Michael Apted (British director, producer and writer, Gorillas in the Mist, The World Is Not Enough, Seven Up! and its successor documentaries)
Katharine Whitehorn (British pioneering journalist and columnist, The Observer)
Nancy Walker Bush Ellis (US socialite, charitable fundraiser and environmentalist, sister of George Bush Snr)
Sir David Barclay (British billionaire businessman, The Ritz Hotel, The Spectator, The Daily Telegraph)
Eve Branson (British philanthropist and child welfare advocate, mother of Richard Branson)
Sylvain Sylvain (Egyptian-US guitarist, New York Dolls)
Grace Robertson (photographer and photojournalist, Picture Post, Life magazine)
Gerry Cottle (British circus owner and the owner of the Wookey Hole Caves in Somerset)
Siegfried Fischbacher (German-US showbiz magician, one half of Siegfried and Roy)
Charlotte Cornwell (British actress, "Anna" in Rock Follies)
Sammy Nestico (US composer and arranger, Count Basie Orchestra, The Color Purple, M*A*S*H)
Phil Spector (US "Wall of Sound" record producer, Righteous Brothers, the Ronettes, the Crystals, Ike and Tina Turner; convicted murderer)
Jimmie Rodgers (US singer, English Country Garden, Kisses Sweeter than Wine)
Nathalie Delon (French actress, ex-wife of Alain Delon)
James Purify (US singer, James and Bobby Purify: I'm Your Puppet)
Larry King (US veteran broadcaster, Larry King Live)
Joseph Sonnabend (South African scientist and pioneering HIV/AIDS researcher, early proponent of "safer sex" behaviour, arch-critic of AZT treatment)
Cloris Leachman (US actress, The Last Picture Show, Young Frankenstein, The Mary Tyler Moore Show)
Cicely Tyson (US actress, Roots, Fried Green Tomatoes, Diary of a Mad Black Woman)
Hilton Valentine (British guitarist, The Animals: The House of the Rising Sun)
Allan Burns (US television producer and screenwriter, created The Munsters, wrote for The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Rhoda)
Maureen Colquhoun (British politician, first out-lesbian MP)
Captain Sir Tom Moore (British Army officer, centenarian and record-breaking charity fundraiser)
Jim Weatherly (US songwriter, Midnight Train to Georgia, Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me)
Lord Vestey (British peer and horse-breeder, chairman of Vestey Holdings (Dewhurst butchers, Fray Bentos, OXO), former chairman of Cheltenham Races and Master of the Horse)
Naim Attallah (Palestinian-British publisher, the Literary Review, The Oldie, The Women's Press, Quartet Books)
Christopher Plummer (Canadian actor, The Sound of Music, The Man Who Would Be King)
Jean Bayliss (British actress, "Maria" in the original West End production of The Sound of Music, "Cynthia Cunningham" in Crossroads)
Leon Spinks (US boxing champion, famously beat Mohammed Ali)
George Shultz (US statesman, centenarian, served in senior posts under Presidents Eisenhower, Nixon and Reagan)
Mary Wilson (US singer, founder member of The Supremes; icon)
Larry Flynt (US porn publisher: Hustler; free speech campaigner and litigant)
Frank Mills (British actor, Rumpole of the Bailey, "Betty"'s husband in Coronation Street)
Chick Corea (US jazz musician and composer, won 23 Grammy awards)
Carlos Menem (Argentine statesman, former President, re-established relations with the United Kingdom after the Falklands War)
Doug Mountjoy (British (Welsh) champion snooker player)
Sir William Macpherson (British (Scottish) judge, chair of the Stephen Lawrence murder enquiry into institutional racism)
Ari Gold (US singer-songwriter and gay role-model, Sparkle (with Sarah Dash))

Steuart Bedford (British conductor and pianist, former artistic director of the Aldeburgh Festival)
Rush Limbaugh (US right-wing radio host, political commentator, homophobe and misogynist)
Peter Dorey (British gay rights activist, co-founder of Gay's the Word bookshop in London)
Peter Harris (British television director, The Muppet Show, Spitting Image, Family Fortunes)
Sir Eddie Kulukundis (British shipping magnate and philanthropist, founding investor and life president of Ambassador Theatre Group, husband of Susan Hampshire)
Ronald Pickup (British actor, Fortunes of War, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Holby City, Darkest Hour)
Johnny Briggs (British actor, "Mike Baldwin" in Coronation Street)
Ian St.John (British (Scottish) footballer, Liverpool; television pundit, Saint and Greavesie TV show)
Bob Swash (British theatrical producer, Evita, Blood Brothers, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat)
Bunny Wailer (born Neville Livingston; Jamaican singer and percussionist, Bob Marley and the Wailers)
Chris Barber (British trad jazz bandleader and trombonist)
Nicola Pagett (British actress, "Elizabeth Bellamy" in Upstairs, Downstairs; A Bit of a Do, There's a Girl in My Soup)
Tony Hendra (British satirist, producer and writer: National Lampoon, Spitting Image; actor: Spinal Tap)
Lou Ottens (Dutch engineer, inventor of the cassette tape)
Duggie Fields (British Pop Art/post-modernist painter, designer, graphic artist and cultural icon, invented the term "maximalism")
Norton Juster (US children's book author, The Phantom Tollbooth)
Trevor Peacock (British actor, Vicar of Dibley, and songwriter: Mrs. Brown, You've Got a Lovely Daughter, Andy Capp the musical)
Bill Harkin (British architect, designed and built the first Glastonbury Pyramid Stage)
Goodwill Zwelithini, King of the Zulu nation
Murray Walker (British Formula One racing commentator, journalist and "national treasure")
Marvin Hagler (US champion boxer)
John Reynolds (British television producer, As Time Goes By, Panorama)
Yaphet Kotto (US actor, Live and Let Die, Alien, The Running Man)
Sabine Schmitz (German motor racing champion and TV host, Top Gear)
Elsa Peretti (Italian jewellery designer for Tiffany, model and philanthropist)
Peter Lorimer (British (Scottish) champion footballer, Leeds United, Scottish national team)
John Crichton-Stuart, 7th Marquess of Bute
George Segal (US actor, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, A Touch of Class, The Owl and the Pussycat, For the Boys)
Larry McMurtry (US novelist whose works became films: The Last Picture Show, Terms of Endearment; screenwriter: Brokeback Mountain)
Myra Frances (British actress, Survivors, Crown Court, first lesbian kiss on British TV (with Alison Steadman in the play Girl), wife of actor Peter Egan)
Doreen Lofthouse (British entrepreneur and philanthropist, built Fisherman's Friends from cottage industry to a multimillion pound global enterprise)
Patrick Juvet (Swiss model and Disco singer-songwriter, I Love America)
Gloria Henry (US actress, Rancho Notorious)
Paul Ritter (British character actor, The Hollow Crown, Friday Night Dinner, Vera)
Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh
Shay Healy (Irish songwriter, Johnny Logan's What's Another Year)
Galen Weston (British-Canadian billionaire businessman, owner of Selfridges)
Baroness Shirley Williams (British politician, former Labour cabinet minister who quit the party and co-founded the SDP)
André Maranne (French-British actor, The Pink Panther, Fawlty Towers)
Bernie Madoff (US financier and investment manager, convicted of the largest "Ponzi scheme" financial fraud in US history)
Helen McCrory (British theatre and film actress, "Cherie Blair" in The Queen; Harry Potter, Peaky Blinders; wife of Damien Lewis)
Felix Silla (Italian-US actor and stuntman, "Cousin Itt" in The Addams Family, "Twiki" in Buck Rogers in the 25th Century)
Charles Geschke (US computer software developer, co-founder of Adobe and co-developer of the PDF and desktop publishing)
Barry Mason (British songwriter (with Les Reed), Delilah, Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes), The Last Waltz)

Walter Mondale (US politician, Vice President to Jimmy Carter)
Anthony Powell (British costume designer, Travels With My Aunt, Death On The Nile, 101 Dalmatians)
Jim Steinman (US  composer, lyricist and record producer, Bat Out of Hell, Dead Ringer for Love, Total Eclipse of the Heart, Holding Out for a Hero)
Idriss Déby (President of Chad for 30 years)
Tempest Storm (US burlesque stripper, "The Queen Of Exotic Dancers")
Les McKeown (British (Scottish) singer and teen heartthrob, Bay City Rollers: Bye Bye Baby, Shang-a-Lang)
Joe Long (US bass guitarist, The Four Seasons)
Milva (Italian chanson singer and actress)
Billie Hayes (US television, film and stage actress, "Witchiepoo" in H.R. Pufnstuf)
Christa Ludwig (German dramatic mezzo-soprano opera and Lieder singer)
Alber Elbaz (Moroccan-Israeli fashion designer, Guy Laroche, Yves Saint Laurent, Lanvin)
Michael Collins (US astronaut, Apollo 11 lunar mission)
Olympia Dukakis (US actress, Moonstruck, Steel Magnolias, Tales of the City)
Marcel Stellman (Belgian record producer (Pinky and Perky) and lyricist (Tulips from Amsterdam); brought the French show Des chiffres et des lettres to the UK as Countdown)
Jacques d’Amboise (US ballet dancer, New York City Ballet, and founding director of the National Dance Institute)
Lloyd Price (US "doo-wop"/R&B singer-songwriter, Lawdy Miss Clawdy, Personality)
Nick Kamen (British male model, singer and songwriter, famously stripped to his boxers in an advert for Levi's jeans)
Paul Van Doren (US businessman, co-founder of Vans shoes)
Graeme Ferguson (Canadian film-maker, co-founder of Imax)
Pauline Tinsley (British soprano, Welsh National Opera, English National Opera)
Norman Lloyd (US actor, director and supercentenarian (106), St. Elsewhere, Alfred Hitchcock's Saboteur, Dead Poets Society)
Charles Grodin (US character actor, The Great Muppet Caper, Beethoven, Heaven Can Wait)
Max Mosley (British former racing driver and head of motor racing's governing body, successfully sued the News of the World over an orgy "scandal")
John Warner (US politician, senator, famously married Elizabeth Taylor)
Rusty Warren (US comedian and singer, released several albums of risqué cabaret songs such as Knockers Up! and Sin-sational)
John Davis (US singer, one of the real singers behind the notorious mimers Milli Vannilli)
Samuel E. Wright (US actor and singer, Under The Sea in Disney's The Little Mermaid)
Eric Carle (US children's author and illustrator, The Very Hungry Caterpillar)
Freddy Marks (British singer, of "Rod, Jane and Freddy" on Rainbow)
Shane Briant (British actor, Hammer horror films)
Gavin MacLeod (US actor, "Your Captain, Merrill Stubing" in The Love Boat)
B.J. Thomas (US singer, Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head)
Damaris Hayman (British character actress, Doctor Who, Confessions of a Driving Instructor and much more)
Douglas S. Cramer (US television producer, Wonder Woman, Dynasty, The Love Boat)
Ben Roberts (British actor, "Chief Inspector Derek Conway" in The Bill for 15 years)
Edward de Bono (Maltese-British academic and doctor, originator of "lateral thinking")
Ned Beatty (US actor, Network, Hear My Song, Deliverance)
Kenneth Kaunda (Zambian statesman, first President)
John McAfee (British-US tech entrepreneur, McAfee anti-virus software)
Jackie Lane (British actress, "Dodo Chaplet" in Doctor Who in the 1960s)
Stuart Damon (US actor, "Craig Stirling" in The Champions)
Donald Rumsfeld (US politician, Defence Secretary who instigated the Iraq War in 2003)
Bill Ramsey (US jazz, swing and pop singer, who sang mostly in German and became a citizen of Germany)
Richard Donner (US film director, The Omen, Superman, Lethal Weapon)

Anne Stallybrass (British actress, The Six Wives of Henry VIII, The Peppermint Pig, Onedin Line)
Raffaella Carrà (Italian singer, dancer, actress, television host and gay icon)
Dilip Kumar (Indian Bollywood actor, star of 65 films)
William Smith (US character actor, "Falconetti" in Rich Man, Poor Man)
Paul Mariner (British championship footballer and manager)
Max Griggs (British shoe manufacturing entrepreneur, Doc Martins)
Tom O'Connor (British comedian and game show host, Name That Tune)
Mary Ward (Australian actress and supercentenarian (106), "Mum" in Prisoner Cell Block H)
Jackie Mason (US stand-up comedian, actor and voiceover artist, The Simpsons)
Dieter Brummer (Australian soap actor and heartthrob, Home and Away)
Dusty Hill (US bass guitarist and vocalist, ZZ Top)
Mo Hayder (British crime and thriller writer)
Paul Johnson (US house music DJ and producer, Get Get Down)
Les Vandyke (born John Worsley; British songwriter, What Do You Want? (for Adam Faith), Jack in the Box (for Clodagh Rodgers), Does Anybody Miss Me (for Shirley Bassey))
Dennis Thomas (US saxophonist, co-founder of Kool and the Gang, member for six decades)
Jane Withers (US child star; film, TV and advertising character actress, TV show host and voiceover artist)
Pat Hitchcock (British actress and producer, only child of Alfred Hitchcock)
Una Stubbs (British actress, television personality, dancer and national treasure: Summer Holiday, Till Death Us Do Part, Worzel Gummidge, Give Us a Clue)
Nanci Griffith (US country/folk singer-songwriter, first recorded From A Distance)
James Hormel (US philanthropist, gay rights activist and first openly gay man appointed as an US Ambassador (to Luxembourg))
Sean Lock (British comedian, 8 Out of 10 Cats)
Austin Mitchell (British former Labour MP, journalist and TV presenter)
Jill Murphy (British children's author, The Worst Witch)
Don Everly (US singer, last surviving member of The Everly Brothers: All I Have to Do Is Dream, Cathy's Clown)
Brian Travers (British saxophonist, founder member of UB40)
Grange Calveley (British cartoon artist, creator and writer of Roobarb and Custard (animated by Bob Godfrey))
Charlie Watts (British drummer, Rolling Stones)
Michael Nader (US actor, "Dex Dexter" in Dynasty)
Lee "Scratch" Perry (Jamaican reggae musician, pioneer of "dub", and songwriter, Police & Thieves)
Ed Asner (US actor, Lou Grant, and voiceover artist, Up)
Mikis Theodorakis (Greek composer, Zorba the Greek film score)
Joan Washington (British vocal and dialect coach, wife of Richard E Grant)
Sarah Harding (British singer, Girls Aloud)
Tony Selby (British character actor, Get Some In!, Doctor Who, Love Hurts)
Jean-Paul Belmondo (French actor and heartthrob, Breathless, That Man from Rio)
Carl Bean (US singer, gay anthem I Was Born This Way, and founder of a church for Black LGBTQ+ worshippers)
Michael K. Williams (US actor, The Wire, Boardwalk Empire)
Lynn Ruth Miller (US-British stand-up comic, “the world's oldest performing comedienne”)
Edward Barnes (British BBC children's television producer, co-creator of Blue Peter, creator and producer of Newsround and Multi-Coloured Swap Shop)
Maria Mendiola (Spanish singer, founding member of Baccara, Yes Sir I Can Boogie, Sorry I'm a Lady)
Charlotte Johnson Wahl (British artist, mother of PM Boris Johnson)
Reuben Klamer (US inventor, board game The Game of Life)
Norman Bailey (British opera singer, Wagnerian bass-baritone)
Sir Clive Sinclair (British inventor: pocket calculator, ZX Spectrum personal computer, the Sinclair C5)

Jane Powell (US actress, singer and dancer, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Royal Wedding, Hit the Deck)
John Challis (British comedy actor, Benidorm, "Boycie" in Only Fools and Horses)
Jimmy Greaves (British champion footballer and television pundit, Saint and Greavesie TV show)
Sarah Dash (US singer, founder-member of Labelle)
Richard H. Kirk (British electronic musician, Cabaret Voltaire)
Willie Garson (US actor, played a prominent gay character in Sex and the City)
Robert Fyfe (British (Scottish) character actor, "Howard" in Last of the Summer Wine)
Roger Michell (British theatre, film and television director, The Buddha of Suburbia, Notting Hill)
Len Ashurst (British football player and manager, Newport County)
Alan Lancaster (British rock bass guitarist, founder-member of Status Quo)
Andrea Martin (US R&B singer-songwriter and record producer: En Vogue, Toni Braxton; singer of the song that became Tomcraft's Loneliness)
Roger Hunt (British champion footballer, member of the victorious England World Cup team in 1966)
Barry Ryan (British singer, Eloise)
Sir John Chilcot (British civil servant, chair of the damning Iraq war inquiry)
Luisa Mattioli (Italian actress, third wife of Roger Moore)
Gerald Home (British actor and puppeteer, operated "Audrey II" in Little Shop of Horrors)
James Brokenshire (British MP and former minister)
Rick Jones (Canadian-British children's TV presenter, Play School, Fingerbobs)
Everett Morton (St Kitts-British drummer, The Beat)
Paddy Moloney (Irish musician, The Chieftains)
Sir Gerry Robinson (Irish-British business executive and television "celebrity businessman")
Sir David Amess (British sitting MP, murdered by a constituent)
Alan Hawkshaw (British TV theme composer, Grange Hill, Dave Allen at Large, Countdown)
Geoffrey Chater (British character actor and centenarian, Mapp and Lucia, If..., The Bill)
Denise Bryer (British voice actress, Terrahawks, Labyrinth, Hector's House)
Colin Powell (US military officer and statesman, first black Secretary of State)
Leslie Bricusse (British Oscar-winning composer and lyricist, Goldfinger, You Only Live Twice, Pure Imagination, Le Jazz Hot!)
Bernard Haitink (Dutch conductor, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra)
Ivy Nicholson (US fashion model, actress and Warhol acolyte)
James Michael Tyler (US actor, "Gunther" in Friends)
Wakefield Poole (US film director, pioneer of the gay pornography industry)
Christopher Wenner (British TV presenter, Blue Peter; aka Max Stahl, investigative reporter, Channel 4 News)
Ado Campeol (Italian restaurateur, called "the father of tiramisu")
Nelson Freire (Brazilian classical pianist, frequent collaborator/duettist with fellow pianist Martha Argerich)
Ronnie Wilson (US funk musician, co-founder of The Gap Band, Oops Upside Your Head)
Bob Baker (British scriptwriter, Doctor Who [co-created "K-9", "Omega" and "the Axons"], Wallace and Gromit)
Georgie Dann (French singer based in Spain, "King of cheesy summer hits")
Lionel Blair (British entertainer, actor, dancer, choreographer, television personality and national treasure)
Clifford Rose (British actor, "Gestapo officer Kessler" in Secret Army, honorary associate of the Royal Shakespeare Company)
Astro (British musician (born Terence Wilson), founder-member of UB40, lead vocalist on Rat In Mi Kitchen)
Andy Barker (British DJ and dance musician, 808 State)
Dean Stockwell (US actor, Quantum Leap, Married to the Mob, Blue Velvet, Compulsion)
Austin Currie (Northern Irish civil rights activist and politician both sides of the border, founder member of the SDLP and Fine Gael minister)

Roy Holder (British actor, Ace of Wands, Sorry!, Loot)
Gwyneth Guthrie (British (Scottish) actress, "Mrs Mack" in Take The High Road)
Graeme Edge (British drummer, poet, and founder-member of The Moody Blues)
F. W. de Klerk (South African statesman and Nobel Peace Prize winner, began the process of the abolition of apartheid and served in Nelson Mandela's government)
Wilbur Smith (Zambian-born South African prolific and best-selling novelist)
Joe Siracusa (US drummer, last surviving member of Spike Jones and his City Slickers; and cartoon editor, The Pink Panther, Spider-Man)
Clarissa Eden, Countess of Avon (British socialite, supercentenarian, widow of former Prime Minister Sir Anthony Eden (later Lord Avon))
Mick Rock (British photographer: David Bowie, Lou Reed [Transformer LP], Queen, Rocky Horror Picture Show)
Bernard Holley (British actor, "PC Newcombe" in Z-Cars, "DI Mike Turnbull" in The Gentle Touch)
Marilyn McLeod (US songwriter, Love Hangover by Diana Ross)
Prince Andrew Romanoff (Russian aristocrat, claimant to the crown of the House of Romanoff)
Stephen Sondheim (US maestro of musicals; songwriter, composer and legend: Gypsy, Company, Follies and myriad others)
Sir Frank Williams (British Formula 1 racing entrepreneur, Williams Racing)
Arlene Dahl (US actress: Journey to the Centre of the Earth, Slightly Scarlet; businesswoman, and mother of Lorenzo Lamas)
Sir Antony Sher (South African-British actor, Royal Shakespeare Company, "Disraeli" in Mrs Brown)
Fortune FitzRoy, Duchess of Grafton (British aristocrat, Mistress of the Robes to HM The Queen, and supercentenarian)
Bob Dole (US politician, Republican Senate leader and former Presidential candidate)
John Miles (British rock music vocalist, guitarist and songwriter, Music)
Ralph Tavares (US soul singer, founder-member of Tavares)
Robbie Shakespeare (Jamaican bass-player and music producer, Sly and Robbie, Grace Jones)
Steve Bronski (British (Scottish) keyboardist and songwriter, Bronski Beat)
Lina Wertmüller (Italian award-winning film director, Seven Beauties)
Mensi (Thomas Mensforth) (British punk singer, Angelic Upstarts)
Garth Dennis (Jamaican reggae musician, Black Uhuru)
Michael "Mike" Nesmith (US singer, guitarist and songwriter, founder-member of The Monkees)
Anne Rice (US author, Interview With a Vampire)
Jack Hedley (British actor, Colditz, For Your Eyes Only, The Scarlet Blade, The Anniversary)
Jethro (British (Cornish) comedian)
Wanda Young (US singer, The Marvelettes, Please Mister Postman, When You're Young and In Love)
Richard Rogers (British architect, Pompidou Centre, Lloyd's of London, Millennium Dome)
Carlos Marín (German-Spanish baritone singer, Il Divo)
Paul Mitchell (US soul singer, The Floaters, Float On)
Sally Ann Howes (British actress, "Truly Scrumptious" in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang)
Robin Le Mesurier (British guitarist, Rod Stewart, Johnny Hallyday, The Wombles, son of John Le Mesurier and Hattie Jacques)
Joan Didian (US award-winning author, essayist and columnist)
Grace Mirabella (US fashion journalist, editor-in-chief of Vogue magazine throughout the 1970s and 80s)
Ray Illingworth (British cricketer, former captain of the England team)
Janice Long (British DJ and broadcaster, BBC Radio 1, Radio 2, Radio Wales and Top of the Pops)
Archbishop Desmond Tutu (South African cleric, anti-apartheid, civil rights and gay rights campaigner)
Jean-Marc Vallée (Canadian film and TV director, The Young Victoria, Dallas Buyers Club, Big Little Lies)
E. O. Wilson (US award-winning biologist and professor, conservationist and writer)
April Ashley (British model, author and socialite, one of the earliest male-to female transsexuals)
Sabine Weiss (Swiss-French photographer)
Diana Maxwell, Baroness Farnham (British aristocrat, Lady of the Bedchamber to HM The Queen)

Once more, I repeat: "Fuck off, 2021".


As if 2021 couldn't get any worse...

RIP Betty White (US actress, comedienne and icon, Golden Girls)

[Thank you for the info, Mistress Maddie.]

So get your mind made up, call me on the telephone

In previous years I might have taken this opportunity - in this "bit in the middle" - to put in a load of effort, go back month-by-month, and choose a variety of tracks that have caught my attention during the year to produce a summary of fave choons.

This year - when everything we might have hoped for (after the initial arrival of COVID in 2020, and the expectation that that was it) was cancelled or fucked-over, including our usual break in Spain in February, our Eurovision party, visits to Kew Gardens, Gay Pride, the annual pilgrimage to Amsterdam for my birthday, our regular picnic, Proms in the Park, and now our New Years' Eve bash - I say stuff that!

There is only ONE song from this year I really think deserves the prize...

They remain the campest thing under the sun, and I love them!

Fuck you, 2021.

[A cornucopia of previous musical choices from this, and previous years, is available if you clink the "Pick of the Pops" label at the foot of this blog post]

Wednesday 29 December 2021

Forever April

Another legend departs for the hallowed halls of Fabulon...

With the sad news of the death of the legendary Miss April Ashley, one of Britain's earliest and most famous male-to female transsexuals, I feel the need to revisit the post I did over at the Dolores Delargo Towers Museum of Camp for her 80th back in in 2015...

... overjoyed at the discovery of its entirety on the interwebs, I found myself immersed in reading April Ashley's Odyssey, her fascinating biography/autobiography (written with Duncan Fallowell). It is one helluva story.

After a fairly shaky start in Liverpool - a sickly and bullied child, and having experienced a somewhat traumatic adolescence - the young George Jamieson started cross-dressing. As "Toni April" she moved to Paris in the late 1950s and joined the famous French entertainer Coccinelle in the cast of the drag cabaret at the Carousel Theatre.

Determined to realise her ultimate ambition, however, she said: "The day I wear women's clothes is the day I know I can become one." And so it came to pass...
While sweating it out in that bed in Casablanca, I was convinced that after the operation life could only be a shower of diamonds and almond blossom. But isn't it maddening? You move one mountain only to find yourself at the foot of another. Maybe some don't live like this, maybe for some life is just a frolic among molehills, but I always seem to pass from crisis to crisis. What made me able to survive these abrupt switches of fortune...was an underlying wonderment at my own transformation. No worldly distemper could obliterate my sense of the mysterious alchemical nature of the world, its ravishing possibilities, the chances for turning an idea into a fact.

Whenever I looked at myself in the mirror it was not in self-admiration or self-congratulation but in disbelief. Yes, I looked beautiful. I was told this so many times that it ceased to affect me. This is not quite the same as saying it was unimportant. One may cease to be sensitive to such flattery only to find oneself sensitive to the absence of it. ...The great gift is to feel beautiful. I never felt beautiful before the operation. And after it? Hardly a day passes without my being astonished and exalted by what was possible for me. I resist the temptation to thank God, just as I resisted the temptation to deify Dr Burou (too many sex-changes develop God-fixations on their surgeon). None the less, the fact of my transformation is a continuing source of strength.

April has some beauty tips to offer:
...without make-up my whole face is blank. It is a plain canvas on which I can paint almost anything. I'm sure that's why I gave up painting, because my face became my canvas. Making-up is also my meditation in the concentration of which I compose my inner self.
  • Eyes: masses of blusher under the eyes to take away any bags or dark circles. My top eyelashes grow straight downwards and without make-up the eyes look quite small. So I apply plenty of mascara, rolling the lashes again and again to make them curl upwards. And this opens up the eyes enormously. Everyone thinks I have huge eyes but I haven't, it's an optical illusion. My eyes are deep set, so I favour a dark eye-shadow to bring them out. This also makes the irises appear much darker than they really are, almost black in fact. To separate the eyes, I thicken all the lines slightly towards the temples. Eye-shadow carried above the eyelids raises the eyebrows. My eyebrows are very high up anyway and excellently shaped with the minimum of plucking.
  • Nose: I have a slightly retroussé nose and since I detest such noses I put a little white on the tip of it to make it look straight.
  • Mouth: the best thing in the world for making a mouth look young is to have a very precise one. My mouth was never very precise at the best of times, so I outline it in dark pencil, then fill it in with lipstick. Then I cover it with gloss to make it last all night. The best ever was California Gloss by Max Factor. Can't we get it back? I can't imagine why they discontinued it.
  • Skin: only two commandments. Clean it and feed it. That's all. Once a day before bed, with cold cream and moisturiser. Diet is not crucial. A bad diet won't necessarily kill a good skin, but it pays to be reasonable. If you drink, a lot of moisturising is essential. Alcohol, champagne most of all, is very dehydrating. Hard-drinking men would look far less haggard if they fed their skin.
  • Hair: I had a lot of white in my hair which I wasn't inclined to hide. But with the place fogged with cigarette smoke, it would turn a vile yellow. So regularly I'd blue rinse it which brought up the white a pale blue and made the black very black.
  • Clothes: always long because the patrons expected glamour. I was the main attraction and so of course went overboard. Once I wore jeans to work and some Americans who'd brought friends in to see me in all my finery were frightfully disappointed. They said they felt cheated, as if the understudy were on for the night, so I didn't do it.
  • Shoes: the staff reckoned I walked five miles a night up and down the tables. With all that walking, you must provide the foot with a norm. Chopping and changing of height and weight and shape would soon ruin the feet. So virtually all my shoes were the same high-heeled evening sandals from the Chelsea Cobbler, in a variety of colours to match various outfits. They were very light and made from kid.

She began a rather successful career in modelling, and mixed in "all the right circles". But then the benighted tabloids caught up with her story, and the resulting furore and scandal forced April to leave for pastures new, in Spain. Her various adventures provide a fantastically gossipy and super-camp read, not least about some of the many exotic characters she encountered on her travels...
I flew to Madrid and checked into the Palace Hotel for six weeks. I spent my free time in the Museo del Prado, or at the cinema improving my Spanish, or chatting with the ex-Queen of Albania at Carita's Hair Salon - 'How's King Zog, dear?'
She hung out with Omar Sharif, Peter O'Toole and the rest while they were in Spain filming Lawrence of Arabia, and this brought with it some fascinating insights:
With a few wood and cardboard minarets Seville had been turned into a convincing pastiche of Cairo. The Military H.Q. scenes were being shot either at the Military Academy or at the Duchess of Medinaceli's palace. During the shooting at the palace a cable snapped, swung down, and demolished an important-looking statue. How could they tell the Duchess? Since she had a pash for Jack Hawkins, he was delegated to break the appalling news. 'Don't worry,' she said, 'it's only Roman.'

I was introduced to Peter's stand-in, John Fulton Short. All the stand-in does is get lit because he is of a physical type similar to the star's. But John was a personality in his own right, being the first American to achieve full matador status. Peter took me to John's flat hung with his paintings done in bull's blood. John explained why in the ring bullfighters do not wear underpants. Since the male genitalia are substantially composed of gristle, there is in the event of being gored a greater chance of those vitals sliding aside undamaged if they are unconfined.
We would never have known that without Miss Ashley!

It seems she met and socialised with just about anybody who was anybody over the years - from Princess Margaret to The Beatles, from Amanda Lear when she was a man(!) to Charlotte Rampling; Peter Sellers, Ozzie Clark, David Bailey, Kim Novak, Hermione Gingold, Mick Jagger, Viscount Maugham, Lord-and-Lady this, Baron-and-Baroness that, various Churchills, Philippe Jullian, Liza Minnelli...
...for kitschiness Danny La Rue's house couldn't compete with Lionel Bart's. Lionel had a musical staircase which played selections from Oliver when you walked up it. He also had a musical lavatory. It played Food, Glorious Food when you flushed it by depressing a large gold crown.
There were distressing times, too, of course - not least the shocking legal wrangle she had with her (somewhat crazy) first husband when trying to divorce him; the judgement of the court being that as her sex change was null-and-void in their eyes, so was the marriage. Business deals came and went, badly, for April. A later heart attack led her to seek a quieter life in the eccentric town of Hay-on-Wye (whose leading book trader declared it a new kingdom, himself ruler and April his consort).

...She was legally recognised as a female after the passage of the UK’s Gender Recognition Act in 2004, and issued a new birth certificate with help from Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott, an old friend. In 2006 she published a new memoir The First Lady - which she promoted as even more candid and revelatory than April's Odyssey. It was withdrawn from print, apparently, for some reason - but that has only piqued my interest even more. She was made a Member of the British Empire (MBE) in 2012. An exhibition dedicated to her was hosted at the Museum of Liverpool in 2013-14 - and there's even a film of her life (still in pre-production, it seems) to come. [2021 NOTE - nothing became of this film, as far as I can ascertain.]

What a loss! What a woman...

RIP, April Ashley MBE (29th April 1935 – 27th December 2021)

Tuesday 28 December 2021

The Dowager

It's our Patron Saint Dame Maggie Smith's birthday today! All hail...

A perfect excuse (if any were needed) to revisit some classic moments of the great Dame's most famous and formidable character:

Many happy returns, Dame Margaret Natalie "Maggie" Smith CH DBE (born 28th December 1934)

[NB she shares her day with a whole raft of the "great and the good", such as Nichelle Nicholls, Stan Lee, Hildegard Knef, Richard Clayderman, Earl Hines, Nigel Kennedy, Billy Williams, Brian Redhead, Sienna Miller, Woodrow Wilson, Roy Hattersley, Sir Max Hastings, Olympic medal-winning swimmer Adam Peaty, Denzel Washington and Martha Wash...]

Monday 27 December 2021

Don't raise your voice, improve your argument

"If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor."

"Don't raise your voice, improve your argument."

"We may be surprised at the people we find in heaven. God has a soft spot for sinners. His standards are quite low."

"I would not worship a God who is homophobic and that is how deeply I feel about this. I would refuse to go to a homophobic heaven. No, I would say sorry, I mean I would much rather go to the other place. I am as passionate about this campaign as I ever was about apartheid. For me, it is at the same level."

RIP, Most Reverend Archbishop Desmond Mpilo Tutu OMSG CH GCStJ (7th October 1931 – 26th December 2021)

Wat de neuk?

Festering Season's over, and the "bit in the middle" begins... The weather's been shit for days, everyone's hungover, and the only good news is that Radio 2 will (hopefully) have filed away all that bloody seasonal rubbish on its playlist for another year.

We need a wake-up call, and on this Tacky Music Monday I have another slice of madness that should do the trick - from what looks for all the world like a Dutch porn star (all bulging trousers and OTT moustache), singing to some cheap-as-chips animated cows! Another day, another mindfuck...

You've definitely woken up now, haven't you, dear reader?! You're welcome.

Footnote: the full title of this song is Guus kom naar huis, want de koeien staan op springen, which literally translates as "Guus come home, because the cows are jumping". Told you the Dutch were an odd lot...

Sunday 26 December 2021

Every time you see me I'm in my sin

It's Boxing Day, "the morning after", the day when all the leftovers from the huge Xmas dinner get used for their true purpose of existence - Bubble'n'Squeak.* With fried eggs (and possibly bacon, too)!

And, invitably, more booze...

...we know a song about that, don't we, dear chums?

Clink, clink, sweeties! Hair of the dog...

[* Read my blog post from 2015 for more traditional British dishes that are largely a complete mystery across the pond...]

Saturday 25 December 2021

'Tis the Season

Some things are indelible and traditional...


Friday 24 December 2021

Tank Fly, Boss Walk, Jam Nitty Gritty

And so the Festering Season reaches its denouement, as zillions of people get caught up in the crowded, cramped transport rush-to-get-to-family [or not, given the fact that the utter cunts in the rail unions have chosen to take an extra day's holiday go on strike on mainline routes across the UK on the last day before Xmas], or in the last-minute rush on supermarkets that inevitably greets Xmas Eve. How many masks are in evidence is to be seen.

Me, I prefer to avoid all that and exercise caution where mixing with the great unwashed is concerned - I'll be logging-off early from the benighted laptop and not give another stuff about the whole thing from now on, until the countdown to New Year begins next week...

Meanwhile, we keep everything crossed that the slew of recent research on Omicron gives some hope that things may not be as apocalyptic as originally feared, and that we can indeed have a "Happy New Year"

Referring back to the pic at the head of this post, here's a choon to get us in the mood for a party... Thank Disco Beats International (aka Fatboy Slim) It's Xmas Eve Friday!!

I think she was taught to dance by her Auntie at a wedding reception.

Have a very merry one, dear reader!

Bah, Humbug.

Thursday 23 December 2021

Gregory, the Yuletide Crab Louse

All dressed up, and nowhere to go
Write a Christmas hit and you’ll never have to work again. Just follow these tried-and-tested steps:

Sort your festive sounds
You must have at least one of the following clichés: sleigh bells, handbells, French horn or other brass instrument, crunching snow, choir, children’s choir, singing animals, eg. frogs. These are more important than whether the song is in any way listenable.

Write a fucking annoying tune
Bash away at a Casio keyboard until you’ve got a sing-song tune that you both hate and haunts you. If it combines the worst elements of Paul McCartney’s Wonderful Christmastime and the Nokia ringtone, you’re onto a winner.

Choose your genre
Pick one of the following:

  • Party song – the lyrics should be total nonsense, eg. ‘Santa’s knockin’, Grandma’s bobbing, Rudolf’s drinking nog from egg’. Suggested title Rockin’ Around the Robin.
  • Totally mundane festive activity song – like Chris Rea’s Driving Home for Christmas, write a song that’s relatable because everyone fucking does it, eg. ‘Lighting the oven, yes we’re lighting the oven’. Suggested title We’re Lighting the Oven.
  • Love song – can be sickeningly upbeat or wistful bollocks about an ill-fated romance, eg ‘Tears on my chocolates, tears in the snow/My heart is cold this Christmas time, why did you have to go?’ Suggested title You’re My Pig in a Blanket (upbeat) or I’m Crying at the Christmas Lights Switch-On (featuring Peter Andre) (sad).
  • No more war song – should not offer constructive ways of resolving conflict, just vague sentimentality eg ‘No presents round the tree in the middle of this war/The little orphan girl looks so sad and says ‘What’s it all for?’ Suggested title Let’s Wish for Peace this Christmas.
  • Novelty song – any straining Christmas cash-in that might prove implausibly popular, eg ‘The night before Christmas, and all through the house, nothing was stirring except Gregory, the Yuletide crab louse’. Suggested title Gregory, the Yuletide Crab Louse.

Record your masterpiece
Hire a studio and some jaded session musicians. Release it and make a fortune. In years to come the royalties will probably pay for a yacht, which is where you’ll become a seasonal recluse because it’s the only place to avoid hearing your own fucking song.

The Daily Mash

Of course.

Wednesday 22 December 2021

Melodías miscelánea

With all this crap Xmas music dominating the airwaves at the moment, I think it's time for a selection of some of the "newer" choons that have caught my ear of late...

Let's start with a singer whose voice really made me sit up and take notice - Jacob Lusk of Gabriels!

From the sublime to...the return of - ahem - Tight Fit?!!

They've obviously been listening to Steps...

At last! Ollie's got the chance to "play the Princess" - it is panto season, after all...[Oh, yes it is!]

Here's a couple of our fave fierce Spanish divas who wouldn't look out of place in a Panto, either, with this range of outfits:

This next couple really need to "get a room"...

A song that's become a bit of an "anthem for the pandemic era", it actually began life as a conversation on Zoom:

Next up, a mindfuck. Once you've seen this slice of weirdness from BBC Sounds of 2022 nominees Wet Leg, you can never "unsee" it:

Saving the best to last - this!

As always, dear reader - let me know your thoughts.

Tuesday 21 December 2021

That's What Gets Results

The fact that I just realised that the lovely Sarah Dallin of Bananarama celebrated her 60th birthday last week [as bandmate Keren did so in April] is enough to make me a) feel suddenly very old, and b) have to feature a clutch of 'Nanas choons by way of a celebration! [As if I would ever need an excuse!]...

[Yes. It is a tribute to another great "house favourite" here at Dolores Delargo Towers, Hypnotic Tango by My Mine...]

Adore them! Happy birthday, Sarah!

Monday 20 December 2021

Hoop-dee-doo, hoop-dee-doo, I hear a polka and my troubles are through

[For IDV]

With so much time taken up by preparing what to wear for, actually getting to (in the middle of a tube strike), being fabulous at, and recovering from Our Sally's birthday gathering on Saturday night, this last weekend before the dreaded Tinsel-time flew by even quicker than usual! Hey ho - at least I only have two cards to send, as (hopefully, threatened Omicron-panic-lockdown permitting) we'll be seeing Mother in the bit in-between, and the rest of the present exchanges can wait till New Year's Eve when (again, hopefully) we'll be hosting our first party since 2019.

Just one more week in work to go before all that, however - and to wake us up on this Tacky Music Monday, I've found something completely cheesy that fits the bill!

Far to chirpy for this early in the morning, but at least I'm awake now...

Hoop-dee-doo, hoop-dee-doo
I hear a polka and my troubles are through
Hoop-dee-doo, hoop-dee-dee
This kind of music is like heaven to me
Hoop-dee-doo, hoop-dee-doo
Has got me higher than a kite
Hand me down my soup and fish
I am gonna get my wish
Hoop-dee-doin' it tonight

When there's a trombone playin'
I get a thrill, I always will
When there's a concertina stretched about a mile
I always smile 'cause that's my style
When there's a fiddle in the middle
Oh, it really is a riddle how he plays a tune so sweet
Plays a tune so sweet that I could die
Lead me to the floor and hear me yell for more
'Cause I'm a hoop-dee-doin' kind of guy

(Hoop-dee-doo), hoop-dee-doo
(Hoop-dee-doo), hoop-de-doo
(I hear a polka and my troubles are through)
Ha, ha, ha
(Hoop-dee-doo), hoop-dee-doo
(Hoop-dee-dee) hoop-de-dee
(This kind of music is like heaven to me)

Oh, hoop-dee-doo (hoop-hee-doo)
Hoop-dee-doo (hoop-Dee-Doo)
Has got me higher than a kite
Hand me down my soup and fish
I am gonna get my wish
Hoop-dee-doin' it tonight

(When there's a trombone playin')
Ah, ha, ha, ha
(He gets a thrill)
I get a thrill, I always will
(He always will)
(When there's a concertina stretched about a mile
I always smile (You'll see him smile)
'Cause that's my style (Oh, that's his style)
When there's a fiddle in the middle
Oh, it really is a riddle how he plays a tune so sweet
(Plays a tune so sweet that we could die)
Ah, yes lead me to the floor and hear me yell for more
'Cause I'm a hoop-dee-doin' kind of guy

Ooooh, hoop-dee-doo, hoop-dee-doo
It's got us higher than a kite
They're in clover, we're in bloom
When we're dancin' give us room
Hoop-de-doin' it with all of our might
Rain may fall and snow may come
Nothin's gonna stop us from
Hoop-dee-doin' it
Hoop-dee-doin' it

Hoop-dee-doin' it tonight

Classic lyrics.

Have a good week, dears.

Sunday 19 December 2021

The higher the hair...

click to embiggen

It being a gloomy, misty, cold day (and even more depressing than usual in the eerily un-festive "Wood Green Shopping City" on the last Sunday before the Festering Season really takes off) - I felt that some Motown-tinged "Sunday Music" might be in order...

With news earlier this week of the death of the group's original lead singer, the wonderfully-named Wanda LaFaye Young, let's have a little triumvirate of hits from Tamla's very first hit-making girl-band, The Marvelettes!

That's brought a smile to my face...

Saturday 18 December 2021


...I'm only on my first coffee, and I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day just came on the radio!

Bah Humbug.

Friday 17 December 2021

I need a drink and a quick decision

He's done THAT manoeuvre before! I can tell.

Oh. Thank. Heavens.

Another tortuous week in work is almost over - one where suddenly everyone appears to have looked at the calendar, realised they've done fuck all for months and now Xmas is looming, expect me to sort everything out "because it's urgent!" Not to me, it's not.

Me, I'm clocking off as normal - and planning to party like the apocalypse is looming! [And if Professor Chris Whitty is to be believed, this Omicron lark might well piss us all off again...]

I am actually trolling off to the West End tomorrow (by bus, because like clockwork during the Festering Season, the shiftless bastards of the Tube drivers' unions will be on strike!) for Our Sal's Dynasty-themed birthday party at her pub The Shaston Arms, so there is some genuine excitement afoot. To help us get off to a flying start, let's have a bit of a twirl while wearing - ahem - outrageously snug-fitting, and bizarrely-patterned, outfits... just like Tavares!

Thank Disco It's Friday!

They were rather brilliant, weren't they?

RIP, Ralph Edward Vierra Tavares (10th December 1941 – 8th December 2021).

Thursday 16 December 2021

So when you're near me, darling can't you hear me

Our "Mad Abba-fan" friend John-John would never forgive me if I didn't acknowledge the fact that the creative eminence that is Benny Andersson blows out seventy-five candles on his cake today!

From one master of the musical arts to another pair of geniuses - a tribute by our eternal faves here at Dolores Delargo Towers, Erasure:

Where are those happy days, they seem so hard to find
I tried to reach for you, but you have closed your mind
Whatever happened to our love?
I wish I understood
It used to be so nice, it used to be so good

So when you're near me, darling can't you hear me
S. O. S.
The love you gave me, nothing else can save me
S. O. S.
When you're gone
How can I even try to go on?
When you're gone
Though I try how can I carry on?

You seem so far away though you are standing near
You made me feel alive, but something died I fear
I really tried to make it out
I wish I understood
What happened to our love, it used to be so good

So when you're near me, darling can't you hear me
S. O. S.
The love you gave me, nothing else can save me
S. O. S.
When you're gone
How can I even try to go on?
When you're gone
Though I try how can I carry on?

Wednesday 15 December 2021


It is the season when just about all the main channels start to trot out all the feature fims to fill their schedules - some blockbusters, and loads of classics.

Here to guide us through one of the latter (that's bound to crop up somewhere over the Xmas/New Year period) is our favourite camp film enthusiast Steve Hayes, aka Tired Old Queen at the Movies - so Go! On! With! The! Showwww!

Love it...

Tuesday 14 December 2021

How seasonal...

...the Houseboys are doing a Nativity Play!

None of them is a Virgin, but I can spot several Marys.

Monday 13 December 2021

Roll on Mama!

Amen, sister!

Why can't the Blogger gnomes stop tinkering..?! Having spent the past few years "making improvements" that just serve to piss off their users - like the fact that if you make even a slight tweak to a recent post it shoots to the top of the Reading List, or the fact that none of the "widgets" that sit in the side bar have their "quick edit" menu any more - this weekend they've changed the way photos are uploaded, which makes flap-all difference to the way individual posts look, but means that there is no "thumbnail" of a featured picture in the Reading List (so now all the previews are just plain text). A minor irritation in this Omicron/Putin/Boris/storm-damaged world maybe, but it keeps the blood pressure at boiling point.


As we wearily open our laptops again for another jolly week in work, on this Tacky Music Monday there is always a saviour - who else but that triumph of art over nature, our Patron Saint Cher?!

Nothing else matters now.

Have a good week, dear reader.

Sunday 12 December 2021

Racing the funicular

It's another grey and dull day out there, and I can't even break the monotony and go out window shopping, as the gnomes at Amazon have decided that a window of "3pm to 7pm" on a Sunday is a convenient time for a delivery...

Hey ho - time to wallow in the unfeasibly glamorous lives of beautiful people in exotic climes once more methinks, courtesy of the brilliant Soft Tempo Lounge:

Ah, that's better. Although I am a bit concerned about his driving.

[Music: Reg Tilsley and Peter Fenn - Clean Air; film: Una farfalla con le ali insanguinate (1971)]

Saturday 11 December 2021

Think of all the fellas that I haven't kissed

I have never liked the Festering Season, but I do recognise true camp when I see it...

Love it!

[I could think of an appropriate gift I could give that cheeky singer...]

Friday 10 December 2021

A weekend recipe

The slow crawl towards the weekend begins - and for a change, the forecast is for temperatures to hit double figures by Sunday. Woo hoo - we need to get ourselves in the mood for a party!

But first, let's make the main course...

Take a little piece of this:

...a smattering of this...

...a pinch of this...

...and a helluva lot of this...

...and you get this! How the hell can this choon be thirty years old?! How?!]

Thank Disco The Bassheads It's Friday!

Have a great one, folks!

Thursday 9 December 2021

Hit that perfect beat beat boy

click to embiggen

I am afraid it's "back to the 80s" for the second time this week, dear reader. Two influential figures from the era have departed to join the ever-growing dance party in Fabulon...

Firstly, the brilliant reggae bassist and producer Robbie Shakespeare [on the right, pic #2 above], of Sly and Robbie fame, died aged 68 after suffering kidney problems. The duo's legendary status in masterminding a new "dub" sound launched a thousand dancehall club nights, and their work with experimental electronic beats led them to become a focal part of Chris Blackwell's Island Records music machine. They worked with just about everybody over the years, from Peter Tosh to Mick Jagger, Black Uhuru to Bob Dylan, Gregory Isaacs to Madonna - but to my mind, their finest hour came when they catapaulted this diva into the limelight where she belonged!

Also announced today - Steve Bronski [on the right, pic #1 at the top opf the page], founder of Bronski Beat has died, aged just 61. Bronski Beat were a real breath of fresh air in the ecelectic musical melting-pot of 1980s pop culture - combining the ramped-up in-your-face Hi-NRG sounds of the gay discos they frequented with some of the angriest gay rights messaging we'd ever seen or heard in the charts! Here's two massive choons from the Bronski back-catalogue, by way of a tribute to a great musical talent:

RIP, both.

Wednesday 8 December 2021

Janis Joplin didn’t start out on a CBBC show

I think that might be Rochelle from The Saturdays...

Tabloids love a story about a former pop star in reduced circumstances. But it wouldn’t be the least surprising to see these fronting up the loo roll:

The Farm
Madchester-adjacent act known for Groovy Train and All Together Now, the good bit of which was by Johann Pachelbel. Still get on the bill at festivals but that’s in the summer, isn’t it? No harm in putting on the Santa hat and doing shifts at Asda. Northside are on trolley collection. That’s a rough gig in winter.

The Reynolds Girls
Stock Aitken Waterman act who looked like they still had their Saturday jobs in Dorothy Perkins while in the charts. Which would have been wise. They slagged Fleetwood Mac and the Rolling Stones while being fundamentally shit, in an unfortunate contrast. May by now have worked their way up to Dot Perks management.

Mediocre manufactured groups don’t sell records without publicity, so a career in retail beckoned. Myleene Klass has stroppily clung onto minor celebrity status, and is berating the fishmonger at her local Waitrose about the lack of sea bass when she realises she recognises him. It’s that guy, from the band. Bloody hell, what was his name?

S Club 7
Live by the tweenie, die by the tweenie. Once kids grew out of this super-bland pop act they had little musical talent to fall back on, because rock heroes like Led Zeppelin or Janis Joplin didn’t start out on a CBBC show. Jo works behind the fag counter. She says it’s good money.

Ned’s Atomic Dustbin
It’s statistically likely that most of the thousands of members of short-lived late 80s indie bands ended up working for a big employer like Tesco. The Neds are restocking the courgettes even as you read this, while trying to chat up Miki from Lush on the fresh pizzas.

East 17
In the strange world of 90s boy bands, East 17 were considered more street than pretty boys Take That, and what could be more street than working in Tesco? Instead of flaring up at photographers, Brian Harvey could vent his anger by passive-aggressively pretending not to know where the Marmite is.

The Daily Mash

Of course.

Tuesday 7 December 2021

Bedsit-land, my only home

Timeslip moment again.

For the last time this year, we've hitched a ride with the Time Bandits all the way back to 1981 - the year of New Romantics, Bucks Fizz, Charles and Diana, the Space Shuttle, Brideshead Revisited, Ronald Reagan, John Lennon, Vienna, the "Yorkshire Ripper" trial, Danger Mouse, John McEnroe, Brixton riots, Ghost Town, The Humber Bridge, Kim Wilde, Bette Davis Eyes, London Marathon, Greenham Common, Toyah, Bob Champion, Gregory's Girl, Indiana Jones, Shakin' Stevens, Moira Stuart, Game For a Laugh, Ian Botham, Kenny Everett, Stars on 45, Chariots of Fire, the Sinclair ZX81, the Birdie Song, the NatWest Tower, Chi Mai, Bob Marley, IRA hunger strikes, Smokey Robinson, Aneka, Rupert Murdoch, Dynasty, the SDP, Hazel O'Connor, Coe vs Ovett, Anwar Sadat, The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy, Adam and the Ants, Ken and Deirdre, me leaving school, and much, much more besides...

In the news headlines in December '81: the coldest temperatures and heaviest snow-falls since the 1870s across the whole country, the first cases of AIDS diagnosed in the UK, endless speculation about the death of Natalie Wood, the Penlee lifeboat disaster, the El Mozote massacre in El Salvador that left 800 dead, martial law imposed in Poland in resistance to the rise of Solidarity, and the election of Arthur Scargill as President of the National Union of Mineworkers. In our cinemas: Gallipoli; Lady Chatterley's Lover; The Fox and the Hound. On telly: A Fine Romance; The Borgias; Kessler.

And in our charts this week forty years ago? That old Latin smoothie Julio Iglesias was celebrating his first and only week at the pinnacle; also present and correct were Miss Diana Ross, Queen and David Bowie, Earth Wind and Fire, the naffest-of-the-naff Modern Romance, and (aargh!) Cliff Richard. But then, there were these classics:

A favourite wank fantasy shirt...

...and an icon:

However... just crashed into the Top Ten was this one, destined to sweep all before it and grab the coveted Xmas #1 slot!

Ah, happy memories. I was eighteen.

Monday 6 December 2021

Turkey Pulp?

I need an extra coffee "hit" to wake up on such a dark and gloomy morning - and WTF happened to another weekend?!

Hey ho. Sharing this day with a miscellany of "names" including Agnes Moorehead, Dave Brubeck, Osbert Sitwell, Jonathan King, Henryk Górecki, King Henry VI, Lynn Fontanne, Will Hay, Nick Park, Nikolaus Harnoncourt and Ira Gershwin, it would have been the 90th birthday today of an old fave - the first "exhibit" in the Dolores Delargo Towers Museum of Camp, no less - "Turkey's answer to Liberace", Zeki Müren!

On this Tacky Music Monday, in this clip he appears to be inviting the viewer into his wardrobe [closet?] - maybe this is a "ululating version" of I Am What I Am..?

Much more fun is this clever mash-up, between the "coiffeured one" and the theme from Pulp Fiction (Miserlou)!

That should help with the waking-up process...

Have a good week, dear reader.

Zeki Müren (6th December 1931 – 24th September 1996)

[More Zeki here]