Thursday, 20 January 2022

Man with the Horn

We have a centenary to celebrate today - and for a change, the birthday boy is still with us!

Ray Anthony - for it is he - is a rare survivor from a long-distant era. He is the last surviving member of the Glenn Miller Orchestra.

With his matinee-idol good looks and his consummate musical talent, he survived the end of the Big Band era (even landing his own prime time TV show Stateside) and, by incorporating some of the newer rock'n'roll styles into his repertoire, remained popular well into the 1970s on the cabaret circuit.

Along the way, he attracted the attention of a bevy of blondes - including Marilyn - and even married one of them, Mamie Van Doren!

Let us celebrate this remarkable milestone - with some of the great man's music:

He could have been Cary Grant's brother!

Happy birthday, Ray Anthony (born Raymond Antonini, 20th January 1922)!

Wednesday, 19 January 2022

It's about cookery, apparently

Meet Peruvian model and "chef" Franco Noriega...

[Thanks, John-John!]

Tuesday, 18 January 2022


Back to the office again today...

Monday, 17 January 2022

If you want to hear that Swanee River played in a ragtime

I wish.

It's been a very relaxing three-day weekend. I did get some stuff done, such as cleaning off the black mould caused by condensation around our bedroom window - oh, the delights of an old home! - but generally I was mainly sedentary. Now it's time to dust off the laptop once again, and see what joys the working week's going to bring...

To alleviate the forthcoming frustrations, let's indulge ourselves this Tacky Music Monday in the company of another of this weekend's birthday girls, the irrepressible Ethel Merman - doing Disco!

Those poor kids must have been threatened with unspeakable punishments to cheer the way they did...

More about Ethel's infamous "Disco phase" in a post I did way back in 2009.

Ethel Merman (16th January 1908 – 15th February 1984)

Sunday, 16 January 2022

Higher, higher, highest

click to embiggen

It's not that long since we bade a fond farewell to "hair-hopper" Wanda LaFaye Young of the Marvelettes, and now not one, but two of her contemporaries (and proud fellow mistresses of the beehive 'do) have departed for the great "Corny Collins Show" in the sky - Veronica Yvette Bennett, better known as Ronnie Spector of the Ronettes:

...and also Rosa Lee Hawkins of the Dixie Cups:

Perfect "Sunday Music"...

RIP, both.

Saturday, 15 January 2022

Fun Land

click to embiggen

Saw this remarkable snap by photographer Stephen Tayo in The Guardian's "My Best Photo" column today - and this immediately came to mind:

"A child has been lodged in the Tunnel of Goats… If a nurse could please come to the Tunnel of Goats… A goat and a child have now become lodged together, and a nurse has become involved in the incident… Another nurse is required to remove the nurse mentioned previously…"

Watch the legendary first episode of Father Ted, and marvel at the other entertainments on offer at "Fun Land" - including the Whirly-go-round, Freak Pointing, Duck Startling, the Chair of Death, Goading Fierce Man, the Spinning Cat, Tarot Reading, the Ladder and the Pond Of Terror!

One of my favourite comedy series, ever.

Father Ted on Wikipedia.

Friday, 14 January 2022

Don't wanna dream about you baby

Ha! It may be a Friday, but I am on leave (and will be on consecutive Fridays for the next four weeks - because I have so much excess leave to use up [thanks, COVID!] - culminating in our holiday in Spain)!

However, a weekend's-a-weekend's-a-weekend, so to mark that fact in our traditional fashion, let's drag out our most bizarrely-lapelled cream flared-trousered suits from the back of our wardrobes, practice our best co-ordinated twirls just like The Trammps - and Thank Disco It's Friday!

Have a great weekend, sweeties!

Thursday, 13 January 2022

There were 50 people high as kites dancing a Charleston just over the hedge

I'll always remember that party summer, by Boris Johnson
The summer of 2020. For many it was a time of Covid, of lockdowns, of furlough. But I and a hundred close colleagues will always remember it as our party summer.

As the days lazily rolled on, the sun shining and the streets empty of traffic, there seemed to always be a party blossoming into raucous life on Downing Street.

Whether wine, cheese and a tableful of bottles on May 15th or the full-on 100-person bring-your-own-booze bacchanalia a week later, the champagne was flowing and spirits were high.

Like Jay Gatsby and his gang in the roaring twenties, we had nary a care. While Covid ravaged the country we chinked glasses and mingled in the Eden of Downing Street’s rose garden.

It seemed those days would never end. Even when Cummings was doing his press conference there were 50 people high as kites dancing a Charleston just over the hedge.

Back then nothing could ever go wrong for us. We were young, and free, and full of life and hope. The whole of Britain being locked down simply didn’t matter to us.

But no summer lasts forever. The months advanced, the days got shorter, the rest of the country was allowed to meet six people from a maximum of two households, and the parties lost their delicious savour. We’ll never have that summer again.

No, it was time to put away the rosé, to fold up the garden chairs, to retreat indoors and to begin planning our absolutely fckking massive party winter.

The Daily Mash

Of course.

Wednesday, 12 January 2022

They too hunger for the beast below

Happy "Hump Day", dear reader!

The sun's shining again, and the spikes of Crocus, Snowdrops, Daffs and Iris are poking through the soil.

Time for the first "timeslip moment" of the year, and this time we've been dragged by the "Preparation H" tractor beam back two decades to 2002 - the year of HM The Queen's Golden Jubilee and the "Party in the Palace" concert, Die Another Day, Commonwealth Games in Manchester, Archbishop Rowan Williams, Ian Huntley, the Potters Bar rail crash, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, David Beckham, Bali nightclub bombings, "Metric Martyrs", Gunther von Hagens, George "Dubya" Bush, Paul Burrell, Ford ending car manufacture in Britain (with 2000 job losses), "The Great Glass Testicle" (London City Hall), Spider-Man, Milly Dowler, Jason Bourne, the D.C. sniper attacks, and an attempted coup in Venezuela; the births of Emma Raducanu, Girls Aloud, East Timor, and the International Criminal Court; and the year we bade fond farewells to Spike Milligan, Princess Margaret, Peggy Lee, Joe Strummer, John Thaw, Richard Harris, Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes, James Coburn, Dudley Moore, Rosemary Clooney, Rod Steiger and HM The Queen Mother.

In the headlines in January that year: the Euro became the official currency of the EC, Mount Nyiragongo in DR Congo erupted, the foot and mouth crisis was declared over, the hype was building over the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City (which opened in February), and fans of his surreal "gobbledygook" routines were saddened at the news that "Professor" Stanley Unwin had "ploddy-ploddy forward into the deep fundermold". In our cinemas: Mulholland Drive; Black Hawk Down; Iris. On telly: the debuts of Mr. Bean, Tracy Beaker and Footballers' Wives.

And what of our charts this week twenty years ago? The recently-deceased Aaliyah was in the #1 slot, having deposed Daniel Bedingfield from his second visit to the top, and also present and correct in the Top Ten were Dr Dre, Sophie Ellis Bextor, novelty act DJ Aligator (Blow My Whistle), So Solid Crew, the Stereophonics, Goldtrix presents Andrea Brown and Lange ft Skye (nope, me neither)...

...and, just crashed into the #2 slot (from last week's #68), there was this slice of genius!

I got two pale hands up against the window pane
I'm shaking with the heat of my need again
It starts in my feet, reverbs up to my brain
There's nothing I can do to revert the gain
I'm looking down to the street below
There's nothing in the way, they move to show
They too, know what I know
They too hunger for the beast below
Listening to the radio I feel so out of place
There's a certain something missing that the treble can't erase
I know you can tell just by looking at my face
A word about my weakness

I'm totally addicted to bass
Wow woah ho
Totally addicted to bass
Wow woah ho

There's nothing I can do to be cool
I don't sleep 'til I've had my fuel
It frustrates if I am deprived
A hunger that grates from deep inside
I feel like I'm doing time
Imprisoned by dependence on a rhythm sublime
In my mind I must overcome the need to define
The solitary silence of a faceless crime

Standing by the stereo I'm feeling so alone
My back against a speaker and I'm moving on my own
Surrounded by so many and they're staring at my face
They're picking up my problem

I'm totally addicted to bass
Wow woah ho
Totally addicted to bass
Wow woah ho

Your bassline is shooting up my spine (wow woah ho)
Your bassline has got me feeling fine
It's filling up my mind

Your bassline is shooting up my spine (wow woah ho)
Your bassline has got me feeling fine
It's filling up my mind

Sunrise at my window, I look down on the street
People I see everywhere are tapping their feet
Suddenly I realise in a look that I was wrong
Everybody's groovin' to their own song
Down at the scene below
There's something in the way they move to show
They too, know what I know
They too hunger for the beast below

Rhythm's running over me to wash away my fears
The backbeat of humanity it sweetens my tears
There's something that's connected us down throughout the years
No need to feel so lonely, everyone's addicted to bass
Wow woah ho
Everyone's addicted to bass
Wow woah ho

Your bassline is shooting up my spine
Your bassline
Your bassline has got me feeling fine
It's filling up my mind

Your bassline is shooting up my spine
Wow woah ho
Your bassline has got me feeling fine
It's filling up my mind

Love. That. Song.

Twenty-fucking years ago?! Noooooooo!

Tuesday, 11 January 2022

Anatomy lesson

Monday, 10 January 2022

I took sips from your sweet lips and now I can't get free

Monday again.

Sometimes, when one is so rudely awakened with the prospect of another tedious week dealing with idiots to come, on a Tacky Music Monday only an old fave Scopitone starring doomed starlet Joi Lansing will do...

Have a good week, dear reader...

Sunday, 9 January 2022

Who wants to be a millionaire?

It's been quite nice weather here for a change (especially on a weekend), so, despite the limited daylight hours we were out in the garden doing a bit of (light) pottering today - clearing dead, wet leaves and bloody sycamore seeds from the tops of pots, and lifting the dahlia tubers (which have sadly suffered a lot thanks to the terrible weather 2021 gave us, so we fear this year's show may be somewhat less-than-spectacular again) to dry off and store somewhere out of any risk of frost (usually well-wrapped in newspaper on a dry shelf against the wall of the house, as we don't have a greenhouse in this tiny garden).

Such a gentle way to spend a day - so we need some mellow music to go with it, this time courtesy of (the "precursor" of our usual fave site for such things Soft Tempo Lounge) "Uncle Jerry's Pad":

Ah, that's just the ticket!

[Music: Syd Dale Orchestra - Fly The Magic Carpet]

Saturday, 8 January 2022

Just a mortal with potential of a superman

right-click and "open in new tab" to embiggen

The "God who walked among us", David Bowie would have been seventy-five years old today.

No-one, no thing could ever replace him...

I'm not a prophet or a stone age man
Just a mortal with potential of a superman
I'm living on
I'm tethered to the logic of Homo Sapien
Can't take my eyes from the great salvation
Of bullshit faith

If I don't explain what you ought to know
You can tell me all about it
On the next Bardo
I'm sinking in the quicksand of my thought
And I ain't got the power anymore

Don't believe in yourself
Don't deceive with belief
Knowledge comes with death's release

Don't believe in yourself
Don't deceive with belief
Knowledge comes with death's release

David Bowie (born David Robert Jones, 8th January 1947)

More Bowie:

Read my week-long series of "Bowie Tracks of the Day" following his untimely death six years ago:

Read my two-part magnum opus in tribute to the great man on his 65th birthday:

Friday, 7 January 2022

I cannot begin to understand the thing this feeling does to me

The. First. Week. Almost over...

It has (understandably) been a helluva wrench to actually hear an alarm clock go off and to get up every day this (admittedly short) week - but it'll soon be over. After the frosts and gloom, and with rain forecast for the weekend we could be glum - but no!

Instead, let's get our boogaloo shoes on and greet the wekend with open arms, in the company of some '90s club maestros [who've remixed the likes of Carleen Anderson, New Order, Janet Jackson, Rihanna, Samantha Mumba, Geri Halliwell and Kylie Minogue in their time] - and thank Disco K-klass It's Friday!

An absolute classic.

Have a great weekend, peeps!

Thursday, 6 January 2022

Memorial of the Day

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Wednesday, 5 January 2022

Totty of the Day

click him to embiggen

Heavens! Eurovision Song Contest sex god Sakis Rouvas - Greece's "answer to Ricky Martin" - and longtime fave here at Dolores Delargo Towers is 50 years old today!

He could shake his loukaniko in my direction anytime...

Every time you wanna play
Turn me on, all the way
Come to me and take the ride
Skin on skin, it's pure delight
Givin' me the passion you're burnin' my heart
Gonna rock you till you drop
Baby you're the reason I'm feelin' so hot
Want you now, I just can't stop...

I would trade my life
For a night with you
Driven by desire
Make that move on me
It's time for you to see
That my world's on fire!

Shake, shake, shake, shake, shake it mi amor
Crazy for love
Give me some more
Shake, shake, shake, shake, shake it mi amor
Crazy for love
Gimme some more
Shake, shake, shake, shake, shake it mi amor
Crazy for love
Gimme some more
Forever! (yeah yeah yeah yeah)

Everyday I can't resist
Need the taste of your lips
Darlin' it's your body that drivin' me nuts
Let me in I've got to touch

I would trade my life
For a night with you
Driven by desire
Make that move on me
It's time for you to see
That my world's on fire!

Shake, shake, shake, shake, shake it mi amor
Crazy for love
Gimme some more
Shake, shake, shake, shake, shake it mi amor
Crazy for love
Gimme some more
Shake, shake, shake, shake, shake it mi amor
Crazy for love
Gimme some more
Forever! (yeah yeah yeah yeah)

χρόνια πολλά, Anastasios "Sakis" Rouvas (born 5th January 1972)!

Tuesday, 4 January 2022

Highbrow and classy

A vibrant, thrilling programme of theatre, art and contemporary dance events are scheduled for this year. Here’s why you’ll miss them:

Sunday in the Park with George, starring Jake Gyllenhaal
Much-anticipated Sondheim revival that there is no way in hell you will get tickets for, even if you’re up at 6am when they’re released poised on six laptops with the necessary £800 to hand. It won’t happen so don’t try.

Francis Bacon at the Royal Academy
You will definitely mean to see this whenever you see the posters. But when you turn up two days before it closes you’ll discover there are no tickets left, which is bollocks because who ever heard of an art gallery selling out? They’re hardly Jake Gyllenhaal.

Julien Baker at the Electric Ballroom, Camden
Your mate’s got a spare ticket for this and you enthusiastically agree when offered, even though you’ve not really heard of Julien whatever. But that was before you found out it was on a Wednesday night. A gig on a school night? What’s the point? You ghost your mate’s texts.

Petite Maman
Award-winning French film about coping with loss that you’ll invite a date to, in order to look highbrow and classy. However the date goes so well that you both admit you’d much rather watch Legally Blonde 3 while eating nachos, so you do that instead.

Any events in Coventry, City of Culture 2022
Who do they think is going all the way to bloody Coventry for some cultural crap? Nobody.

The Overstory on Netflix
Now this is at least possible. A cultural event that you can take in while making no effort whatsoever from the comfort of your own bed. You’re definitely up for this one. Until you hear it’s an eco-epic about nine Americans who have unique experiences with trees, and don’t bother.

A massive fight on your road between three different sets of neighbours
The arts event of the year kicks off at 8pm on June 3rd when a three-way love triangle that began in a hot tub on New Year’s Eve is revealed. Paint is poured over cars, windows broken, women held back from gouging each other and the police are called. The best night’s entertainment of the year. And do arts critics mention it? No. Snobs.

The Daily Mash

Of course.

Monday, 3 January 2022

Chimp flamenco?

It's the last bank holiday in the UK until April, dear reader, and the final, final end of the extended Xmas/New Year season - but I haven't forgotten it is also a Tacky Music Monday!

For today's - ahem - treat, we're off to Spain [and fingers crossed we will be able to get there for real in just over four weeks' time], in the company of a lady whose skills in the flamenco world in Barcelona attracted the attention of none other than the great surrealist Salvador Dali, who famously sponsored her live appearance at The Olympia Theatre in Paris.

Somehow, in the bizarre drug-fuelled world of 1970s Spanish television special effects, that probably inspired this...

..but why the fucking chimpanzee?! I've said it before; another day, another mindfuck.

Have a good week, my leetle chums.

Sunday, 2 January 2022

Ebey'tings comin' up rho-ziz, por me and por chu!

A Public Service Announcement [click to embiggen]

The last Sunday before the madness kicks off again - although tomorrow is still a bank holday, so at least our first week back to work will be a short one - and I'm in the mood for some classy showbiz pizazz!

Here's the megastar Señorita Googie Gomez instead:

[live at the Southland Theatre Artists Goodwill Event (S.T.A.G.E.) in 2011, a gala raising funds for the AIDS Project Los Angeles]

Oh, how I wish I had been in the audience for this event..!

More about the camp classic movie The Ritz [from whence Googie originated] here and, of course, here.

Saturday, 1 January 2022


...Dame Vanessa Redgrave, Dame Jenny Harries (chief executive of the UK Health Security Agency), Dame June Raine (head of the vaccines regulator MHRA) - and, of course, Dame Patsy Stone Joanna Lumley - coronavirus "heroes" Sir Chris Whitty and Sir Jonathan Van-Tam, broadcaster and former politician Sir Trevor Phillips, filmmaker Sir John Boorman, and [erm] Sir Tony Blair (Order of the Garter); as well as Gold-medal-winning Olympian couple Dame Laura and Sir Jason Kenny. Daniel Craig was made a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George, and veteran poitician Frank Field becomes a Companion of Honour.

Joining them in getting gongs are Commanders of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) Bernie Taupin, cookery writer Claudia Roden, newsreader and presenter Moira Stuart, "money saving expert" Martin Lewis, and filmmakers Barbara Broccoli, Michael G Wilson, Anthony Horowitz and Paul Greengrass (as well as someone I was close to way back in the 1990s when I was secretary of the Gwent AIDS Support Group, Neil Wooding); Officers of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) June Brown (aka "Dot Cotton"), Bill Roache ("Ken Barlow"), sex god Tom Daley and fellow trunks-wearer Adam Peaty, gardening guru Dan Pearson and Pauline Black of The Selecter; Members of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) Melanie Brown ("Scary Spice"), journalist and presenter Kate Garraway, Tom Daley's synchronised dive partner Matty Lee, dancer Ashley Banjo, Classic FM presenter Margherita Taylor, best-selling author Adele Parks and tennis champion Emma Raducanu.

Congratulations, all!

My Damehood is obviously still in the post. Again.

HM The Queen's New Year Honours List 2022

It's your outlook on life that counts

And so, with a heavy heart we bid a sad farewell to one of the greats, our Patron Saint Supreme, Miss Betty White...

Life will never be quite the same without her.

"Don't try to be young. Just open your mind. Stay interested in stuff. There are so many things I won't live long enough to find out about, but I'm still curious about them. You know people who are already saying, 'I'm going to be 30 - oh, what am I going to do?' Well, use that decade! Use them all!"

"Animal lover that I am, a cougar I am not. All my life, even as a kid, I have preferred men older than I am. Unfortunately, today I don't think there is anyone older than I am!"

"Let's say I meet someone I find attractive. I have to keep reminding myself of how old I am, because I don't feel like I'm that old. I fight the urge to flirt and try to shape up. No fool like an old fool."

"It's your outlook on life that counts. If you take yourself lightly and don't take yourself too seriously, pretty soon you can find the humour in our everyday lives. And sometimes it can be a lifesaver."

“My answer to anything under the sun, like ‘What have you not done in the business that you’ve always wanted to do?’ is ‘Robert Redford’.”

"I have a two-story house and a bad memory, so I'm up and down those stairs all the time. That's my exercise."

"I really don't care with whom you sleep. I just care what kind of a decent human being you are."

"My muffin hasn't had a cherry since 1939!"

"I just make it my business to get along with people so I can have fun. It's that simple."

"Why would I think of retiring? What would I do with myself?"

“I have no regrets at all. None. I consider myself to be the luckiest old broad on two feet.”

RIP, Betty Marion White Ludden (17th January 1922 - 31st December 2021)