Thursday 31 March 2022

A word from our sponsors

[click to embiggen]

Wednesday 30 March 2022

Totty of the Day...

...a little late, perhaps. However, my eternal pash for the lovely Michael York continues unabated, as the man himself celebrated his 80th birthday on Sunday. Gulp.

Fifteen years ago, I had this to say about the man, in the context of a celebration of the film Cabaret [which is itself 60 years old this year]:

Definitely my favourite film ever, it made a legendary star of our own Liza Minelli, for which we are eternally grateful... The brilliant Joel Grey as "Emcee" is forever etched on our musical psyche too.

But as a young gay lad growing up in closeted Welsh society, for me it was the glowing screen presence of the superbly sexy Michael York that made the film as a whole that bit more special. I was truly, madly, deeply in love with him, and to this day even as a veteran of more than 130 screen appearances he still makes me quite weak at the knees...

I stand by that statement.

Many happy returns, Michael York OBE (born Michael Hugh Johnson, 27th March 1942)

Tuesday 29 March 2022

The art of not giving a bugger what anyone thinks

Today was the memorial service for Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, who passed on after 99 years not giving a bugger what anyone thinks about him.

Born into Greek and Danish royalty, the young prince began not remotely paying attention to other people’s idiot opinions while fighting for the Royal Navy in World War Two despite three of his sisters being Nazis.

Having already begun chatting up Princess Elizabeth via letters, the WhatsApps of their day, Philip then chucked out his other Royal titles, took a new surname and married her, all because he wanted to.

He continued to sail ships around the Mediterranean as if it was his own private yachting pond until 1952, when his wife became Queen and he had even fewer restrictions on doing whatever he liked at any given time.

By the end of the 1950s the Prince had entered a golden age of saying whatever he felt like and not caring. Remarks about Canadian children being fat caused widespread offence and led to the founding of the Duke of Edinburgh Awards.

Also accused of insulting deaf Welsh kids, joking about a veteran’s blindness and upsetting the Chinese, at no time did the Queen’s consort give even a hint of a bugger.

Still driving on public roads until the age of 97, when an accident that bothered him not even slightly saw him give up his licence with a shrug, the Duke is thought to have remained blissfully oblivious to the disapproval of others until his final days.

His memory will be an inspiration to all who are rightly unconcerned about the opinions of strangers. May he rest in peace.

The Daily Mash

Of course.

The "real" story

Monday 28 March 2022

Mama's good to you

The Daylight Savings Bill was only brought into law in 1916 to help farmers increase food supplies.

British Summer Time is officially here, dear reader - the clocks went forward yesterday, and everyone spent Sunday feeling slightly "jet-lagged" as a consequence - and, true to form, temperatures are set to plummet.

Just in time for my planned annual leave which starts on Wednesday (yay!)... [So it's a very short week for moi, but today and tomorrow are bound to be manic as I try to get a handover sorted.]

Yes, I know Mothers' Day was yesterday - but on this Tacky Music Monday, I felt a bit of Lulu and her magnificently be-quiffed safety gays wouldn't go amiss:

Have a good week, folks.

Sunday 27 March 2022

Things are seldom what they seem

Things are seldom what they seem,
Skim milk masquerades as cream;
Highlows pass as patent leathers;
Jackdaws strut in peacock's feathers.

Very true,
So they do.

Black sheep dwell in every fold;
All that glitters is not gold;
Storks turn out to be but logs;
Bulls are but inflated frogs.

So they be,

Many a true word said in jest - as yesterday we took The Mother to the legendary Wilton's Music Hall yesterday for a matinee performance of the all-male cast version of HMS Pinafore; or, The Lass That Loved a Sailor.

From the opening macho below-decks scenes of hunky sailors trying to overcome their boredom through exercise and military discipline, we were (of course) hooked - but when those same sailors (with the merest of theatrical props, involving lifejackets, scarves and paper headresses) transformed along with the plot to portray the entourage of "sisters and cousins and aunts" who board the ship with the First Lord of the Admiralty, the fun really began! And we loved it.

The review by Stefan Kyriazis in The Express said it all:

What utter, complete bliss. I could not stop smiling from start to finish. Sasha Regan's inspired direction and the fabulously talented cast bring vital, visceral life to Gilbert & Sullivan's romantic comedy and make the music more accessible and even more beautiful. I'd take this over any number of overblown and underpowered West End shows any day. It's an absolute joy.

Although the uber-camp concept of "Sweet Little Buttercup" being played by a strapping six-foot Scotsman [Scott Armstrong], the giggling, pirouetting company of "ladies" possessing - ahem - rather obvious male attributes, and the lovelorn teenage "Josephine" beautifully sung falsetto/soprano by a boy [the magnificent Sam Kipling] might well have invited thoughts of drag shows or panto, the fact that the entire cast [with the notable deliberate comic turn of Richard Russell Edwards' "Cousin Hebe"] played it completely - ahem - "straight" was a master-stroke that really engaged the audience in the satirical genius of WS Gilbert's convoluted plot, rather than make a mockery of it.

For satire it truly is. The plot is summed up quite neatly by Simon J Webb at "Jack the Lad" blog:

Originally conceived to shine a spotlight on the British obsession with social status, H.M.S. Pinafore tells the story of Josephine [Sam Kipling], the daughter of Captain Corcoran [Juan Jackson], who is in love with lower-class sailor Ralph Rackstraw, [Danny Becker]. Despite her father’s intentions for her to marry the First Lord of the Admiralty, Sir Joseph Porter [David McKechnie], all is not as it may seem, and through an unexpected twist of fate this already complicated situation finds itself turned on its head.

[all photographs: Mark Senior. Click to embiggen]

This was, remarkably, the first Gilbert & Sullivan production of any variety any of us had ever seen, yet it was surprising how many of the songs were familiar, including We Sail The Ocean Blue, Now Give Three Cheers ... I Am The Monarch Of The Sea, When I Was A Lad, Sorry Her Lot Who Loves Too Well, Never Mind The Why And Wherefore, the hilarious Carefully On Tiptoe Stealing [aka "It was the cat!"] and the rousing finale For He Is An Englishman!.

Full kudos must go to the entire cast; every one of them was brilliant in turn (although the contrast between "opera-trained" voices such as that of the hunky Mr Jackson, the masterful Mr McKechnie, Jazz Evans as "Dick Deadeye" and the sublime Mr Kipling and the more "West End" styling of Mr Becker was obvious). The staging, too, was impressive - who needs huge set-pieces and pyrotechnics when one can make full use of two bunk-beds, some rope and hand-torches (and the quirky Wiltons istelf) to make a statement?

Here, for your delectation, is a full-length behind-the-scenes feature on the production, with rehearsal footage and interviews with the cast and crew:

It was simply divine; I'd recommend it to anyone. And our Mother loved it, and that's what really matters!

The show continues at Wilton's Music Hall until 9th April 2022, so be quick!

Saturday 26 March 2022

I will follow you to the end of time

Another day, another bizarre roll-call of unlikely "names" all born on the same date - including "The Boss" Diana Ross, Tennessee Williams, Leonard Nimoy, Keira Knightley, James Caan, Sterling Hayden, Fiona Bruce, A. E. Housman, Martin Short, Rufus Thomas, Monty Berman, Steven Tyler, Richard Dawkins, Jennifer Grey, Alan Arkin, Erica Jong, Teddy Pendergrass, Paul Morley, DJ Erick Morillo, William Hague...

...and (The Rev.) Richard Coles, the quiet-yet-crucial half of The Communards, 60 years old today!

I need no excuse to play one of the duo's most faboo hits, by way of celebration:

I will follow you to the end of time
I will be the blood flowing through your veins
I will ride with you till the end of the line
You will be my everything; my world
You are; you are; you are; you are,
Oh boy; you are my world!


Friday 25 March 2022

I've got a deeper love inside

Yay! Our very own "Mistress of Filth and Smut" over at Infomaniac blog is celebrating sixteen years of blogging - and a little bird tells me it'a also her birthday next week!

Another much-needed weekend is looming, dear reader, and despite this having been only a short week, I am desperately looking forward to it!

We have The Mother arriving in London tomorrow for the day [it's Mothers' Day/Mothering Sunday here in the UK this weekend}, and we're taking her to the splendid Wilton's Music Hall for a matinee of an all-male production of Gilbert & Sullivan's HMS Pinafore. Then on Sunday the clocks go forward, which means despite losing an hour in bed Spring is truly in full swing!

To get us in the mood for a party, we have a special birthday to celebrate... Sharing the day with a whole raft of unusually associated names - such as Dorothy Squires, Dame Elton John [75 years old!], Simone Signoret, Paul Michael Glaser, Cathy Dennis, Béla Bartók, Steve Norman of Spandau Ballet, Sir Humphrey Burton, Richard O'Brien [80 years old], Patrick Troughton, Melanie Blatt of All Saints, Gloria Steinem, Sir David Lean, Arturo Toscanini, AJP Taylor, Sarah Jessica Parker, and - erm - [another 80-year-old] Kim Woodburn - the fantabulosa, sadly missed, Aretha Franklin would have been 80 years old today!

Let's hand over proceedings to the Queen of Soul - and Thank Disco It's Friday!

Sing it, girl!

Have a great weekend, folks!

Thursday 24 March 2022


Our Osteospermum greets the sun. [click to embiggen]

Another life-enhancing Spring morning and, apart from work, all's well with the world...

Time for another waft through the gorgeous lives of impossibly glamorous people in exotic locations, methinks, courtesy of the faboo Soft Tempo Lounge:

Ah. That's better...

[Music: Shiro Sagisu - Barefoot In The Park. Film: Scacco alla regina (1969)]

Wednesday 23 March 2022

Working hard is the worst mistake

Working hard is the worst mistake anyone planning a successful career can make, research has revealed.

Getting your head down and really grafting is more damaging to your career prospects than absenteeism, incompetence, sexual harrassment or fistfighting colleagues in an open-plan office, according to new work by the Institute for Studies.

Professor Henry Brubaker explained: “Progressing through the ranks has no connection to hard work. It’s about networking, Powerpoint panache and constantly broadcasting your achievements.

“Anyone actually working has no time for any of that, because they’re too busy doing everyone else’s work. Consequently they go unnoticed and unrewarded. The fools.”

Chief operating officer Nathan Muir said: “I used to do actual work but then decided I’d have six months off and hang around agreeing with my superiors instead. They haven’t stopped promoting me since.

“It’s all perfectly fair. I even had an interview for this job, though my boss assured me over a sneaky pint that it was a done deal and that we were just doing it to keep HR happy."

Employee Emma Bradford said: “I work diligently and trust that the results will speak for themselves. Then Nathan says he did it.”

The Daily Mash

Of course.

Tuesday 22 March 2022

Let's get out of this life

Oh. My. Gawd!

Talk about "cream yer knickers time" - after all these years, for the first time two of my absolute fave bands of all time have teamed up to release a single, which premiered today! It is every bit as fabulous as I would have hoped:

I love it...

Speaking of musical passions, there is one "instrument" that has forever been behind the music I love (not least that of the artistes above), so let us have a bit of a celebration of...

...the Synthesizer! From its roots in such esoterica as the Theramin to today's minimal technology, and betwixt or between, it has become the basis for the huge variety of sounds that form much of today's music.

It is actually 65 years this year since the first programmable synth [the RCA Mark II] was installed - a "room-sized array of interconnected sound synthesis components", indeed. In 1957 it must have appeared like something from another planet...

Any excuse, really, for another little selection of music that owes its legacy to the early pioneers of musical technology:

[See my previous post here for more "Synth-tastic" choons.]

My kind of "Tube"

I wish.

Monday 21 March 2022

Where do they go, the men who leave your flat, to buy some cigarettes, and never do come back?

click to embiggen

I saw this ad for a Sylvie Vartan Barbie doll, and thought "I must have that!"

Here on this Tacky Music Monday, dear reader, is a very good reason why it's been added to my list [after these, of course!]...

Have a good week.

[PS In case anyone's forgotten, the reason I'm not in my usual "Grumpy Monday" mood is beacuse I have a day off on annual leave today. YAY!!]

Sunday 20 March 2022

Nothing's gained when there's nothing tried - say "Yes"

Spring in a pot!

It's the Vernal Equinox today, dear reader - and it certainly feels like the so-called "First Day of Spring"! Everything's either in bloom or bursting into growth; we've even been to the garden centre (my first visit of 2022), and bought some new delights for the extensive gardens here at Dolores Delargo Towers...

We also have not one, not two, but three birthdays to celebrate among the doyens of "our kind of music". First up, someone I didn't even realise was still alive - Mr John Kander, who blew out 95 candles on his cake on Friday! With the late Fred Ebb, he wrote some of the greats of musical theatre - not least Cabaret and Chicago, two personal favourites - and, of course, their close friend and collaborator Miss Liza Minnelli sang just about everything they ever wrote. Like this one:

Tuesday is also a memorable day every year for the fact that two further musical theatre legends were born, Lord Andrew Lloyd-Webber [who's a bit of a "Marmite" composer, but I do like his Sunset Boulevard]...

...and the late, great Stephen Sondheim! [Read the finale to my week of tribute posts to the great man on his death last year; it has an index of all the previous ones.]

Sunday music, indeed...

Saturday 19 March 2022

Ridicule is nothing to be scared of

Another gorgeous day in the extensive gardens here at Dolores Delargo Towers, pottering - I've potted up twelve (hopefully) yellow Aquilegias and planted out, into what laughingly passes as our "flower-bed", some Verbena rigida that were languishing unhappily in a window-box/planter - and I feel like I may have caught the sun...

I think it's now "Pimms O'Clock"!

Hold the Pimms, I'll have the gin...

Friday 18 March 2022

Flyin' high, out on a limb we'll be

It's another glorious, sunny Spring morning out there, and I have a long weekend to look forward to (as I am on annual leave on Monday). Yay! Just today to get through...

To ease our passage, how about these two - ahem - ultra-talented "singers" from the wacky world of 1970s Holland?

The perfect lip-synching! The choreography! The lyrics! Thank Disco It's Friday!

Have a great weekend, dear reader!

Thursday 17 March 2022

Wednesday 16 March 2022

We started out as friends

You know you're getting old when... realise that dinky pocket-sized purveyor of passion-making Terence Trent D'Arby [now known as Sananda Maitreya] is 60 years old today...

Fortunately you have someone who relies on you
We started out as friends but the thought of you just caves me in
The symptoms run so deep, it's much too late to turn away
We started out as friends

Oh, sign your name across my heart
I want you to be my baby
Sign your name across my heart
I want you to be my lady

All alone with you makes the butterflies in me arise
Slowly we make love and the earth rotates to our dictates
Slowly we make love

Oh, sign your name across my heart
I want you to be my baby
Sign your name across my heart
I want you to be my lady

Birds never look into the sun before the day is gone
But the light shines brighter on a peaceful day
Stranger blue, leave us alone, we don't wanna deal with you
We'll shed our stains showering in the room that makes the rain

Oh, I need you to sign your name across my heart
I want you to be my baby
Sign your name across my heart
I want you to be my lady…

"Lady"? Really..?!

Tuesday 15 March 2022

Questions, questions...

I hear a chorus of "Not much!" ringing in my ears...

Monday 14 March 2022

The sparrow, the punk and the mindfuck

RIP, William Hurt.

It begins. Again. The weekend was over far too soon, although for a change it was productive (in the fact that we got so many jobs done in the garden that need to be done at this time of year; as my back and shoulders will testify).

Now it's back to the grind again...

Never fear, dear reader, I have indeed found a remarkable "wake-up call" for today's Tacky Music Monday [I should really start calling it "Mindfuck Monday" when I stumble across things like this] - enjoy!

Have a good week, folks.

Sunday 13 March 2022

Musique nouvelle

It's raining, so any thought of doing more pottering in the garden has gone out of the window (not that my aching back would have permitted me to do anything much more strenuous than a bit of light dead-heading...). Time, instead, for a selection of "newer" choons that have caught my ear of late!

First up, let's get this one out of the way - this bizarre-yet-bland number is the UK entry for this year's Eurovision Song Contest. I feel the thundering sound of "Nil Points" looming in my ears, again:

This next one brought a wry smile to my face; as several formerly fresh-faced performers from the 1980s team up to celebrate/commiserate the passing of four decades since their heyday:

Speaking about formerly world-dominating artists trying to recreate past glories...

This cracker of a choon has been played a lot on Radio 2 lately, and with very good reason. It's a proper "earworm" - I think this young lady may go far:

From the sublime to the..? Professional weirdos Superorganism plus a man dancing in his skimpies? Why not:

We need a moment of calm after that - how about a bit of soothing Satie?

Let's finish on a high, shall we? Not actually "new" at all, but new to moi, so that's all that matters - let's go to a carnival!

As ever, dear reader, let me know your thoughts...

Saturday 12 March 2022

Welcome to our soiree

Our gorgeous Crocus brighten up even the dullest day!

The Madam and I have spent the entire day pottering in the extensive gardens here at Dolores Delargo Towers. I split one of the big pots of Phlox paniculata into three (and there is still another pot left to do; we're going to have to start giving some away at this rate!) and cleared loads of dead leaves and crud from around the salvias and geraniums, while he fed and watered and cleared dead stems off all the ferns [we have eleven in our collection, so it takes some time!].

It's all starting to take shape...

The weather has been a bit blustery, with a mix of sunshine and cloud, but warm for the time of year - which made it all the more pleasant. Even if my back is in half...

Here's an appropriate choon for today - from one Nancy to another:

Welcome to our soiree
Flaming hot pink bouquets
New rainbow Milky Way
Come out and play

Another gay
Another gay
Another gay sunshine day!


Friday 11 March 2022

Sittin' here eatin' my heart out waitin'

The relief is palpable - another stressful week is almost over. The weather's taken a particularly Spring-like turn, with double-figure temperatures over the past few days, and - after the rain that is forecast this afternoon - a pleasant weekend (of pottering in the garden, hopefully) ahead...

Let's jolly ourselves up in anticipation of all that in a most appropriate way, shall we? Who better than the - ahem - fabulously talented Legs and Co, gyrating in feathers and sequins to a Donna Summer classic?

Thank Disco It's Friday!

Have a great weekend, dear reader!

Thursday 10 March 2022

An obliquely subversive descant

As today would have been the birthday of one of our fave camp icons, Senorita Sara Montiel, and since my tribute to the lovely Saritísima on the sad occasion of her death in 2013 appears to have gone completely unnoticed (or certainly, received no comments), I figured a little "recycling" was in order:

From an article by Anna Maria O'Donovan on the Iberosphere news site...

A woman of international stature [has] passed from the scene...Sara Montiel personified – particularly in her later chat-show-celebrity-magazine incarnation – the superficiality of pop culture, yet that very superficiality may have been the key not only to her commercial success but to her importance to Spanish society, particularly in the 1960s. Montiel articulated a kitsch but optimistic and o to the sombre music of official Spain.

The title of the memoir she published in 2000, To Live Is a Pleasure, sums up the commendably intrepid and upbeat philosophy of a woman born without many advantages in a country plagued by poverty, intolerance and violent class division. Sara and Sex, her second book, published at the age of 75, testifies to a refreshingly frank engagement with reality.

Montiel shot to fame first in Mexico where she made hugely popular films in the early 1950s, and then in Hollywood, acting opposite Gary Cooper and Burt Lancaster, among others, before returning to Spain to shoot the runaway success, El Último Cuplé in 1957, which propelled her to domestic superstardom.

She remained resolutely mainstream even though her private life at the height of her fame was at odds with the official morality of the day. Some might dismiss this as a dismal and inevitable example of the hypocrisy that riddled a ferociously puritanical society. Others would argue, however, that Montiel’s conformity was more interestingly anarchic.

With a seductive raising of the eyebrows she alluded, confidently if conspiratorially, to that vast undercurrent of everyday experience that wasn’t supposed to exist.
An inspiration to us all, we at Dolores Delargo Towers still miss her!

And I make no excuses to play once again my favourite of hers (with Fangoria)! How camp?

Sara Montiel (born María Antonia Alejandra Vicenta Isidora Abad Fernández, 10th March 1928 – 8th April 2013)