Friday 30 June 2023

Where were you?

Purple is the colour this year...

It's "Gay Xmas Eve", dear reader - and we at Dolores Delargo Towers are definitely going to be in the mood for a party!!

To that end, here are two old faves (both on a similar theme) to get us up and running - and Thank Disco Pride It's Friday!

Enjoy tomorrow - it's our day!

Thursday 29 June 2023

Don't Cha?

The fact that it's Nicole Shitslinger Scherzinger's 45th birthday today gives me the perfect opportunity to play not only this [one of the better Pussycat Dolls choons; ignore that chuntering rapper, he's shit]:

...but also, this [which we always sing whenever the Dolls' original comes on the radio]!

Much better.

The countdown to Gay Xmas continues...

Wednesday 28 June 2023

Enough sorrow in the world

RIP Julian Sands.

A beautiful man.

“Pray don’t waste time mourning over me. There’s enough sorrow in the world, isn’t there, without trying to invent it. Good-bye.”
― E.M. Forster, A Room with a View

Tuesday 27 June 2023

Fit for eating?

[click to embiggen]

Have you purchased an avocado you thought would be perfect but is hard as a diamond when you open the packet? You’ve probably fallen for these other supermarket lies too.

Fresh living basil pot
Ooh, lovely, you think, a nice pot of basil that you can pop on the windowsill and water, plucking fresh green leaves off to add to dishes throughout the coming weeks. Sadly the reality is that it turns black and shrivelled within seven hours of arriving at your home, so you bin it, along with your dreams of freshly made pesto.

Ripen at home plums
Allowing these to ripen at home seems like an excellent idea. You’ll enjoy eating them at the weekend. However, the weekend comes and goes without these tough little bastards softening even slightly. Then you come home from work one day and they’re mush. What the fuck happened during the eight hours you were out? A total mystery.

Soft French baguette
As you take it from the shelf, you can imagine yourself at breakfast tomorrow, slathering butter on this pillowy soft bread. However, by the time you get to it the following morning it’s become so hard that you could use it to knock out an assailant if necessary. You put it back in the bread bin only to find it’s gone mouldy three hours later. They’d be rioting about this nonsense in Paris.

‘Fully loaded’ pizza
Looking through the cellophane window on the box, this pizza certainly looks like it has been abundantly topped with mozzarella slices, peppers, ham and mushrooms. But when you open it ready for cooking you discover that this is the only fully loaded part and the rest of it has a smear of tomato sauce and thin scattering of cheddar. You spread out the toppings, and it still looks sad.

‘Ripe and ready’ avocados
The biggest supermarket con of all. You don’t bother squeezing them to check their ripeness, as it is very clearly stated on the packaging that they are fit for eating immediately. However, when you attempt to cut one open at home, it’s harder than titanium and unlikely to be anywhere near ready this side of Christmas. It won’t stop you buying them again though. Idiot.

The Daily Mash

Of course.

Monday 26 June 2023

It's such a pleasure to see

Monday again. Groan.

After a lovely (and hot) weekend - on Saturday had a good time with our cousins from Canada, who are in the UK for a few days, and yesterday was really hot and very windy so was mainly spent chilling - it's back to "reality" again.

However, the countdown to "Gay Xmas" in London this weekend has begun - and who better on this Tacky Music Monday to open proceedings than our beloved Patron Saint of Bugle Beads, Miss Mitzi Gaynor and her magnificent safety gays?!

Have a good week, dear reader. It's the gayest time of the year!

Sunday 25 June 2023

Baby, I'm your man, don't you know who I am?

The musical genius George Michael would have been 60 today. What a sad loss he was...

We still miss you, Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou (25th June 1963 - 25th December 2016)

Saturday 24 June 2023

Swiftly flow the days

Sad news again.

Sheldon Harnick, Tony- and Pulitzer-winning lyricist of Fiddler on the Roof, Fiorello! and She Loves Me among many other musicals, has ascended that staircase "leading nowhere, just for show" for the very last time at the ripe old age of 99.

Here are just a few of his standards, by way of a tribute...

[from Barbara Cook: Mostly Sondheim, a one-woman revue we went to see in the West End in 2003]


RIP, Sheldon Mayer Harnick (30th April 1924 – 23rd June 2023)

Friday 23 June 2023

Midnight creeps so slowly into hearts of men who need more than they get

Another weekend beckons, and I simply can't wait!

Time to get ourselves into the mood for a party, methinks - with another fantabulosa (and quite unexpectedly great) mashup. A meeting of truly OTT outfits, indeed...

Thank Disco Bill McClintock It's Friday!

Have a good one, dear reader!

Thursday 22 June 2023

True colours - and lots of 'em!

“Somebody did complain to me and tell me that my clothes were so loud they couldn’t hear me sing.”

“The women back in the 80s had beautiful cheekbones, thick eyebrows, big smiles – you know, everything I didn’t. I was upset that I didn’t look like them, but I find people that have a fat face like me figure how to work with it. You can do a lot with a plain, blank face.”

“On my darkest days, I wear my brightest colours.”

“You know, I do speak the Queen’s English. It’s just the wrong Queens, that’s all. It’s over the 59th Street Bridge. It’s not over the Atlantic Ocean”.

You know you're getting old when... discover that the adorable Miss Cyndi Lauper is seventy years old today! Gulp.

An oft-overlooked talent, she's not just the multi-million-selling post-punk-popstrel we know and love, but also the Tony-award-winning genius behind the global phenomenon that is Kinky Boots: the musical, and a staunch gay rights advocate and campaigner to boot.

Here's just a mere soupçon of the the lady's brilliance:

Facts about Cyndi:

  • She was born Cynthia Ann Stephanie Lauper in Queens, New York, of German, Swiss and Sicilian-American descent.
  • Miss Lauper worked in a thrift store to earn extra money until her first solo album She’s So Unusual was released in 1983, when she was 30.
  • In 1977 she damaged her vocal chords and was told by doctors that she would never sing again, and underwent intense vocal coaching to restore her voice.
  • Unexpectedly in 2010 she had a change of musical direction, releasing Memphis Blues - which became the most successful blues album of the year in the USA, remaining at #1 on the Billboard Blues Albums chart for 13 consecutive weeks.

Many happy returns, Cyndi Lauper (born 22nd June 1953)

Wednesday 21 June 2023

Cos here I go again

It's Midsummer's Day/the Summer Solstice today and inevitably - although it's nowhere near as good weather at the moment - whenever summer is mentioned in this country the collective thoughts of an entire generation turn back to this week forty-seven years ago (gulp!), when the fabled "Heatwave of 1976" began. The hottest summer for more than 350 years, coinciding nicely with the school holidays, the UK experienced fifteen consecutive days over 32C (89.6F) and nary a cloud, let alone any rain, for more than three months! Bliss.

I have of course blogged about it many times before and, in the interests of recycling (again), here's one I made earlier:

Here are some facts about the Summer of '76:

  • Many householders in Wales and the west of England were left without tap water for much of the day when temperatures were frequently over 80F; stand-pipes were installed in the streets as the pavements cracked or melted around them.
  • The National Water Council made repeat appeals to people to save and recycle water, with one advert explaining jobs are more important than flower beds; and hosepipe use was banned.
  • People across the country were told to put bricks or plastic bags full of water in their toilet cisterns and to use washing-up water to pour down the toilet instead of flushing.

  • The rivers Don, Sheaf, Shire Brook and Meers Brook in Sheffield all ran completely dry, as did the reservoirs in Wales.
  • In addition to appointing a Minister for Drought, James Callaghan’s Labour government actually drafted emergency plans to bring water by tanker from Norway.
  • Nationally £500 million of crops were destroyed and food prices soared by 12%.
  • Brewery Shepherd Neame, however, reported beer sales up by 8% on the previous year and at their highest since the war - the company had not been troubled by the weather as it had its own well, which was still plentiful.
It was indeed a long, long summer, with a lot of happy memories - and lots of memorable choons to accompany them...

...not least the Top Ten of this very week in 1976, which included The Boys Are Back In Town by Thin Lizzy, Jolene by Dolly Parton, Heart On My Sleeve by Gallagher And Lyle, Let's Stick Together by Bryan Ferry, Young Hearts Run Free by Candi Staton, Tonight's The Night by Rod Stewart and You Just Might See Me Cry by Our Kid. You To Me Are Everything by the Real Thing was at Number 1, and at Number 2 the (very silly) Combine Harvester by The Wurzels.

Which just leaves one song. Now, I am no Paul McCartney fan by any stretch of the imagination - but, whenever I hear Silly Love Songs by Wings, I am instantaneously transported back to those heady, hot days...

"What's wrong with that?
I'd like to know."

Tuesday 20 June 2023

Delicious, moreish nitrates

Studies warn that ultra-processed foods will take years off your life expectancy, to which Britons have responded by opening a packet of Hob-Nobs:

For years you believed bacon came simply flayed directly from the pig, but apparently they do stuff like soaking it in salt and delicious, moreish nitrates. While a bacon sandwich may strip three months from you down the line, it gives you a hungover morning back. Who needs an extra three months doddering anyway?

White bread
Wheat, it seems, does not come in boring brown and tasty, sugary white varieties. But are you ready to start eating granary and end up as sanctimonious and delusional as Gwyneth Paltrow? No, life’s too short. Yours especially.

Crisps are not found in nature, especially not in sweet chilli flavour. Nobody munching down a bag has any illusions. You could trade it for carrot sticks and hummus but hummus is pretty processed, so may as well stick with the old friend you’ve known will be the death of you for years than mess about.

Every ready meal
What’s the alternative? Cook for yourself? Be Nigel Slater and always have a bowl of asparagus hearts in olive oil you can prepare for a simple ten-minute supper? Bollocks to that. As long as you only have a microwave tikka masala after a 10k run, which you don’t, you’ll be fine.

Breakfast cereal
Nobody imagined Honey Nut Loops were harvested from the wild as is, but what’s the alternative? Bacon’s been ruled out, white bread’s been ruled out, crisps have been ruled out, so what are we meant to eat first thing? Fruit? Have you seen how much fucking about is involved in preparing a single melon?

Instant noodles
This idea that processed food is unhealthy must be bollocks because this is all you ate as a student and you were in the best shape of your life. Explain that, scientists. And you drank a bottle of Merrydown a night.

The Daily Mash

Of course.

Monday 19 June 2023

How do you pronounce a "raspberry"? *

Monday again...

After a lovely Saturday with chums in the East End for the all-male Mikado, and a rather lazy Sunday (I blame the drizzly rain for my complete inertia), it's back to the "old ennui" yet again. Sigh.

Just because the lovely Liza Tarbuck played this fantabulosa choon on her Radio 2 show this weekend, on this Tacky Music Monday let's enjoy another visit to the combined talents of Spike Milligan and Jack Hodges "the Raspberry King" with his Orchestra, and this slice of lunatic genius:

Have a good week, dear reader.

[*The expression "blowing a raspberry" originates in Cockney Rhyming Slang: "fart" = "raspberry tart".]

Sunday 18 June 2023

Three Little Maids From School Are We

We had another little "gathering of the clans" last night, for the latest production by Sacha Regan, the all-male Mikado at the fantabulosa Wilton's Music Hall.

We thoroughly enjoyed last year's production HMS Pinafore, and so there was a huge buzz of anticipation of what was in store. We certainly were not disappointed!

Let's hear the views of the reviewers, which echo my own...

Theatre Weekly:

This particular Gilbert and Sullivan classic has become problematic for anyone wanting to revive it, Sasha Regan swerves all of this by setting it in England and thus satirising the establishment even more blatantly than the original did with its heavy Oriental styles.

There’s a lone tent on stage with a backdrop of trees, and we find ourselves in the midst of a boys camping trip – a private school or Scout troupe perhaps. Some neat changes to the opening number, If you want to know who we are helps set the scene. As night falls the dressing up box comes out and the familiar tale begins to unfold.

We’re still in a city called Titipu, but any reference to geography is removed and the names of the characters are anglicised; the lowly tailor elevated to Lord High Executioner [Ko-Ko] becomes Mr Cocoa, the wandering minstrel with royal roots [Nanki-Poo] becomes Bertie Hugh and the man taking on every office of state [Pooh-Bah] is now Albert Barr.

Everything Theatre:

Camp indeed it is, and exploding with fun! Gorgeously exaggerated characterisation and Ryan Dawson Laight’s fastidious design work fit superbly alongside the Music Hall’s historic splendour. Every detail of costume, every prop, is linked thematically and humorously, with costumes made from picnic blankets or enamel dishes, and tents moving around left right and centre, providing opportunity for some marvellous hilarity and slapstick. The action is inventively arrayed across multiple levels, making best use of this unique venue, and it’s all sparklingly delightful.

Gay Times:

... we are introduced to Bertie Hugh (Declan Egan)... who falls for Miss Violet Plumb [Yum-Yum] (Sam Kipling). Alas, both are engaged to wed others [he, by a mistake of etiquette, to Miss Kitty Shaw, and she to Mr Cocoa] – over the ensuing two hours we watch their stories unfold to see if they can attain their happily ever after. As we’ve come to expect from Sasha Regan’s all-male company, it’s a high-camp, comedic affair, but not tastelessly so. The entire show is played as if these were school children acting out their roles; there’s a warm and easy camaraderie between these actors which is a joy to watch.

Once-a-Week Theatre:

There’s so much detail, and so much of it leads to laughs. Lewis Kennedy’s Geordie Mikado [The King} and David McKechnie’s Harold Steptoe-inspired Mr Cocoa are accomplished performers who are a delight to watch closely. Christopher Hewitt has a brilliant turn as Kitty Shaw [Katisha] complete with a bicycle. As for getting Hewitt to sing while pumping a deflated wheel… what a great idea!

Everything Theatre:

But all are in danger of being upstaged by the amazing Richard Russell Edwards as Hebe Flo [Peep-Bo] and Owen Clayton as Bluebell Tring [Pitti-Sing], who tirelessly and repeatedly create surprising, riotously funny moments. With Kipling, they are simply fabulous in Three Little Maids, and they should have a sequel just to themselves.

Theatre Weekly:

With all of the glorious singing happening on stage, it’s easy to forget that the cast are accompanied by a lone piano, played by musical director Anto Buckley, who succeeds in making it sound as though he were a full company of musicians.

These all-male productions certainly breathe new life into the originals, but this seems especially true with The Mikado, which is a clever, funny and downright enjoyable reinterpretation of an operetta that could easily have been consigned to the history books.

We were enthralled by the whole thing! The vocals, the interplay between the players, the sheer audacity of the reinterpretation of Gilbert and Sullivan's classic characters (and lyrics), the handsome cast, the campery - everything about this show was perfectly executed.

I'd go and see it again - and that's not an accolade I'd give to many shows!

Sasha Regan’s All-Male The Mikado is at Wilton's Music Hall until 1st July 2023. Book now!

Saturday 17 June 2023


...Celia Imrie, Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE), and Dame Anna Wintour, Companion of Honour!

Also honoured [among many others - 1,171 in total] - Companion of Honour Sir Ian McEwan (prize-winning author and screenwriter, Atonement, Amsterdam, The Good Son); Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George Sir Terry Waite (former Archbishop's special envoy in Lebanon, held captive by terrorists for five years); Knights Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (KBE): Sir Stephen Frears (film director, My Beautiful Laundrette, The Queen, Dangerous Liaisons, Prick Up Your Ears, Mrs Henderson Presents, Florence Foster Jenkins), Sir Ben Bradshaw MP (the second British MP who was openly gay at the time of first election), and Martin Amis (prize-winning novelist, Money, London Fields and The Information) was postumously knighted; Commanders of the Order of the British Empire (CBE): actor Kenneth Cranham, violinist Tamsin Little, fashion photographer and music video-maker Nick Knight; Officers of the Order of the British Empire (OBE): former footballer Ian Wright, Caron Wheeler of Soul II Soul; Members of the Order of the British Empire (MBE): broadcaster Ken Bruce, actress Vicky McClure, presenter Davina McCall, TV newsreader and broadcaster Sally Magnusson.

Congratulations, all!

Let's leave the last word to Miss Imrie, shall we..?

HM The KIng's Birthday Honours List 2023

Friday 16 June 2023

She would merengue and do the cha-cha

My personal trainer's happy!

Wheee! The weekend's almost here - and we need once again to get in the mood to party!

As it happens to be the 80th [gulp] birthday tomorrow of one Barry Alan Pincus, better known of course as Barry Manilow, what could be more appropriate than the great man's catchiest hit?

Thank Disco It's Friday!

Her name was Lola, she was a showgirl
With yellow feathers in her hair and a dress cut down to there
She would merengue and do the cha-cha
And while she tried to be a star
Tony always tended bar
Across the crowded floor, they worked from 8 til 4
They were young and they had each other
Who could ask for more?

At the copa Copacabana
The hottest spot north of Havana
At the copa Copacabana
Music and passion were always the fashion
At the copa.... they fell in love.

His name was Rico
He wore a diamond
He was escorted to his chair, he saw Lola dancing there
And when she finished, he called her over
But Rico went a bit too far
Tony sailed across the bar
And then the punches flew and chairs were smashed in two
There was blood and a single gun shot
But just who shot who?

At the copa Copacabana
The hottest spot north of Havana (here)
At the copa Copacabana
Music and passion were always the fashion
At the copa... she lost her love

Her name is Lola, she was a showgirl
But that was 30 years ago, when they used to have a show
Now it's a disco, but not for Lola
Still in the dress she used to wear
Faded feathers in her hair
She sits there so refined, and drinks herself half-blind
She lost her youth and she lost her Tony
Now she's lost her mind

At the copa Copacabana
The hottest spot north of Havana (here)
At the copa Copacabana
Music and passion were always the fashion
At the copa... don't fall in love
Don't fall in love…

Have a good weekend, dear reader!

Thursday 15 June 2023

The heatwave continues...

...and we love it!

Wednesday 14 June 2023

Heat, Treat and Googie!

Our glorious Rosa Veilchenblau rather likes this weather! (Not bad for a cutting, eh?) [click to embiggen]

It's official! The UK is in the middle of a heatwave - and I love it.

Talking the edge off it a little, however, there was some sad news yesterday - the very lovely Treat Williams was killed in a motorbike accident in the US.

Mr Williams may not have been a household name, and certainly his on-screen career was somewhat patchy - although he did have starring roles in Hair, Prince of the City and Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead, among others - but for us at Dolores Delargo Towers, it is for his part as "Michael Brick" in one of my favourite films ever The Ritz that we will forever remember him.

An excuse (as if I needed one) to revisit once again [see here for my original paean to this movie] a succession of highlights...

Simply faboo!

RIP, Richard Treat Williams (1st December 1951 – 12th June 2023)

Tuesday 13 June 2023

A pub or a crèche?

A man is unable to tell if he is enjoying a pint in his favourite boozer or a rowdy nursery for parents and their newborn children.

Norman Steele was left confused by the presence of pub paraphernalia like beer taps and a fruit machine next to crèche shit like mums and dads cradling their incessantly shrieking spawn.

He said: “My senses don’t know what to think. It looks like the same old place where grumpy bastards come to drink their lives away, only there’s prams and colouring pads and tiny bawling humans everywhere. Maybe I’ve gone insane.

“If this was a pub then I should only be able to hear slurred chatter punctuated by the occasional rustling of crisp packets, yet I can distinctly make out the deafening cries of babies and the futile bargaining of their parents.

“On the other hand, a crèche should be filled with exciting toys and colourful furniture. Not a dart board and a floor soaked with American pale ale. The big telly with Sky Sports on it probably wouldn’t go amiss though.”

Mother of one Grace Wood-Morris said: “You’re better off going to a crèche if you want a quiet pint. Me and my friends and our many children are going to be here all day, and Christ knows we need a drink to get through it.”

The Daily Mash

Of course.

Monday 12 June 2023

Peineta or kokoshnik?

Back to the office again. Dammit!

Britain's not ready for this! After a grotty and cold Spring, suddenly overnight we are in the middle of a heatwave! It was 30-31C on both Saturday and Sunday (although yesterday's humidity meant no sunshine in the afternoon), and today there is more to come, and thunderstorms to boot.

This Tacky Music Monday might well turn out to be very tacky/sticky indeed - but to ease us into the unfamilar exoticism of this sort of thing, here's something very, very Mediterranean...

[It's her headress that inspired the title of this post...]

You just don't get that kind of "entertainment" on mainstream telly nowadays. Probably just as well, really!

Have a good week, dear reader.

Sunday 11 June 2023

“That’s me slingbacks been remanded”

Breaking news - Wee Jimmy Kankie former Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon's been arrested!

Let's hear from "the lady herself", shall we?

[Comedian Janey Godley at her very best!]

Saturday 10 June 2023

Take a puff

It's "Mama" Judy's birthday today.

All hail!

Judy Garland (born Frances Ethel Gumm, 10th June 1922 – 22nd June 1969)

Friday 9 June 2023

I love ya tomorrow!

At last! The UK is expecting some lovely hot weather this weekend - and, despite the neurotic warnings from the UK Health Security Agency, we look forward to spending much time enjoying it in the extensive gardens here at Dolores Delargo Towers.

What better way to celebrate the end of another stressful week than with our most scary Patron Saint, the inimitable Miss Grace? Thank Disco It's Friday!

Have a faboo weekend, dear reader!

Thursday 8 June 2023

Stick your avocados and Bulgar wheat where the sun doesn’t shine

There's a lot of concern over processed food nowadays but you grew up eating Angel Delight and you’re fine. So far. Here are some other old favourites to worry about:

Crispy Pancakes
A pancake full of minced beef or cheese and ham, covered in breadcrumbs and frozen? What lunatic invented this? It didn’t matter back in the 80s, as they were delicious, convenient and no one gave a shit that they were chock full of chemical colourings and stabilisers. They’d have told you to stick your avocados and Bulgar wheat where the sun doesn’t shine.

A Pop-Tart has been through so many processes that it probably shouldn’t be legally classified as food anymore, and they contain an absolute fuck-load of sugar, corn syrup, palm oil and other worrying substances. However, the part of your brain that will forever remain an 80s kid still cannot resist that sweet, moreish smell wafting out of the toaster.

Angel Delight
What even is this? Add milk to coloured powder and it creates a claggy, oddly textured dessert in seconds. Every single flavour tasted vile, and yet that didn’t stop it being viewed as a sophisticated pudding that the whole family welcomed to the tea table with the same appreciation people today reserve for matcha and pomegranate panna cotta.

Billy Bear ham
Pork is pretty natural, right? Well, yes, but not after it has been mechanically reclaimed, mixed with pea protein, ascorbic acid and diphosphates – whatever they are – and reconstituted to look like a bear. A mental idea, when you think about it, but you were the envy of the playground when you had it in your sandwiches at school.

Turkey Twizzlers
Everyone loved a Turkey Twizzler, brimming with saturated fat, salt and sugar, and covered in a chemically enhanced coating. Then Jamie Oliver turned up and ruined them for everyone, ushering in the age of actually thinking about what we put in our bodies. Healthy perhaps, but after a childhood spent mainlining e-numbers, it feels a bit dull.

The Daily Mash

Of course.

Being a child of the '70s, I could cheerfully add to this list Bird's Luxury Trifle, Goblin Tinned Hamburgers, Vesta packet meals like Paella and Chow Mein, Birds Eye Arctic Roll, Yeoman powdered mash, Quosh, and so much, much more...

Wednesday 7 June 2023

Sorry seems to be the hardest word

I'm re-posting this from the venerable Peter Tatchell, just because it is big news worth re-posting:

The Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Sir Mark Rowley, has said “sorry” to the LGBT+ community for his force’s past homophobic persecution. He’s the first UK police chief to apologise.

In a personal letter to human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, which was read out in the House of Lords, at today’s launch of the #ApologiseNow campaign, Sir Mark wrote:

“The Met has had systems and processes in place which have led to bias and discrimination in the way we have policed London’s communities, and in the way we have treated our officers and staff, over many decades. Recent cases of appalling behaviour by some officers have revealed that there are still racists, misogynists, homophobes and transphobes in the organisation, and we have already doubled down on rooting out those who corrupt and abuse their position.”

Sir Mark concluded; “I am clear that there is much for us to do. I am sorry to all of the communities we have let down for the failings of the past and look forward to building a new Met for London, one all Londoners can be proud of and in which they can have confidence.”

LGBT+ rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, who led negotiations for the Met’s apology, said:

“We thank Sir Mark Rowley for being the first UK police chief to say sorry. His apology is a ground-breaking step forward that will, we hope, spur other police forces to follow suit. It draws a line under past Met persecution. This will help strengthen LGBT+ trust and confidence in the police; encouraging more LGBTs to report hate crime, domestic violence and sexual assault.”

The launch of the #ApologiseNow campaign, which is bidding to secure apologies from all UK Chief Constables, was hosted by Baroness Helena Kennedy KC and featured a video by the late TV star Paul O’Grady, recorded before his death. In it, Paul urged the police to say sorry for the often abusive, and sometimes illegal, way they treated LGBT+ people

Paul O’Grady backed the apology campaign based on his personal experience of police victimisation. He was present during a police raid on the gay bar, the Royal Vauxhall Tavern in London, on 24 January 1987. He described the raid as “homophobic…we were being treated like animals.”

The launch event heard testimony from LGBTs who were insulted and assaulted by the police. We heard from campaigner Alan Shea about homophobic police persecution on the Isle of Man, and the successful 2022 campaign to get the island’s Chief Constable to say sorry – the first police chief in the British Isles to do so.

Other police services across the UK are currently engaging with the #ApologiseNow campaign, but as discussions are at an early stage we will not be naming them.

“We are not asking the police to apologise for enforcing the law, but to apologise for the often illegal and abusive way they enforced it,” said Peter Tatchell, Director of the Peter Tatchell Foundation.

“Officers raided gay bars, clubs and even private birthday parties, insulting LGBTs as ‘poofs’ and ‘queers’. They gave the names and addresses of arrested gay men to local papers, which led to some being evicted, sacked and violently beaten. Police harassed LGBTs leaving gay venues and arrested same-sex couples for kissing, cuddling and holding hands, right up until the 1990s.

“The police did not make the law but they chose to enforce it in ways that today would be deemed illegal and unacceptable. They went out of their way to target gay and bisexual men to boost their arrest figures and ‘crime fighting’ reputation. Young handsome male officers were sent into public toilets and parks, where they lured gay men into committing offences and then arrested them. These so-called ‘pretty police’ acted as agents provocateurs.

“The yearly average of homosexual offences recorded by the police in England and Wales was nearly three times greater after the partial decriminalisation of male homosexuality in 1967, than it was in the previous eight decades of total criminalisation – clear evidence of a police witch-hunt.

“Police forces in New York, Copenhagen, Sydney, Berlin, Amsterdam, Montreal and San Francisco have apologised, as has the Chief Constable of the Isle of Man. UK police should do the same,”
said Mr Tatchell.

Paul O’Grady’s account of the police raid on the Royal Vauxhall Tavern on 24 January 1987:
“Police have apologised all around the world for their behaviour all those years ago. I think it is about time the British police did the same thing and said we are so sorry for what happened, because it was unnecessary. It was homophobic,” said Mr O’Grady

“I’d only been there for about ten minutes and a copper burst in the dressing room. I thought he was a stripper. He was so rude and so aggressive. And when I came out on the stage, they were all wearing rubber gloves. I said: ‘Oh good, have you come to do the washing up?’ There was pandemonium and people were scared.

“I was called a lascivious act in the South London Press and to tell you the truth I was delighted about that.

“Past injustices often cross my mind and this is one of them. The bloody cheek of them. It was disgusting, it was just offensive. We were being treated like animals. Pure homophobia that’s what it was. And nothing else will make me change my mind. So apologise, because I know where you are!”
said Mr O’Grady.

Peter Tatchell added: “In the 1980s, we had the Chief Constable of Greater Manchester, James Anderton, saying that gay people were ‘swirling round in a cesspit of their own making.’ He gave a green light for the police across the country to persecute our community.

“At the height of this persecution in 1989, there were 1,718 convictions and cautions for so-called ‘gross indecency’ between men – almost as many as in 1954-55 when male homosexuality was totally illegal, and the country was gripped by a McCarthyite-style anti-gay witch hunt.

“If the police say they have changed, they need to show it by acknowledging past wrongs. They need to follow the lead of the Met Police Commissioner. All Chief Constables should apologise for the many decades of past police harassment. Apologise now!”

The #ApologiseNow petition is now live at

Tuesday 6 June 2023

Swings so cool and sways so gently

Another outing for the black armbands today, with the news that the very lovely Astrud Gilberto has departed for Fabulon - accompanied by the gentle sounds of bossa nova guitars, no doubt.

Without further ado, let's celebrate the great lady's sublime talents...

...and, of course, the song for which she is most remembered [one of the most-covered songs of all time, apparently]...

RIP, Astrud Gilberto (born Astrud Evangelina Weinert, 29th March 1940 – 5th June 2023)

Today's Headlines

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