Monday, 31 May 2010

Oh, Sammy, oh



I haven't forgotten of course, despite the Bank Holiday, that this is another Tacky Music Monday. And to celebrate this regular spotlight on the weird, the wonderful and the truly bizarre, here is one of the Lebanon's top singers of the 60s, when that country was the playground of the rich and famous... Laydeez and gents - a warm welcome to Mr Sammy (or Sami) Clark!





Sunday, 30 May 2010

"The final destination, the sounds of celebration - if I could find the opportunity"


"One thing that became apparent over the last week...was that despite a strong voice and a winning personality, Josh simply lacked the experience of his competitors.

"Last night saw MTV Award winners, Pop Idol victors and former Eurovision champions take to the stage. They handled the audience and television cameras like seasoned professionals. It was unfair to expect a novice to share their poise and confidence."

- Mark Savage, BBC Eurovision blog.
We wuz robbed! Again...

Despite all the hoo-ha about a brand new Pete Waterman song, the UK's Eurovision entry That Sounds Good To Me sung by the lovely Josh Dubovie obviously didn't sound good to the voters. We came last, as bloc-voting by our European "allies" came to the fore once again.

It wasn't that bad a song - we all scored it quite highly at our party - and compared to the likes of Spain, Cyprus or Belarus it was positively Cole Porter...



< We were most disappointed with our other high-scorers, Iceland (who only stumped up 41 points) and Albania (who scraped up 62 points). At least Greece got a respectable 140 - Opa!! However, it becomes really obvious that there is more than just music being voted for when a steaming pile of doggy-doo like Apricot Stone (Armenia) can get 141 points, that bloody awful Walking in Memphis-rip-off from Belgium gets 143 points, the putrid Russian entry gets points from all its neighbours, and that dire Turkish entry can come second. As for the winner, ho hum - what the Eurovision Song Contest really needs is a nasal Gabriella Cilmi-lookie-likey singing a song ripped entirely from the Ting-Tings. I don't think so...

There were some very good entries among the dross - I rather liked the Ukraine entry (she has a great voice), and Moldova's dancy number and Romania's techno pianos were both great. There were, of course, some spectacular outfits and pyrotechnics galore, and some (un)intentionally hilarious moments - the best image of the evening was that large lady from Iceland sitting at her table next to a smoking model of a volcano, what the Belarus entry lacked in a song they made up for with corny butterfly wings, and Moldova positively exploded onto the stage!



The totty level was quite high, too - Norway, Israel and France all had high scores in the "phwoooar" factor! ...

Of course, in reality none of it matter in comparison to the hilarity and fun of our party - flags, food and booze from all nations, scorecards, national costumes, lots of shouting at the telly and dancing - can't wait till next year!!!



And at least dear little Josh is still smiling, bless him...

Saturday, 29 May 2010

My love is on the line, don't change it

Gladys Knight and the Pips

Today we celebrate the birthday of one of the greatest soul voices alive today, Miss Gladys Knight!

Our Glad was always a favourite of mine - with her smokey vocals, big frocks and even bigger smile! To this day, despite being another in a long line of mama divas who has become a bible-thumper, her voice can still send shivers down my spine...

However it is for another reason that we love Miss Knight - her Pips! Where would she be without them? As a child I wanted to be a Pip; Madam Acarti always wanted to be one. So, in the absence of anything resembling a decent dance routine for us to rehearse for tonight's Eurovision, why not practice some of these funky moves?! Enjoy!

Midnight Train to Georgia:


If I Were Your Woman:


And this is my personal favourite, from the summer of '77...

Don't Change Your Mind:


Gladys Knight on MySpace

Friday, 28 May 2010

'Cos I'm on fire, fire, fire



I couldn't let the day go by without saying happy birthday to our diminutive pop goddess, could I?



"Well I can't seem to think of the things that a girl likes to hear"



Closer still to the "Gay World Cup" - otherwise known as the Eurovision Song Contest - and we learn that some of our favourites this year including Netherlands and Switzerland have failed to qualify, and that a raft of cruddy over-wrought ballads got through.

Bleurgh! Maybe it is time to remind ourselves that this is not X-Factor nor any of those other shitty "battle of the balladeer" type programmes that Simon Cowell has foisted onto our telly screens, and that above all Eurovision should be fun!







Thursday, 27 May 2010

Something smooth



One of the favourite online radio stations Madame Acarti discovered recently, and we both adore, is a brilliant Mexican one called Xcentrica, featuring the choice of music of "El Munecon, the Lounge King".

It is a feast of easy listening and kitsch, with a liberal mix of choons by the likes of Dalida, Henry Mancini, Michel Legrand, space age pop and electronica, jazz, dance and lounge music!

And this lady! Enjoy the sultry sound of Monna Bell...





Listen to Xcentrica

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

I've been crying such a long time...



As we hurtle towards the Eurovision Song Contest this Saturday, and the first round winners and losers for this year are announced, I thought I'd turn the clock back thirty years to a classic contest winning song.

Laydeez'n'gentlemen, in 1980 the gorgeous Johnny Logan ruled the waves...

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Here, Kitty, Kitty...



In a long line of people about whom we say "who knew she was still alive?", today marks the 88th birthday of one Kitty Kallen. Que?

Miss Kallen is most famous in the UK as one of those "one-hit wonders" - an artist who went to Number 1 in the charts with Little Things Mean A Lot and had no other hits, ever. However she was much more than just that.

A bit of a child prodigy, Kitty sang with greats such as Artie Shaw and Jack Teagarden while still a mere teenager, eventually climbing the ladder to become a regular vocalist with Tommy Dorsey, and later Harry James.

A shattering blow came at the height of her career in the 40s when she lost her voice, but Miss Kallen bounced back in the 1950s and 60s to become one of the most popular vocalists of the era (in America, at least). Unfortunately her second wave of success collided headlong with the rise of rock'n'roll, and she faded elegantly into the background where she resides to this day...

Here is Miss Kallen with "that" hit:



Kitty Kallen biography

Monday, 24 May 2010

Scarlet woman

Another scorcher (unfortunately while we all have to go to work!), another Tacky Music Monday! I think a little Ann-Margret is in order...

Sunday, 23 May 2010

"Down by the shore an orchestra's playing, and even the palms seem to be swaying"



Today we have a centenary to celebrate! For 100 years ago today one of the most influential musicians in living memory was born - the magnificent Artie Shaw!

His appeared to be a charmed life. A shy Jewish teenager growing in the narrow-minded backwoods of Connecticut, he turned to music as an escape mechanism - and escape he did, at the age of sixteen, to New York!

Not only did the young prodigy join a number of big bands of the day, but, tired of playing second fiddle he founded his own, and it was his own innovative arrangements of monster swing hits such as Begin the Beguine, Stardust, Moonglow and Frenesi that really brought him huge success and attention.

He hired Billie Holiday as a singer (a first for a white band to have a black singer) - much to the disapproval of the segregationists of the South. He worked with singers such as Mel Torme and musicians like Buddy Rich started with Artie. His fame rivalled that of Benny Goodman, his radio shows reached millions of people, and by the time of WW2 he was selling millions of records - rumour has it that at the height of his fame in the post-war era he earned $60,000 a week!

Fame brings admirers, too, of course - and with his dapper good looks and impeccable style, Artie attracted the best. He married eight times - among them two of the most desirable women in the world, Lana Turner and Ava Gardner! A charmed life indeed - and he lived till he was 94... We love Artie Shaw!

To provide a small example of his genius, here's Mr Shaw's instructions on how to build a swing orchestra in easy stages...



And here are a couple of examples of why Mr Shaw was just so great:





This, of course, was his finest hour...



Artie Shaw biography

Saturday, 22 May 2010

Bazazz!

Rick Skye and me 1

Had another fabulous evening's entertainment last night thanks to the magnificent Rick Skye as Slice O'Minnelli! This is the fourth time we've seen him/her perform (first st the late lamented Theatre Museum, then the Scarlet Fever Revue at Cafe de Paris, and last year in the Barbra and Liza show), and each time he just gets better and better!

Capturing the lady's every eccentricity, gesture and vocal tic perfectly, all the classic routines were there - My Wheelie Chair, the Married routine, the Aznavour ("Schnauzervour") numbers - but we were very happy that there's a lot of new material this time round as well. Liza doing Beyoncé is a wonder to behold! The audition for Sunset Boulevard is marvellous, and the second half's "Liza story" really shows off Mr Skye's vocal power and talents to perfection. The Betty Ford tribute song is a hoot! (And his/her pianist Michael Ferreri is dead sexy too...)

We sat with Rick/Liza in the bar of the Players' Theatre for an hour afterwards, chatting. We spoke a little about "Liza"'s recent cameo in The Big Gay Musical movie, and apparently a sequel is in production, in which Rick/Liza will have a bigger role. (You heard it here first!)

He told us how happy he is with this current tour - straight from headlining the Dublin Festival - his love for the West End, and the shows he would like to bring over to London, such as the War of the Mama Roses and of course his show with the ascerbic puppet "Madame". A lovely man, and a superb show!



From there we eventually ended up at the Black Cap in Camden for the lovely Mrs Moore's birthday show with The Boy George Experience as headline act. However, it was the dame herself we'd come so see, and her "Battle of the Basseys" (with Ebony and some other drag queens bitch-splapped off the stage by Mrs Moore) was hilarious, and a fitting way to round off a great evening...

Friday, 21 May 2010

"Cabaret never looked so... wrong"



Coming to the Soho Theatre on 28th June - but is that theatre ready for Bourgeois and Maurice?!



Bourgeois and Maurice website

Boom boom! Boom boom!



Not sure whether this fits better in the "Tacky Music Monday" or the "Thank Disco It's Friday" category, but just because it is such an uplifting record I thought I would post this hilariously low-budget video for your delectation...

Have fun this (hopefully sunny) weekend! Boom boom! Boom boom!

Thursday, 20 May 2010

J'en ai marre with your theatrics

There are few words I can say about the 62nd birthday (yesterday) of one of the world's greatest artists. So, suffice to say many happy returns to the unstoppable Miss Grace Jones!



Many moons ago, way back in 1980 there was a certain song of hers that hit the airwaves, and once I heard it I was forever hooked! All together now,

"Sentimental gestures only bore me to death.
You've made a desperate appeal
now save your breath...."



PS I particularly loved this article in the Evening Standard yesterday.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

"When I have a brand new hairdo, with my eyelashes all in curl"



Happy 71st birthday today to the marvellous Nancy Ka Shen Kwan! (Who? I hear you ask...)

Nancy Kwan was a ground-breaking and influential actress in Hollywoodland. Although Hong Kong born and British Empire educated, she broke the mould of stereotypical "Oriental" screen portrayals as a genuinely Chinese screen temptress in The World of Suzie Wong, and went on to great acclaim as (probably) the first Asian sex symbol in America. Her iconic style and glamour, and in particular her "asymmetrical bob" hairstyle by Vidal Sassoon, became the stuff of legend and was endlessly emulated and copied throughout the 1960s.

In spite of her long and glamorous career, and many film and TV appearances over six decades, it is mainly for one significant role that afficionados of musical campness most appreciate this diva. For it was Rodgers & Hammerstein's Flower Drum Song (the first all-Asian mainstream movie in cinema history) that allowed the lady to shine at her very brightest, and (despite her vocals being dubbed) it is for this song we will always remember Miss Nancy Kwan!



Nancy Kwan website

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

I talk about it, talk about it, talk about it, talk about movin!...



Can it really be 30 years since this funky little number was all over the charts? Heavens, time flies, etc., etc.

Monday, 17 May 2010

I wanna be free...



It's not just the International Day Against Homophobia. It is also our dear friend Baby Stephen's birthday, and Tacky Music Monday!

In an effort to recognise all three, here's a delightfully tacky video for a delightfully tacky "hands-in-the-air" song from the 90s. All together now, "I wanna be free, gay and happy!"

Cause we hate what you do



May 17 was chosen as the International Day Against Homophobia because it marks the anniversary of the day in 1993 when the World Health Organization removed homosexuality from its list of mental disorders.

Today, “no less than 80 countries around the world consider homosexuality illegal and in five of them - Iran, Mauritania, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and Yemen - and in parts of Nigeria and Somalia, homosexual acts are punishable with death,” according to the world survey of State Homophobia by the International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA).

In Eastern Europe, state-sponsored Gay Pride bans are still happening. Closer to home in the West, a particular battle continues - that of compensation for the thousands of gay and lesbian people who were persecuted, imprisoned and killed during the Nazi Holocaust. It is a little-recognised fact that after the war, the supposedly liberal West Germany refused to even decriminalise many gays who had been locked up by the Nazis, and it took till 2002 for any kind of official apology for this inhumane treatment. But survivors of this double-whammy of state homophobia never received a pfennig piece.

Here in the UK, homophobic attacks in certain areas of the country are actually on the rise rather than what you might have expected of the so-called "socially liberal" society that Blair and Brown claimed credit for. Despite gay front-bench MPs, gay soap opera characters, pop stars and TV presenters, and civil partnerships and other legislation it seems no-one bothered to educate the ill-informed "gang"-obsessed yoof of this benighted society that the world according to Eminem and 50 Cent is unnaturally obsessed with and fearful of gay people.

In so many high profile cases ("Sinders" Morley, James Parkes, Ian Baynham), the ghetto creed of "respec" appears to be the motive for the abhorrent "bashing" of the people they fear most - us.

On the apparently "respectable" side of the coin, the religions - Catholic, Protestant, African, US mid-West, Islamic, Jewish - all have more than their fair share of bigoted homophobes queuing up to condemn the so-called "evil" of people happening to love someone of the same sex.

As Johann Hari famously said in an article last year:
"Homosexuality is not some unnatural intrusion, wrought by demonic perverts, as the pre-modern religious texts so absurdly assert. It is an inevitable part of nature - birds do it, bees do it - and it is, fleetingly, part of the sexual development of most teenagers. If you are full of hate for homosexuals, the evidence suggests you have a psychological problem, based on denying part of yourself.

"In short: homophobia? It's so gay."


http://idahomophobia.org/

Sunday, 16 May 2010

"I'll never be the same, 'til I discover what became of my old flame"



We had a fantastic day yesterday - shopping in Camden Market for some (very nice) bits for the Pride outfit, then on to see Clayton Littlewood's latest run of Dirty White Boy, his play based upon his MySpace blog. We went to see it at its first showing, and loved it.

This time around, the boys have obviously worked hard to polish up the show - alongside the familar (and brilliantly portrayed by David Benson) characters of Leslie, Charlie and Angie, Clay has added in the poignant tale of the sad demise of his wrongly accused friend Chico into the mix.

This makes for an even better performance than first time around, and the longer format gives us the opportunity to really get to know and to care about the weird and wonderful characters he met during his time at the shop on the corner of Old Compton Street!

The addition of the sexy singer Alexis Gerred (into the "Greek Chorus" role previously performed by Maggie K DeMonde), who performs (mainly topless - yum yum) some scene-setting songs from the likes of Diana Ross (Chico's desired alter ego), Pet Shop Boys and other contemporary pop numbers, is a very welcome foil for the drama. He excelled particularly on Billie Holiday's My Old Flame, a highly appropriate love song for the touching tale of Leslie and Charlie.

Excellent stuff! We rather hope this will not be the last we see of it (a transfer perhaps? Or even TV maybe?). Enjoy this brief snippet...



And to round off, here's the wonderful Peggy Lee singing the sublime My Old Flame:



Lovely.

Saturday, 15 May 2010

A little nightmare music...



That Madame Acarti has been busy again, stumbling her way across the interweb in search of the most bizarre and unusual musical delights...

His latest discovery is the marvellously named duo Igudesman and Joo - purveyors of a sort of humorous classical entertainment not seen since the likes of the peerless Victor Borge. They call it A Little Nightmare Music!

Apparently, Rachmaninov had big hands...



And here's the boys' take on a very familiar camp classic...I Will Survive:



Ingudesman & Joo website

Friday, 14 May 2010

Get your jump-suits on!



Thank Disco it's Friday! Whatever you do tonight, have a great time - and don't forget to rehearse your dance moves - I am!

Love the jump-suits, love the hair, love to boogie!



Indeed.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Walk through polaroids of the past



Scary though it is to think about it, this year marks the 30th anniversary of John Foxx's seminal electronic solo album Metamatic (a work that was hugely influential in my teenage life).

To celebrate he is curating an all-analogue synthesiser "festival" at the Roundhouse on 5th June. Among the artists expected to appear at the Short Circuit event are Gary Numan (whose success - although later than John's debut with Ultravox, the band he founded - eclipsed his own) and Holger Czukay of the esoteric German synth pioneers Can.

I am very tempted to go along, but in any case let us celebrate the brilliance of the fantastic Mr Foxx with a number that really shook me to my core when I first heard it... Underpass!



And here is one of my all-time favourite songs, ever!



Somehow we drifted off too far
Communicate like distant stars
Splintered voices down the 'phone

The sunlit dust, the smell of roses drifts, oh no
Someone waits behind the door
Hiroshima mon amour

Riding inter-city trains
Dressed in European grey
Riding out to echo beach

A million memories in the trees and sands, oh no
How can I ever let them go?
Hiroshima mon amour

Meet beneath the autumn lake
Where only echoes penetrate
Walk through polaroids of the past

Future's fused like shattered glass, the sun's so low
Turns our silhouettes to gold
Hiroshima mon amour

Read the article on the BBC

Ailurophobia, meat hooks and Tiffany Bling



And so it came to pass that Polari was evicted from its plush penthouse home in The Pavilion at the Royal Festival Hall, and we found ourselves relocated in The Blue Room in the "bowels" of the hall - a place with which, as Paul Burston quite rightly said, many of us were quite familiar...

However we didn't let a little thing like demotion ruin our favourite evening at "London's peerless literary salon"! Surrounded by celebrities as we were (well, David Hoyle anyway!), the suitably blue-themed musical selection drew to a close and the entertainment began.

Author Niven Govinden opened the show with his wry tale of two couples - one straight, one gay - on a very fractious trip to Amsterdam, with all the drunkenness, arguments, dancing - and cat problems! - that a visit to that decadent city can muster. Intriguing and very funny, I think I might pencil in one of his books to read later.



Niven was followed by the very jolly Helen Sandler, lesbian poet and host of the Vauxhall Tavern's "Bar Wotever" variety nights, who entertained us with a selection of her short, sharp poems (on a series of tiny little file-cards). Very varied, very incisive, and very entertaining! Visit Helen's website.

After the break it was time for one of the aforementioned Mr Hoyle's chums to take the stage. Of course, it was not until Mr Burston introduced him that I realised that the published poet Gerry Potter was, in a previous life, none other than alternative cabaret artiste Chloe Poems! Speaking of the decision to kill off the Chloe character, Gerry commented that this was the first time he had been able to read his poetry in his own voice, and so immediately launched into a poem on that very subject, My Scouse Voice:



Gerry's selection of poetry from his new anthology Planet Young - all scally girls (Tiffany Bling saved Gerry from being beaten up), photo-booths and teenage angst - was the highlight of the evening for us, so much so that all four of us bought a copy. Buy yours today!



Our final author Mark Sanderson read a (literally) chilling passage from his new novel Snow Hill, set in an underworld of homosexual brothels, rent boys, sadistic murder and police corruption and based around the meat market at Smithfield in London. Just as the hero of the story, a reporter in Thirties London, thinks he has some information that might solve the disappearance (and presumed murder) of a policeman he finds himself locked into one of the fridges alongside the horribly butchered body of his contact hanging from a meat hook with his genitals stuffed in his mouth. Gruesome stuff, but intriguing...

Mr Sanderson has had mixed reviews for his novel, but on the basis of the passage he read I think it might be an interesting read - and Barry Forshaw in The Independent agrees.

Needless to say, yet again we had a thoroughly entertaining time - and look forward to next month's "theatrical theme" event on 16 June!

* Ailurophobia = fear of cats

Polari

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

What the World needs now...



Happy 82nd birthday today to a true maestro - Mr Burt Bacharach!

It is impossible to truly capture the magnitude of the work this man (mainly with long-time collaborator Hald David) has brought to the world of Light Entertainment, but suffice to say that everyone (and I mean everyone!) has at least one of their songs among their cherished collection somewhere.

Walk On By, The Look of Love, Anyone Who Had A Heart, What the World Needs Now is Love, Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head, Alfie, Magic Moments, (They Long To Be) Close To You, Twenty Four Hours From Tulsa, Make It Easy On Yourself, I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself, Always Something There To Remind Me, Trains and Boats and Planes, I Say A Little Prayer, Do You Know the Way to San Jose? - and so the list goes on, and on!

Bacharach (and David) worked with some of the greatest singers of all time - including Dusty Springfield, Gene Pitney, Dionne Warwick, Sandie Shaw, Bobbie Gentry, Tom Jones and even Rufus Wainwright, and the great man is still working to this day - most notably at the BBC Electric Proms in 2008.

Mr Bacharach was once married to Angie Dickinson and also to Carole Bayer Sager, and in his day represented everything that was cool and smooth among the cocktail party set of glamorous 60s and 70s Hollywood. Many happy returns to a true great!

With Barbra Streisand - Close to You:


With Vikki Carr - The Look of Love:


With Dusty Springfield - A House is Not a Home:


Burt Bacharach

Congratulations...



... we finally have a Prime Minister! "Call me Dave" Cameron has done the wicked deed and signed up to a coalition with the Lib Dems. It will be interesting to see what happens now. Anyhow, to celebrate, here's a classic that I felt appropriate...

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Oh, what a circus...



It's Tuesday (a most dull day), so I thought I'd post some divinely decadent music videos that have tickled my fancy of late. Hope they do yours...

First up, thanks to our friend John-John for alerting my attention to this wonderful piece from The Irrepressibles. A fine addition to the ever-increasing collection of weirdness here at Dolores Delargo Towers, methinks!



Here's an under-stated little number (which has given me some inspiration for my Pride costume - diamante-studded gimp mask and PVC wings! A fab look!). Heeeeere's Ellis!



And finally, mere words cannot describe the impact that this particularly bizarre piece of cinematic video has - I love Hot Chip!



Fab.

Monday, 10 May 2010

Tutti bella!



On this Tacky Music Monday, with a hung parliament, volcanic ash and the death of Lena Horne to deal with, who better to cheer us all up than the lovely Raffaella Carra?

Every honey bee fills with jealousy



Sad news today of the death (at the ripe old age of 92) of that magnificent vocalist, civil rights campaigner, and all-round entertainer Miss Lena Horne.

An eternal favourite here at Dolores Delargo Towers, Miss Horne defied the racial embargo in America in the 1950s and 60s with roles in Hollywood movies, and went on to become an international superstar, selling out concert venues across the globe and making numerous stage and TV appearances both in the US and here in the UK, where her music proved even more successful than it was back home.

Here are a couple of our personal favourites by Miss Horne. We will miss her luscious voice and shining glamour - RIP.





Lena Horne obituary in The Times

Sunday, 9 May 2010

A cultural outing - in Kings Cross?



We had a very cultured evening at the brand new concert venue King's Place (near Kings Cross) tonight, in the company of our friend the lovely pianist Daniel Grimwood and his equally talented cohort, the cellist Jamie Walton.

They played a stunning set of sonatas by Beethoven, Britten, Brahms and Prokofiev, each very different in style and complexity, and all beautifully played with a passion and verve that we could hardly have expected. It was exhausting to watch, exhilarating to hear, and downright fantastic! The venue itself is so squeaky-clean and new that Madame Acarti likened it to John Lewis, but as auditoriums go it certainly has a lot of potential and is highly recommended for a visit.

Here are Daniel and Jamie giving their all to the Polonaise by Chopin:



And here is the beauteous Daniel himself in a fascinating explanation of the difference between types of piano, and about his recent recording of Liszt's complete Années de Pelerinage:



Buy Daniel's CDs online

Buy Jamie and Daniel's recordings

"Born in Poland, made in Germany, stolen by Hollywood"



There are many reasons why a relationship remains strong over the years, and complete compatibility of taste in music and arts is a major factor - and this is a shining example of why Madame Acarti and I have lasted twelve years together this month.

For when the esteemed Madame announced he had managed to find a clip of silent screen vamp Pola Negri singing Wagner, I could have whooped with joy! A perfect addition to our burgeoning collection of all things camp here at Dolores Delargo Towers...



The lovely Fraulein Negri was a wonderfully exotic addition to the Art Deco silent movie era - she left her native Hungary early in her career, and was "discovered" by Hollywood while residing in Weimar Berlin. Her career blossomed in glamorous big-budget silents alongside the megastars of the day such as Rudolph Valentino (with whom she had a much-publicised affair), but the Depression and the rise of the talkies were not kind to her career. Controversially on her return to Germany she became a firm favourite actress of Adolf Hitler (despite being anti-Nazi herself), and the "Nazi connection" led to much vilification among her peers, including Tallulah Bankhead, despite the fact that the German authorities were in fact investigating her alleged Jewish background.

After leaving Germany and later the occupation of France, she returned to Hollywood, where she made a few more movies before retiring in the 1940s. Pola Negri maintained her flamboyant persona to the end of her life and was often compared to Norma Desmond, a character role she had famously turned down - which became the most famous and iconic screen moment for her friend and rival Gloria Swanson. She lived to the ripe old age of 90, and when she died in 1987 her body was laid out wearing a yellow golden chiffon dress with a golden turban to match. A magnificent lady!

Pola! Pola! Pola! - the Pola Negri Appreciation site

Saturday, 8 May 2010

The one and only



Happy 84th birthday today to an idol of mine (and of many people), the marvellous Sir David Attenborough, adventurer, expert presenter, nature enthusiast extraordinaire, and probably the best thing that ever happened to British TV. For six decades, the viewing public has been (and continues to be) enthralled by his brilliantly produced documentaries, and in my opinion when the great man finally does pop off this mortal coil, there will never be anyone who could replace him.

This is one of my favourite clips - enjoy!

Woodpeckers:

Friday, 7 May 2010

Happy Friday!

Have a fabulous Friday Night, whatever you do!

Hung



Feeling mightily disappointed with the stalemate in government this morning, there is really only one song you can play in the circumstances of a hung parliament....



Happy Hung Friday!

Thursday, 6 May 2010

The sweetest song that I can sing



Happy 60th birthday today to the eternal soul boy and latterly champion Crufts dog breeder Eddy Amoo! His band The Real Thing was a bit of a phenomenon in the 70s - they were the best selling black group of the decade, and one of the few UK soul/dance bands to break the cherished American market.

And they wore the most enormous flared trousers with pride! Enjoy...



The Real Thing on Wikipedia

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Strange girl, that Aphrodite...



Kylie Minogue has confessed she has a bizarre phobia of coat hangers.

The Aussie pop singer and fashionista loves clothes but has to lay them out in a room as she can't bear to hang them up in a wardrobe, as hangers upset her.

Kylie, 41, revealed to Elle magazine:
"The problem is I hate putting things on hangers - I have a hanger phobia - I don't like the way they sound when you put them in the wardrobe."

So the pop princess explained how she stores all her favourite clothes and shoes.

"It's a room in my home where everything is laid out. It never looks like other people's wardrobes. I've got far too many shoes, but they're so pretty I don't like to hide them away."

Aphrodite is released on July 5th (at the end of Pride weekend!). I can't wait...

Tired Old Queen



I stumbled across this little slice of brilliance last night. The title alone was enough to draw me in!

Tired Old Queen At The Movies is the creation of actor Steve Hayes, who we loved as "God" in the Big Gay Musical, and he certainly has a way with words...

Here he is giving his unique take on possibly one of the campest of all Hollywood classics, Mildred Pierce - enjoy!

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Swingin' down the street so fancy-free



We paid a sad farewell this weekend to the original "Georgy Girl", Miss Lynn Redgrave, who died on the weekend. She always seemed the nicest of the bunch, next to her more vocal siblings Vanessa and the late Corin, and lent a certain charm to every film or play in which she appeared. Here she is in her finest hour - in the film for which she will forever be remembered...



Lynn Redgrave obituary

Monday, 3 May 2010

"Nobody gets more applause than Catwoman!"



Even Bank Holiday Mondays can be tacky! Today there's a neat coincidence, too - for yesterday was the 64th birthday of none other than Miss Lesley Gore, purveyor of bad bubblegum pop. So what better to feature than this wonderfully kitsch little vignette from her appearance (alongside the marvellous Miss Julie Newmar) in Batman?

Sunday, 2 May 2010

I move like a cat, charge like a ram. Sting like a bee, babe I wanna be your man!

I have had a bugger of a day today battling with a hijack virus that apart from giving me pop-up pages every thirty seconds seems to think that my homepage is not good enough (it's the BBC) and should be substituted with something else, and that Google is not good enough as a search engine so keeps flashing up AskJeeves pages... It still hasn't gone, but the number of virus checks and anti-spyware runs I have had to do means I have hardly had a chance to do what I like best - web surfing and posting blogs - before the damn Trojan pops up again and I have to log off.



Anyhow, I had a fabulous evening yesterday in the company of our fave drag icon Trindy (whose 50th birthday it is tomorrow), and her outrageous "Bowie Night"! It all started well, with the "lady" herself arriving on stage resplendent in black feather headdress to perform the classic Diamond Dogs.

Then all of a sudden, the crowd of middle-European lesbians who had been drinking at Halfway all day decided to take their tops off and parade around the downstairs bar, tits-a-bobble! Trindy loved it - shrieking from the stage "Oh fuck! It's the Isle Of Wight Festival, 1970!", before launching into numbers from my favourite Bowie albums Hunky Dory and Ziggy Stardust.

The show was a stunning success - with straights and gays, Queen Bitches and lesbians alike all up bopping away in a genuine nostalgia trip! So much so, that once the allotted time had passed Trindy (never one to miss a beat!) performed encores of Marc Bolan/T Rex numbers.

We moved upstairs after the final cheers, to meet up with Tony, Ginger Dave and others (who we had seen earlier on their way to see Dirty White Boy and had returned raving about the show), when all of a sudden more familar Glam Rock strains emerged from downstairs! Drunk on her success, Trindy had decided to carry on the party atmosphere - so down we went for a fabulous set of songs by Suzi Quattro, Glitter Band, Slade, Sweet and even Mud! A great night!

This was the definitive star turn of the evening, and should definitely be Trindy's signature tune (along with Radiohead's Creep that she performs as part of her more general show) - laydeez'n'gentlemen, Mr Marc Bolan...



Fabulous.

Saturday, 1 May 2010

He shouldn't-a, Hadn't-a, Oughtn't-a swang on me



Sad news this week of the death of Miss Dorothy Provine, star of It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, That Darn Cat! and The Great Race. I have blogged about her before, and she always made me smile.

In the early 1960s Miss Provine was the star of a short-lived TV show called The Roaring Twenties, which Madame Acarti loved so much we went on a mission to find the soundtrack on vinyl LP!

Here's a clip from that series:



Here she is holding her own against Ethel Merman [a clip that refuses to be embedded!]: Scene from It's a Mad, Mad, Mad World.

And here is the scene for which we remember her most fondly...



RIP

Dorothy Provine obituary in the New York Times