Friday, 30 September 2011

You don't have to be a star



It's a sunny weekend in prospect, with temperatures set to break all records for this time of year!

Cause indeed to celebrate, so how about a couple of mellow funky sounds courtesy of today's birthday girl Marilyn McCoo, here with her long-time partner Billy Davis Jr?

Thank Disco it's Friday!

Now where did I put that sparkly silver bat-wing trouser-suit?




Enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Is your Husband a Homo?



A salutory warning from Charlie Hides TV

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

A comedy genius



RIP David Croft, creator of some of the UK's (and the World's) all-time favourite comedies including Dad's Army, Are You Being Served?, It Ain't Half Hot Mum and Hi-De-Hi!...


Read more on the BBC

Teen Queen



Happy 65th birthday today to one of the strongest voices in 60s pop, Miss Helen Shapiro.

Nowadays very much seen as a product of her age, her music never aged well; nor did it make much of an impact Stateside. Thus, unlike more versatile contemporaries such as Dusty Springfield and Sandie Shaw, her commercial chart success was very short-lived and hardly lasted out of her teens.

Her most famous (and biggest) hit was of course Walking Back to Happiness. However, in my opinion this lesser-known single Queen for Tonight is much more appropriately camp...



Facts about Helen Shapiro:
- She sang in her school band "Susie and the Hula Hoops," which included Marc Bolan (then using his real name of Mark Feld) as guitarist.
- On her countrywide tour in 1963, The Beatles were her support act.
- She was one of the stars of the short-lived soap Albion Market in the 1980s.
- Born into a Jewish family in Clapton, she has unfortunately nowadays turned to one of those weird cults beloved of Manhatten Cable "Jews for Jesus".
Helen Shapiro biography

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Stay forever and ever and ever and ever



On this day TEN YEARS AGO, Miss Kylie Minogue hit Number 1 in the UK charts with the mega-tastic Can't Get You Out Of My Head - the start of a four-week run at the top, and the start of a ten-year obsession here at Dolores Delargo Towers! The song indeed "followed" us wherever we went - holidays, parties, Prides - and up until the advent of All The Lovers, remained the "unofficial anthem" for our gang...

Can't Get You Out Of My Head is a ground-breaking song, often hailed by the critics as Miss Minogue's "finest hour" (although that sort of comment is only usually made by critics whose appreciation of an artist is limited to the singles they released since they themselves became adults), and it has inevitably attracted myriad cover versions by other artists including Tori Amos, Garbage, Brian Molko and Dublin's finest, Jack L.

Here's a selection of other cover versions that I found vaguely diverting - for their inelegant ineptitude at paying "tribute" to the song's greatness as much as anything else...

A fairly pointless version by the amazingly tacky Miss Ami Suzuki, Japan's answer to Katie Price:



A typically soulless (and remarkably flat) version by one of the most over-promoted and least entertaining bands of the last decade, Coldplay:



A should-be-funny-but-is-merely-wry version by some clever people - "Greek Philosophers":



Slightly more classy is this acoustic version by Astrid Swan:



And much more fun is this one by Serbian band 357:



However, nothing and absolutely no-one can possibly beat the original:



All together, now!

La la la
La la la la la
La la la
La la la la la

I just can’t get you out of my head
Boy your loving is all I think about
I just can’t get you out of my head
Boy it’s more than I dare to think about

La la la
La la la la la

I just can’t get you out of my head
Boy your loving is all I think about
I just can’t get you out of my head
Boy it’s more than I dare to think about

Every night
Every day
Just to be there in your arms

Won’t you stay
Won’t you lay
Stay forever and ever and ever and ever

La la la
La la la la la
La la la
La la la la la

I just can’t get you out of my head
Boy your loving is all I think about
I just can’t get you out of my head
Boy it’s more than I dare to think about

There’s a dark secret in me
Don’t leave me locked in your heart

Set me free
Feel the need in me
Set me free
Stay forever and ever and ever and ever

La la la
La la la la la
La la la
La la la la la

I just can’t get you out of my head
I just can’t get you out of my head
I just can’t get you out of my head...


Can't Get You Out Of My Head Wikipedia entry

Monday, 26 September 2011

A titter at Wilton's



We met a gay icon yesterday, in the tiny but perfectly formed person of Miss Barbara Windsor (stalwart of Carry On movies and Eastenders)!

She was at one of our (and Marc Almond's!) favourite venues, Wilton's Music Hall (the oldest in the world), to open their "Vintage Open Day" and fundraising cake competition. The building is (understandably) in need of huge amounts of money to bring it back to a suitable state of repair - particularly as it was turned down for Lottery cash last year - and we were more than happy to give generously in aid of such a good cause.

Among the many famous bits of footage that used Wilton's as a backdrop: music videos such as Frankie Goes to Hollywood Relax and Annie Lennox No More I Love Yous, films including The Krays, DeLovely (which was playing on the big screen while we were there), Chaplin, Interview with a Vampire and The Importance of Being Earnest, and TV programmes like Tipping the Velvet and Little Dorrit.

Babs was absolutely lovely, regaling the audiences of her memories of the East End and her love for its history, chatting with everyone who came along, and posing for endless photos. She's tireless!

She didn't actually sing at the event, but I couldn't let a Tacky Music Monday go by without taking the opportunity to feature her lovely tonsils ("Oooo, ta!")...




You can support Wilton's too!

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Duet of the day

It's Miss Lena Zavaroni and Miss Bonnie Langford!



Enjoy..?

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Viva la Musica



It's time once more for a little update on the choons that have caught my attention of late!

And we open with what promises to be the next mega-smash across the world - the duet between the coolest of cool club girrrls Luciana (who I have featured here many times), and none other than the all-round-icon Miss Betty White!! I can't wait for the video, but here's the song...



It's not often that The Guardian becomes a source of inspiration in my eternal quest for new musical discoveries, but their recent feature on the exotically-named Zola Jesus and her forthcoming album Conatus certainly piqued my interest. And so it came to pass I discovered this slice of fabulosity - here's the magnificent Night from last year's Stridulum EP:



Next up, a rather classy little electro number called You Don't Want To Dance With Me by the fabulous Monarchy, here featuring Britt Love:



Moving up-tempo for a moment and towards club totty, here's one from DJ Tiesto (now confusingly calling himself Allure), with On The Wire, featuring the estimable - ahem - vocal talents of the rather cute Christian Burns:



And finally, this one I discovered courtesy of Gaydar Radio, and I was hooked straight away! Hilariously tongue-in-cheek, the latest from self-proclaimed "bad boys" LMFAO (incidentally the son and grandson of Motown record label founder Berry Gordy) has an equally sharp video - yes, boys and girls, I'm Sexy and I Know It:



As ever, enjoy!

Tragedy?



Oh. My. God.

After ten years in the pop wilderness, the group Steps is reforming for a brand new TV show on Sky Living and a brand new greatest hits album, The Ultimate Collection.

Here's the track list:

5, 6, 7, 8
Last Thing On My Mind
One For Sorrow
Heartbeat
Tragedy
Better Best Forgotten
Love's Got a Hold on My Heart
After the Love Has Gone
Say You'll Be Mine
Better the Devil You Know
Deeper Shade of Blue
When I Said Goodbye
Summer of Love
Stomp
It's the Way You Make Me Feel
Here And Now
You’ll Be Sorry
Chain Reaction
I Know Him So Well
BONUS TRACK – Dancing Queen

I wonder if we'll see a triumphant return to the charts?!

Read more on Digital Spy

Friday, 23 September 2011

Stars shining bright above you



In honour of Mama Cass Elliot, whose 70th birthday it would have been this week, and also just because the sun is shining and looks set to remain so into the weekend, here is the big Mama herself.

One of my favourite summer songs, Dream a Little Dream of Me was originally written and recorded as a dance band number back in 1931, but it is this version we love the most. Who can forget the beautiful closing moments of the film Beautiful Thing, as the boys slow-dance to this tune across the concrete of their grim estate? Bliss...



Cass Elliot website

But I need a certain song



Oh, how I love the weekend!

Not only does it give us the chance to catch up on a bit of a lie-in after the dullness of work, but it also gives Madame Arcati and I a chance to flick our hair and practice those "special" dance moves, in order to perfect our famed Baccara impression...

I highly recommend you all do the same - Thank Disco It's Friday!



Enjoy it, whatever you get up to!


Mister, your eyes are full of hesitation
Sure makes me wonder, if you know what you're looking for
Baby, I wanna keep my reputation
I'm a sensation, you try me once, you're back for more

Ohh
Yes sir I can boogie
But I need a certain song
I can boogie, boogie boogie
All night long
Yes sir I can boogie
If you stay you can't go wrong
I can boogie, boogie boogie
All night long

No sir, I don't feel very much like talking
No neither walking, you wanna know if I can dance
Yes sir, already told you in the first word
And in the cold
But I will give you one more chance

Ohh
Yes sir I can boogie
But I need a certain song
I can boogie, boogie boogie
All night long
Yes sir I can boogie
If you stay you can't go wrong
I can boogie, boogie boogie
All night long

Thursday, 22 September 2011

"We are allies, my dear"



As we wish a happy 66th birthday today to ITV - Britain's first commercial broadcaster, launched this day in 1955 - so it is worth celebrating a programme that is definitely that channel's finest hour since Brideshead Revisited in 1981.

Downton Abbey is a phenomenon. Universally lauded by critics and audiences alike, it is practically guaranteed to take every TV award going, being as it is a fantastically-acted cross between costume drama and soap (the perfect combination!).

And with the pithy writing of that master of the art Julian Fellowes behind her, its unavowed star is the redoubtable Lady Grantham (Maggie Smith). When she made her entrance in Sunday's first episode of series two, we practically applauded. Here are just some of her better lines:
  • Mrs Crawley: “What should we call each other?”
    Lady Grantham: “Well, we could always start with Mrs Crawley and Lady Grantham.”
  • Lady Mary: “Sybil is entitled to her opinions.”
    Lady Grantham: “No. She isn’t until she is married, then her husband will tell her what her opinions are.”
  • Lady Grantham: “You are quite wonderful the way you see room for improvement wherever you look. I never knew such reforming zeal.”
    Mrs Crawley: “I take that as a compliment.”
    Lady Grantham: “I must have said it wrong.”
  • Lord Grantham: “We had better go in soon or it isn’t fair to Mrs Patmore.”
    Lady Grantham: “Oh, is her cooking so precisely timed? You couldn’t tell.”
  • Cora: “Are we to be friends then?”
    Lady Grantham: “We are allies, my dear, which can be a good deal more effective.”
  • “What is a weekend?”
  • Lady Grantham: “So, that’s Mary’s replacement. Well, I suppose looks aren’t everything.”
    Cora: “I think she seems rather sweet. I’m afraid meeting us all together must be very intimidating.”
    Lady Grantham: “I do hope so.”
  • “I hate Greek drama...when everything happens offstage.”


http://www.itv.com/downtonabbey/

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

A fire down in my soul



Oh dear. Nostalgia time again...

It is a quarter of a century since Mr Jimmy Somerville and Mr Richard Cole (with Miss Sarah Jane Morris) were at Number 1 with this brilliant cover...



No, no, no, no, no, no, indeed...

Don't leave me this way
I can't survive, I can't stay alive
Without your love, no baby

Don't leave me this way
I can't exist, I would surely miss
Your tender kiss
So don't leave me this way

Aaahh baby, my heart is full of love and desire for you
So come on down and do what you've got to do
You started this fire down in my soul
Now can you see it's burning out of control
So come on down and satisfy the need in me
Cos only your good loving can set me free

Don't leave me this way
I don't understand how I'm at your command
So baby please don't don't you leave me this way

Aaahh baby, my heart is full of love and desire for you
So come on down and do what you've got to do
You started a fire down in my soul
Now can you see it's burning out of control
So come on down and satisfy the need in me
Cos only your good loving can set me free
Set me free, set me free, set me free
Set me free, set me free, set me free
Believe, believe, believe, believe

Come satisfy me, come satisfy me
Come satisfy me, come satisfy me
Don't you leave me this way, no no, no no, no no, no no
Oh baby don't you go

Don't leave me this way
Ooh baby I can't exist, I will surely miss
Your tender kiss
So don't leave me this way

Aaahh baby, my heart is full of love and desire for you
So come on down and do what you've got to do
You started a fire down in my soul
Now can you see it's burning out of control
So come on down and satisfy the need in me
Cos only your good loving can set me free
Set me free, set me free, set me free
Set me free, set me free, set me free
Don't leave me this way
Don't leave me this way
Don't leave me this way


Communards

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Sporno, unfaithful husbands, human trafficking and a shortlist



The first of our Autumn/Winter season planned events was the return of Polari at the South Bank last night - and a great evening it was, too!

Once more Mr Burston pulled out all of the stops with a varied line-up of readers, opening with the lovely Justin David (who at his last appearance, at Polari's third birthday last November was calling himself Justin Ward).



His semi-autobiographical tale Unicorn, set in the 80s and all about knitting and grandparents and an uncle who calls him "nancy-boy", was charming, funny and made me want to read more. This is, however, just a short story from a collection of works by Goldsmiths College alumni - I wonder if Mr David will develop it into a novel? I hope so!



Helen Smith's book Alison Wonderland is described in its sleevenotes thus:
After her husband leaves her for another woman, twenty-something Londoner Alison Temple impulsively applies for a job at the very P.I. firm she hired to trap her philandering ex. She hopes it will be the change of scene she so desperately needs to move on with her shattered life. At the all-female Fitzgerald’s Bureau of Investigation, she spends her days tracking lost objects and her nights shadowing unfaithful husbands. But no matter what the case, none of her clients can compare to the fascinating characters in her personal life.
Her reading from it was equally bizarre, in which the preamble involved women transforming into aubergines and pumpkins, before she even got to the story of her character's disappointment that the girl her hubby is having an affair with is skinny and plain, not glamorous and exotic as she had hoped... Funny and weird at the same time.



Concluding the first half was a man whose writing I have always loved - the superbly cynical author, journalist and some-time broadcaster, and purported inventor of the term "metrosexuality", Mr Mark Simpson. He chose to focus on one of his favourite subjects, the ostensibly straight sportsman who deliberately and provocatively courts "gay icon" status. Fab stuff indeed! (And his gruff, pumped-up appearance set poor John-John's legs-a-quiver, too!)

You can read the essay, brilliantly titled Sporno, on Mark's blog.



After the break, it was the turn of the artist formerly known as "London Preppy" (who blogged his short stories anonymously for several years), the gorgeous Greek stud-muffin North Morgan. Mr Morgan has just published his very first novel Exit Through the Wound, and read a couple of excellent short extracts from it. Here he is, in the flesh (oo-er):



Following swiftly on, it was the turn of the "man of the moment", Mr Jonathan Kemp.



His debut novel London Triptych won The Authors’ Club Best First Novel award, was shortlisted for the The Green Carnation Prize for modern gay writing, and is now shortlisted for the Polari First Book Prize (more of which later). I have just started reading it, and it is indeed gripping stuff. Mr Kemp read a perfectly pithy extract, followed by a teaser for his second novel Twentysix, which is due out in November 2011. We loved it!

Here is a snippet of London Triptych, courtesy of Mich Jamieson and none other than Mr David Hoyle:


Our final reader was the stately Maureen Duffy - a stalwart of gay rights activism since the debates around homosexual law reform in the 1960s, she is said to have been Britain’s first lesbian to "come out" in public.



Her literary career is equally extensive, and she chose to read from her most recent work The Orpheus Trail, a murder mystery involving occultism and human trafficking of young boys. The extract she read involved the complex relationship that blossomed between one of the young boys and the archaeologist hero of the story. Beautifully written, and certainly intriguing...

And so it was time for Paul Burston to announce the shortlist for the Polari First Book Prize! The entries are:
  • >Love, Hope & High Heels by Clare Campbell (Tollington Press)
  • Autofellatio by James Maker (self published ebook , now in print from BigFib)
  • Homo Jihad by Timothy Graves (Paradise Press)
  • Julian Corkle is a Filthy Liar by DJ Connell (Blue Door/Harper Collins)
  • London Triptych by Jonathan Kemp (Myriad Editions)

According to the press release: "The shortlisted titles consist of a poetry collection, a memoir and three novels. Of the five selected books, three are published by small independent presses, while one - Autofellatio - was self-published as an ebook before finding a publisher."

A good list, an excellent evening, and I look forward with anticipation to October's outing for "London's peerless gay literary salon", with Man Booker Prize-nominated author Philip Hensher already announced!

Polari

Monday, 19 September 2011

Twiggy, Twiggy

Another day, another dollar...

It's back to work time again, folks! I am looking forward to tonight's Polari, but after a hectic weekend I am in need of something extremely kitsch to lift my spirits and get me through the day.

What better (on this, the 62nd birthday of the lovely Twiggy) than this marvellous little tribute to the lady herself by a mad bunch of Japanese artists calling themselves Pizzicato 5?



I guarantee you'll be singing this all day!

Sunday, 18 September 2011

If music be the food of love, play on



Continuing what is turning out to be a bit of a busy weekend, Madame Arcati, Al and I ventured out into the fabulousness that is the Harringay Green Lanes Food Festival (only the second such event to be held). I went to the first one back in 2009, and that reportedly had 10,000 visitors. Today's was if anything, even bigger!



The whole half-mile from the railway bridge at the foot of Finsbury Park all the way to the famed Salisbury Hotel was lined with hundreds of stalls (mainly food outlets, as befitting the festival's name) - Cypriot, Turkish, Greek, Kurdish, Bulgarian, Thai, Jamaican, Eritrean, Korean, Italian, Spanish, Trinidadian, French, Lebanese, Brazilian and British - all cuisines were represented.



The music (on two stages) was equally eclectic, and quite a lot of it was fab!

Here are a few of the acts we saw live...

The Jeanie Barton Band (who, as opening act on the Salisbury stage, was rather wasted - she should have been on later):


Turkish folk star Nusret Gumusboga:




Local Greek/Turkish/"Mediterranean" band Delicatessen:




The magnificent Kings Cross Hot Club (who are one of the acts associated with a regular swing-themed night held at the Salisbury, Mouthful O' Jam):




The fabulous Sister Mary & The Choir Boys - this girl has one helluva voice!:




And finally, our headline act The Popes (a band that was founded out of the ashes of The Pogues):


This was a brilliant day! It is a shame it coincided with several other things we may have been keen to see (such as Soho Pink Sunday and its "Drag Race", and London Open House Weekend), but I wouldn't have missed it for the world. Support your local community, and all that...

Harringay Green Lanes Food Festival

Harringay Online - festival page

No religious exemptions!



John-John, Paul and I joined the “Secular Europe Campaign” in its protest march yesterday.


Praise be to the Invisible Stoat of Destiny!

About 1000 of us congregated at the Temple end of the Embankment, with a magnificent array of placards, flags and banners. We joined the Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association (GALHA) and many other like-minded groups to protest against:
  • the privileged status of the churches under Article 17 of the TFEU (Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union)
  • the privileged position of religious organisations in politics and the law
  • the special status of the Vatican in the United Nations
  • state-funded faith schools
  • the economic privilege and political influence of the Vatican

And to promote:
  • freedom of religion, freedom of conscience and freedom of speech
    women’s equality and reproductive rights
  • equal rights for LGBT people in all the European Union
  • a secular Europe – democratic, peaceful, open and just, immune to the clandestine influence of privileged religious (or other) organisations
  • one law for all, no religious exemptions from the law
  • state neutrality in matters of religion and belief



At the conclusion of the march - which was very jolly, and got lots of shouts and waves of approval from passers-by along the route - we had a succession of eminent speakers, including Peter Tatchell, the president of the National Secular Society Terry Sanderson and David Pollock, President of the European Humanist Federation.

Andrew Copson, Chief Executive of the British Humanists Association said:

"We are marching today for a secular Europe. Europe is the continent where secularism was invented, where liberal democracy first flowered, and Europe played a major part in developing the very concept of human rights and we should celebrate that today... What does it mean to live in a free and liberal secular democracy? It means if you don’t like abortion, you don’t have to have one. If you don’t like gay marriage, you don’t have to have one, or be a guest at one. If you don’t like assisted dying for the terminally ill, you don’t have to opt for it. But it also means that you can’t enlist the state to force your choices, preferences, prejudices and dogmas on all your fellow citizens."

Among the shocking revelations from the rally were the personal account of Sue Cox about her own childhood abuse at the hands of a Catholic priest and the church's subsequent cover-up of the facts, the ex-Moslem Maryam Namazie and her forthright views on Sharia law and the burka ("it is not just a piece of clothing - it is a symbol of man's ownership of a woman"), and the Italian campaigner who exposed the €3bn tax exemptions for the Vatican his country gives (and by implication, all EU countries contribute to).

Great stuff, and so important! I am very pleased I was there...




One of the more famous of the people lending their endorsement to the campaign was the award-winning author Philip Pullman:


More about the march and rally (including more pictures from the event)

Another report from the march

Saturday, 17 September 2011

The coolest bar



We paid a flying visit to Brighton yesterday - mainly to see Jen and Stu, but also coincidentally because their Mum Carol and Dad Robert (Madam Arcati's sister and brother-in-law) were there to celebrate his birthday.



A lovely afternoon, browsing the vintage shops of North Lanes, then off to Kemp Town for a steak meal, ending up in a typically wild'n'wacky bar The Black Dove, where the music is chilled and the booze is from all continents - a fab time was had by all!

The Black Dove has several weird and mysterious original artworks on its walls (amongst the junk-shop memorabilia and old photographs), including this one...



It has been dubbed "Brighton's coolest bar", and I must agree it is rather special - read more

Friday, 16 September 2011

All it took was just one glance



As we wind ourselves down (or up!) for the weekend, there is nothing like a little trip down memory lane, is there?

So let us all squeeze into our brightest canary yellow sequinned party frocks and wiggle along to the lovely First Choice with Smarty Pants - Thank Disco It's Friday!



PS The "pants" theme has nothing whatsoever to do with yesterday's post about Ben Cohen...

Thursday, 15 September 2011

A whole bottle of salad cream...



Many happy returns (yesterday) to the ultimate "straight ally" of gay rights causes, all-round sexy hunk and former rugby player Ben Cohen. John-John and I have met him a couple of times, and he is every bit as lovely as he appears.

The Ben Cohen StandUp Foundation has announced that 14th November each year will mark StandUp Day:
"I lost my own father to violence when he stood up for an employee who was being attacked. I’ve heard from my wonderful friends in the LGBT community about the hard roads too many have traveled. And many parents have shared painful stories with me about how their children, who might be perceived to be different, are ruthlessly attacked and scared of their own schools.

I am passionate about standing up against bullying and homophobia in sports, and feel compelled to take action. It is time we stand up for what is right and support people who are being harmed. Every person on this planet has a right to be true to themselves, to love and be loved, and to be happy. I encourage others to stand up with me and make a difference.

I will be asking people to stand up with me by wearing their StandUp T Shirt or wrist band, by telling at least one person about StandUp, posting or tweeting about how they are standing up, or simply changing their profile picture to the StandUp logo for the day.There are lots of ways.

It is time to stand up against bullying and I am proud to be able to ask you to stand up with me.

Thanks for your continued support."

Ben
A wonderful man (as well as being a sex god...)! I'd like to "stand up" with him, if you know what I mean...



Facts about Ben Cohen:
- He is 16st and 6'3" with size 10 feet - apparently his nickname "Big Ben" was because he was a 10lb baby, not for any other reason (ahem!).
- In 2010, Cohen donated a signed jockstrap to support GMFA, which was sold at auction at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern.
- He gets through a whole bottle of salad cream every week.

Whew!

Ben Cohen official website

Spin that disc...



Once more, it's time for a little update on the newer music I have discovered recently, and once more it's a little trek around the World...

Opening the whole shebang is the brand new single from Israeli geniuses The Young Professionals (whose fantabulosa version of D.I.S.C.O. I featured back in July) - the superb 20 Seconds, its video once again featuring the marvellous gender-bending Uriel Yekutiel:



A constant source of inspiration to all bloggers everywhere, the lovely Thombeau over at form is void has been on a bit of an Etienne Daho kick recently, which inspired me to seek out a little more of the French musical genius than I already knew.

And so it came to pass that I discovered this catchy little number that the great man released just recently in France. Featuring a lady by the unlikely name of Calypso Valois, here's the rather fabulous Amoureux Solitaires!



Travelling North, here's a rather good new Swedish artiste - Emmon, with her Siouxsie-esque new single Slottet. [It means "castle" apparently]:



Back to Blighty. I have really tried to perservere with the new Erasure song When I start to (Break it all Down), but it has not yet hooked me in. It just doesn't sound Erasure-ish enough! Thank heavens for the Steve Smart & Westfunk Radio Edit...



And to finish we're off to Spain! [Not literally, more's the pity...] with one of that country's top DJs Sak Noel with his bizarrely catchy Loca People (What the Fuck):



Enjoy!

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

'Snow Joke...



The completely barmy (and magnificent) Kate Bush is to release a new album in November, which will be entirely themed around snow.

The record, 50 Words For Snow, will feature seven new tracks "set against a background of falling snow", a statement on her website said.

Interesting...





Read more on the BBC

Kate Bush official website

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

"Eagle Two to Moonbase Alpha"



Many happy returns to Miss Barbara Bain, stalwart tight-lipped heroine of kitsch 60s series Mission Impossible and even more kisch 70s series Space 1999 - she is 80 years old today.

Space 1999 was a cornucopia of shiny silver jumpsuits, peculiar wigs and unscary opponents - a camp treat for kids!

As well as her screen roles, Miss Bain was also a (rather uncomfortable) singing guest on the Mama Cass Show - a rare classic clip!



Space 1999 tribute site



Facts about Barbara Bain:
- Her real name is Millicent Fogel.
- Miss Bain was married to regular co-star Martin Landau intil 1993, and has appeared on stage with their daughter Juliet Landau (who was in Buffy and Angel).
- She was the first actress in the history of television to be awarded three consecutive Emmy Awards (1967, 1968, 1969).

Barbara Bain on IMDB

I loathe Hydrangeas

Indeed...



Charlie Hides TV

[And here's the original]

Monday, 12 September 2011

A little fantasy will not fail

So summer is offically over. It's really miserable weather. All the events we are planning from now on will most likely be mainly indoors. It's a Monday again. Ho hum.

It's not all gloomy, however! For your delectation on this Tacky Music Monday, Miss Chita Rivera provides the most appropriate pick-me-up. These boys are in prison for heaven's sake, and they are tap-dancing - why shouldn't we?!!



Where You Are

When you feel you've gone to hell in a hand basket
And the world in which you dwell's no paradise...

I've some counsel I can give
You need but ask it
I'm so very glad to share this good advice
You've got to learn how not to be
Where you are.

The more you face reality, the more you scar
So close your eyes and you'll become a movie star
Why must you stay where you are?
You've got to learn how not to see
What you've seen.

The slice of hell you call your life
Is harsh and mean
So why not lie beside me on a movie screen
Why must you see what you've seen?

And if you find that you land in jail
A little fantasy will not fail
It's just as simple as ABC!

Come up here, play with me, play with me!
You've got to learn how not to do
What you've done
The pistol shot can't kill if you unload the gun
So build a place where you're the shah
And we'll embrace in that Shangri-La
If you run away, some matinee
From where you are.

You've got to learn how not to be
Where you are
The more you face reality, the more you scar
So close your eyes and you'll become a movie star
Why must you stay where you are?

So why not lie beside me on a movie screen
Why must you see what you've seen?

And if you find that you land in jail
A little fantasy will not fail
It's just as simple as ABC.

Come up here, play with me, play with me!

You've got to learn how not to do
What you've done
The pistol shot can't kill if you unload the gun

So build a place where you're the shah
And we'll embrace in that Shangri-La
If you run away, some matinee
From where you are

And if you find that you land in jail
A little fantasy will not fail
It's just as simple as ABC
Come up here, play with me, play with me!

Turn off the lights and turn on your mind
And I can promise you you will find
You will like my plan, my sweetest fan,
My leading man
Anywhere you are!


Kiss of the Spider Woman - the musical

Sunday, 11 September 2011

A season closes...



As ever, we had a fantabulosa time at the Proms in the Park (our traditional finalé for the Summer Season). A small but perfectly formed crowd this year - just me, Madame Arcati, John-John, Sal and Lou - but we still managed to polish off a banquet and gallons of booze while experiencing everything the weather could throw at us (blazing sunshine, rain, chilly gales and muggy humidity - no snow)...





We got our treasured spot close to the stage, and settled in ready for the action to start.



The entertainment was an eclectic mix, to be sure - in the first half (introduced by Ken Bruce) we had a trip down memory lane courtesy of Deacon Blue, some Japanese drummers (from Glasgow), a few numbers from the godawful cheesy "heavy metal musical" Rock of Ages, and a delightful treat courtesy of doo-woppers The Overtones. Remarkably, I had never heard of them before - very camp, quite cute, very good performers; we loved it!


After the break (during which the queues for the loos were phenomenal - this was one helluva busy event!) it was time for the big numbers, and for Terry Wogan to take over as host. First up was pianist Lang Lang, the first performer to appear on stage at the park and at the Royal Albert Hall on the same (last) night! He is sublimely talented, tackling the complexities of Liszt as if it were Chopsticks...

Lang Lang plays Liszt (BBC Proms 2011)

Proms in the Park favourite Katherine Jenkins glittered on stage and sang for us some beautiful arias - Chopin L'alba terra, I Dreamed a Dream from Les Miserables, and this sumptuous number from Kismet:


Russell Watson (a Proms in the Park newcomer) was remarkably good (I had never rated him much before), as he played to the crowd with such familiar classic numbers as the intermezzo from Cavalleria Rusticana and Puccini's Nessun Dorma. He even got us all involved in singing along to Volare (O-o-o-o-o)!


In the absence of Josh Groban (throat problems, apparently), Miss Jenkins returned to the stage for a few more beautiful ballads (the traditional folk song Black is the Colour and Sartori's Time to say Goodbye) before providing a foil for our own particular star turn of the evening - Rolf Harris (of course)! She shimmied on stage to hand him his didgeridoo, and shimmied off again (as Mr Harris's "glamorous assistant"). Speaking of crowd-pleasers, all the familiar hits were here - Sun Arise, Two Little Boys, Tie Me Kangaroo Down (twice - the second time set to the tune of Land of Hope and Glory!) and of course Stairway to Heaven. Wonderful, simply wonderful!



Westlife, were, well... Westlife, really. Dull, simpering, unlikeable. We didn't sing along.

Bringing the mood back up again, it was soon time for the live link with the Royal Albert Hall ("Hello Hall!" we shouted), and the evening's big sing-a-long, starting with Climb Every Mountain and You'll Never Walk Alone, which warmed up the tonsils nicely for the traditional concluding numbers - Land of Hope and Glory, Jerusalem and Rule Britannia. We sang our tits off, waving Union Jacks and rainbow flags in unison!



Soprano Susan Bullock sang Katherine Jenkins off the stage...



A truly wonderful night, concluding with brilliant fireworks and then a late drinkie in The Quebec which meant two night buses home unfortunately - I didn't get in till 5am! Farewell to summer, and roll on the Autumn/Winter Season!

Saturday, 10 September 2011

And a new day will dawn for those who stand long, and the forest will echo the laughter

The weather is warm and muggy, and we keep our fingers crossed that it stays dry for tonight's Proms in the Park.

Among the acts appearing tonight is (bizarrely) a man who, despite being on TV since I was a boy, never seems to look any different - that imported National Teasure, Mr Rolf Harris!

Here he is, paying due deference to a rock classic...


I am looking forward to the performance (and fingers crossed, Westlife might fall off the stage)!

Friday, 9 September 2011

Night is young, and the music's high



Another weekend is in prospect... The weather is (as usual) uncertain, but we keep our fingers crossed that it stays dry for tomorrow night's annual flag-waving-fest, Proms in the Park! Despite the fact that bloody Westlife are appearing, I am certain the combination of good friends and copious quantities of booze will nullify the effects of the wetness of both the grass and the act.

Onwards and upwards, for today's little uplift to set us in the mood for the weekend is a song that celebrates its 35th birthday today. For on this date in 1976, the Swedish superstjärnas Abba were riding high at the top of the British charts with their seminal and enduring "drag queen classic" Dancing Queen.

And it still sounds fab - Thank Disco It's Friday!



Have a great weekend!

Read my tribute to Abba back in 2009

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Mine, all mine!



Dame Liz Taylor's entire jewellery collection of 300 pieces, valued at $30million (£18.8million), will be auctioned at Christie’s in New York in December 2011 in support of the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation.



Please, Santa Baby, please!

Read more about the auction on The Telegraph website

In pictures: Elizabeth Taylor jewel collection

My blog about the collection from April this year

You say "potato" and I say "Kartoffel"

Nina Hagen

Yesterday I wished a happy (60th) birthday to one of the grande dames of late 70s/early 80s "New Wave", Miss Chrissie Hynde - who, alongside Miss Debbie Harry was an estimable contribution from America to that great musical melting-pot that shaped my generation.

In Europe, too, the punk "revolution" unleashed some magnificent talents upon the music scene. One of these has always had a special place in my heart - Miss Nina Hagen!

Of late, this marvellous lady (recently described by one critic as "she makes Lady GaGa look Amish") has taken to fronting a full big band orchestra, to great effect. Here at Dolores Delargo Towers, we have recently started to assemble her back catalogue, and this is one of our favourites...



Nina Hagen on MySpace

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Got bottle, I'm gonna use it



Happy 60th birthday today to the one and only Chrissie Hynde!

Possibly the nearest thing that Akron, Ohio ever had to what we know as a "punk", Miss Hynde moved herself lock, stock and barrel to the UK in the 1970s, worked on the NME, hung around with Malcolm McLaren, Vivienne Westwood and the Sex Pistols, was a mate of Mick Jones of the Clash, formed a band called "The Moors Murderers" with Steve Strange, and finally founded The Pretenders in 1978.

The rest, as they say, is history - and with this song they very nearly conquered the world in 1979...



Got brass in pocket
Got bottle, I'm gonna use it
Intention, I feel inventive
Gonna make you, make you, make you notice

Got motion, restrained emotion
Been driving, Detroit leaning
No reason, just seems so pleasing
Gonna make you, make you, make you notice

Gonna use my arms
Gonna use my legs
Gonna use my style
Gonna use my sidestep
Gonna use my fingers
Gonna use my, my, my imagination

'Cause I'm gonna make you see
There's nobody else here
No one like me
I'm special, so special
I gotta have some of your attention, give it to me

Got rhythm, I can't miss a beat
Got new skank, it's so reet
Got something, I'm winking at you
Gonna make you, make you, make you notice

Gonna use my arms
Gonna use my legs
Gonna use my style
Gonna use my sidestep
Gonna use my fingers
Gonna use my, my, my imagination

'Cause I'm gonna make you see
There's nobody else here
No one like me
I'm special, so special
I gotta have some of your attention
Give it to me

'Cause I'm gonna make you see
There's nobody else here
No one like me
I'm special, so special
I gotta have some of your attention
Give it to me!

Miss Hynde, having survived the deaths and departures of the rest of the original band, and ill-fated relationships with Ray Davies of The Kinks and Jim Kerr of Simple Minds, nowadays still performs (with new musicians) as The Pretenders as well as running a vegan restaurant business. Gawd bless her!

http://www.thepretenders.com/

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Sometimes I feel I've got to run away



Thirty years? THIRTY YEARS?!

I need a lie down...

On 5 September 1981 a brand new sound hit the airwaves, as a synthesiser version of a Northern Soul classic Tainted Love reached the Number 1 spot in the UK charts and a legend was born - in the shape of Mr Marc Almond!

Here is the original version (and original video) of what has become an all-time classic...



Marc Almond official website

Soft Cell BBC page

Pitter patter patter! Pitter patter patter!



As autumn kicks in with a vengeance today, with grey skies, rain and a drop in temperatures to greet us this morning, here is something rather appropriate, methinks...



Keep warm!

Monday, 5 September 2011

Queen Mitzi



Some people may have thought - heaven forfend! - that I had somehow neglected the fact that Miss Mitzi Gaynor, doyenne of the sequins-and-shimmy dancing so beloved of the residents of Dolores Delargo Towers, celebrated her 80th birthday yesterday.

But no!

As regular readers over the past four years may already have surmised, Miss Gaynor is not just queen of our hearts, but surely the Queen of my regular Tacky Music Monday slot. And so, without further ado, here is a cornucopia of performances by possibly the greatest purveyor of the "beginning-of-the-week-pick-me-up-music" that I always try and play for your delectation. [I may have played some, if not all, of these before at some stage, but so what?]

Let Go!


Anything Goes:




Honey Bun:


Yankee Doodle Dandy:


Now, that's the way to celebrate a Monday - happy (belated) birthday, Miss Gaynor!

Mitzi Gaynor on IMDB

Over at Dolores Delargo - The Museum of Camp, Miss Gaynor features in a glorious set of photos - a magnificent lady!