Saturday, 31 March 2012

Amsterdam is Gezellig



For no other reason than today I am feeling a bit reflective, and missing the city of Amsterdam so much (our current impecunious situation has meant we haven't been abroad since February last year!), to cheer myself up a bit my thoughts have turned to Holland's most spectacularly camp "super-group" De Toppers...

I have of course featured the superb entertainers Gerard Joling, René Froger and Gordon Heuckeroth several times before - here, here and here.

Here they are again performing to a packed stadium (in 2007), in suitably understated costumes as always, with their trademark traditional Hollandse Medley:



Their concerts on 17th, 18th and 19th May 2012 have already sold out the Amsterdam Arena. Oh, how I wish I were going...

De Toppers

Article on the Dutch word "gezellig"

Friday, 30 March 2012

Disco flicks



Another weekend looms - and it looks like Spring is here! This week has been so warm and sunny, it brings a bit of optimism into our lives here at Dolores Delargo Towers.

So much so, I recommend we all head back to the heady days of 1979, dig out some turquoise chiffon, flick our hair and bare our midriffs - and bop along to the summery sound of It Must Be Love by Alton McClain & Destiny. Thank Disco It's Friday!



Hope it's a great weekend, one and all!

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Get Ready



As London prepares to go once again go Stock Aitken and Waterman crazy - there is a massive reunion concert planned for Hyde Park in June, with Steps, Jason Donovan, Rick Astley, Bananarama, Sinitta, Pepsi and Shirlie, Sonia, Dead or Alive, Brother Beyond and the rest being wheeled out, and rumours abound that Princess Kylie will appear to duet with Jason - I thought it apposite to revisit one of my lesser-known faves from the Hit Factory era.

Miss Carol Hitchcock was by far the butchest act in the PWL stable. As well as a stint in modelling she had in fact been a nightclub bouncer in Melbourne before she started a recording career, and she certainly looked scary! However, even this startling image and fabulously agressive cover of The Temptations' Motown classic Get Ready did not bring her the success of her stable-mates. The single only got as high as #56 on the UK chart in May 1987 - twenty-five years ago!



I wonder where she is now?

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

I'm a Yorkist





I really cannot believe that my life-long crush Mr Michael York is 70 years old!

Time's a terrible thing...

Here is a lovely (if brief) tribute to his finest role - as "Brian" in my favourite film Cabaret:



Read my previous tribute to the beauteous Mr York

Try as I might...



As the fabulous news breaks that a revival of Harvey Fierstein's seminal Torch Song Trilogy is coming to the Menier Chocolate Factory in May - a must-see! - I just had to post my favourite monologue...


Menier Chocolate Factory summer season 2012

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Became the special man



From the BBC:
David Bowie's glam rock alter-ego, Ziggy Stardust, will be celebrated with a plaque, 40 years after he appeared on the cover of Bowie's 1972 album.

The plaque will be placed on Heddon Street in central London, where Bowie was first photographed as Ziggy.

The shot was used for the front cover of his album The Rise And Fall of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars.
Forty years? Inconceivable...

Well overdue and well-deserved recognition for one of the most iconic [how I hate that word] pop images of the 20th century.

Spandau Ballet's Gary Kemp will unveil the plaque this morning.



Ziggy played guitar
Jamming good with Weird and Gilly
And the Spiders From Mars
He played it left hand
But made it too far
Became the special man
Then we were Ziggy's band

Ziggy really sang
Screwed up eyes and screwed down hair-do
Like some cat from Japan
He could lick 'em by smiling
He could leave them to hang
Came on so loaded man
Well hung and snow-white tan

So where were the Spiders
While the flies tried to break our balls
Just the beer light to guide us
So we bitch about his fans and should we crush his sweet hands

Ziggy played for time
Jiving us that we were voodoo
But the kids were just crass
He was the nazz, with God-given ass
He took it all too far
But boy, could he play guitar

Making love with his ego
Ziggy sucked up into his mind
Like a leper messiah
When the kids had killed the man
We had to break up the band

Now Ziggy played guitar...


Read my comprehensive tribute to David Bowie on the occasion of his 65th birthday here and here

Monday, 26 March 2012

The Boss



As befits any tribute to two divas with birthdays on consecutive days, I tried to find a link between Madge's best friend Dame Elton John (65 yesterday) and The Boss Diana Ross (who celebrates her 68th today).



In fact the only evidence I have of them "performing" together is at the Rock Music Awards in 1976:


However, it is Diana whose birthday it is today. Over at Dolores Delargo Towers Museum of Camp she is our latest exhibit.

And, most appropriately for what is also Tacky Music Monday, here's Miss Ross, the Supremes and the Temptations (looking as uncomfortable as they could possibly be in the circumstances) giving it their all in the opening medley of Broadway showtunes for their 1969 Getting it Together TV spectacular!


I have (of course) featured the divine Miss Ross many times before here at Give 'em the old Razzle Dazzle, and indeed posted more of her camp performances from this show back in December last year.

Always a joy!

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Nuova musica



Once again, it is time for a visit to some of the choons that have pricked my attention of late...

Let's open the selection with the electro-tastic, feather-clad (and preposterously-named) Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs (aka the equally-weirdly-named Orlando Higginbottom) with his new single Tapes & Money, released on 2nd April 2012. It's amazingly catchy!



The ebullient Beth Ditto and The Gossip are set to return with their forthcoming album A Joyful Noise, produced by Kylie collaborators Xenomania and due out in May. From it, here is the (slightly "rocky" for my tastes) new single Perfect World:



Next, a fabulous slice of pure 80s-infused electro genius from I Am A Camera and their Warhol-inspired Factory Boys:



Ever-intriguing (I for one never quite know what to make of her), the artiste known as Santigold has released a remarkable video for her forthcoming single Disparate Youth. I love it!





Totty time! Courtesy once again of the lovely Henry over at Barbarella's Galaxy, the new single Nakt (naked) by the hunky London-born German gayer Jay Khan is rather good, but not as fab as its video!



However, this week there is only one song that could possibly be the "star of the show"! For, on the eve of the launch of Our Glorious Leader's much anticipated album MDNA (which you can listen to courtesy of The Sun), Madonna has really gone for gold with the wonderful video for the next single Girl Gone Wild.

Featuring none other than our house favourite bendy boy-band Kazaky (who I have featured previously here, here and here), it's the Queen of Pop herself, back on top form:



Enjoy!

Respect, just a little bit



The enormous talent that is Miss Aretha Franklin - the Queen of Soul, the "Greatest Singer of All Time" (according to Rolling Stone magazine) - certainly one of the most successful black artists the world has ever seen, and deservedly lauded by just about every other wannabee who followed - is 70 years old today...

Without further ado, just for your delectation here are just some of the great lady's classics:

I Say A Little Prayer


Think


(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman


Respect


And finally, Aretha duets with none other than Dame Elton John - with whom she shares a birthday. For Reg Dwight himself celebrates his 65th birthday today! Here's Border Song:



Sunday is Diva Day, it seems...

Saturday, 24 March 2012

A true eccentric



Oh dear - Miss Royce Reed, YouTube video cult heroine is dead.

Read my blog about the divine Royce and Marilyn from two years ago.

Here's the lady herself...



RIP

Friday, 23 March 2012

Luv what you feel



In celebration of the end of a remarkably busy week, and in honour of the 59th birthday today of that magnificent walking pair of lungs Miss Chaka Khan, I have decided I really must dig out those pink sparkly hotpants, glittery evening gloves and knee-high boots to complete my look.

And so should you...

Thank Disco It's Friday!



Do You Luv What YOU feel?

Have a great weekend, peeps!

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Ban Ki-moon, Superstar



I think this says it all, really - and with a "dance remix", yet...



www.allout.org/thetimehascome

Isn't he rich?



Two of the Gods of musical theatre spookily share a birthday - Mr Stephen Sondheim is 82 years old today, and Sir Andrew Lloyd-Webber is 64.

To celebrate, let's feature that classic tongue-in-cheek duet between the two great men - from the 1998 tribute revue for impresario Cameron Mackintosh, Hey Mr Producer:



Superb!

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Deadly yoga, French lesbo schoolgirls, ketchup rebirthing and Cornwall



Yet again, Mr Paul Burston's elegant soiree Polari provided us with a brilliant evening's entertainment. "London's peerless gay literary salon" just keeps getting better and better...

Resplendent in what can best be described as "Adam Ant vs Buffalo Style" Mr B wasted no time in introducing our first reader, and regular favourite Mr Nick Field. Always funny, always engaging, Mr Field read an extract from his currently touring production The Cosmos, The Cosmetics, as well as a few of his poems - including the brilliant Yoga is a competitive sport:
Outside a gentle breeze
Floats in wind-chime trickles.
Inside the yogi draws the group together,
With elongated vowels.
Sitting on crossed legs in readiness
I’m centred, I’m relaxed,
I’m taking these mofo’s down.
As we begin rounds of sun salutes
Feel the arched majesty of my cobra.
As we move between positions,
I’m checking out the competition.
Because soon they’re going to be eating my warrior II.
And gasping at the endurance of my tree.
Why is it that at school,
I’d happily trot at the back in races,
While the PE fascist bellowed
‘Run, come on you’re being beaten by girls’.
But in the incensed softly lit yoga studio
No-one is coming close to my downward dog.
Our next reader Miss Deborah Levy was fascinating - her passion for literature led her to the work of early 20th century French female author Violete Leduc [indeed she wrote the introduction to the reprint of Leduc's best selling biography, La Bâtarde], an authoress who was compared in her day to Jean Genet for the frank depiction of her sexual escapades and immoral behaviour. And it was from Thérèse et Isabelle, Mme Leduc's scandalous and long-banned story of adolescent lesbianism, that she read a steamy extract. It was excellent, and brilliantly written - and I can understand why so many people, from Simone de Beauvoir to Miss Levy herself were entranced by her...

Completing the triple-bill for the first half was the rather cute Mr Justin Torres, a very gifted writer indeed, as the extract he read from his new novel We The Animals proved. Chilling, intriguing and convoluted in turn, this story of an evidently bizarre childhood through the eyes of an eight-year-old boy had us gripped (especially the piece where the kids, covered in ketchup and make-up after a messy food-fight, remind their unbalanced mother of them being born) - and you can read an extract on the Granta website.


l-r: Nick Field, Deborah Levy, Paul Burston, Sophia Blackwell, Patrick Gale, Justin Torres

Miss Sophia Blackwell is always a welcome sight at Polari. Possibly the most "lipstick" of "lipstick lesbians" and a lovely person to boot, she has an incredibly vivid way of storytelling, whether through her marvellous poetry or her new penchant for prose. Her first novel, After My Own Heart is just out, and from it she read us a wonderfully sleazy passage all about being a lesbian performer on a shoddy workmen's club circuit. Here's Miss B herself talking about the novel...





Star of the show was the best-selling author Mr Patrick Gale. Alongside the likes of Alan Hollinghurst and Sarah Waters, Mr Gale is one of Britain's "gay glitterati" - despite his distinctly rural lifestyle in Cornwall, which forms the backdrop for many of his novels. Not least of these is his latest A Perfectly Good Man, which has as its rather unusual theme the journey a young boy makes from unconventional childhood to the ranks of the clergy. Notwithstanding its rather "un-gay" subject matter, there is still a smattering of gay characters - and the extract he chose to read (which, bizarrely, in the timeline of the story is about the boy's early years, but in the book forms part of the closing chapter) described perfectly the obviously gay relationship of the dying uncle with his male "secretary", as seen through the heavy veil of secrecy of the boy's family. Rather excellent it was, too! You can hear Mr Gale reading an extract from A Perfectly Good Man on his website.

And so, reluctantly, we had to close proceedings - but not before a spot of shmoozing with the hallowed audience, including regulars such as Joe Storey-Scott, Alex Hopkins, Lauren Henderson/Rebecca Chance and DJ Connell (but no Val Lee, who is too busy writing her new column for The Lady these days, apparently), welcome returning Polari-ites such as Kenneth Hill and Uli Lenart from Gay's The Word bookshop, and a host of other new faces.

Another phenomenal evening!

As ever, we look forward to the next one - and April's speakers so far announced include Rose Collis, Michael Wynne, Chris Chalmers and Terry Ronald.

Polari at the Southbank

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

A smile bathed in light



So the Hump's entry to represent the UK at this year's Eurovision Song Contest has been revealed...

Do we think Love Will Set You Free is a winner? Probably not. It will certainly take a few more listens (and hopefully a more exciting arrangement suitable for the pyrotechnic-orientated modern contest) to get our juices really flowing.

However, as songs go, it is not the worst I have ever heard, and as I have said before, at least the man can sing!

[Thanks, John-John!]



So graceful and pure, a smile bathed in light
No matter the distance, a miracle of sight
Though I should have known, I could not turn away
When faced with your beauty no reason can stay

As you kiss him in the moonlight
With heavy words I say

If you love someone, follow your heart
‘Cause love comes once if you’re lucky enough
Though I’ll miss you forever, the hurt will run deep
Only love can set you free

Trust in your dreams, run with no fear
And if you should stumble remember I’m near
As a ghost I will walk, I’ll look deep in my soul
I might find another, you gave me that hope

So as you kiss him in the moonlight
With heavy words I say

If you love someone, follow your heart
‘Cause love comes once if you’re lucky enough
Though I’ll miss you forever and the hurt will run deep
Only love can set you free

And if you love someone, follow your heart
‘Cause love comes once if you’re lucky enough
Though I’ll miss you forever, the hurt will run deep
Love will set you free…

Monday, 19 March 2012

Rolling...



Almost missed it...

Even though we have not long got in after a five and a half hour bus journey back from our family visit to Plymouth (with a stop-off for a little "sanity check" at Halfway to Heaven of course) I cannot neglect the fact that - for the next few minutes or so at least - it is still Tacky Music Monday!

So let's enjoy another subtle (ahem) performance from the one and only Miss Lola Falana to mark our return to civilisation!



And so "normal service" resumes here at Dolores Delargo Towers...

Saturday, 17 March 2012

If they were me and I was you



Another of our teenage kicks turns 50 years old today!

Many happy returns to the lovely Clare Grogan, one of our neighbours here at Dolores Delargo Towers (I often see her round the shops in the area).

Miss Grogan (outstanding as the star of the best "teen movie" ever Gregory's Girl) and her band Altered Images were omnipresent in my formative years. With their uncompromisingly upbeat pop ditties they formed a perfect "foil" to the seriousness of the likes of Siouxsie, New Order and The Associates (also on my playlist at the time). They remained "cool" nonetheless but were never considered a part of the contemporary New Romantic or Goth movements.

With her hard-edged cutesiness, she is indeed a bit of a "national treasure" in the UK, appearing in such cult shows as Red Dwarf and Father Ted. Of late, Miss Grogan has chosen a quieter life (and who could blame her?) writing children's books and appearing in the occasional panto, and took part in one of those "celebrity dance" programmes in 2008.

So to celebrate, what else could I possibly play but Happy Birthday?



Claire Grogan on Wikipedia

Friday, 16 March 2012

There ain't no man in sight



It's the end of another week - and we are both off to Plymouth today to visit Madam Arcati's family.

I am not sure just what kind of party we'll be walking into down there (it's a Golden Wedding do after all - fairly sedate I expect).

However in our minds we'll be boogieing - to the late, great and downright faboo Karen Young and her mega-hit Hot Shot I hope!

Thank Disco It's Friday!



Speaking of Plymouth, when I lived there all those years ago it was this self-same song (the "Rollercoaster Remix" version) that was my absolute obsession:



Have a good one!

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Sign your name across my heart



In a week when the news was released that Sade - doyenne of the particular style of late-night classy music that emerged in the mid 80s alongside the rise of the "Yuppie" and minimalist "loft apartments" - outsold Adele in the world ranking of highest musical earners of 2011, it may well be time for a revival of "dinner party music". But is the world really ready for a major comeback by today's birthday boy?

For we wish a very happy 50th birthday to Mr Terence Trent D'Arby (nowadays known as Sananda Maitreya) today - a fact that makes me feel very old indeed...



Mr D'Arby/Maitreya's website

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Antony melts down



From the Southbank Centre:
"We are very excited to announce that musician/visual artist Antony is this year's Meltdown director.

Since 1993, some of the world's most distinguished musicians including Nick Cave, John Peel, Laurie Anderson, Patti Smith, David Bowie and, most recently, Ray Davies, have directed Meltdown, hand-picking their ideal festival by inviting their favourite artists to play, perform and exhibit their work at Southbank Centre.

Meltdown 2012 sees Antony create a line-up of twelve days of music, debate and performance that reflects his interests, influences and passions.

Having begun his career in the New York underground scene, Antony emerged with Antony and the Johnsons in 1998 and shot to prominence with the Mercury Prize-winning album I am a Bird Now. Since then critical acclaim has followed each of his projects including the albums The Crying Light and Swanlights. His performances have ranged from collaborations with symphony orchestras and performance artists.

Antony has collaborated with a wide-ranging group of artists and musicians including Björk, Yoko Ono, Devendra Banhart, Rufus Wainwright, Laurie Anderson, CocoRosie and Lou Reed."
I am full of optimism for a change about the Meltdown with Antony Hegarty in charge! For the past few years, there has been so little worth seeing we just haven't bothered. In fact the last one we went to was Patti Smith's in 2005 (ironically featuring Antony)!

What surprises might we get from such an eclectic curator this year? Bjork? Yoko? Marc Almond?

We'll have to wait and see - the full list doesn't get published till summer. Meanwhile, here are some samples of the lovely Mr Hegarty's work:

Antony and the Johnsons - Epilepsy is Dancing:



With Marc Almond - River of Sorrow:



And my personal favourite, with Hercules and Love Affair - Blind:



Antony's Meltdown takes place from 1st-12th August 2012 (just in time for my birthday!)

Meltdown Festival at the Southbank

To renew old memories



Another centenary today - Mr Les Brown, one of the great dance band leaders of the 30s and 40s.



Here he is, doing what he did best...



Mr Brown is perhaps most famous for launching the career of one Miss Doris Mary Kappelhoff (Doris Day). He wrote several songs for her, including this one - Sentimental Journey.

I have featured Miss Day's version several times before, so just to be perverse, I thought I'd let another house favourite here at Dolores Delargo Towers Miss Vikki Carr take the microphone with Mr Brown and his Band of Renown for a change...



Enjoy!

Les Brown on Wikipedia

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Mother Russia rejects her children



Twenty years after homosexuality was decriminalised in Russia, anti-gay legislation is making a rapid comeback, with St Petersburg becoming the latest city to ban "homosexual propaganda".

The law, signed by St Petersburg's governor last week, came amid increasing calls by leading Russian politicians and Orthodox Church officials to bring anti-gay laws to the federal level. Dmitry Pershin, head of the Church's youth council, renewed those calls on Mondayafter praising the St Petersburg law for "helping to protect children from information manipulation by minorities that promote sodomy".

The law's content is vague – it criminalises "public action aimed at propagandising sodomy, lesbianism, bisexualism, and transgenderism among minors". Those charged with breaking the law will be fined from 5,000 (£108) to 500,000 roubles.

Gay rights activists say the law is part of a wider government initiative, supported by the strictly conservative Orthodox Church, to crack down on public protest, civic activity and the liberalisation of society.
A very sad day for Gay Rights. A shameful day for Russia.

Read more

As Nikolai Alekseev, head of the Russian LGBT Human Rights Project says:
"The city – where the famous Russian gay composer Peter Tchaikovsky lived, worked and died just days after conducting his Sixth Pathétique symphony, where the gay writer Nikolay Gogol wrote many of his classical works, and where a gay ballet dancer in the form of Rudolf Nureyev gracefully flew over the stage of the Mariinskiy Theatre – turned out to be in the hands of uneducated clericals. Will they ever be well known by the world, except for their anti-gay hatred?"
AllOut continues to organise opposition to Russia's stance

Monday, 12 March 2012

The last time I saw Paris, her heart was warm and gay



In addition to all the other celebrations, we have a centenary today - the pianist, arranger, composer and conductor Paul Weston.

Probably more famous today for his long professional and personal relationship with the lovely Jo Stafford, Mr Weston worked with many of the top artists and musicians of the 20th century - Tommy Dorsey, Rudy Vallee, Bing Crosby and Bob Hope, Betty Hutton, Johnny Mercer, Doris Day, Dinah Shore, Frank Sinatra, Jack Benny, Sarah Vaughan, Margaret Whiting, Judy Garland, Danny Kaye, Frankie Laine, Ella Fitzgerald and even Liberace among them. Phew!

Here are a couple of tracks he popularised:





And two he wrote:





Facts about Paul Weston:
  • In the 1930s he was seriously injured in a train accident and began arranging music rather than playing it during his convalescence.
  • He was a founder of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, whose purpose was to create an award for recording artists. It became known as the Grammy.
  • In addition to pop music he also wrote classical pieces, including the Crescent City Suite
  • Paul and Jo married in 1952, and remained together until his death in 1996.
Of course, my favourite fact about Mr Weston was that together with Miss Stafford, he created the magificent "Jonathan and Darlene Edwards", one of our house favourite cocktail music combos here at Dolores Delargo Towers...



A lady known as Paris, Romantic and Charming
Has left her old companions and faded from view

Lonely men with lonely eyes are seeking her in vain
Her streets are where they were, but there's no sign of her

She has left the Seine

The last time I saw Paris, her heart was warm and gay,
I heard the laughter of her heart in every street café

The last time I saw Paris, her trees were dressed for spring,
And lovers walked beneath those trees and birds found songs to sing.

I dodged the same old taxicabs that I had dodged for years.
The chorus of their squeaky horns was music to my ears.

The last time I saw Paris, her heart was warm and gay,
No matter how they change her, I'll remember her that way.

I'll think of happy hours, and people who shared them
Old women, selling flowers, in markets at dawn

Children who applauded, Punch and Judy in the park
And those who danced at night and kept our Paris bright

'til the town went dark.


Unadulterated genius!

Read my previous blogs about the saintly duo here and here

The Paul Weston and Jo Stafford Collection at the University of Arizona.

Gather around, I've got a story to tell



Speaking of celebrations, and of "patron saints", it is one of our favourite of all showbiz superstars Miss Liza Minnelli's 66th birthday today!

In fact (despite having posted some earlier entries on MySpace that are now lost), this regular blog actually began with a celebration of Liza's birth - way back in 2007. Obviously I have blogged about Miss Minnelli many, many times since then, and of course her image is our Give 'em the old Razzle Dazzle banner...

Without further ado, let's sit back and enjoy the roller-coaster ride that is Liza, with her classic showstopper Ring Dem Bells:



Happy birthday, sweetie!

We're gonna have a celebration



We've reached a milestone, dear reader.

Today, I celebrate my TWO THOUSANDTH post to this blog (in its various locations)!

It is FIVE YEARS to the day since I started these regular, often bizarre peregrinations. Since those misty oft-forgotten days when MySpace ruled the blogging/social networking world when I began, I have progressed through myriad subjects (serious or trivial), many fabulous evenings out have been lovingly reviewed, many divas and notable homosexuals celebrated, many bigots and bastards seen off; the weird contents of my head have been emptied time and again, mainly for my own pleasure (and hopefully, in some shape manner or form, the entertainment or enlightment of whoever it is that actually reads this stuff) - and bizarrely I still enjoy it...

Tacky Music Mondays - my weekly celebration of the wonders and the razzamatazz of the showbiz world - became a "fixture" at an early stage in this meandering journey. Our adoration of sparkly divas of stage and screen is legendary here at Dolores Delargo Towers. Many in number are those we call our "patron saints" - Kylie, Madge, Dame Shirley, Liza, Betty White, Elaine Stritch, Miss Merman and their ilk. Camp, moi?

However in this particular Tacky Music Monday slot, one sparkling diva among all others reigns supreme. Her only serious rivals are the likes of Miss Raffaella Carra and Miss Mitzi Gaynor. Her camp credentials are timeless.

So to celebrate this noteworthy coccasion, here she is, the crowned Queen of Kitsch - it's Dalida!!

Pour Vous:


Rio do Brasil:


Gigi in Paradisco:


Femme:


Cards and presents to the usual address...

About Dolores Delargo Towers

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Freilichin Purim



I am a little late in wishing my Jewish friends out there festive greetings on the celebration of their Purim holiday last week.

To make up for this, who better to spread the love than our favourite Israeli drag queen, the fantabulosa Uriel Yekutiel and the gorgeous Eliad Cohen in this fantastic video (in which they are joined by a "woman" who looks remarkably like Dana International)?



Shalom!

Music à la mode



Time again for some more newer music that I like...

As the sunshine today makes us dream of Summer, so our first number is most appropriate. Insanely catchy - in fact just insane - this dancy number Skirts by Leeds-based "Brit-electro" band The Other Tribe does bring to mind pleasant thoughts of bopping in the middle of a field. The herald of another "Summer of Love", perhaps..?



Our own favourite Willy - Mr Young - has a new single, Losing Myself, due out on 18th March. The video is brilliant, and I can't wait to hear some remixes of the song...



Now here's a novel discovery - the most bizarre-looking Scandinavian dance diva Cazzi Opeia and her remarkably catchy My Heart in 2:



The Noughties' answer to the Beastie Boys, LMFAO have released the video for their latest single Sorry for Party Rocking, and it is another fantasmagorical epic - love it!



Among the teasers for her new album MDNA that Our Glorious Leader Queen Madge has been popping out this week, my personal favourite (appropriately enough) is the darkly electro Gang Bang. I can't wait for the album!



And finally, house favourite fierce rulin' diva here at Dolores Delargo Towers Luciana has a new single coming out. Her last smash Jump (with the Cube Guys) remains one of our anthems - and who can forget her collaboration with Betty White?. This time returning to her earlier partnership with Bodyrox, also featuring Chipmunk, and starring Boo the blue Staffie, it's Bow Wow Wow!



As always, enjoy! [As ever, let me know your thoughts.]

Thoughts for the Day









The Catholic Church continues to promote hatred and loathing of gay people.

Read the BBC article

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Only time will tell if you can break the spell



Time goes by so quickly...

Here's a scary timeslip moment - is it really twenty years since Shakespear's Sister were at Number 1 with the chillingly sublime Stay?!

Heavens.



One of the campest pop videos, ever!

If this world is wearing thin
And you're thinking of escape
I'll go anywhere with you

Just wrap me up in chains
But if you try to go alone
Don't think i'll understand

Stay with me
Stay with me

In the silence of your room
In the darkness of your dreams
You must only think of me

There can be no in between
When your pride is on the floor
I'll make you beg for more

Stay with me
Stay with me

You'd better hope and pray
That you make it safe
Back to your own world

You'd better hope and pray
That you'll wake one day
In your own world

'cause when you sleep at night
They don't hear your cries
In your own world

Only time will tell
If you can break the spell
Back in your own world

Stay with me
Stay with me

Stay stay with me
Stay stay stay stay stay
Stay with me


Shakespear's Sister official website

Friday, 9 March 2012

Have you met Miss Smith?



The wonderful jazz vocalist Keely Smith, perhaps most famous for her musical partnership with the late Louis Prima, celebrates her 80th birthday today.

To mark this auspicious occasion, lets have a couple of her finest performances...



Facts about Keely Smith:
  • She was was born Dorothy Jaqueline Keely in Norfolk, Virginia of part Cherokee descent.
  • At the age of eleven, she had her first break into showbiz when she became a regular on Joe Brown's Radio Gang.
  • Keely first met her future husband Louis Prima when she was just fifteen. They married in 1953, and divorced in 1961.
  • On their first appearance on the Dean Martin Show, one of the producers wanted Julie London to replace Keely until Louis refused to go on without her.
  • She continues to tour today.
Keely Smith biography on AllMusic

Extremely dangerous



It's the end of what feels like one of the longest weeks of my life. It is never easy coming back to drudgery after a few great weeks off...

However, the weekend means party time, and what better way to warm up than by shaking out that Afro wig, slipping into something sparkly in canary yellow, and boogieing down with the lovely First Choice, with Armed and Extremely Dangerous? Thank Disco It's Friday!



Boogie like it's 1973!

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Babushka, ya ya



It just gets better and better...

Another Eurovision surprise, this time from Russia:
Folk group the "Buranovo Grannies" will compete in the Eurovision Song Contest, after winning a televised contest in Moscow to represent Russia.

The six grandmothers beat 24 other acts - including a duet between 2008 winner Dima Bilan and Tatu's Yulia Volkova - with song Party For Everybody.

Buranovskiye Babushki, from the Udmurt Republic, say they will use any cash raised to build a church in Buranovo.

"Grandmothers do not need glory and wealth," a member told Vesti news.
The ladies, presently aged between 43 and 74, have already run for the chance to represent Russia at Eurovision, being unsuccessful in 2010.

Gulp.



Read the BBC article

Eurovision Song Contest 2012

Solar flares



The news today that a solar storm may be heading the way of Earth, with all the usual apocalyptic predictions from the "experts" about disruption to power grids, satellite navigation and plane routes, just makes me want to play this.

Miss Raquel Welch and her acolytes welcome this news...



Where's the sunshine, indeed?

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Transcaucasian tackiness



So Armenia has pulled out of Eurovision at the eleventh hour because it is hosted by their rival Azerbaijan? They have had ten months to decide that one, surely.

Is it maybe because they have been rumbled, and someone has noticed that none of the countries of the Caucusus (Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia) nor Israel are actually European? Or is is just because they inevitably pick a shit song?

Apricots, anyone?



How about some yodelling to a dance beat?



And mere words cannot describe the pain this man must be going through...



I think Engelbert may well prove a little more talented than that.

Eurovision Song Contest 2012

Tell me I'm the only one



Miss Taylor Dayne (nee Leslie Wunderman) - the fiercest diva to tread the Hi-NRG path back in the 80s - is 50 years old today...

To celebrate, here's her magnificent (and only) hit Tell It To My Heart - and if that doesn't wake you up, I don't know what will!



Judging by her more recent pictures, I think she may have had some work done...

Taylor Dayne website

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

For just another day



Happy 65th birthday today to the lovely Miss Kiki Dee!

A multi-talented singer and actress, the Bradford-born former Pauline Matthews has had many significant musical achievements over the years:
  • She was a backing vocalist for the late, great Dusty Springfield in the 1960s.
  • In 1970 she became the first white British artist to be signed by Tamla Motown.
  • Her crowning glory, the duet Don't Go Breaking My Heart with Elton John, was the anthem of the long, hot summer of '76, remaining at the top of the charts for six weeks.
  • She was nominated for a Laurence Olivier Award for her leading role in Willy Russell's West End revival of Blood Brothers in 1989

This wonderfully romantic song is, however, my favourite of hers. An adaptation of a French chanson, here is Amoureuse...



Kiki Dee official website

"He said to me, he'd like to sellotape my mouth"



According to a recent interview with Jill Halfpenny in The Telegraph: Mike Leigh came in for the cast read-through. “On a scale of one to 10 of intimidation it was 11 – it was big time,” she says, laughing. “The only way the situation could have been more intimidating would be if Alison Steadman had been sat next to him. At the end he said that as a rule he doesn’t like read-throughs because that’s not how he works, but that he enjoyed it. He took Lindsay aside and said: 'You’ve cast that well.’ We all breathed a sigh of relief.”

And of course the playwright was right, as we found out when our gang - eleven of us - turned out to see the new revival of Abigail's Party by Lindsay Posner at the Menier Chocolate Factory last night. They were indeed an excellent cast - Miss Halfpenny as the "she-ogre" Beverly, ably supported by Joe Absolom (Tony), Natalie Casey (Angela), Susannah Harker (Sue) and Andy Nyman (Laurence).

We initially had our reservations whether to go and see it at all. The classic original featuring Alison Steadman and Janine Duvitski is so engraved upon our collective consciousness, it would be hard to equal. However this production was superb in itself, perfectly recapturing the cringeworthy pretensions of 70s middle-class suburbia - and all the now-immortal and much-repeated lines - without resorting to either impersonation or pastiche.

We laughed, we gasped, and we half-secretly recited familiar quotes along with the actors. It was utterly captivating, superbly played - and we all loved it!

Abigail's Party is only on at the Menier Chocolate Factory until 21st April, so book now!

And here, of course, are some of the choicer quotable quotes:
  • Laurence: [on Shakespeare] "Our nation's culture. Not something you can actually read, of course."
  • Beverly: "Just because a picture happens to be erotic, does not make it pornographic."
  • Angela: "Is it real silver?"
    Beverly: "Silver plate, yes."
  • Beverly: "Now I can see what you've done, Ange - you've just sat down and put on your lipstick. Next time, will you try this for me? Just sit down, relax, and say to yourself "I have very beautiful lips" and I tell you, Ange, you're gonna see the difference! All right?!"
  • Angela: "Pilchard curry is a very economical dish."
  • Beverly: "The thought of actually having kids makes me heave."
  • Beverly: "You're a boring little bugger, Laurence."
  • Beverly: "Don't get me wrong - I do love Laurence - he's very good with money. He takes me shopping, I bung it in the wheelie, he writes a cheque and it's done for the week - know what I mean?"
  • Angela: "Oh it's funny. We were all getting married about the same time as you were... getting divorced!"
  • Angela: "No, he's not violent. Just a bit nasty. Like, the other day, he said to me, he'd like to sellotape my mouth. And that's not very nice, is it?"



Brilliant!

Monday, 5 March 2012

Hair, Teeth and Tits



I am back to work today after a rather fab two weeks off. It is a bit of a jolt to the system, to say the least...

Let's not be too despondent, for tonight we're off to see a new production at the Menier Chocolate Factory of Abigail's Party, which should be fab.

It is also the 54th anniversary of the birth of the dearly-missed Andy Gibb. Hence this Tacky Music Monday let's feature a real spectacular, from Olivia Newton-John's 1970s TV show - with not just the lovely Andy and his spray-on trousers, but also ABBA!

Twenty minutes of rare TV heaven...



This segment was paintakingly remastered by a man who actually worked on the show, so is quite a find.

Enjoy!

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Mamma Africa



On what would have been the 80th birthday today of the lovely Miriam Makeba, singer and civil rights activist - widely known as "Mamma Africa" - I thought this fab remix would be an appropriately cheerful way to remember her...



Miriam Makeba on Wikipedia

Catholics "out of touch with the majority" shock



"If Roman Catholics don't approve of same-sex marriage, they should make sure they don't get married to someone of the same sex."
Ben Summerskill, Stonewall

Read the crypto-fascist comments of the unelected Cardinal O'Brien, representative of a foreign organisation that throughout history has been responsible for the deaths of millions across the globe.

As the gay democratically-elected MP Margot James says: "I think it is a completely unacceptable way for a prelate to talk. I think that the government is not trying to force Catholic churches to perform gay marriages at all. It is a purely civil matter."

The frock-wearing Cardinal cites research into "the marriage question" propagated by anti-LGBT hate groups based in the USA.

Proof indeed (if any were needed) again why these out-dated and irrelevant religions, and especially the discredited misinformation promoted by their spokespeople, should be excluded from 21st-century politics once and for all.

As journalist David Osler wisely says: "The Catholic church is a voluntary organisation, and is of course entitled to make whatever stipulations for its adherents its teaching appears to dictate. Obviously it would be wrong for the state to compel it to conduct gay marriage services.

But the same logic runs the other way; its authority extends exclusively to those who chose to accept it, which works out at around 8% of the population. It cannot be accorded a veto over policies that impact on the remaining 92% of us."


The final word as ever goes to human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell: "The Catholic leadership is actively seeking to maintain discrimination. It is out of touch with the majority of Scottish and UK people. Nearly two-thirds support marriage equality. Most ordinary, grassroots Catholics reject homophobic discrimination."

Saturday, 3 March 2012

A blue plaque for a Blues lady



The actress and singer Elisabeth Welch moved away from the racial difficulties of her homeland America in the 1930s and settled in the UK, where she lived for the rest of her life.

A favourite singer of Ivor Novello, Cole Porter and Noel Coward, she was an early pioneer of (then) unusual and difficult cabaret material - she introduced Stormy Weather to British audiences, was the first to popularise As Time Goes By (before Casablanca) and fell foul of censorship when she became associated with the song Love for Sale.

She performed for the British troops during the war and for the Queen at several Royal Variety Performances, and broke new ground by being the first black person to have their own BBC radio show and by starring with Paul Robeson in some early film roles where black characters were - gasp! - not just "the servants". Robeson, a passionate campaigner for black civil rights, urged her to join the fight. "She said 'Paul, my father was African and native American, my mother was Scottish and Irish, I've got four people within me, I can't make a stand for all of them, you'll have to excuse me.' He roared with laughter and hugged her, and the subject was never mentioned again."

Now she has finally, posthumously, been recognised with a Blue Plaque on her Kensington home. Despite being nominated for Olivier and Tony awards for her work, she surprisingly never received an honour from the Queen in her lifetime.

Read more about the plaque unveiling

Here is a most stunning performance by Miss Welch singing her "signature tune" Stormy Weather in Derek Jarman's The Tempest, a scene described by George Melly as "arguably the campest, most sparkling moment in the history of cinema":



Elisabeth Welch obituary from The Telegraph