Wednesday, 28 June 2017

De Mooiste Stad


The tabloids are in a tizz over the impending return of The Great British Bake-Off

We are on a bit of a countdown to London's Gay Pride March (two weekends away!) - with last-minute shopping and adding a few trims to our outfits - and we have also booked our annual pilgrimage to Amsterdam for my birthday in August!

How appropriate (among a slew of famous birthdays including actress Kathy Bates, journalism guru Harold Evans, the faboo and sadly missed John Inman, composer Richard Rodgers, the lovely Gilda Radner and the living legend that is Mel Brooks) that we have a rather appropriate centenarian to celebrate today - one of Holland's most-lauded popular singers (and gay man), Wim Sonneveld!

Here he is with one of our favourite songs about one of our most beloved cities - Aan de Amsterdamse Grachten:


Aan de Amsterdamse grachten
heb ik heel mijn hart voor altijd verpand.
Amsterdam vult mijn gedachten,
als de mooiste stad in ons land.
Al die Amsterdamse mensen,
al die lichtjes 's avonds laat op het plein.
Niemand kan zich beter wensen
dan een Amsterdammer te zijn.


Couldn't agree more.

Willem "Wim" Sonneveld (28th June 1917 – 8th March 1974)

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

It's worse than that, he's dead, Jim



Timeslip moment again...

...and our DeLorean has skidded to a halt in the poodle-perm-dominated, Iran-Contra-scandal-hit world of 1987 - the year of Thatcher vs Kinnock, the Zeebrugge disaster, Euro Disney, the Hungerford massacre, the Channel Tunnel, Eniskillen, the "Great Storm", Rick Astley, the King's Cross fire and the birth of The Simpsons (and of Zac Efron, Andy Murray, Joss Stone and Karen Gillan).

In the news in June thirty years ago: Maggie Thatcher won her third term in office in the snap general election; the Iraq-Iran War reached a new nadir with the use of chemical weapons on civilian targets; there were race riots in the Chapeltown area of Leeds; South Korea experienced widespread unrest in the June Democratic Uprising; UK unemployment fell below three million for the first time since 1981; in the ascendant were the European Union (with the signing of the Single European Act), Peter Beardsley (the most expensive football player transferred in the UK to that date, with a £1.9 million move from Newcastle United to Liverpool) and basic common sense (as the US Supreme Court ruled that teaching "creationism" was unconstitutional; it is a religious doctrine not a science), but we said our sad goodbyes to the legendary Fred Astaire. In our cinemas: London saw the gala premiere of 15th James Bond film The Living Daylights (starring Timothy Dalton); also showing were Police Academy 4 and Three Amigos. On telly: The Network Chart Show (ITV's answer to Top of the Pops), camp classic Prisoner: Cell Block H, and the much-mocked It's a Royal Knockout.

In the UK charts this week in 1987? Power ballads and big hair predominated, with John Farnham, Whitesnake, Starship, Johnny Logan and Wibblin' Whitney all present; Bruce Willis was there doing his "comedy karaoke"; but there was also salvation in the form of Pet Shop Boys, Sam Fox and Curiosity Killed the Cat. And at the top of the pile was this - a cringeworthy "classic" if ever there was one...

It's The Firm and Star Trekkin'!


Star Trekkin' across the universe,
On the Starship Enterprise under Captain Kirk.
Star Trekkin' across the universe,
Only going forward 'cause we can't find reverse.

Lt. Uhura, report.
There's Klingons on the starboard bow, starboard bow, starboard bow;
there's Klingons on the starboard bow, starboard bow, Jim.

Analysis, Mr. Spock.
It's life, Jim, but not as we know it, not as we know it, not as we know it;
it's life, Jim, but not as we know it, not as we know it, Captain.

There's Klingons on the starboard bow, starboard bow, starboard bow;
there's Klingons on the starboard bow, starboard bow, Jim.

Star Trekkin' across the universe,
On the Starship Enterprise under Captain Kirk.
Star Trekkin' across the universe,
Only going forward, still can't find reverse.

Medical update, Dr. McCoy.
It's worse than that, he's dead, Jim, dead, Jim, dead, Jim;
it's worse than that, he's dead, Jim, dead, Jim, dead.

It's life, Jim, but not as we know it, not as we know it, not as we know it;
it's life, Jim, but not as we know it, not as we know it, Captain.

There's Klingons on the starboard bow, starboard bow, starboard bow;
there's Klingons on the starboard bow, starboard bow, Jim.

Starship Captain, James T. Kirk:
Ah! We come in peace, shoot to kill, shoot to kill, shoot to kill;
we come in peace, shoot to kill, shoot to kill, men.

It's worse than that, he's dead, Jim, dead, Jim, dead, Jim;
it's worse than that, he's dead, Jim, dead, Jim, dead.

Well, it's life, Jim, but not as we know it, not as we know it, not as we know it;
it's life, Jim, but not as we know it, not as we know it, Captain.

There's Klingons on the starboard bow, starboard bow, starboard bow;
there's Klingons on the starboard bow, scrape 'em off, Jim.

Star Trekkin' across the universe,
On the Starship Enterprise under Captain Kirk.
Star Trekkin' across the universe,
Only going forward, and things are getting worse!

Engineer, Mr. Scott:
Ye cannot change the laws of physics, laws of physics, laws of physics;
ye cannot change the laws of physics, laws of physics, Jim.

Ah! We come in peace, shoot to kill, shoot to kill, shoot to kill;
we come in peace, shoot to kill; Scotty, beam me up!

It's worse than that, he's dead, Jim, dead, Jim, dead, Jim;
it's worse than that, he's dead, Jim, dead, Jim, dead.

Well, it's life, Jim, but not as we know it, not as we know it, not as we know it;
it's life, Jim, but not as we know it, not as we know it, Captain.

There's Klingons on the starboard bow, starboard bow, starboard bow;
there's Klingons on the starboard bow, better calm down!

Ye cannot change the script Jim.
Och, #!*& Jimmy.

It's worse than that, it's physics, Jim.

Bridge to engine room, warp factor 9.

Och, if I give it any more she'll blow, Cap'n!

Star Trekkin' across the universe,
On the Starship Enterprise under Captain Kirk.
Star Trekkin' across the universe,
Only going forward 'cause we can't find reverse.


As I said: a classic.

Monday, 26 June 2017

A lot of what it takes to get along



Sharing a birthday as he does with such magnificently-named individuals as Wolfgang Windgassen, Chesty Puller and Hedwig Sophia, Duchess of Holstein-Gottorp, Syd Lawrence sounds positively pedestrian...

However, in his day Mr Lawrence was lauded for "reviving" the sound of the Big Bands of yesteryear for a new audience, and, such was his renown that his orchestra - decades after his passing - continues to perform in venues up and down the country.

The Syd Lawrence Orchestra was also a staple of prime-time variety shows during the 60s, 70s and even into the 80s - as in this remarkably unusual performance on Sez Les (Les Dawson's flagship ITV show) in 1972. On this Tacky Music Monday, here's his rendition of We're in the Money - but why the strippers..?


They make Pan's People seem like The Bolshoi.

Have a good week, peeps!

Syd Lawrence (26th June 1923 – 5th May 1998)

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Glory and Cloggz


Ipomoea purpurea (Morning Glory) "Kniola's Black" in the Gardens here at Dolores Delargo Towers

It's not often that we say "I wish it would rain" here in the UK. But when the skies are so grey and the air is so humid (despite the wind), it really could do with a bloody good thunderstorm to clear the air... Despite everything, I still managed to enjoy a good old potter in the garden today - planting a few climbers for the fence and on one of our two "obelisks" in the main beds.

On the other, the faboo Morning Glory above has already taken hold with a vengeance, and we have another half-dozen seedlings to go in to accompany it - utterly beautiful (even if, as its name implies, it only puts on this stunning show in the morning, and the flowers are closed and gone by noon)!

As ever, my soundtrack all day has been Radio 2 - mainly 80s throwbacks and, of course, easy listening. Like this lot!

Here's a double bill from The Cloggz:



Love 'em!

Saturday, 24 June 2017

Fly me to...1968?


He needs to cool down a bit

As our unexpected heatwave gives way to humid, muggy conditions with a distinct threat of rain, so we need to find a way to escape.

And what better way than on a 1968 BOAC trip across the USA...

...courtesy of those geniuses at Soft Tempo Lounge..?


Support Soft Tempo Lounge today!

Music: Message by Piero Piccioni and Lydia MacDonald
Intro music: Call Me by the The Kessler Twins

Friday, 23 June 2017

Is it really magic in the air?







And so the weekend finally beckons - fingers crossed, now that our remarkable heatwave is over and cooler breezes waft over the UK, that it stays sunny!

Speaking of "sunny", it is (gulp!) the 60th birthday today of the charismatic Mr Leee [sic] John, the campest showman of the 80s "funk revival". With acres of gold lamé, and plenty of gyrating male flesh, he and his band Imagination certainly - ahem - captured the imagination in the 80s. Not least with this one...

Thank Disco It's Friday, and let's hope it isn't all Just An Illusion!


Searching for a destiny that's mine
There's another place another time
Touching many hearts along the way, yeah
Hoping that I'll never have to say
It's just an illusion, illusion, illusion

Follow your emotions anywhere
Is it really magic in the air?
Never let your feelings get you down
Open up your eyes and look around
It's just an illusion, illusion, illusion

Could it be that it's just an illusion?
Putting me back in all this confusion?
Could it be that it's just an illusion now?
Could it be that it's just an illusion?
Putting me back in all this confusion?
Could it be that it's just an illusion now?
Could it be a picture in my mind?

Never sure exactly what I'll find
Only in my dreams I turn you on
Here for just a moment then you're gone
It's just an illusion, illusion, illusion




Many happy returns, Mr Leslie McGregor John (aka Leee John, born 23rd June 1957)

Thursday, 22 June 2017

The Apocrypha of St Nigel


War, Famine, Pestilence and Death have a fifth companion known as Stupidity, experts have discovered.

The find was made in an obscure passage in the Apocrypha of St Nigel, a little-known fifth-century Saint who is patron of talking loudly in pubs and deliberately driving your car into a tree.

St Nigel was martyred after falling down a manhole to the sound of a host of angelic sad trombones.

Bible expert Tom Logan, from the Institute of Studies, warned the discovery suggested the end times might be upon us.

He said: “The passage in question makes a direct reference to the ‘last trump of doom’ when Stupidity would ride forth to bring manifold miseries upon all the lands of the Earth.

“In his left hand he held a great scroll upon which were uncounted numbers of unsourced memes which reinforce thine prejudices, and when opened it rained forth a plague of fatuousness upon humanity.

“And all comments threads followed after him.”
The Daily Mash

Of course.