Tuesday, 2 September 2014

He's so unusual

Always a striking-looking chap, yet too unusual to really be described as "totty", the super-cool Keanu Reeves turns 50 years old today!

Born of an English theatrical mother and a father whose family origins included Chinese, Hawaiian and Portuguese genes, young Keanu - much like his contemporaries the Phoenix clan - was treated to a bit of an itinerant upbringing: born in Beirut, he lived in Australia, New York, the UK and finally Canada, and his mother married four times.

None of the above prevented the young Keanu seeking, and achieving, the idiosyncratic stardom he enjoys today - from such contrasting, yet enduring classics as My Own Private Idaho and Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure to blockbusters like Speed and The Matrix, he has largely (unlike others in his generation) avoided the archetypal roles offered by Hollywood's staple of "rom-com" and "street-cop" movies.

Often perceived as a moody, reclusive type (he's had more than his fair share of personal tragedy, and has avoided the melee of continually-photographed celebrity parties in favour of fronting his own grunge band "Dogstar"), he nevertheless retains huge respect in Hollywood, and has lately turned his hand to producing and directing his own films.

Forget the grunge - he can also turn his hand to "proper" singing. And here he is in a very early role alongside Jill Schoelen and Googy Gress ("Whoooooo?") in Babes In Toyland:

Many happy returns, Keanu Charles Reeves (born 2nd September 1964)

Monday, 1 September 2014

Like a horse and carriage

On Saturday, a gang of us (me, John-John, Paul, Jim, Alex, Anni, Lexi, Jane, David, Paul Burston and many more) went to a most unlikely event indeed - not one, not two, but twenty weddings!

Part of the South Bank Centre's "Festival of Love" - a two-month celebration of the Same Sex Couple Act - "The Big Wedding Weekend" featured seventy couples, gay and straight, young and old, marrying or renewing their vows on the stage of the Royal Festival Hall, around twenty at a time. It was most bizarre.

However, as our friends and fellow Polari-ites Emma and Toby (after 24 years together, with their daughter as one of the witnesses) had decided that now the law treated everyone as equals that they would finally "tie the knot", it was a must! The Hall was packed to the brim with 3000 guests, as I witnessed my first legal gay marriages as well as Emma and Toby's - and the whole razzmatazz of the day, including live bands, ballroom and line-dancing and much champagne, was rather more fun than I (the ultimate "marriage-phobe") might have hoped...

On this Tacky Music Monday, as we haul ourselves reluctantly back to that other undesirable convention - work - here's an apposite little song-and-dance medley from the Lettermen, featuring Love and Marriage, Me and my Gal and (one from yesterday's birthday boy Alan Jay Lerner) Get Me To The Church On Time:


Have a good week, everyone.

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Let your bed go unmade; your soufflé unsouffléd

On this, what would have been the 98th birthday of the tremendously-talented Alan Jay Lerner, I feel we should pay a little visit to one of his later shows (after his writing partnership with Frederick Loewe ended with the latter's retirement), On A Clear Day You Can See Forever.

Despite being somewhat overshadowed by his previous triumphs such as Brigadoon, Gigi, Camelot and, of course, My Fair Lady, this collaboration with Burton Lane certainly came upo with some enduring standards, including this one.

In keeping with the tradition of "Sunday Music", here's the lovely Robert Goulet and Come Back to Me:

Hear my voice where you are
Take a train, steal a car
Hop a freight, grab a star, come back to me
Catch a plane, catch a breeze
On your hands, on your knees
Swim or fly, only please, come back to me
On a mule, in a jet
With your hair in a net
In a towel when you're wet
I don't care, this is where you should be

From the hills, from the shore
Ride the wind to my door
Turn the high with the dust
Break the law if you must
Move the world, only just come back to me

Blast you high, hear me call
Must I fight City Hall
Here and now, damn it all, come back to me
What on Earth must I do
Scream and yell till I'm blue
Curse your soul when will you come back to me?
Have you gone to the moon or the corner saloon
At your rack, at your room
Mademoiselle, where in Hell can you be?

Leave a sign on your door
Out to lunch ever more
In a Royce or a van, wrapped in mink or Saran
Anyway that you can, come back to me
Hear my voice through the dim
Feel the waves on your skin
Like a call from within, come back to me
Leave behind all your own
Tell your flowers you will phone
Let your dog walk alone, come back to me

Let your tub overflow
If a date waits below
Let him wait for Godot
By the rail,
Come by mail, COD
Par avion, par bateau
Dans une vielle, deux chevaux

Come by steam, come by gas
Call for free on a pass
On the drags and the glass, come back to me
Leave your bills all unpaid
Let your bed go unmade
Your soufflé unsouffléd, come back to me
Come by sail, come by freight
In a box or a tray, keep your head on the plate
I don't care this is where you should be

Come in pain or in joy
As a girl, as a boy
In a bag or a trunk
On a horse or a drunk
In the flora or faun, come back to me
Come back to me, come back...


Alan Jay Lerner (31st August 1918 – 14th June 1986)

Read my previous tribute to Mr Lerner

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Totty of the Day

Heavens be praised! David Gandy has announced he has designed a new range of underwear.

As if we ever needed any excuse for some gratuitous shots of the gorgeous supermodel in his scanties...

...or to play a most appropriate song for the occasion, courtesy of Club 69:

Read today's interview with Mr Gandy in The Telegraph.

Friday, 29 August 2014

We're bumpin' booties, havin' us a ball, y'all

Hallelujah! We have hot water again at Dolores Delargo Towers!

To celebrate this overdue luxury - and of course the end of another gruelling week - let us get some glittery jackets out of the back of the wardrobe and wiggle our tushes along with the ever-jolly Peaches & Herb. Shake Your Groove Thing? You bet!

Thank Disco It's Friday...

Have a squeaky-clean weekend, y'all...

Peaches and Herb on Wikipedia

Thursday, 28 August 2014

A bargain is a bargain and begorrah we were thrilled

[photo: Andy Hanselman]
Ryanair has introduced ‘business class’ by selling tickets for proper airlines.

The budget carrier said its new level of service would include a free drink, landing within half a day’s drive of your chosen destination and being on a British Airways plane.

The company revealed that for a £70 fee it will register your interest and then let BA, Air France and Lufthansa know that you are on your way.

Plane traveller Martin Bishop said: “Finally I can combine Ryanair’s low prices with British Airways’ levels of service simply by paying significantly more money.”

A Ryanair spokesman added: “This means we now fly to more destinations than all of the other airlines that have ever existed.

“Celebratory trumpet noise.”
The Daily Mash.

Of course.

[The "real" story in The Telegraph]

Here's the only song I could possibly play to greet such news, courtesy of the ever-lovely Fascinating Aïda:

We received an invitation in the post one Monday morn'
To attend our cousin's wedding in the town where we were born
The do was back in Kerry; so wishing to be frugal
We trawled the 'net to find some decent travel deals on Google

Cheap flights, cheap flights, cheap as they can be,
Bedad we found an airline selling flights for 50p.
(Diddly aiden daidin daidin dai)

Well we clicked on to the website and were mightily surprised,
To find the actual cost wasn't quite as advertised,
We'd forgotten airport taxes, had also to be billed,
But a bargain is a bargain and begorrah we were thrilled.

Cheap flights, cheap flights, Stanstead to Tralee,
It isn't every airline offers flights for 50p,
(Diddly aiden daidin daidin dai (x3))

After studying the website we decided it was best,
To pay priority boarding so that we'd sit three abreast,
(Three abreast, that's the best)
And of course we'd all have luggage, so that's an extra cost,
And then we paid insurance in case our cases might get lost.

Our cheap flights, cheap flights, it's obvious to see,
There must be extra charges when the flights are 50p,
(Minya, minya, minya, key change)

At last the flight was booked, with all of the additions,
We'd read the reams of small print, of terms and conditions;
And then picked up the charge for using VISA which was drastic,
'Cause how the feck are you supposed to pay if not with fecking plastic?

Cheap flights, cheap flights, we paid the fecking fee,
Because by now we were committed to the flights for 50p,
(Diddly aiden daidin daidin dai (3))
(Someone's being diddled and it's us, so it is)

(Ochone, ochone, aah . . . )
Now I don't know if you've tried looking at Stanstead on a map,
But checking in at 5am is a fecking load of crap,
It's packed if you try to catch a train or underground,
So a taxi to the arse in the world was more than 100 pounds,

Cheap flights, cheap flights, we should have gone by sea,
There's no such fecking thing as a fecking flight for 50p,
(Feckity feckity feckity feckity feck, feck, feck (x2))

Then at last we reached the airport where we had to pay a fine,
The fecking feckers charged us 'cause we hadn't checked in online,
And finally aboard the flight there's an extra class of tax,
'Cause the fecking fecking feckers fecking charge to use the jack,

Cheap flights, cheap flights, I think you must agree,
That only fecking gobshites think there's flights for 50p,
(Feck, shite, feck, shite, feck, shite, arse)
(Feck, shite, shite, feck, feck, shite, arse)
(Feckity Feckity Feckity Feckity Feckity Feckity Feckity Feck)
(Feckity Feckity Feckity Feckity Feckity Feckty Feck)

Sad verse
Well finally we landed and tried to shuffle up the aisle
But the steward sent us down to the back with never a hint of a smile
And as we heard his annoucement our hearts gave a terrible thump
If you haven't prepaid to use the steps you'll have to feckin jump

Cheap flights, cheap flights you're harking on to me
you're an eejit if you think a fecking flight is 50p

Fascinating Aïda

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

The Pres

On this day 110 years ago, a certain Lester Young was born.

Not the most familiar of names, it's true - but, as an integral part of Count Basie's orchestra in the 30s and 40s, and as the accompanist of choice for such luminaries as Billie Holiday and Nat King Cole, he was responsible for securing the central role of the saxophone in the "sound" of modern Jazz and Blues, and was an inspiration for generations of sax players to come.

He was, to coin a hoary old phrase, simply a musical genius.

Here's a sublime sample of his talents - Jammin' the Blues:

So utterly cool. So modern!

Facts about Mr Young:
  • Allegedly he was (appropriately) the first to popularise the use of the term "cool" to mean something fashionable.
  • Miss Holiday nicknamed him "Pres", short for President.
  • Constantly struggling with his addictions, he was dishonourably discharged from the army for possession of alcohol and marijuana.
  • He died far too young, at just 49, of alcohol-related causes - just four months before Billie Holiday, who went the same way.
  • Among the many revered musicians who cited Lester as an influence were Charles Mingus (who wrote a song in his honour when he died), Stan Getz, Gerry Mulligan, Charlie Parker, Al Cohn and Dexter Gordon.
Lester Willis Young (27th August 1909 – 15th March 1959)