Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Oral power

From the BBC:
Engineers in Canada have built a chin strap that harnesses energy from chewing and turns it into electricity.

Dr Aidin Delnavaz and Dr Jeremie Voix, mechanical engineers at the École de Technologie Supérieure in Montreal, Canada, suggest that jaw movements are a promising candidate for harvesting natural energy.

The pair, who work on auditory technology like powered ear-muffs and cochlear implants, are keen to put that energy to work, and decrease reliance on disposable batteries.

"We went through all the available power sources that are there," Dr Voix told the BBC. These included the heat found inside the ear canal, and the overall movement of the head, which might have been used in a similar way to the wrist movements that power automatic watches.
Anyone else thinking what I'm thinking?

Or am I the only one with a filthy mind?

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

The only game in town

Timeslip moment again...

While trampling through the vaults of the UK Charts of thirty years ago, one often comes across choons that would otherwise have remained completely forgotten - such as this one.

Here's the jazz-funky Animal Nightlife (whatever happened to them?), and their jolly Mr Solitaire (a new entry this week in 1984):

According to their Wikipedia entry, lead singer, tight-trouser-wearer and former "Billy's" club punter Andi Polaris has recently resurfaced creating fashionable window displays in Dalston's Oxfam shop.

How trendy.

Monday, 15 September 2014

She's got your number

Sixties "sex kitten" - and kitschy fave here at Dolores Delargo Towers - Miss Joey Heatherton is 70 years old today!

Relatively unknown in the UK (we had our own set of "dolly-bird" entertainers such as Aimi MacDonald, Pan's People, Anita Harris, Lulu and the rest), Miss Heatherton's rise from "saucy ingénue" on variety shows with Perry Como and Dean Martin, to TV commercials and Las Vegas stints, and her equally spectacular fall (with assault charges and drug addictions splashed across the headlines) would make for a great daytime TV movie. But at least she's still here...

To cheer us up on this Tacky Music Monday is the lady herself at the peak of her powers, complete with the best safety gays in the business - it's I've Got Your Number. [And I bet she did, too...]:

Many happy returns, Davenie Johanna Heatherton (born 14th September 1944)

Sunday, 14 September 2014

A Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious day

What a day.

What a crowd.

What a line-up of acts!

Proms in the Park was simply wonderful yesterday. We were a small (but perfectly-formed) coterie this year - just me, Madame Arcati, John-John, Sal, Russ and Joe - but we managed to get in (in record time) through the throng to our usual spot near (but not too near) the stage and to manfully eat, drink and be merry enough for a whole troupe.

Thankfully, the weather stayed dry (if a little windier than we'd have liked, which meant it felt rather cold towards the end) as we settled in for a programme of delights. The afternoon session (presided over by the ever-cheesy Tony Blackburn) included the jolly former busker and Radio 2 fave Si Cranstoun, the entertaining cast of the T-Rex musical 20th Century Boy, Welsh "Britain's Got Talent" finalists and pretty-boy twin operatic tenors Richard & Adam (who were perfectly fine until their harmonies went somewhat awry on their final number The Impossible Dream) and the rather dull country-folk duo The Shires.

But the biggest thrill came when the faboo Dhol Foundation took to the stage, complete with traditional costumes, dancers and a guest singer K.S.Bhamrah - and got everyone in the 40,000-strong audience Bhangra dancing! Here they are at the Shrewsbury Folk Festival in 2009:


The break threw a new and unexpected spanner in the works of an otherwise enjoyable day. One of the deep joys of outdoor festivals (and I am being sarcastic here) is getting to and from the toilets. Usually at Proms in the Park this causes little problem (for boys, anyhow) - but something went deeply wrong yesterday. With all the portakabins crushed into the tiniest amount of space in the far corners of the Hyde Park arena, it was bedlam. Men and women, old and young, were faced with the biggest queues I had ever seen. Half the loos had packed up, apparently. Women were barging into the gents, hordes of stewards were trying to keep order (to little avail), and as a consequence I missed several interesting and enjoyable bits of the day's performances. Abysmal.

Anyhoo, this brings us to the joys of the evening programme of Proms in The Park - the part with the real star performers (all introduced by the ebullient Sir Terry Wogan aka "Our Tel"), including our opener, the rather cute tenor Vittorio Grigolo - who, apart from having a beautiful voice also has a charming sense of humour. Not least when he was on stage for the BBC's pioneering "mass participation project" - a "virtual choir" performing Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious:

And of course, the Park audience joined in.

We had an early Royal Albert Hall link-up treat, when Our Tel introduced a further selection of Mary Poppins tunes (it is the 50th anniversary of the film), sung by the lovely Ruthie Henshall... well as quite a pleasant surprise - Walton's Façade:

Ah, Mr Rufus Wainwright. I truly, honestly try my best. I want to love the man who overcame suicide attempts, an awkward coming-out, the death of his mother and all that torment, to carve himself a respected cult musical career (even tackling, song-by-song, the iconic Judy Garland Carnegie Hall concert). It's just a shame he's so - errm - dreary. The three songs he performed (Dinner at Eight, Oh What A World and Going To A Town) were all very heartfelt and impassioned, but there was no spark; not for us anyway.

Miss Pumeza Matshikiza, on the other hand... (what little I caught of her while trying to traverse the inconvenient conveniences again) has a beautiful voice, and loads of joie de vivre to go with it. To open with Puccini's O Ma Babbino Carra was a brave move, but she carried it off with aplomb. We were impressed - as we were when she and Signor Grigolo joined forces a little later on for a stunning set of tunes from the eternal classic West Side Story!

The Fisherman's Friends of Port Isaac were a pleasant diversion, with their fine repertoire of bawdy sea-shanties and folk tunes:

But all of this was merely a warm-up, let's face it. For the band we were all waiting for was the legendary Earth Wind And Fire! Even though their combined ages must be in the region of 300, the "boys" (founding members Philip Bailey, Verdine Scott, Ralph Johnson and ensemble) have certainly still got it - and performed the most magnificent set, which whipped us all up into quite a dancing frenzy... Auntie Beeb in her wisdom has not uploaded any clips, so here's someone's hand-held video of the occasion (we were somewhat closer to the action than this):

Mr Bailey's voice is remarkable, even after all these years.

And so, adrenalin still pumping, flags at the ready, we came to the (second) live link-up with the Royal Albert Hall for the grand finale, kicking off, as is traditional, with an exhilarating sing-along on Elgar's Pomp and Circumstance:

And, of course (after lead conductor Sakari Oramo's speech), the rousing - and poignant, given that Scotland later this week could well be separating off from the rest of the "United Kingdom" if the referendum vote is won by the "Yes" campaign - Thomas Arne's Rule Britannia, sung beautifully by Roderick Williams:

With the magnificent Jerusalem and the National Anthem bringing us to a close, that was it for another year.

We love Proms in the Park - one of the brightest highlights of our social calendar!

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Golden dreams were shiny days

Our (somewhat depleted, thanks to illness and holidays) gang is off to spend seven hours in Hyde Park this afternoon, for that most marvellous tradition in our Season Calendar - and the landmark event that sees the offical end of the Spring/Summer Season and the start of Autumn/Winter - Proms in the Park!

I am sure Rufus Wainwright will do his best, but - apart from the ecstatic all-singing, all-flag-waving Last Night of the Proms finale - the highlight is inevitably going to be our faboo headline act, Earth Wind and Fire. I know it's not "Thank Disco It's Friday" (my traditional "home" for preposterous 70s dance choons) but how could I resist the sparkly, over-the-top majesty of this (most appropriate for the Season's end) song? It's September!

Do you remember the 21st night of September?
Love was changing the minds of pretenders
While chasing the clouds away

Our hearts were ringing
In the key that our souls were singing.
As we danced in the night,
Remember how the stars stole the night away

Ba de ya, say do you remember
Ba de ya, dancing in September
Ba de ya, never was a cloudy day

My thoughts are with you
Holding hands with your heart to see you
Only blue talk and love,
Remember how we knew love was here to stay

Now December found the love that we shared in September.
Only blue talk and love,
Remember the true love we share today

Ba de ya, say do you remember
Ba de ya, dancing in September
Ba de ya, never was a cloudy day

Ba de ya, say do you remember
Ba de ya, dancing in September
Ba de ya, golden dreams were shiny days

Ba de ya de ya de ya
Ba de ya de ya de ya
Ba de ya de ya de ya de ya

They don't write lyrics like that any more.

Earth, Wind and Fire official website

Friday, 12 September 2014

The Walrus of Love

Oh, joy. The weekend is in sight...

It also happens to be the 70th anniversary of the birth of "The Walrus Of Love", Mr Barry White. A man legendary for his influence on fashion for the fuller figure, and on hair styles, his growly vocals on a succession of OTT "seduction Soul" songs in the 1970s were more than likely a contributory factor to the population explosion of that decade.

Who better to guide us funkily towards thoughts of party-planning? [We're already getting excited about Proms in the Park tomorrow!]

Here's Big Barry, introducing his lovely singers Love Unlimited, with their vocal version of his orchestral hit Love's Theme - Thank Disco It's Friday!

Have a funky and seductive weekend, one and all.

Barry White (born Barry Eugene Carter, 12th September 1944 - 4th July 2003)

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Amazeballs word shit

If only this wasn't quite so close to reality...
Spelling words correctly no longer matters to anyone, it has emerged.

After years of abuse the English language has finally given up and allowed anyone to use any halfwitted spelling they like.

Oxford English Dictionary editor Denys Finch Hatton said: “‘Independant’, ‘loose’ meaning ‘lose’ and ‘pacific’ for ‘specific’. The barbarians are through the gates and spelling is over.

“A population that uses ‘hun’ and ‘bae’ to save their texting thumbs simply isn’t capable of understanding diphthongs.

“Most people seem quite happy just guessing how words are spelt, so logophiles like myself will just have to learn to live with seeing ‘rogue’ spelled ‘rouge’ and ‘necessary’ as ‘nessicery’ or some other fucking abomination.”

Office worker Tom Logan said: “Language is constantly evolving so there is no such thing as correct spelling, which I point out whenever someone questions the illiterate garbage I write.

“Spelling isn’t important as long as your meaning is clear. Shakespeare couldn’t spell and he done amazeballs word shit standard innit?”
The Daily Mash.

Of course.