Saturday, 23 May 2015

Young man playing with his organ

While meandering the streets and alleyways of Barcelona, amongst the many interesting sights a poster with the above picture caught my eye, with the caption Cameron Carpenter - 'Enfant terrible' de l’orgue. Kinky, I thought.

However, it seems that Mr Cameron is indeed - ahem - rather talented, as this video demonstrates:

Birth of the International Touring Organ

Nice organ, too.

Cameron Carpenter

Friday, 22 May 2015

With no blacks, no Jews and no gays

Today would have been the 85th birthday of the world-famous Harvey Milk, the (first in the US) out-gay public official in San Francisco who was assassinated in 1978.

By way of a little tribute to the "first modern-day gay martyr" (as some Americans would have it), and in recognition of our usual upbeat way to celebrate a weekend, I simply must play one of my favourite disco choons from that era - a time when Mr Milk represented what everyone thought may have been a new epoch of freedom for us gayers...

Produced by the genius that is August Darnell, who also gave us Dr. Buzzard's Original Savannah Band and Kid Creole and the Coconuts, here is Machine and There But For The Grace Of God Go I:

Carlos and Carmen Vidal just had a child
A lovely girl with a crooked smile
Now they gotta split 'cause the Bronx ain't fit
For a kid to grow up in
Let's find a place they say, somewhere far away
With no blacks, no Jews and no gays

There but for the grace of God, there go I
There but for the grace of God, there go I, I, I, I, I, I, I

Poppy and the family left the dirty streets
To find a quiet place overseas
And year after year the kid has to hear
The do's and don'ts and the dears
And when she's ten years old she digs that rock'n'roll
But Poppy bans it from the home

There but for the grace of God, there go I
There but for the grace of God, oh go I (could be me, could be you)
There but for the grace of God, oh go I, I, I, I, I, I, I

Baby, she turns out to be a natural freak
Gaining weight and losing sleep
And when she's sweet sixteen, she packs her things and leaves
With a man she met on the street
Carmen starts to bawl, bangs her head to the wall
Too much love is worse than none at all

There but for the grace of God, there go I
There but for the grace of God, there go I
There but for the grace of God, oh go I
There but for the grace of God, oh go I, I, I, I, I, I, I

Thank Disco It's Friday!

RIP Harvey Bernard Milk (22nd May 1930 – 27th November 1978)

Read our previous tribute to Harvey Milk

Thursday, 21 May 2015

The season of love

“La chanson française (French song) is a good lyric and, if possible, a good melody. La chanson américaine is a good melody and, if possible, a good lyric.”
Thus none other than the commanding figure of Charles Aznavour, creator of some of the finest works within the genre, summed up the cultural differences between the traditional French chanson and any other kind of song-style in the West.

With good reason, as the delightful documentary Je t'aime: The Story of French Song we watched last night explained - presented by Petula (not yet a Dame, but should be) Clark, whose own mega-successful career is largely based around such chansons.

Suffice to say it was everything we could want from a potted history of a beloved type of music; one that delights in "challenging" themes, such as prostitution, alcohol, homosexuality and politics. Everyone from Edith Piaf to M. Aznavour to "yé-yé" to Marc Almond to Stromae was featured, including Charles Trenet, Gilbert Bécaud, Jane Birkin, Jean Sablon, Georges Brassens, Anna Karina, Jacques Brel, Barbara, Léo Ferré, Brigitte Bardot, France Gall, Étienne Daho, Françoise Hardy and of course Serge Gainsbourg...

...and the très magnifique Juliette Gréco - here singing Si tu t'imagines [the lyrics of which translate as “If you imagine, my dear, that the season of love is going to last forever, you got it all wrong...”]

Vive “La chanson française"!

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

The return...

We're back from Sitges and Barcelona, tired but happy...

After a whirlwind five days of booze, beach and boy-watching, cultural extravaganza and kitsch, Tinto de verano and Tapa Tapa with old friends and new - in the most brilliant weather imaginable till the last day - what have we missed?

British weather? - mostly disgusting by the sound of it, and the state of some of our battered seedlings would indicate there were hailstorms at Dolores Delargo Towers... Such a shame we were sat on a beach in 30C heat with drinks in our hands.

News? - not much changes: Middle-East meltdown, natural disaster in Nepal and political boredom in the UK. Things best forgotten for a few days, methinks.

We were away for the International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHo) - but were very pleased to note Sitges (Spain's gayest resort) did mark it with a reading of the international manifesto and the planting of flowers at their own "Homomonument".

We missed marking the 60th birthdays (gulp!) of Hazel O'Connor and gymnast Olga Korbut, and the 55th birthday of 90s legend Yazz. We missed the announcement that the headline act at this autumn's Proms in the Park is none other than (what remains of) The Jacksons. The Eurovision Song Contest looms large (and we will begin preparations for our annual party over the next few days), but I always steadfastly avoid listening to almost any of the song entries until the night itself; that's a joy(!) I like to save up for when it comes to the scoring...

As for what new little (musical) prezzies we've brought back, it's not a lot - one of the bars ("El Horno") specialised in 80s Hi-NRG, and another regular "Casablanca" had the campest old musical repertoire. One would never expect an entire hour of Miss Dorothy Squires anywhere else! But one song - albeit not in the least Spanish; the singers are Romanian and the theme is about an Italian - did pique my interest a little as we sipped our vino. Here's Elena feat. Glance and Mamma Mia (He's Italiano):

Shame to be back so soon, but at least we have a brilliant tan while the Brits are still wrapped up in windcheaters :-)

Thursday, 14 May 2015

I'm dancing!

[la Sagrada Família, Barcelona]

By the time you read this, dear friends, we will be well on our way to the sunny gay fleshpot that is Sitges, and not returning for another five days...

Stepping into unknown territory is always exciting - Barcelona is on the doorstep, a city we have never visited before.

So exciting, indeed, that our clothes are in danger of falling off!

Just like the fabulous Hernandas Goggi, in fact.

Estoy Bailando!

"Normal" service will be resumed next Wednesday...

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

We only live once

The sunshine is dazzling this morning. It is my last day in the office for 12 days, and we're off to the delights of Sitges in Spain tomorrow.

I am ecstatic (or certainly will be this evening when I hopefully manage to get out of work early enough to enjoy a celebratory drinkie in the extensive gardens here at Dolores Delargo Towers)!

Contributing to our "countdown" to Spain (and tying in rather neatly with our annual Eurovision party that takes place a few days after we hit British soil next week), I think it's appropriate that we should feature the rather fab Azucar Moreno - whose remarkable performance at the Song Contest in 1990 remains one of my favourites - and a cheery song I have only just discovered by them.

Here's Solo Se Vive Una Vez*:

[* "You Only Live Once" in Spanish, apparently]


Tuesday, 12 May 2015

The backpack season has begun

Wild, free-spirited festival lets you do anything except bring in beer.

A music festival has invited punters to do whatever they like except bring in their own alcohol.

The Freedom Valley festival features 52 live acts, 78 DJs and 126 bar areas.

A spokesman said: “We want you to be wild and free, to dress outrageously and do whatever crazy primal things you care to think of, as long as you don’t bring in any alcohol.

“Because we will take it off you.”

Ticketholders were reminded that a condition of being wild and free is that they submit to extensive security searches including sniffer dogs, backpack checks and having someone with a torch look through their car boot.

The spokesman said: “This is going to be one crazy weekend – our event is inspired by the pagan orgies of the ancient past, when England was still the mystical and lawless land of Albion.

“Interestingly, historical records show that revellers could not bring their own booze to orgies because this would offend the gods or, as they are known today, shareholders.

“But apart from not bringing in any beer you can dance like a banshee to Gogol Bordello and do exactly whatever you want, except pitching your tent wherever there is a red flag, or going in the VIP area or the banqueting tent without a special wristband.

“And you have to fuck off by 11am Monday because the organiser wants their ancestral home back.”
The Daily Mash

Of course.