Thursday, 31 December 2015

The House of Windsor











The very best way to end 2015 is with some good news. And courtesy of 'Er Maj...

Arise, DAME Barbara Windsor!

We salute you.



See my tribute to Our Babs on her 75th birthday

Other notable recipients in the New Year Honours List 2016 include Sir Matthew Bourne, Dame Sian Phillips and Imelda Staunton CBE. OBEs go to Damon Albarn, Sue Barker, Idris Elba, James Nesbit, Ronny O'Sullivan and David Oyelowo.

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

For we saw his star in the east



It's almost New Year, and it seems there's a new delivery for Uriel Yekutiel, amongst the madness that usually passes for an advert for Tel Aviv gay nightspot Arisa...



Nice ball play, however.

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Always walking up and down



John-John and I are off shopping till we drop today, in the charity shops of West London.

I wonder if we'll find anything, or whether we'll be singing this song...



I walk along the street of sorrow
The boulevard of broken dreams
Where gigolo and gigolette
Can take a kiss without regret
So they forget their broken dreams

You laugh tonight and cry tomorrow
When you behold your shattered schemes
Gigolo and gigolette
Wake up to find their eyes are wet
With tears that tell of broken dreams

Here is where you'll always find me
Always walking up and down
But I left my soul behind me
In an old cathedral town

The joy that you find here you borrow
You cannot keep it long it seems
Gigolo and gigolette
Still sing a song and dance along
The boulevard of broken dreams

Here is where you'll always find me
Always walking up and down
For I left my soul behind me
In an old cathedral town

The joy that you find here you borrow
You cannot keep it long it seems
But gigolo and gigolette
Still sing a song and dance along
The boulevard of broken dreams


Many happy returns, Marianne Evelyn Faithfull (born 29th December 1946)

Monday, 28 December 2015

Ultra-Femme



It's that "bit in the middle" - yet still, we need a fix of something sparkly with which to start our week.

On this Tacky Music Monday, how about "The Queen of Fucking Everything", Mademoiselle Dalida, several coteries of her choicest safety gays and a remix montage of her hit Femme?

I should say so!



Have a good week, dearies...

Sunday, 27 December 2015

Stylish, larger men



Just at the moment when one feels there is only so much meat, pudding, egg-nog, chocolate and cheese one can stuff into one's face, washed down with port - Japan has the ideal magazine by way of consolation...
"I prefer to think of our readers as stylish, larger men, not fat men.”

While it broaches the subject of overeating, Mr Babe is mercifully free of advice on weight loss. “We don’t shy away from health issues, but we’d never dream of telling people to lose weight” , [the magazine's editor] Mr Kurashina said. “It’s about enjoying life just as you are - but that doesn’t mean you have to avoid exercise or not keep an eye on what you eat.”

Kurashina believes Mr Babe is the first step towards redressing the balance in favour of men who are unfairly blamed for sagging around the middle as they approach middle age. “When was the last time you saw a big guy modelling clothes for high street retailers? It’s easy to come to the conclusion that we’re being discriminated against.

“The problem is that men in their 30s and 40s are busier at work than at other points in their career. They spend all day at work, they go drinking in the evening to relieve stress, and do the same again the next day. They don’t have time to go to the gym... it’s no wonder they put on weight.”
The final word comes courtesy of Oddity Central:
Mr. Babe may be unique, but it’s certainly not the weirdest magazine in Japan. That title probably goes to “Everyone Loves a Man Nipple: Photobook”, a magazine dedicated to men’s nipples of all shapes and sizes.

Saturday, 26 December 2015

A new look?



It's all over, bar the shouting.

Boxing Day. Ahhhh.

Now that Xmas nonsense is out of the way, we're heading for the New Year - perhaps the perfect time to start planning a home make-over. With a little help from the "experts" at Soft Tempo Lounge, it all becomes so easy...



Lovely.

[Music Life of Leisure by Keith Mansfield]

Friday, 25 December 2015

The Fall of the House of Grantham









It's the last EVER episode of Downton Abbey tonight.

We are distraught!

Merry Kitt-mas!







It is the Day of Over-indulgence (at last). Bah Humbug.

However, today also marks seven years since we lost one of our greatest Patron Saints, Miss Eartha Kitt.

And so, in our traditional manner of celebrating the end of any week (Xmas or no Xmas), let us over-indulge in not one, but two of the great lady's more dance-oriented numbers - and Thank Disco It's (Yule) Friday!

This is My Life...



... and (her tribute to Dawn Davenport) Cha Cha Heels!



Have a great day, one and all!

Eartha Mae Kitt (17th January 1927 – 25th December 2008)

Thursday, 24 December 2015

My favourite Xmas carol



It's traditional.

Ho Ho Fucking Ho:


Gawd bless Australia.

One more day to go...

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Load up on guns, bring your friends



This week was supposed to be quiet, but work continues to provide headaches and irritation. I turn to Justin Vivien Bond (in her guise as half of Kiki and Herb) at moments such as these.

Only she can dismember Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer and Nirvana (and the theme from M*A*S*H) at the same time...



HELLO! HELLO! How low?

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Stocking fillers











To accompany these thoughtful gifts, Red Peters' lovely ditty about a family Xmas...



You can shove your fruitcake up your arse. Indeed.

Four harmonic poofs



In my blog about the fabulous Panto we went to last week ("Oh yes we did"), I mentioned that one of the leads Ian Parkin was a founder member of former telly sensations Four Poofs and a Piano. Of course, that name means nothing to anyone who didn't watch the BBC's glitzy Friday Night with Jonathan Ross, which ran from 2001 to 2010 (ourselves included: telly on a Friday? Not likely...)

Anyhoo, the "Poofs" were (and possibly still are) a close-harmony cabaret group specialising in piano versions of pop songs and witty piss-takes, who were "discovered" gigging on the cabaret circuit. Since their TV fame, the boys performed at the Edinburgh Fringe and even Glastonbury! Their line-up has changed over the years - Mr Parkin is no longer with them, but they were joined in 2013 by none other than cheesy 70s pop-piano sensation Bobby Crush!

So, here are the boys themselves, with their tribute to Chris Martin of Coldplay - Cheer Up, For Fuck's Sake!



They gained notoriety for near-the-knuckle numbers, not least this classic - My Enormous Penis:



And, as befitting our continued countdown to the dread day, here they are with Camp Up Your Christmas:



Ho. Ho. Ho.

Four Poofs and a Piano

Monday, 21 December 2015

We'll frolic and play, the Eskimo way



Back to work again (albeit a short week, thanks to the Yule/Saturnalia weekend), and I am steadfastly un-festive.

However, we're combining two traditions today - continuing the big countdown, and playing some music eminently suitable for a Tacky Music Monday (and to celebrate the Solstice!).

So who better than the adorable Del Rubio Triplets to lift the gloom?



I don't know about Winter Wonderland - it's the warmest December since records began here in the UK. Ice rinks are melting, and the daffodils are already flowering...

Have a good week, folks.

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Five naked men



'Tis is the season of trash. I am off to get a solitary humbug to decorate Dolores Delargo Towers, as is our wont.

What better way to kick off the countdown (a little late admittedly, as there are only six days to go) to the dreaded day than with Janice Dickinson's Twelve Days Of Christmas?

Saturday, 19 December 2015

Someone told me this was just a dance



On Thursday we celebrated Bananarama singer Sara Dallin's birthday with their hit song Look On The Floor, which I pointed out was a tribute to an earlier Hi-NRG/Italo classic.

So, today let us indulge in the original. An absolute fave here at Dolores Delargo Towers, here's the fantabulosa one-hit-wonders My Mine and Hypnotic Tango:



Look on the floor and all is spinning round
Someone told me this was just a dance
And take a chance I ain't met before
Do you think I really have a chance?

Hypnotic tango tango tango


The 80s. Oh, how I love that decade!

My Mine

Friday, 18 December 2015

Fever pitch



It's the last one before the Festering Season hits full swing, and many of my colleagues are preparing to bugger off for the rest of the year, leaving the remaining handful of us to sit staring aimlessly at computery things (until the bitter end next Thursday when we can all get out early and go to the pub). The West End was manic with revellers even into the wee small hours last night after Sal's birthday bash, and lord knows what it's going to be like this evening! I say "Bah Humbug" to the whole thing.

A weekend is a weekend is a weekend, however - no matter if it is dominated by amateur drinkers and pissed-off shoppers - so to add to the general party spirit, who better than Mr Giorgio Moroder (masquerading as Munich Machine), and his irresistibly catchy Love Fever?

Lord only knows what's going on in this video clip, but, regardless - Thank Disco It's Friday!



Happy last-minute shopping, folks!

Thursday, 17 December 2015

I can't slow down



“We never mastered the niceties. We didn’t mean to be stroppy or awkward, we just had opinions and wanted our own way. If we’d been blokes that would have been perfectly acceptable."

Not one, but two favourite birthday blondes... Tonight we're off to raise a glass or twelve to celebrate our very own Sal's birthday in time-honoured fashion.

But it is to the effervescent Miss Sara Dallin to whom we turn for our soundtrack today. Here she is with her all-conquering supergroup Bananarama (and their safety gays) with Look On The Floor:



It's close to midnight
And I'm leavin' now
I'm getting in my car
I'm headin' out

And I can't slow down
Cos I don't know how

You got my number
So we'll be fine
So go and use it
Just don't waste my time

Cos you're on my mind
And you know I'm right

You take me over
Stay with me and
We'll fade away

Look on the floor
And all are spinnin' round
Someone told me this
was just a dance
And take a chance
And I'll give you more
Do you really think
We have a chance

Devil's in your eyes
And he's lookin' at me
I know what you want
And you know what I need

Come and show me how
How do you get down


[Yes. It is a tribute to another great "house favourite" here at Dolores Delargo Towers, Hypnotic Tango by My Mine...]

Sara Elizabeth Dallin (born 17th December 1961)

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

A country where the verb "to work" becomes a most improper noun


“I like long walks, especially when they are taken by people who annoy me”

"It's discouraging to think how many people are shocked by honesty and how few by deceit."

"Success took me to her bosom like a maternal boa constrictor."

"I love criticism just so long as it's unqualified praise."

"Never mind, dear, we're all made the same, though some more than others."
He was terribly World Weary:



When I'm feeling weary and blue, I'm only too
Glad to be left alone
Dreaming of a place in the sun when day is done
Far from a telephone
Hardly ever see the sky
Buildings seem to grow so high
Give me somewhere peaceful and grand
Where all the land
Slumbers in monotone

I'm world weary, world weary, living in a great big town
I find it so dreary, so dreary
Everything looks grey or brown
I want an ocean blue
Great big trees
Bird's eye view of the Pyrenees
I wanna watch the moon rise up
See the great red sun go down
Watching clouds go by through a windy sky fascinates me
But if I do it in the street every cop I meet simply hates me
Because I'm world weary, world weary
Tired of all these jumping jacks
I wanna get right back to nature and relax

I'm world weary, world weary, living in a great big town.
I find it so dreary, so dreary,
Everything looks grey or brown.
I want a horse and plough, chickens too,
Just one cow with a wistful moo,
A country where the verb "to work"
Becomes a most improper noun
I can hardly wait till I see the great open spaces.
My loving friends will not be there I'm so sick of their damned fool faces
Because I'm world weary, world weary,
I could kiss the railroad tracks,
I wanna get right back to nature,
Assume a horizontal stature,
I wanna get right back to nature and relax.


Sir Noël Peirce Coward (16th December 1899 – 26th March 1973)

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

"To infinity... and beyond!"


Astronaut Tim Peake has confirmed that his school’s careers advisor can stick his Boots application forms up his arse.

As he prepared to join the crew of the International Space Station, Peake confirmed that being an astronaut is an actual job despite what bitter adults tell you when you are a kid.

He said: “When I was 15 I had to do that nonsense where you go to see a careers person who has a temporary office in a stationery cupboard.

“When I said I wanted to be an astronaut they suggested I work at Boots, the local bank or perhaps become a trainee butcher.

“He also gave me a leaflet about apprenticeships in a shoe factory in Swindon. I said I wanted a leaflet about how to be an astronaut, in space.

“They replied simply ‘fannying about in space is not a job’ and suggested that if I was interested in long journeys I could work as a salesperson in a travel agency.

“The first thing I’m going to do when we get to the International Space Station is go up to a window and give my old careers advisor the space finger.”


He added: “I am an astronaut and it is the bollocks.”
The Daily Mash.

Of course.

When I was a kid, I wanted to be an "Astro-nut"!



More about Mr Peake's mission

Glittering Gladys



Knowing our perpetual fascination with uncovering new "wannabee-divas" from other cultures (and indeed, other times), I was overjoyed to read about another rather marvellous discovery, courtesy of Dangerous Minds...
It wasn’t an easy bit of searching to reveal the identity of this early ‘70s mystery artist... as searching for any musically-related “Bobby McGee” (or more properly, as I’d learn, “Bobbie McGee”), was bound to return thousands of Janis Joplin and Kris Kristofferson entries.

Eventually “Bobbie McGee” revealed herself as Lady Teresa Anna Von Arletowicz, who was also dubbed by the music press of the day as “Gladys Glitter” for her musical and sartorial similarities to Gary Glitter.

Her 1973 UK single Rock and Roll People brought her some degree of cult status which resulted in a few TV appearances, music press articles, and at least one vintage Swedish rock and roll trading card - but not much else. It seems that the UK music industry was only interested in elevating one Glam Rock queen to superstar status and it wasn’t in the cards for Gladys Glitter - Suzi Quatro was to be the anointed one. A shame, in fact, because you can’t really have enough ‘70s badass rocker chicks. Bobbie McGee released four more singles that went nowhere before completely disappearing from music history’s radar.


And, so, this being the traditional season for resurrecting all things "Glam Rock" (thanks, Slade; thanks, Wizzard!), let's gasp in admiration at that costume - and get rocking with the lady herself...



Read more on Dangerous Minds

Monday, 14 December 2015

We're not lost at sea, dear



Another day, another centenary...

One hundred years ago, the dancer, singer and actor Dan Dailey was born. Largely neglected in many a list of famous Hollywood "names", nevertheless he had a pivotal role in many of the big musical films of the 1940s and 50s.

He performed with a glittering array of our icons, including the Andrews Sisters, Marilyn Monroe, Ethel Merman, Mitzi Gaynor, Dolores Grey, Cyd Charisse, Agnes Moorehead, Eve Arden, Judy Garland, Hedy Lamarr and Lana Turner - but it is his enduring on-screen partnership with Miss Betty Grable to which we turn to cheer us up on this Tacky Music Monday. Here's a double-bill of their numbers...

We're a Couple of Broadway Brothers and Kokomo, Indiana (from Mother Wore Tights):



Don't Rock The Boat, Dear (from My Blue Heaven):



Daniel James "Dan" Dailey, Jr. (14th December 1915 – 16th October 1978)

Sunday, 13 December 2015

Dick? That's an interesting name...



...and plenty of it there was at Wilton's, as Hils, History Boy, John-John, Julie, Jim, Madam Arcati and I journeyed to one of our favourite venues in the whole world, Wilton's Music Hall, to see their first ever pantomime Dick Whittington on Friday evening.

The "Dick" in question was not merely the eponymous hero of the story (the square-jawed Josh Tevendale), but also the two extremely cute and athletic ballet-dancing chorus boys/"Citizens" Connor Byrne and Rhys Whiteside. They gave us queens something to preoccupy ourselves with, as the ever-so-traditional panto romp unfolded.

Written by that ebullient "national treasure" Roy Hudd, this is also the great Music Hall afficionado's first time playing the Dame. Of course, gap-toothed, saggy boobed and with ad-libs a-plenty, he made a marvellous job of it! The jokes were as groansome, and some of the musical numbers as (intentionally) corny as one might expect. Due to the constraints of the hall's environs, set-changes were artfully done during the dance numbers, and the small two-tier stage meant loads of excuses for some dramatic leaps between levels - not least by Steven Hardcastle as "Tommy the Cat", who threw himself about with such abandon, there was concern he might have ended up over this side of the stage at one point...



This was a pantomime in its most time-honoured fashion; less about the double-entendres (although, of course they were there in abundance), the "knowingness" or the Z-list "celebrity" guest stars of more modern interpretations of the genre, and more about the old-fashioned type of humour that so much entertainment has left behind these days. There was slapstick galore, not least the interaction between Mr Hudd's "Sarah the Cook" and her "son", the comic foil "Idle Jack" (Simon Burbage). One of the very best numbers was They Call It Automation - a perfectly-choreographed "patter song" whereby each character in turn performed a repetitive set of actions (including boxing jabs, high kicks and robotic side-swipes), which as they lined up next to each other, was synched so that no-one slapped or punched the next. It was hilarious to watch (and we couldn't help but wonder how many mishaps occurred during rehearsals!).



The aforementioned Messrs Hudd and Burbage (and the assembled totty) aside, the rest of the cast, especially Ian Parkin (of "Four Poofs and a Piano" fame) as both London merchant "Willy Widl" and the "Maharajah" and Amelia-Rose Morgan as his daughter and Dick's love interest "Alice" (despite a few too many "wibbles" in her singing), the "Citizens" and the little kids playing the "Rats" were all fab.

Speaking of rats, however... The performance to beat all performances was the villainous "Ratface" (part Ozzy Osbourne, part Russell Brand; opening number? Rat Out Of Hell, of course) played with camp gusto by Gareth Davies. He played up to the audience's expectations - all the boos and hisses, "Oh no you won't/Oh yes we will"s and "It's behind you"s were present and correct; we were hoarse by the end - and his plotting and interactions with the "Good Fairy" Nicole Davis (often from opposing balconies above the crowd) held the whole story together.

We had a whale of a time. As "proper" pantomimes go, this was one of the best!

Dick Whittington and his Cat is on at Wilton's Music Hall until 31st December 2015.

Saturday, 12 December 2015

Our flights are booked...



...we're off to Spain in February. I doubt our trolly-dollies will look much like this.

Friday, 11 December 2015

What's an hour of the day?



Whew. At the end of another gruelling week, it's time to start letting our hair down.

Tonight our gang is off to the Panto at Wilton's Music Hall (Oh yes we are!), and tomorrow we're at a "mass charity-shopping event" on the South Bank. In the meantime, let's be daring, sling on a skin-tight powder blue outfit, and practice our spinning - in the company of the arch-funksters Tavares!

It Only Takes A Minute, apparently. Thank Disco It's Friday!



What's an hour of the day?
We throw at least one away
And walk the streets for half the year
Tryin' to find a new career

If you get a flu attack
For thirty days you're on your back
Doing not a single dance
Baby, give me half a chance

It only takes a minute, girl
To fall in love, to fall in love
It only takes a minute, girl
To fall in love, fall in love


How philosophical.

Have a good one!

Thursday, 10 December 2015

Crackers for Caracas



Life is stressful.

Let's enjoy a little light musical interlude "to soothe your savage breast" - and go shopping in Swinging 60s Caracas, courtesy of Soft Tempo Lounge...



Not just another time, but another world.

[Music: Holiday Commercial by Alan Hawkshaw.]

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

A dude, a lesbian surprise, a feast, a brunch, a pansy and big baubles



Our little gang (Me, John-John, little Tony, Paul, Jim, Emma, the lovely Justin, Bryanne, Simon and chums) gathered on Monday for Polari's traditional Xmas send-off. A double celebration - the last outing for "London's peerless gay literary salon" for 2015, and the grand finale of host Paul Burston's ground-breaking Polari national tour - which seems to have hit more towns and cities up and down the UK than the Olympic torch!



So it was with great pride that Paul introduced our opener for the evening, his stalwart accompanist on every one of those "roadshow" events, the marvellous VG (Val) Lee to the stage. Sparkling and entertaining as always, she glittered with festive baubles as she read for us some suitable extracts from her forthcoming anthology featuring the fearsome ex-friend and neighbour "Deirdre". In the absence of any of those out there in interweb-land, however, here she is reading two (more familiar) "Deirdre" stories from Brighton's L-Fest earlier this year, "dude":




Andrea Stuart, author of the prize-winning historical examination of her own (shocking) heritage Sugar in the Blood read from her short story that was published in Granta journal, The Tourist, about her own coming-out as a lesbian - which, given her youthful propensity for men, appears to have been as much of a surprise to her as it was to everyone else... Read more if you are a Granta subscriber.


[Photo: Krystyna FitzGerald-Morris]

Next up was the (first outing for) our friend, the multi-talented Mr Marcus Reeves, who has "ditched the mask" in favour of a rather fetching black velvet evening gown, in which he performed for us a couple of new numbers he recently released, including Three Little Words:



He also read from his anthology of prose and poetry Sighs Ten ("fresh from my publisher, Prontaprint"), including a rather juicy poem, Eat You Whole from which this is a mere snippet:

Don't talk with your mouth full
Or bite off more than you can chew
The only dish I'm laying on my table
Is a man-sized portion of you


Phew. It was time for a break, a smoke and a top-up to cool down...



The last time we saw Ms Paula Varjack at Polari four years ago(!), I described the experience as "being 'Varjacked'". Little has changed...

She's utterly mesmerising in the way she blends her background music with her spoken word performance - her star piece was a pithy rumination on the contrast between actually seeing drum and bass legend Goldie live at last recently, with a full orchestra (and it was over the man's music she recited), and her remembered feelings as a young girl first listening to his albums. However, it was this short startler with which she opened (and got the audience perked up) - Brunch Date:




[Photo: Krystyna FitzGerald-Morris]

And so, our star reader of the evening, the enchanting Paul Bailey had (once again) to try and follow something like that...

That he managed it, in his measured, subtle and very, very funny way was a credit to the man. We loved his recollections - from his memoir An Immaculate Mistake: Scenes from Childhood and Beyond - of his closeted (and unconventional) childhood and teen years as a gay boy attempting to throw off the constraints of convention in the 1950s, the disapproval of his mother (whose cultural references included calling opera "closet music" sung by "squawking foreign cows" and Shakespeare "a snob"; and whose concerns about her son were that he was "not natural") and enter the world of the theatre (with its coterie of gay men, users and mentors alike).

Our favourite quote: ”I was a Battersea pansy, wary of displaying his true colours in the sunlight. Pansy. The hardiest of perennials.”

Perfection. The audience loved him.


[Photo: Krystyna FitzGerald-Morris]

There was one more treat in store, however. As it is the Festering Season, the finale could only be - as is traditional at Polari - courtesy of the Singing Christmas Tree (Mr Reeves again)!



Unstoppable.

And so, as Paul called the readers back to the stage to rousing applause, we bid our fond seasonal greetings to the assembled punters and to Polari itself for 2015.



Our next outing is on 29th January, with Alex Marwood, Timothy Graves, Stevie Henden, Anya Nyx - and our headliner is Adam Mars-Jones.


[Photo: Krystyna FitzGerald-Morris]

Polari. We love it.