Thursday, 23 February 2017

A taste of honey is worse than none at all

The fact that today is the 59th birthday of the beauteous David Sylvian - apart from being a terrifying reminder of how time flies - provides me with an excuse (if any were needed) to wallow in a bit of 1980s fabulousness...

Here's David at his stylish peak, with his band the ultra-cool Japan, and their inimitable take on I Second That Emotion:

Maybe you want to give me kisses sweet
But only for one night with no repeat
Maybe you'll go away and never call
And a taste of honey is worse than none at all
Oh little girl

In that case I don't want no part
I do believe that would only break my heart
So if you feel like loving me
If you've got that notion
I second that emotion
So if you feel like giving me
A life-time of devotion
I second that emotion

Maybe you think that love will tie you down
And you don't seem to like to hang around
Or maybe you think that love was made for fools
So it makes you wise to break the rules

In that case I don't want no part
I do believe that would only break my heart
So if you feel like loving me
If you've got that notion
I second that emotion
So if you feel like giving me
A life-time of devotion
I second that emotion

I second that emotion

Many happy returns, Mr David Alan Batt aka David Sylvian (born 23rd February 1958)

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Every picture tells a story

News outlets are unable to find a picture of Donald Trump where he doesn’t look like an absolute maniac, it has been confirmed.

Every picture taken of Trump, since he rose to fame as a symbol of the eighties’ greed and arrogance, has been deemed to make him look ‘odd at best’, while more recent photos make him look like the end-of-level boss in a Nintendo martial arts game.

News website editor Tom Booker said: “We are constantly accused of bias for making him look ‘like that’.

“But ‘like that’ is what he looks like.”

A White House insider said: “We were hoping that the picture of him holding up a baby when he was running for election would have humanised him but if anything he just looked like he was about to eat the baby.

“Even when he took the oath everyone was still just focused on his tiny hands that are too small to even warrant a weight division in a boxing match.

“There is that picture of him taking the piss out of a disabled journalist. It doesn’t make him look normal but it’s definitely a good representation of him as a person.”
The Daily Mash

Of course.

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

In the beginning there was Jack

Today's blog was intended to be just "another timeslip moment" - an opportunity to wallow in a bit of nostalgia from decades ago and to remember some of the events and trends that defined a particular moment in time. I settled upon this week in 1987, and then, on observing what was in the charts on that date I spotted something worthy of more detailed examination - thirty years ago we were in the midst of a musical sea-change. For there in the UK Top Ten of February '87 we witnessed the final throes of the type of "gay-gay-gay" uptempo electronic dance music typified by Man-to-Man meets Man Parrish, and, at the same time, the rise of a new soon-to-be-predominant "sound of the underground"...

In strictly historical or academic terms it is somewhat difficult to pin down exactly what defines the genre that is "House Music". From its oft-disputed (often mythical) origins sometime around the start of the 80s it embraced and absorbed many already existing musical genres, and in time-honoured fashion it was batted back and forth across the Atlantic with various revamps that all, in their own way, enhanced and modified what was always a predominantly dance-based style into myriad incarnations.

As I recall, the decadence of (especially the late) Disco years - as epitomised by the celebrity-oriented hedonism of Studio 54 and, at the opposite end of the scale, a profusion of Disco versions of hits by "easy listening" artists such as Andy Williams and Ethel Merman - had supposedly led to a general feeling of ennui by the end of the 70s. Despite the fact that some of the biggest-selling Disco records of all time - such as those by Kool and the Gang, Michael Jackson/The Jacksons, Irene Cara, The Whispers, Stacy Lattisaw, Anita Ward, Diana Ross, Liquid Gold, Earth Wind & Fire, The Detroit Spinners and even Blondie and David Bowie - were actually produced after the notorious Redneck "Disco Sucks" rallies of summer '79 [which incidentally only ever occurred in America], the eternally recognisable format was fading under the weight of a "New Wave".

In Europe (of course) electronic music was the pioneering trend at that time, with (predominantly) British groups espousing a Kraftwerk-meets-pop sound and a dress sense that exploded into the New Romantic post-Punk 80s. On the continent (although there were recognisably similar fashion trends), that same passion for electronica channelled the more frenetic, adrenaline-fuelled style of artists such as Sylvester, Bobby O and Giorgio Moroder (especially in places like Italy and Belgium); and the club music variously known as "Italo-Disco" and "Hi-NRG" was the result. The latter style was enthusiastically embraced in the UK (particularly thanks to the efforts of DJ Ian Levine), and directly influenced the pop powerhouse known as Stock, Aitken, Waterman - who were to dominate the charts of that decade and beyond.

Over in the States, however (as famously stated by Mr Frankie Knuckles) "Disco never died - it merely changed its name to protect the innocent". He was referring to the type of dance club scene that still bought into the ever-popular funk, soul and dance styles that originally defined Disco but eventually, in the hands of innovative DJs in Chicago and New York, played with and mixed them up with other (newer) types of music (such as Italo) and random sounds to create something new. Sampling was born - and out of this "scratch" and "groove" art-form came "House", "Garage" and all that followed...

These trend-setters were not alone. From Belgium came a seminal "mash-up" of Italo-Disco and the more familiar funky US sounds, a style known as "New Beat". One of the pioneers of this genre, and of many innovations that travelled back Stateside to be incorporated into the blend [as I referred to above, club records and remixes were "batted back and forth" endlessly at the time] was the DJ Patrick DeMeyer, who was later to gain massive success with acts such as Technotronic. An early New Beat project of his was this filthy little slice of gorgeousness [a long-time fave here at Dolores Delargo Towers], Black Kiss - The Orgasm:

The aforementioned Hi-NRG music of the early-to-mid-80s (especially) here in the UK may have been a (albeit significant) flash-in-the-pan - being massively aimed at us gayers in the era of poppers and fan-dancing [with such choons as So Many Men So Little Time, You Think You're A Man, It's Raining Men, et al], it hit a bit of a crisis as the seriousness of AIDS began to make an impact - however a few of the producers who embraced it did cross over to the "House sound". One such was British writer-producer Andy Watkins [who later went on to mega-success working with Spice Girls, Atomic Kitten, Lisa Stansfield, Will Young and many more], who was responsible for this early classic that straddles the Hi-NRG and House Music eras perfectly - I Don't Believe by Erica Holland:

Popular though it was with the big-city clubbers, House Music - however it evolved or could be defined - was (surprisingly) not as commercially successful in its homeland of the USA as it was in the UK and in Europe in its early years. The first really big House Music success was a #1 single in the UK in January 1987 - Jack Your Body. The rave-hungry Brits had already given Farley Jackmaster Funk a hit with Love Can't Turn Around a year earlier, but by the time 1987 came around (and dance music was becoming huge again here) it was the turn of his Chicago compatriot Steve "Silk" Hurley to really get things moving...

House Music still persists, of course [as do Disco, Italo, Techno, "New Romantic-style" electronica and even Hi-NRG, but that's another matter]. Its proliferation throughout the 1990s and early 2000s in dance music dominated the world; its influence on Madonna, Daft Punk, David Guetta, Britney Spears, RuPaul and countless other huge artists worldwide is well-documented. Even in the past few years, acts like Calvin Harris, Gorgon City, Sigala, Tiesto, LMFAO and Kiesa have "kept the faith" in House Music, and clubs from Ibiza to Croatia to Miami continue to thrive on it.

I'll end this little reminiscence, however, with one final classic. In 1980s Holland too, House Music became a massive movement - especially when DJ Peter Slaghuis decided to work under the pseudonym of Hithouse; and this 1989 classic [and another fave] was the result:

Viva House Music!

Monday, 20 February 2017

Let's not ask for the moon...

Oh, no! It's time to leave the world of dreams and return to the grindstone...

Well, almost. For on this Tacky Music Monday, we make one more welcome visit to Spain - and let the goddess Sara Montiel and her loincloth-clad "safety gays" transport us to another world!

Luna, Lunera, indeed.

Have a great week, folks. I won't.

Sunday, 19 February 2017

The Chevalier and Mel

We've had a great day to round off our second (and final) week away from the - ahem - joys of work. A visit to the British Museum for some more LGBT History Month culture (from primeval erotic gay sculpture in Palestine, to protest badges through the ages, to the often outré sexual art of classical Greek vases, to the Chevalier D'Eon - we lapped it up!), followed by a slap-up Sunday dinner and some drinkies...

Such a shame that the dream has to be broken tomorrow by the unfortunate inconvenience of having to return to work, but hey ho - here's a Sunday musical interlude courtesy of the ever-wonderful Soft Tempo Lounge to ease our troubled minds:

Oh, that's better...

Music: Moon Song by Mel Tormé

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Totty of the Day

Happy 50th birthday today to Olympic hurdler and fellow Welshman Colin Jackson. Who could not love a man who "always could get his legs up higher - and wider - than anyone else"?

And indeed, rumours persist that the never-married Mr Jackson is in fact in a long-term relationship with fellow Olympian, swimmer Mark Foster, despite his denial in an interview several years ago that he was gay...

I leave it to the Three Degrees to have the last word on that one, methinks.

The taste of his skin, the gentle touch of his hand
Is worth waiting for, so I must understand
Yes you run, you just won't show love
That's the thing you're frightened of

He's a runner, he's a runner


Colin Ray Jackson, CBE (born 18th February 1967)

Friday, 17 February 2017

Spring affairs

We've had a rewarding - if knackering - day in the sunny gardens of Dolores Delargo Towers, clearing, cutting-back, pruning and planting-up (foxgloves mainly).

It may only be February (and who knows what joys the weather has yet to throw at us), but Spring is definitely in the air (if those cyclamen are anything to go by)...

Which reminds me - we may be on holiday still, but it's another weekend looming [and a bijou "Winter Blues Cure" party, courtesy of John-John, to look forward to tonight]. Who better to suit the mood but the late, dearly departed Miss Donna Summer and a most appropriate number indeed..?

Thank Disco It's Friday!

Have a good one, dear reader.