Sunday, 31 July 2011

Super



Happy birthday Mr Dean Cain, sexy Superman, who is 45 years old today!

Any excuse to feature that pout...



Dean Cain on IMDB

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Crazy for this!



We went en masse last night (sixteen of us!) to the fabulous Open Air Theatre in Regent's Park, to see their new production of George Gershwin's Crazy For You. What a fantastic show!

From beginning to end, this musical contains some of the most familiar and best-loved songs of all time! Embraceable You, They Can't Take That Away from Me, But Not for Me, Nice Work If You Can Get It, I Got Rhythm, Bidin' My Time, and my favourite Someone To Watch Over Me are all here, and superbly done. As was this, I Can't Be Bothered Now, here in Broadway's version as performed at the Tony Awards a few years ago:



The story is (as is the wont of some of the most enjoyable musicals) a clichéd one - Bobby (Sean Palmer) wants to be a dancer, but his domineering mother Louise (Ab Fab's Harriet Thorpe) and bitter fiancée Irene (Kim Medcalf who used to be in Eastenders) are forcing him into a corner, working for the family banking business.



On being sent to the Wild West to oversee the sale and closure of the hick town's only theatre however, Bobby not only spots his opportunity to get into showbiz (by bringing a polished Broadway troupe out West to perform a musical and save the theatre), but also falls in love with the local girl Polly (Clare Foster).

Masquerades and mistaken identity, a comedy villain Lank (Michael McKell), comedy English tourists, dancing cowboys, feathers fouff and faff, and the presence of lascivious impresario Bela Zangler (David Burt) and his fabulous Follies Girls in the women-starved town make for an appealingly farcical backdrop for the sublime music and Stephen Mear's faultless choreography. And the costumes! Wow...

The whole cast is really superb, the interplay between them has a real chemistry, and there was not a bum note or foot put wrong in the whole thing. Some of the dance numbers were just breath-taking (we especially loved Slap That Bass). The set worked brilliantly, changing from East Coast to Midwest, from theatre backstage to bar-room with effortless ease, and of course the atmosphere of the Open Air Theatre made it even more magical...

Catch this show if you can! It is magnificent.

Open Air Theatre

Friday, 29 July 2011

There's nothing to it, just say you wanna do it



And so we bid a not-so-fond farewell to another dull week. Madam Arcati and I and the gang are going to the Open Air Theatre in Regent's Park tonight to see Crazy For You, which should be fantabulosa (especially as there is no rain forecast so far), and the weekend starts here!

Meanwhile, it's time for some low-down funky ac-shon, as we don our best sequinned wide-collar trouser suits and boogie with the one and only Mr George McCrae - Rock Your Baby indeed!



Have a fantastic weekend, whatever you do!

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Smash hits...



This week, let's open my selection of recent tracks that have tickled my fancy with a bit of a comeback! Described in QX magazine as sounding like "sounding like Daft Punk after being molested by Devo" (although I think it sounds more like Yazz after being molested by Cerrone myself), here is the very overdue and very welcome return of The Supermen Lovers (of Starlight fame, way back in 2001 - scary!), with a track called Keep The Funk Alive from their new EP The Foundation Disco...



In complete contrast, here's a new band with a sound that is a bit reminiscent of the B-52s or maybe early Blondie. It's The Handcuffs and Can't Get the Girl (Without the Good Stuff, Baby):



Whether the world needed it or not, this year's answer to Aqua has probably arrived in the shape of the improbably-named Ze! Here's her paean to her Haircut... Silly, but fun:



With her trademark brand of smut and filth (and we love her for it, of course!), here is the latest from the fierce Amanda Lepore, who implores us to Turn Me Over... Oh puh-lease!



Saving the very best till last - I adore this collaboration between Israeli demi-drag darling Uriel Yekutiel and the incredibly hunky Eliad Cohen, featuring vocals by popular Moroccan Jewish singer Zehava Ben. Apparently a promotion for a Tel Aviv club night called Arisa, this is the fantabulosa Telephone d'Amour...



Enjoy!

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Our Lady of the Ladle



The wisdom of America's first TV chef, Julia Child:

"The only time to eat diet food is while you're waiting for the steak to cook."

"How can a nation be called great if its bread tastes like Kleenex?"

"I think every woman should have a blowtorch."

"I enjoy cooking with wine, sometimes I even put it in the food I'm cooking."

"Always remember: If you're alone in the kitchen and you drop the lamb,you can always just pick it up. Who's going to know?"

"Life itself is the proper binge."


And, when asked what was the secret of her long life, she replied "Red meat and gin."

An incredible woman...



Julia Child biography

The movie Julie and Julia on IMDB

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Last of three



RIP Milly, the last of the uber-camp, uber-kitsch Del Rubio Triplets...





I loved them! (Needless to say, we have their album)

Once again, thanks to the lovely Marc at Deep Dish blog for the info.

Del Rubio Triplets on Wikipedia

Glimmer, glimmer



There was a bit of a hoo-ha last week (again) about that cultural leech GaGa stealing not only a "look" or a hook from another, greater, artist, but a whole act. Trés unprofessional.

Just to remind us of what exactly constitutes a genuine star, here's a clip of the victim of that particular crime Bette Midler in a magnificent performance of Glow Worm with the Mills Brothers:



Enjoy!

Monday, 25 July 2011

Sun and naffness

Alistair, Paul and I had a lovely day in sunny Kew Gardens yesterday. Unfortunately I came home to find several dead Streptocarpus, which had practically cooked in the sunshine. Ho hum. Swings and roundabouts, I suppose.

On this Tacky Music Monday let us celebrate the joys rather than the drawbacks of the sunshine, with a desperately dated little 80s number from some bimbo called Cathy Linn...



Enjoy your week whatever you do!

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Wonder-ful



Happy 60th birthday today to Miss Lynda Carter!

Here at Dolores Delargo Towers, she will always be our Wonder Woman (and Mr Tom Jones our Wonder Man)...



Lynda Carter website

And I said no, no, no

No comment...



Amy Winehouse RIP

Saturday, 23 July 2011

I like the buttery base

A perfect video...



...to accompany this fabulous article by Grace Dent in The Guardian about TV's The Good Cook.

"Transition to another place, so the time will pass more slowly"



Happy birthday to the lovely Martin Gore of Depeche Mode - 50 years old today!! Oh. My. God.

To celebrate this (rather scary) anniversary, here he is singing a most beautiful number from his solo portfolio...



And of course I couldn't let this opportunity pass to feature him way back at the beginning of Depeche Mode's career...



Happy birthday, sweetie!

Depeche Mode official site

Friday, 22 July 2011

Feet don't fail me now



Happy 70th birthday today to that mad maestro of funky music, Mr George Clinton, the mastermind behind the bands Parliament and Funkadelic during the 1970s and early 1980s.



For once I am not necessarily recommending you even attempt to emulate the Funkadelic "look" - that could be messy! Just drape yourself in lurex, and let's boogie! Thank Disco It's Friday...



So wide can't get around it
So low you can't get under it
(So low you can't get under it)
So high you can't get over it
(So high you can't get over it)
Da-yee do do do do do do
This is a chance
This is a chance
Dance your way
Out of your constrictions
(Tell sugah)
Here's a chance to dance our way
out of our constrictions
Gonna be freakin'!
Up and down
Hang up alley way
With the groove our
Only guide
We shall all be moved

Ready or not here we come
Gettin' down on the one which
We believe in
One nation under a groove,
gettin' down just for the funk
(Can I get it on my good foot)
Gettin' down just for the funk of it
(Good God)
'bout time I got down one time
One nation and we're on the move
Nothin' can stop us now
(Aye aye aye aye aye)
Feet don't fail me now
Give you more of what you're funkin' for
Feet don't fail me now
Do you promise to funk?
The whole funk, nothin' but the funk

Ready or not here we come
Gettin' down on the one which we believe in
Here's my chance to dance my way
Out of my constrictions
(Do do dee oh doo)
(Do do dee oh doo)
(You can dance away)

Feet don't fail me now (ha ha)
Here's a chance to dance
Our way out of our constrictions

Gonna be groovin' up and down
Hang up alley way
The groove our only guide

We shall all be moved
Feet don't fail me now (ha ha)
Givin' you more of what you're funkin' for
Feet don't fail me now

Here's my chance to dance my way
out of my constrictions
Givin' you more of what you're funkin' for


George Clinton and Parliament & Funkadelic on Wikipedia

Thursday, 21 July 2011

A Classic Vintage



It's not often I come across something so utterly joyful as this!

As London's Southbank Centre prepares to welcome the Vintage Festival, which takes place next weekend (29th to 31st July 2011), so I have discovered this mammoth audio project by the DJ credited with championing House Music in the UK (and former resident at Manchester's Hacienda club), Graeme Park.

It may well be almost 80 minutes long, but heavens above, it is worth it! Enjoy A Vintage Timeline:

A Vintage Timeline Mix by Six Million Steps by Vintage Festival

Tracks featured:

Nappy Brown – Don’t You Be Angry
Bobbettes – Mr Lee
Laurel Aitken – Boogie In My Bones
Doris Troy – Just One Look
Billy Larkin & The Delegates – Pygmy Pt 2
Hattie Littles – Love, Trouble, Heartache & Misery
The Boxtops – The Letter
Led Zeppelin – Whole Lotta Love
Norman Greenbaum / Symarip – Spirit In The Sky / Skinhead Moonstomp (6MS Instrumental / Mash Up Edit)
Horace Faith – Black Pearl
Dean Parrish – I’m On My Way
Cimarons – Wicki Wacki
Banbarra – Shack Up
The Modulations – Can’t Fight Your Love
Chanson – Don’t Hold Back
The Clash – Train In Vain
The Korgi’s – Everybody’s Got To Learn Sometimes
Laidback V Tom Tom Club – Wordy Rappin’ Horse (6MS Edit)
Tone Loc – Wild Thing
Gary Numan – Cars
Eurythmics – Sweet Dreams
Heaven 17 – Penthouse & Pavement
T-Coy – Carino
Grandmaster Flash & Melle – White Lines (Dj Pogo & Cutmaster Swift Remix)
Ll Cool J – Phenomenon
Blondie – Rapture (6MS Edit)
Ron Hall & The Muthafunkas – I Love The Way You Love Me
The Simpsons – Funny How Time Slips Away

If I had the money I would be going to the festival itself - starring as it does Claudia Brücken (Propaganda) and Paul Humphreys (OMD), Heaven 17 and Thomas Dolby on Friday; Percy Sledge, Booker T, Jimmy James and Gwen Dickie (Rose Royce) on Saturday; and Sandie Shaw, Adam Ant, 10cc, David Mc Almont and Linda Lewis on Sunday - but we may well have to satisfy ourselves with just taking a peek at the Vintage Marketplace...

The Vintage Festival

I think today should be...

...a "say something hat" day!

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Feliz Año, Florencia Bisenta de Casillas Martinez Cardona!



Many happy returns to the adorable Miss Vikki Carr, who was 70 years old yesterday!

Here at Dolores Delargo Towers, we love the silky-voiced Senorita Carr, not least for her sublime version of Perfidia, a version of which by Sara Montiel I posted on Monday.

I have (of course) blogged several times about this marvellous lady - here, here, here and here.

However to celebrate today, here are some rarer songs by the Mexican diva I have discovered, sung in her native Spanish...

Cuando Calienta El Sol:


Ni princesa ni esclava:


Facts about Vikki Carr:
  • The classic Phil Spector production He's a Rebel by The Crystals was in fact a cover of the original song by Miss Carr.
  • The sleeve notes on her 1965 album Anatomy of Love were written by none other than Ethel Merman!
  • She achieved the rare feat of singing for five presidents during her career: Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George Bush, and Bill Clinton.
Feliz Año!

Vikki Carr official website

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Pop-a-matic



Another week, another selection of newer music for us to enjoy...

Let us open today's selection with (The Very Miss) Dusty O, London club-slut extraordinaire - here with some combo called BoiSoundsMusic and a video featuring all the drama queens of the late-night gay scene in tow! It was evidently recorded with Gay Pride in mind (she hosted the main stage in Trafalgar Square), being called Wat2Do (Come Out!), and all:



In complete contrast, the weirdly-named Penguin Prison has a distictly 80s vibe going on with his new single Fair Warning. It's very catchy!



The marvellous Hercules and Love Affair's new single Painted Eyes is also a catchy little number, with a typically arty video. However it just reminds me sooo much of their classic Blind and it is a shame to have to make a comparison, as without Antony Hegarty it lacks something...





Speaking about art-house babies, how do you fancy sampling a bit of the gorgeous new boy on the scene Raff, and his Soul Electric?



Getting a bit more clubby for a moment, here's the London electro-poppers Untouched with Hypnotised:



Saving (possibly) the best for last, here's a most fab discovery - Greedy Eyes by Eastman featuring Neve. I love this!!



As always, enjoy!

Monday, 18 July 2011

The best bad girl in British films

Googie Withers

Googie Withers and Michael Redgrave

And so farewell to the beautiful Miss Googie Withers, who despite a career that saw her work with such esteemed directors as Hitchcock, Powell & Pressburger and Charles Crichton, was most famous as the prison governor in ITV's wildly popular Within These Walls in the mid-70s.

Another source of camp interest in this lovely actress was of course her unusual name: her Bengali nurse as a child nicknamed her "Googie", which apparently means "Dove" in Punjabi. From The Scotsman:
Years later Withers was in a stage version of Mollie Keane's Time After Time with Sir John Gielgud. She plucked up courage to ask why he had never cast her. In that sonorous voice he dropped one of his almighty clangers: "Because you have such a stupid name."
Here she is, hamming it up in the TV adaptation of Anita Brookner's Hotel du Lac:



And here, of course, is a taster of the gripping Within These Walls...



RIP

"Best British bad girl " - Googie Withers obituary in the Sydney Morning Herald

Googie Withers on IMDB

To you, my heart cries out Perfidia

Another weekend over... A visit from mother, rain, a very late night out at "The Elephant's Graveyard" aka The City of Quebec, more rain, a day with Radio 2, more rain. And suddenly it's back to work again... Ho hum.

Let us set our minds on somewhere warmer, as we visit Spain on this Tacky Music Monday. And who else will help cheer us up other than the incomparable Senorita Sara Montiel?



Enjoy!

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Sweden's schlager queens



As anyone who regularly reads my blog will know, if there is one this I love more than just about anything, it is discovering tacky music by over-dressed, faintly silly old divas from foreign climes!

I know I have featured these two before, but thanks to the lovely Henry at Barbarella's Galaxy, I am alerted to the fact that the fantabulosa Lili and Susie from Sweden are not hanging up their sparkly stilletos just yet - and have a new single out. In the company of some outrageous drag queens and buff dancers in tight silver shorts, here are the ladies with another feast of campery, Bailamor!



Lili and Susie fansite

[*schlager = stylised hit songs popular in countries with lots of umlauts in their alphabet]

Miss Diller requests the pleasure



The amazing Phyllis Diller celebrates her 94th birthday today!

To celebrate, here is a classic appearance by Miss Diller, alongside Don Rickles, on Hollywood Palace...



Happy birthday, indeed...

Read more about Miss Diller in my blog for her birthday last year.

Saturday, 16 July 2011

A little Ginger



Another centenary today - the original icon of glamorous Hollywood during the Great Depression, Miss Ginger Rogers!

By all accounts in real life a complete bitch - she always maintained a fanatical Republicanism, and informed on numerous fellow stars and individuals in the movie industry to the MacCarthy anti-Communist witch hunts - she nevertheless was a radiant figure on that silver screen...



Now if THAT doesn't cheer us up on a wet Saturday, I don't know what will!

Ginger Rogers on Wikipedia

Friday, 15 July 2011

Clairvoyancy, Firefighter Trout, the Queen of Spain's daughter and "Eat Me" shorts



I went along to witness a birth last night. In the quaint surroundings of the mock-Tudor Wheatsheaf pub just off trendy Charlotte Street in Fitzrovia, a fabulous coterie of literary gay men and women gathered to welcome the new anthology of short stories Men and Women (edited by Paul Burston) into the world!



After much re-organisation of the furniture and the lighting (to accommodate the film being made of the proceedings), our host Bobby Nayyar - the powerhouse behind independent publishing house Glasshouse Books - opened proceedings by introducing our first reader from the compilation, the lovely Alex Hopkins (Polari regular, freelance writer, journalist and blogger). He performed (in every sense of the word - the voices and mannerisms of his characters were reminiscent of Kenneth Williams in Round The Horne) rather than read from his tale The Anniversary. It has nothing to do with the infamous Bette Davis film but, as this extract illustrates, it is certainly every bit as camp:
Ben eased his way through the crowd with a confident swagger as Frank stood and bellowed through the nameless faces in his finest Norma Desmond intonation, "You there! Why are you so late?"

As Ben approached Frank looked him up and down scathingly, registering his red eyes and sickly pallor. "Hello Velma,"Ben said shyly, using the nickname he had affectionately given Frank years before.

"I have been waiting here, amongst this rancidity, for almost half an hour, dear", Frank spat, "Clearly you were out on the shame last night - again."
And so we are treated to the fabulous badinage between these two old queens, and beautifully written and absorbing it is too - rather reminiscent of home life here at Dolores Delargo Towers! I loved it, and will immediately be investigating Alex's Dissident Musings blog.



Onward and upward, and our next reader was the diminutive actor and writer Angela Clerkin, whose tale of a very seductive Brighton clairvoyant and her Fuck It List was hilarious and fascinating - and elicited whoops of joy from the the audience as her heroine gets to achieve some remarkable adventures. On investigating Ms Clerkin's work, I am rather upset that I missed her appearance with Stella Duffy as Bette Davis and Joan Crawford in Whatever Happened to Baby Jane at the Drill Hall last December...



Completing the triumverate of readers in the first round was the fantabulosa Karen McLeod - she of the notorious balaclava-clad entrance at Polari Stalkers' Night way back in January 2009 - who gave us another of her customary hilarious and slightly twisted tales, Never Can Say Goodbye. This small passage gives us a flavour:
I met Lorna the night my long term girlfriend Suzie had stopped taking her lithium and set fire to the garden shed. Lorna had arrived in her uniform and helmet, jumping out of the fire engine with her unusual face.She introduced herself quickly as Firefighter Trout. At first, she struck me as unattractive with her tiny eyes and big face. The helmet hid all her hair and the chin strap was squeezing her double chin. But within moments she'd unrolled then controlled the jet of water coming out the hose and stamped out the last of the fire into the dandelions with her sooty boots. Her strange face became replaced with fuzzy heroism.
Brilliantly written, and brilliantly delivered!



After the break the lovely William Parker, who entertained us at the last Polari, once more read from Fern Cottage, his engaging tale of an elderly aristocratic gay curmudgeon reflecting on his past life while hating every moment of being confined to a nursing home, summed rather brilliantly up in this extract:
And then, just as I was trying to get a bit of a nap, the old bugger from across the corridor started up. Same thing every damn afternoon I've been here. Top of his voice. "I want to go home. Tell my mother to send her car round for me! I must have my mother's care! Let her know I'm here..."

Two hours of it with his door wide open until I'd really had enough.

"Excuse me!" I shouted. "Could I ask how old you are?"

Exasperated reply after a pause."I'm ninety-two. Ninety-two!"

"In that case, might I be permitted to ask how old you think your bloody mother might be now?" That shut him up for a bit.
I read the whole story today, and I must admit it brought a tear to my eye. Bloody good stuff.



Mr Parker was followed swiftly by "The Queen of Literary Lesbians", Miss Stella Duffy, who admitted that her story Partridge in a Pear Tree was on its second outing for this anthology, having previously been used in a "Twelve Days of Xmas" themed collection (hence the title). Nonetheless, it was excellent to hear the skilfully woven thread of this fantastical tale involving airlines, poetry and the Queen of Spain's daughter... As ever, Miss Duffy at once intrigues and entertains - I always enjoy her writing and she didn't disappoint!



The readings concluded (appropriately), with our fave Mr Paul Burston. As is customary, Mr B usually tries to dress according to the theme, and as his story Enjoy Carioca is all about Brazil he took to the stage draped in the Brazilian flag and headgear. Appropriate, indeed, as he is married to a "Carioca" (a person from Rio de Janeiro) and as he said, "enjoys Carioca every night". The story, too, is slightly smutty and very enticing:
...there was no denying that the boy wore them well. On lesser mortals, the trunks would have looked like false advertising. On him, the words "Enjoy Carioca" couldn't have been more apt. He was like an exotic fruit waiting to be tasted. His trunks were a provocation. Or possibly an invitation. They might just as well have said "Eat Me".
And the tale of two rampant gay men on their honeymoon continues in that vein...

This was a great evening, and an excellent launch for what promises to be a book full of surprises. I am tucking into it already, and look forward to reading the whole thing.



Men and Women is available on Amazon

Luuurve, baby

Disco Ball shoes

As our week draws to a shuddering close, and we look forward to a weekend of rain (bloody typical!), let our thoughts turn instead to the pleasures of the orange waistcoat-and-flared-trouser combo, the platform shoe, and the heady days when lyrics like "How can I find my way, without your love to guide me. I stop and close my eyes, and feel you deep inside me" were the stuff we used to mouth along to while practicing our Hustle moves...



Thank Disco It's Friday!!!

Have a great weekend, whatever you do...

Thursday, 14 July 2011

I may be young at heart but I know what I'm saying

Madonna - True Blue

We celebrate the Silver Jubilee of Madonna's (arguably finest) album True Blue this summer...

And twenty-five years ago this, one of Madge's greatest songs from that album, was at Number 1:



Ah, memories...

True Blue on Wikipedia

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Now your bangs are curled, your lashes whirled...



Heavens above - Didi Conn, the diminutive squeaky-voiced "Frenchy" from Grease, is 60 years old today.

After Grease, she had a regular role in that dreadful Soap spin-off Benson in the 1980s, then to all intents and purposes seemed to disappear from the spotlight (at least here in the UK). However it seems that as well as making inevitable cameo appearances in stuff like LA Law, she went on to become a bit of a star on US children's television (a natural home for someone with a childlike vocal style). She also devotes a lot of time to being a spokesperson for Autism charities (her son has the condition).

Without further ado, let's celebrate this anniversary with Miss Conn's finest screen moment...



Many happy returns to the original Beauty School Droput!

Miss Conn's biography on the Hollywood Bowl website

Pure beef



Thanks once again to the eternally inspirational buns-lover Marc over at Deep Dish blog for today's culinary tips!

Jaye P. Morgan is Cooking with Beefcake, for our delectation...



Jaye P. Morgan website

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Thought for the day



Stylish and appropriate!

"Once upon a time, there were three little girls who went to the police academy..."



Heavens! Cheryl Ladd - "Kris Munroe " of Charlie's Angels fame - is sixty years old today! Now that makes me feel old...

With the help of what appears to be quite a lot of surgery, Miss Ladd (née Cheryl Jean Stoppelmoor) is looking good (even if her eyes seem to have disappeared behind those enormous cheekbones)!

Never the world's greatest actress, I knew that after Charlie's Angels was cancelled in 1981 the lady's career gradually disappeared into a welter of schmaltzy US television mini-dramas and straight-to video movies, but apparently she was so popular Stateside she even got her own TV show. Bizarre. Who even knew she sang? (Apparently she was one of the voices on the cartoon Josie and the Pussycats!)



Nowadays she tends to divide her time between writing childrens books and playing golf.

Many happy returns...

Cheryl Ladd official website

Monday, 11 July 2011

The love that now forever dares to speak its name



Thirty-four years ago today, the reprehensible Mary Whitehouse won a battle. She succeeded in a private prosecution against the editor and publishers of the then only gay magazine in Britain, Gay News for publishing a poem that she found "blasphemous". The paper's late editor Dennis Lemon was convicted and received a suspended prison sentence. The paper almost closed down due to the £10,000 fine levied by the court.



It is appalling to think that even in the so-called "liberated" 1970s, at the height of the punk and disco era, such archaic legal redress was still possible. It was the very last case of its kind to succeed. Yet it was only in the current century that the common law offences of blasphemy and blasphemous libel were abolished by the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008!

For better or worse, love it or hate it, here is that offending poem in full:
The Love That Dares To Speak Its Name
by James Kirkup

As they took him from the cross
I, the centurion, took him in my arms-
the tough lean body
of a man no longer young,
beardless, breathless,
but well hung.

He was still warm.
While they prepared the tomb
I kept guard over him.
His mother and the Magdalen
had gone to fetch clean linen
to shroud his nakedness.

I was alone with him.
For the last time
I kissed his mouth. My tongue
found his, bitter with death.
I licked his wound-
the blood was harsh

For the last time
I laid my lips around the tip
of that great cock, the instrument
of our salvation, our eternal joy.
The shaft, still throbbed, anointed
with death's final ejaculation.

I knew he'd had it off with other men-
with Herod's guards, with Pontius Pilate,
With John the Baptist, with Paul of Tarsus
with foxy Judas, a great kisser, with
the rest of the Twelve, together and apart.
He loved all men, body, soul and spirit - even me.

So now I took off my uniform, and, naked,
lay together with him in his desolation,
caressing every shadow of his cooling flesh,
hugging him and trying to warm him back to life.
Slowly the fire in his thighs went out,
while I grew hotter with unearthly love.

It was the only way I knew to speak our love's proud name,
to tell him of my long devotion, my desire, my dread-
something we had never talked about. My spear, wet with blood,
his dear, broken body all open wounds,
and in each wound his side, his back,
his mouth - I came and came and came

as if each coming was my last.
And then the miracle possessed us.
I felt him enter into me, and fiercely spend
his spirit's final seed within my hole, my soul,
pulse upon pulse, unto the ends of the earth-
he crucified me with him into kingdom come.

This is the passionate and blissful crucifixion
same-sex lovers suffer, patiently and gladly.
They inflict these loving injuries of joy and grace
one upon the other, till they die of lust and pain
within the horny paradise of one another's limbs,
with one voice cry to heaven in a last divine release.

Then lie long together, peacefully entwined, with hope
of resurrection, as we did, on that green hill far away.
But before we rose again, they came and took him from me.
They knew what we had done, but felt
no shame or anger. Rather they were glad for us,
and blessed us, as would he, who loved all men.

And after three long, lonely days, like years,
in which I roamed the gardens of my grief
seeking for him, my one friend who had gone from me,
he rose from sleep, at dawn, and showed himself to me before
all others. And took me to him with the love that now forever dares to speak its name.
Thank heavens times have changed!

Read more on the BBC

And with a massive twist of irony, the Number One in the charts on this date in 1977?



You win again, indeed.

Rescue me!

Another weekend is over (spent mostly in the gardens here at Dolores Delargo Towers - very quiet). Now it's time to go back to the drudgery and strife of real life...

Ho hum! Never mind. It's also Tacky Music Monday, and Miss Ann-Margret is here to cheer us up! Life's not so bad after all...



Have a good one!

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Never being boring



Just enough time tonight to wish many happy returns to the delightful Mr Neil Tennant (57 today - gulp!), maestro of the sardonic pop lyric and creator of many a favourite tune here at Dolores Delargo Towers.

West End Girls, Rent, It's a Sin, Heart, Being Boring, Can You Forgive Her?, Left to My Own Devices, In Private, New York City Boy, What Have I Done To Deserve This?, Suburbia, Did You See Me Coming?, Domino Dancing - my list of favourite Pet Shop Boys songs is endless...

We also celebrate Mr Jerry Herman's birthday today (indeed Mr Herman is our latest exhibit over at the Museum of Camp), and in a very tenuous link indeed between the two anniversaries, here's the PSB's ironic take on "The Theatre":



Pet Shop Boys official website

A very dedicated Pet Shop Boys fan has created an archive in which he details every single track the Boys have produced - please visit Wayne Studer's "commentary" site and pay due respect!

Buena Vista no más



As news is announced today of the death of the Cuban guitarist Manuel Galban, most famous for his part in the music of the Buena Vista Social Club, what better tribute than to focus on the man and his lovely Latin music - perfect for a Sunday!

He began his career in the early 60s with "Cuba's answer to The Platters" Los Zafiros ("Sapphires"):



But international success had to wait until the 1990s, when Ry Cooder and film-maker Wim Wenders revealed the Buena Vista Social Club phenomenon to the world...





RIP another purveyor of sumptuous music...

Article on the BBC

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Peter Mark Sinclair Almond



Happy birthday to our beloved Peter Mark Sinclair Almond, 54 years old today.

There is no real need for me to elucidate about Marc Almond's life, or my admiration for him - I have done that many, many times before.



Needless to say, it is great to know he is still well and performing - at Lovebox Festival, no less, alongside Scissor Sisters, Blondie, Robyn, Beth Ditto and Kelis on 17th July!

Over at Dolores Delargo Towers - Museum of Camp, Marc is our latest exhibit, with some marvellous photographs.

Here, as is my wont, I pay tribute by featuring some of his fantastic music:









Many happy returns, my darling!

Marc Almond Official Website

Friday, 8 July 2011

How d'ya like it?



At last, it's the weekend again! Despite a short week post-Pride, I still feel like I have been put through a wringer...

Still, any excuse to plug in those curling tongs, get our gold lamé hot-pants on, and boogie! To get us in the party mood, here's the magnificent Andrea True Connection and the classic More, More More! Thank Disco It's Friday...



Have a great weekend!

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Popalicious

Fluff Freeman with bras

Once again it's time for a cosmopolitan selection of recent(ish) music that I think is worth blogging about...

Let's start off in Neath in South Wales (a very good place to start - especially if you are seeing it in the rear view mirror!), with Bright Light, Bright Light and the magnificent Disco Moment. I love this, it's 'arf tidy!



Off to South Africa we go next, for a most wonderful video for the new single by Locnville, Stars Above You - hypnotic stuff. Oh, and they're twins, and they're gorgeous - what's not to like?





The Young Professionals hail from Israel, and are fronted by out-gay local superstar Ivri Lider. This is their first single - their interpretation of Ottowan's D.I.S.C.O., in their own special way, supported by Israeli demi-drag goddess Uriel Yekutiel - and it's rather superb...



Just before Pride it was Canada Day which was celebrated in Trafalgar Square, and in a nod to our biggest Dominion, here are a couple of new discoveries from Toronto. First, the rather fabby Austra with a remix of their new single Spellwork (the MNDR Nighttime Remix):



...and here's the Bowie-wannabee Diamond Rings with Something Else:



To finish, we go from the slightly-serious to the downright kitsch. This is nothing new (in fact it hails from 1998!), but it's new to Dolores Delargo Towers. Thanks once again to the lovely Henry over at Barbarella's Galaxy - here, with a blatantly tacky rip-off of Boogie Oogie Oogie, is Pure Sugar with Delicious. How gay can you get?!



Enjoy!

Beverley, Pamela or Candice-Marie?



I was very excited last night to secure a ticket (thanks, Paul!) to see one of my fave actresses, Miss Alison Steadman in conversation live on stage at The Arts Theatre. Part of a series of similar one-off events called Face to Face (which will feature later in the year such luminaries as Raymond Blanc and Michael Parkinson!), our host and interviewer was broadcaster Fiona Lindsay, a lady with a charming manner about her but an unfortunately disconcerting slightly frozen expression...

Needless to say, the hour-long chat flew by. Miss Steadman is a fascinating interviewee, recounting anecdotes from her long and varied career on stage and screen - from Nuts in May in 1976 to her recent "Madam Arcati" in the Apollo Theatre production of Blithe Spirit. She looks fab for a woman of almost 65, too!

A natural performer as a young child in Liverpool, Miss Steadman told the hilarious tale of how she spooked the living daylights out of her parents with the careful application of some scarlet toothpaste dribbles ("it looked just like blood - I thought, how wonderful - it made me look like I'd been hit"). She adored the likes of Beryl Reid and Hylda Baker, mimicking their accents and mannerisms as well as those of neighbours and friends, and the family often called upon her to "do a turn" when there was nothing on the telly!

Obviously destined to go to drama school, she nevertheless did her share of more pedestrian jobs - but when she finally left her post in the probation service to head for the bright lights, the staff all clubbed together to buy all the books and materials she would need. Her chosen school was East 15 in Essex - with its close associations to the legendary Joan Littlewood, and its "method" teaching in the style of Stanislavsky - and from that point on, she admitted she was never destined to go down the "classical acting" route. At her audition she was asked not to recite Shakespeare but to impersonate Cassius Clay!



Thus came her associations with the mavericks of theatre, Mike Leigh (her now ex-husband) and Dennis Potter (for whom she expressed the utmost admiration - "there's no-one else out there who can do what he did"), and the quirky off-the-wall characters for which she is most famous. When questioned about the most famous of all, "Beverley" from Abigail's Party, Miss Steadman admitted she hated her for a while - afraid of being typecast, a dread she said was the reason why she would never take a part in soap operas - but has adjusted to the fact that it was her masterful creation of that social-climbing bitch which kept her firmly embedded in the hearts of several generations of audiences.

In real life, she says she is more like "Candice-Marie" (from Nuts in May) than Beverley - she is fascinated by nature, even spending hours watching ants or spiders through a magnifying glass. As Fiona Lindsay commented, and Miss Steadman admitted, she applies the same observational precision and attention to detail to her characters too - the smallest overheard conversation or behaviour will spark her interest! At this point, it became clear why she was strangely drawn to working that other great observer of people Alan Bennett (yet I wondered why she didn't work more with his obvious successor Victoria Wood).

Nowadays, it is for another classic character that she gets recognised in the street - "Pamela" in Gavin and Stacey (a series I must admit has passed us completely by here at Dolores Delargo Towers). The audience rippled with approval when she treated us to some quotes (in character) and anecdotes about that particular role. There was probably not enough time to cover the whole gamut of roles for which we love her - such as the tarty "Madame de Plonge" in Let Them Eat Cake, Adrian Mole's mum, the dry-as-dust narrator of Grumpy Old Women or Mrs Bennett in Pride and Prejudice - but this was a rewarding and delightful evening nonetheless.

Viva la Steadman!

Nuts In May:


Let Them Eat Cake:


Abigail's Party:


Alison Steadman on IMDB

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Boogie-woogie ladies



Another centenary to celebrate! One hundred years ago today, a certain Laverne Amdrews was born.

With her siblings, a legend was formed - as The Andrews Sisters conquered the world, won the war, and set the trend for a million "rolled-up" hairdos and generations of drag impersonations and fancy dress parties to come...



Remarkably, the youngest sister Patty Andrews is still alive...

Andrews Sisters on Wikipedia

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Heel wearing, child scaring, snatch flashing, bicep curling, disco twirling...

I just had to post this one!

Something to send to that special person in your life...



I love Stewart Who? - and his posse, including our friend the ever-cute Lexi as one of the go-go boys!

Three Tims, badger duvets, Italian Mammas and provincial lesbian drama



Another gay day, another Polari!

In the last of the season's "peerless gay literary salons" (Paul takes a break in August), we were filled with anticipation of the announcement of the long-list of entrants for the Polari First Book Prize, and no less than three authors all called "Tim".

Paul Burston, last night representing "The Gay Mafia" in his dapper suit, was a little flushed at trying to organise disappearing speakers and shmooze his fantabulosa audience (including the lovely and ever-so-eccentric Miss Helen Lederer, who joined John-John and I at our table), but eventually all seemed to go to plan...





The first of the Tims, opening the show, was (the rather cute) Mr Brady, reading from his novel Big Ben. In the four extracts he read, our eponymous hero goes from ostensibly straight Italian newcomer to London, through embarrassing "outing" by a horny ex-girlfriend who catches him in bed with a Brazilian, to the rather hilarious attempt to keep meddling Mamma apart from said shag (with no success, unfortunately for him). Very enjoyable indeed! Mr Brady missed the deadline for the prize this year, but hopes his novel will go forward for the 2012 one.



Our second Tim, Mr Graves, told a far darker and spookier tale, Bright Fire of Morning all about an obsessive sexual encounter between a lad and what might have been a sexy demon, or ghost, or..? Sublimely told, you could hear a pin drop across the whole room as the slightly creepy story unfolded...



From the sinister to the cynical, the fabulously entertaining William Parker read us the tale of an archetypal grumpy old man - an elderly gent from very posh surroundings who has found himself in the awfulness of a nursing home, with its dementia sufferers, zimmer frames, duvets (which move around like “a demented badger”, unlike familiar blankets) and dreadful food. Mr Parker's short story features in the forthcoming sequel to last year's gay anthology Boys & Girls, called (naturally) Men & Women (also edited by Paul Burston, it launches on 14 July) - totally enthralling stuff!



After the break, our perennial Polari favourite the lovely V.G. (Val) Lee had us in stitches with her wonderfully witty tale of Lucky Patricia (also included in Men & Women): our heroine's found herself a new sophisticated girlfriend, and it has rather shaken up the cosy lesbian social circle in rural Hastings! As always, Val proved to be a true star, and a brilliant entertainer...



Next up, our third Tim, this time Mr Arthur (son of Playschool host Toni Arthur, no less), who - as he admitted - was sorry to lower the tone somewhat with his grim tale of one backwoods American woman's sordid revenge on her abusive husband. Involving a cage in the basement and some humiliating sexual favours, this is just one of a series of tales in his book The Blind Dog Gospels, all told from the warped imagination of an individual dying of cancer of the optic nerve. Thankfully, Mr Arthur was a very jolly reader, which lightened the piece somewhat!

Paul and "partner in crime" Rachel Holmes, Head of Literature and Spoken Word at the Southbank Centre, announced the Polari First Book Prize long list:
  • Julian Corkle Is A Filthy Liar – DJ Connell
  • Same Again Please - Michael B Jones
  • London Triptych – Jonathan Kemp
  • The Bird Keeper – Issy Festing
  • Love, Hope and High Heels – Clare Campbell
  • I Don’t Remember You – Stephanie Lennox
  • Children of the Sun – Max Schaefer
  • Autofellatio – James Maker
  • Homo Jihad – Timothy Graves
  • C’est La Vie – Bruce Hodson



Our final turn of the evening was the lovely lady lesbian DJ Connell, reading first from her prize-nominated Julian Corkle Is A Filthy Liar (which we first encountered at Polari back last November, alongside Mr Parker); the hilarious story of the campest little queen growing up in the most stifling of backgrounds in 1970s Tasmania). She also gave us a teaser of her new novel Sherry Cracker Gets Normal, which launches next week.



Another absolute corker of an evening! I will miss Polari next month...