Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Five a day

"I would rather play Chiquita Banana and have my swimming pool than play Bach and starve."
Xavier Cugat

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Vicarage tea party with sex

Photo: © Matthew R Lewis

"I'm glad I haven't married - I crave excitement."

"My biographer said that my parties reminded them of a vicarage tea party, with sex thrown in."

"It's been a rollercoaster life but it hasn't been boring."

We adore Cynthia Payne!

Sunday, 28 August 2011

My life story, by Gorey

"The Wanton, though she knows its dangers
Must needs smear Kohl about her eyes
And wake the interest of strangers
With long-drawn, hoarse, erotic sighs."

Edward Gorey (1925-2000)

Saturday, 27 August 2011


"Before I was born, my mother was in great agony of spirit and in a tragic situation. She could take no food except iced oysters and champagne."

Isadora Duncan (1878-1927)

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

The queerest of all the queer sights

From an Open University learning course on The Royal Pavilion in Brighton and its relationship to nineteenth century romanticism and exoticism:
At first glance the Pavilion's exoticism might seem to have a good deal to do with contemporary Romantic writers’ fascination with the Oriental and exotic. A widespread public interest in these modes put Byron's Oriental tales and Thomas Moore's romance Lalla Rookh at the top of the bestseller lists. Coleridge's Kubla Khan, after all, is often regarded as the paradigmatic Romantic short poem.

Some of the ideas and aesthetic effects considered to be Romantic include:

- The abandonment of Enlightenment ideals of knowability and reason, politeness and social responsibility, typically expressed in the neoclassical aesthetic.
- The increasing emphasis put on the unknowable and irrational, and, associated with that, an interest in dreams and fantasies, the development of certain stylistic features (notably the grotesque, the ruined and the fragmentary), and an interest in the sublime.
- An assertion of the primacy of individual imagination and autobiography, and, connected with that, the cult of the strong individual (e.g. Napoleon as well as the Napoleonic-style celebrity of Byron), often associated with Romantic alienation and melancholy.

Some of these tendencies can be identified within the Pavilion. Its decor is quite strongly interested in producing dreamlike illusions. These include jolts in scale and proportion, disorientating self-replicating corridors, unnerving shifts between place, obsessive repetition of motifs, the proliferation of the grotesque and the monstrous, and a general ambition to achieve the sensory overload typical of the sublime. These effects are ultimately designed as the intensely personal theatre of an individual imagination.

Others may have expressed it slightly differently.

The Comtesse de Boigne, 1817: "...indeed a masterpiece of bad taste."

Anthony Pasquin, The New Brighton Guide, 1796: "a nondescript monster in building, and appears like a mad-house, or a house run mad, as it has neither beginning, middle, nor end."

William Hone, The Joss and His Folly, 1820:
"The queerest of all the queer sights I’ve set sight on;
Is, the what d’ye – call’t thing, here, the FOLLY at Brighton.
The outside – huge teapots, all drill’d round with holes,
Relieved by extinguishers, sticking on poles:
The inside – all tea-things, and dragons and bells,
The show rooms – all show, the sleeping rooms – cells.
But the grand Curiosity’s not to be seen–
The owner himself – an old fat mandarin..."
Royal Pavilion Brighton

Monday, 22 August 2011


Dolly Parton Rainbow

"God tells us not to judge one another, no matter what anyone's sexual preferences are or if they're black, brown or purple. And if someone doesn't believe what I believe, tough shit."

"If something is bagging, sagging or dragging, I'll tuck it, suck it or pluck it."

"It costs a lot to look this cheap."

Dolly Parton

Read a fabulous interview with Miss Parton in The Guardian

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Keep your identity

"Never let anyone shame you into doing anything you don't choose to do. Keep your identity."

"Acting is glamour but writing is hard work, so I'm going to be an actress."

"I don't think any novelist should be concerned with literature."

Jacqueline Susann (20 August 1918 - 21 September 1974)

Read my blog about Miss Susann on the occasion of her 90th anniversary in 2008 over at Give 'em the old Razzle Dazzle.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

The wit of Lady Peel

Portrait by Yousuf Karsh

Noel [Coward] and I were in Paris once. Adjoining rooms, of course. One night, I felt mischievous, so I knocked on Noel's door, and he asked, 'Who is it?' I lowered my voice and said 'Hotel detective. Have you got a gentleman in your room?' He answered, 'Just a minute, I'll ask him.' Beatrice (Bea) Lillie (Actress, revue artiste, icon, aka Lady Peel)

Bea Lillie and Noel Coward on the Riviera, 1920s

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

"I am my own work of art"

Photo by Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott

Photo by Bruce Weber

Photo by Steven Meisel

Photo by Patrick Demarchelier

Photo by Lorenzo Agius

Photo by Helmut Newton

“I am my own experiment. I am my own work of art.”

“I have the same goal I've had ever since I was a girl. I want to rule the world.”

“Effeminate men intrigue me more than anything in the world. I see them as my alter egos. I feel very drawn to them. I think like a guy, but I'm feminine. So I relate to feminine men."

“I'm tough, ambitious, and I know exactly what I want. If that makes me a bitch, okay. Sometimes you have to be a bitch to get things done.”

Madonna (b. 16 August 1958)

More Madonna over at Give 'em the old Razzle Dazzle blog.

Monday, 15 August 2011

Good taste, good books

"The kind of people who always go on about whether a thing is in good taste invariably have very bad taste." Joe Orton
Malicious Damage - an exhibition at Islington Museum, 13 October 2011 – 25 February 2012.
In 1962 the aspiring playwright Joe Orton and his partner and mentor Kenneth Halliwell were each sentenced to six months imprisonment for malicious damage to Islington Public Library books. The offenders were found guilty of stealing and ‘doctoring’ library book covers with images from other sources or by adding new text and narrative. They also removed illustrations from library art books to ‘wallpaper’ their bed-sit at 25 Noel Road.

During imprisonment Joe Orton embarked upon what was to be a successful but all too brief writing career, cut short by his murder at the jealous hand of his partner. Malicious Damage tells the story surrounding the crimes of Orton and Halliwell and, for the first time at Islington Museum, offers the opportunity to view all of the surviving doctored book covers along with other material reflecting the life and work of the pair.
Two events at the Islington Museum, organised to coincide with the exhibition, are also a must-see:

Kenneth Williams, Joe Orton and the debacle of Felicity’s 21st birthday, Thursday 17 November, 6.30pm
Journalist and author of Born Brilliant: the life of Kenneth Williams, Christopher Stevens reveals the intriguing story surrounding the last week of the ill-fated 1965 tour of Joe Orton’s Loot, which starred the Islington-born and much-loved comic actor Williams.

Malicious Collage: The art of Joe Orton and Kenneth Halliwell, Thursday 1 December, 6.30pm
Ilsa Colsell is the author of Malicious Damage, a new book about the crimes of playwright Joe Orton and his partner Kenneth Halliwell, published jointly by Islington Library and Heritage Services and Donlon books. In conversation, the author will discuss and explore events surrounding the illicit library book collage work that led to Orton and Halliwell each receiving six months imprisonment. The discussion will conclude with a question and answer session.
Islington Museum

Joe Orton online

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Something precious

"I should like to bury something precious in every place where I've been happy and then, when I'm old and ugly and miserable, I could come back and dig it up and remember." Sebastian Flyte, Brideshead Revisted

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Anything is possible

"With enthusiasm anything is possible."

Arlene Dahl (born 11th August 1925)

Wednesday, 10 August 2011


The only way to celebrate my birthday!

Our wrinkles are our medals of the passage of life. They are what we have been through and who we want to be.
Lauren Hutton

Monday, 8 August 2011

Fashionable ladies

“A designer is only as good as the star who wears her clothes.” - Edith Head

"I received the Neiman-Marcus award for my contribution over the years to the world of fashion." - Gloria Swanson

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Earth fades in flame before his wings

Rupert Brooke

“Oh! Love,” they said, “is King of Kings,
And Triumph is his crown.
Earth fades in flame before his wings,
And Sun and Moon bow down.”—
But that, I knew, would never do;
And Heaven is all too high.
So whenever I meet a Queen, I said,
I will not catch her eye.

“Oh! Love,” they said, and “Love,” they said,
“The gift of Love is this;
A crown of thorns about thy head,
And vinegar to thy kiss!”—
But Tragedy is not for me;
And I’m content to be gay.
So whenever I spied a Tragic Lady,
I went another way.

And so I never feared to see
You wander down the street,
Or come across the fields to me
On ordinary feet.
For what they’d never told me of,
And what I never knew;
It was that all the time, my love,
Love would be merely you.

Rupert Brooke (born 3 August 1887 - 23 April 1915), written for the love of his life Charles Lascelles.

From the GLBTQ encyclopaedia:
Throughout his life, Brooke had close friends who were homosexual, and usually in love with him. As a schoolboy at Rugby, he was befriended by the aesthetic poet John Lucas-Lucas. At Cambridge, his best friend was James Strachey, who worshipped him. Even after suffering a nervous breakdown and denouncing The Bloomsbury Set (in which he had been involved) in 1912, Brooke only replaced one set of homosexual friends with another. His best friend at the end of his life was Edward Marsh, who was as much in love with him as Strachey had been.
Rupert Brooke biography on BBC History

Monday, 1 August 2011