Sunday, 31 January 2016

Laughter is a reward

"Laughter is much more important than applause. Applause is almost a duty. Laughter is a reward."

"I am terribly grateful. I mean, gay men seem to always know who has talent before the rest of the public does, don't you think? A stamp of approval from the gay community is almost a guarantee of success. Just ask Liza Minnelli, Bette Midler, or Cher. I think they would agree."

"My motivation is always that next show, that next character or that next appearance. I’m always so sure that it will be my best performance or my greatest accomplishment."

"I'm terribly shy, but of course no one believes me. Come to think of it, neither would I."

"Johnny Depp has said he wants to play me in a movie. Wouldn't that be great? People say, "But he is a man," but it doesn't surprise me at all. I can’t remember the last time one of my impersonators didn't have a 5 o'clock shadow."

"I'll go to my grave remembering the tears and laughs I didn't get."

One of the greatest of all our Patron Saints, Miss Carol Channing is 95 years old today.

All hail!

Carol Elaine Channing (born 31st January 1921)

Saturday, 30 January 2016

This weekend I am mostly dressing casual... Miss Mae Murray!

She was known as "The Girl with the Bee-Stung Lips".

How nice.

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Extraordinary fecundity

"I went out to Charing Cross, to see Major-General Harrison hanged, drawn and quartered; which was done there, he looking as cheerful as any man could do in that condition."
October 13, 1660

" the King's Theatre, where we saw Midsummer's Night's Dream, which I had never seen before, nor shall ever again, for it is the most insipid ridiculous play that ever I saw in my life."
September 29, 1662

"But Lord! to see the absurd nature of Englishmen, that cannot forbear laughing and jeering at every thing that looks strange."
November 27, 1662

"...a good dinner and feasting reconciles everybody."
9 November 1665

"...saw a wedding in the church, which I have not seen many a day; and the young people so merry one with another... what delight we married people have to see these poor fools decoyed into our condition, every man and woman gazing and smiling at them."
December 25, 1665

"The truth is, I do indulge myself a little the more in pleasure, knowing that this is the proper age of my life to do it; and out of my observation that most men that do thrive in the world, do forget to take pleasure during the time that they are getting their estate, but reserve that till they have got one, and then it is too late for them to enjoy it with any pleasure."
March 10, 1666

We managed to catch the exhibition Samuel Pepys: Plague, Fire, Revolution last weekend (it closes this Saturday), and it was every bit as Michael Prodger described it in The Guardian:
"...a cabinet of curiosities that reflects his extraordinary fecundity... the new exhibition at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, is a visual accompaniment to Pepys’s one and a quarter million (mostly shorthand) words.

Pepys (1633-1703) lived through five reigns, three regime changes, one civil war and at least three other history-making disasters: the outbreak of Plague in 1665 (during which he managed to quadruple his income), the Great Fire of London of 1666 and the second Anglo-Dutch war, which in 1667 saw foreign warships sail unimpeded up the Medway. For good measure, Pepys was also chief secretary to the Admiralty, a fellow of the Royal Society, and was on board the ship that brought Charles II back from exile.

Among the 150 exhibits there are the bloodstained waistcoat Charles I wore at his execution and a cast of the death mask of Oliver Cromwell (complete with warts); there are Wenceslaus Hollar’s panoramic views showing London before and after the great fire, and a bell rung at the funeral of plague victims; there is a love letter from Charles II to Louise de Kéroualle (“’tis impossible to expresse the true passion and kindnesse I have for my dearest dearest fubs” – fubs meaning “chubby”) and a pair of green spectacles of the sort Pepys wore to alleviate the eye strain of too much candle-lit work."
It was in turns startling - just looking at the medical instruments that were used to remove his bladder stone the size of a snooker ball, without anaesthetic, made my eyes water - and engrossing. Among the exhibition's highlights (for me, at least) were an original edition of Robert Hooke's magnificent Micrographia (Pepys was chair of the Royal Society at the time of its publication; a body whose membership was impressive, including Wren, Boyle, Halley and Newton), the grand-scale portraits, the fabulous silver-embroidered fancy outfit (the then) Prince James (later James II) wore at his wedding to Mary of Modena, and the intricate "Bones", Pepys' wooden "pocket calculator".

The actual diaries themselves, unfortunately, were unable to be released from the care of his library at Magdalene College Oxford, but there was an abundance of his notes, writings, collections and ephemera (and "interactive" extracts on screens) to occupy our fascination with the extraordinary life, loves and interests of Samuel Pepys.

Samuel Pepys: Plague, Fire, Revolution

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

All right. War.

Vicomte de Valmont: " I thought betrayal was your favourite word."
Marquise de Merteuil: "No, no...'cruelty.' I always think that has a nobler ring to it."

Vicomte de Valmont: "I often wonder how you manage to invent yourself."
Marquise de Merteuil: "Well, I had no choice, did I? I'm a woman. Women are obliged to be far more skilful than men. You can ruin our reputation and our life with a few well-chosen words. So, of course, I had to invent, not only myself, but ways of escape no one has every thought of before. And I've succeeded because I've always known I was born to dominate your sex and avenge my own."

Vicomte de Valmont: "Now, yes or no? It's up to you, of course. I will merely confine myself to remarking that a "no" will be regarded as a declaration of war. A single word is all that's required."
Marquise de Merteuil: "All right. War."

Ah, Dangerous Liaisons. How we loved it.

Happy 70th birthday today, Christopher Hampton - whose translation and adaptation brought this glamorously camp confection to the big screen.

And then there was the classic French and Saunders tribute...

Friday, 22 January 2016

Awards Season is upon us...

I'm waiting for my nomination. But in which category? Choices, choices...

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

If I'm gonna have any looks at all, I'm gonna have to create them

"If I hadn't been a woman, I'd be a drag queen for sure. I like all that flair and I'd be dressing up in them high heels and putting on the big hair. I'd be like Ru Paul."

"The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain."

"I look just like the girls next door... if you happen to live next door to an amusement park!"

"I'm no natural beauty. If I'm gonna have any looks at all, I'm gonna have to create them. Thanks to Botox and fillers, as well as the work that I've already had, my face pretty much maintains itself."

"I'm old enough and cranky enough now that if someone tried to tell me what to do, I'd tell them where to put it."

Our Patron Saint of Rhinestones is seventy years old!

Many happy returns, Miss Dolly Rebecca Parton Dean (born 19th January 1946)

Sunday, 17 January 2016

Why would I think of retiring?

"Don't try to be young. Just open your mind. Stay interested in stuff. There are so many things I won't live long enough to find out about, but I'm still curious about them. You know people who are already saying, 'I'm going to be 30 - oh, what am I going to do?' Well, use that decade! Use them all!"

"I have a two-story house and a bad memory, so I'm up and down those stairs all the time. That's my exercise."

"I really don't care with whom you sleep. I just care what kind of a decent human being you are."

"I just make it my business to get along with people so I can have fun. It's that simple."

"Why would I think of retiring? What would I do with myself?"

It's another Betty White Day!

Happy 94th birthday, Betty Marion White Luddon (born 17th January 1922).

Read my previous tribute on the great lady's 90th.

Much more Betty White over at my regular blog Give 'em the old Razzle Dazzle

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Monday, 11 January 2016

The dress is hung, the ticket pawned

Now the dress is hung,
the ticket pawned
The Factor Max that proved the fact
Is melted down
And woven on the edging of my pillow
Now my Brother lays upon the Rocks
He could be dead, He could be not
He could be You
He's Chameleon, Comedian, Corinthian and Caricature
"Shooting-up Pie-in-the-Sky"

Everything has changed. He is dead.

Friday, 8 January 2016

This weekend, I am mostly dressing casual... today's birthday girl, our Patron Saint of Marabou, Dame Shirley Bassey!

"I'm too busy putting my energies into my performance to be a diva."

Dame Shirley Veronica Bassey DBE (born 8th January 1937)

Monday, 4 January 2016

Always correct

Check the instructions to see if you measure up...

Friday, 1 January 2016