Saturday 2 December 2023

There is only one way, one voice. Yours.

"An opera begins long before the curtain goes up and ends long after it has come down. It starts in my imagination, it becomes my life, and it stays part of my life long after I've left the opera house."

"Art is domination. It's making people think that for that precise moment in time there is only one way, one voice. Yours."

"I don't know what happens to me on stage. Something else seems to take over."

"I don't need the money, dear. I work for art."

"I am not an angel and do not pretend to be. That is not one of my roles. But I am not the devil either. I am a woman and a serious artist, and I would like so to be judged."

"You are born an artist or you are not. And you stay an artist, dear, even if your voice is less of a fireworks. The artist is always there."

"When my enemies stop hissing, I shall know I'm slipping."

One hundred years ago, the Diva to beat all Divas was born.

All hail!

Maria Callas (2nd December 1923 – 16th September 1977)

Sunday 26 November 2023

No better than I should be

It's a centenary today, dear reader - that of our eternally-revered matriarch/battleaxe/mainstay of the UK's favourite soap Coronation Street Elsie Tanner, aka Pat Phoenix!

Elsie Tanner quotes:

  • (about Ena Sharples): "That woman's tongue. If it was a bit longer she could shave with it."
  • "I've left home so many times me suitcases pack themselves every time I whistle."
  • "You know, they used to call us good time girls... well, we did have a good time, and a damn good time at that"
  • "Burglars in Coronation Street? It's like robbin' the blind."

"I was one of the first anti-heroines - not particularly good looking and no better than I should be."

Pat Phoenix (born Patricia Frederica Pilkington, 26th November 1923 – 17th September 1986)

Monday 20 November 2023

Art appreciation

As the judge remarked the day that he acquitted my Aunt Hortense,
To be smut
It must be ut-
-terly without redeeming social importance

- Tom Lehrer: Smut

Ahhhh... David!

Wednesday 15 November 2023

Friday 10 November 2023


Class of 72 - Tom Robinson, Stuart Feather, Mair Twissell, Roz Kaveney, Peter Tatchell, Andrew Lumsden, Ted Brown, Nettie Pollard

In the history of human rights in this country, there are many people who could be described as "pioneers" - William Wilberforce and his fellow abolitionists in the Georgian era, Emmeline Pankhurst and the Suffragettes, campaigners against the criminalisation of homosexuality Havelock Ellis and Edward Carpenter, and so on. 

In the modern era, the baton of the latter pioneers passed to a small but vocal group of "annoyed gayers" who fought on and made a significant impact on our society.

Among those (as featured in the photo above), the fantabulosa Andrew Lumsden shone through...

From his obituary by James Lucas:

[We have] lost a true pioneer with the passing of Andrew Lumsden. An unwavering champion of gay rights, Andrew dedicated his life to advocating for equality and justice... He recognised the need for change and was unafraid to stand up and be counted. His tireless efforts have inspired countless individuals to join the fight for equality.

In the late 1960s, Andrew was instrumental in establishing the Gay Liberation Front (GLF), a groundbreaking organization that fought for gay rights and acceptance. The GLF played a pivotal role in the early days of the LGBTQ+ rights movement and set the stage for future activism... [in particular] his role as one of the founders of Pride. Pride events, celebrated worldwide, have become symbols of unity, acceptance, and the ongoing struggle for equal rights. Andrew’s vision for Pride has empowered generations to continue the fight.

Another testament to Andrew’s unwavering commitment was his role as the founder of Gay News. This groundbreaking publication provided a platform for LGBTQ+ voices, stories, and issues. It was a pioneering source of information and support during a time when discrimination and prejudice were prevalent. Andrew’s... fearless activism, dedication to social justice, and advocacy for equal rights have paved the way for the progress we see today. His work has changed the lives of countless individuals.

The LGBTQ+ community and the broader fight for equality have lost a true hero with the passing of Andrew Lumsden. His legacy is a testament to the power of activism and the enduring struggle for equal rights. As we remember his extraordinary contributions, we also recognize the importance of continuing the work he began, ensuring that his vision of a more inclusive and equal world becomes a reality.

RIP Andrew Lumsden, a remarkable man.

Wednesday 1 November 2023

A human being that has sung, always, all her life

"I never wanted to be a singer... I like what it is to sing, or to be with others singing, to make music. But the fuss, and all the things that are the exterior part of a career, has never interested me. So I don’t think in reality I am a singer. I think I am a human being that has sung, always, all her life."

We have a centenary to celebrate...

...that of the magnificent Victoria de los Ángeles!

Renowned as a "non-diva-like" Diva in the operatic world, she nevertheless beat the likes of Renata Tebaldi, Régine Crespin, Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Kirsten Flagstad, Montserrat Caballé, Birgit Nilsson and Leontyne Price to be voted #3 of "The 20 Greatest Sopranos of all time" (according to BBC Classical Music magazine).

We adore her here at Dolores Delargo Towers, not least for this [probably the best recording of the Songs of the Auvergne ever made]:

...and then, there's this...


Victoria de los Ángeles López García (1st November 1923 – 15th January 2005)

Tuesday 31 October 2023

Get the Party Started

Hallowe'en. Samhain. Hop-tu-Naa. Día de Muertos. Calan Gaeaf. Punkie Night. The Season of the Witch.

Have fun, whatever you get up to.

[click pic to enlarge]