Saturday, 31 October 2015

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

The Screamer

It's The Bride of Frankenstein's birthday...

"The most memorable thing I did in that film, I believe, was my screaming. In almost all my movies since, I've been called upon to scream. I don't know if it's by chance, but I would like to think that I'm not hired for that talent alone."

Our Patron Saint Elsa Sullivan Lanchester (28th October 1902 – 26th December 1986)

Read my previous entry for Elsa Lanchester

Sunday, 25 October 2015

The morns are meeker than they were

The morns are meeker than they were
The nuts are getting brown
The berry's cheek is plumper
The Rose is out of town.

The Maple wears a gayer scarf
The field a scarlet gown
Lest I should be old fashioned
I'll put a trinket on!

- Emily Dickinson

Erté - "Manhattan"

British Summer Time is over. Time to get the sparkles out.

Saturday, 24 October 2015

She made John Wayne sexy

"Every star has that certain something that stands out and compels us to notice them. As for me I have always believed my most compelling quality to be my inner strength, something I am easily able to share with an audience. I'm very comfortable in my own skin. I never thought my looks would have anything to do with becoming a star. Yet it seems that in some ways they did."

"I had always been a tomboy - I still am, at heart. I don't remember having a crush on a boy when I was a girl. I don't even remember my first kiss."

"I didn't let anyone push me into things I didn't want to do where my career was concerned. So why did I crumble when it came to men?"

"I made John Wayne sexy. I take credit for that."

"Lost in a crowd of greats, not a single Oscar. That's showbiz."

And so, farewell then to the sublimely beautiful and yet eternally down-to-earth Maureen O'Hara. We will never see her like again. And now she's gone, there are very few left from the Golden Age of Hollywood...

Maureen FitzSimons (later O'Hara, 17th August 1920 – 24th October 2015)

Read my tribute to Miss O'Hara on the occasion of her 95th birthday over at my other blog Give 'em the old Razzle Dazzle.

Monday, 19 October 2015

Sometimes she`s too bold

"[Divine] is a real person. Sometimes she`s too bold, but she has socially redeeming qualities, no matter what she does. She`s her own person, and a lot of people like that."

"I love making people laugh. I just happen to do it dressed as a woman. It`s a part I play, and I've never confused the two."

"I asked my dad, `are you embarrassed by what I do?` And he said, `at first I was, but I feel if I made as much money wearing a dress as you do, I`d wear dresses too.'"

The sadly-missed icon of trash, John Waters acolyte and international drag superstar Divine would have been 70 years old today.

Divine (born Harris Glenn Milstead, 19th October 1945 – 7th March 1988)

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Malice aforethought

"Imagine Hades Inferno. That’s what it was, you’d go down the stairs and there were people dancing on every single surface. It was the most hedonistic place to be – there were people dancing on tables, dancing on the bar, they were everywhere. The place was rammed to the rafters."
Thus, rave club entrepreneur Laurence Malice described his ground-breaking gay night 'Trade' - the first anywhere in the UK to receive an official "all-nighter" licence (from Islington Council) - which bows out this month after twenty-five years of leading the field in innovative clubbing in London and on tour.

Mr Malice, himself a denizen of Steve Strange's seminal 'Blitz' Club and Leigh Bowery's 'Taboo', created the club night in the fall-out from the "illegal rave" furore at the turn of the 90s - and found the perfect venue in 'Turnmills', a converted gin distillery in the distinctly non-residential environs of Clerkenwell Road near Smithfields Meat Market (how appropriate), at that stage a struggling straight bar/restaurant/club.

With its myriad rooms, corridors, nooks and the notorious "Muscle Alley", 'Trade' dominated the late-late-late night gay scene in the 1990s.

Many world class DJs played there, including Frankie Knuckles, David Morales and Danny Tenaglia, as well as regulars Malcolm Duffy, Alan Thomson, Pete Wardman, the late Tony de Vit [read more about him over at my other blog Give 'em the old Razzle Dazzle], Ian M, Steve Thomas, Tall Paul and Rachel Auburn. Operating a strictly "democratic" door policy, 'Trade' inevitably had more than its fair share of "names" queuing up to get in - including Queen Madge, Bjork, Alexander McQueen, David and Victoria Beckham, Grace Jones, George Michael and many more. Some got no further than the door:
"On Trade's 8th Birthday early on in the night, with the guest list queue stretching along Clerkenwell Road, a massive stretch limousine drew up and out jumped a young PA asking to speak to the manager. She then said Cher, whose single I Believe was No. 1 in the charts, was in the limo and paused for effect. Everyone in both queues heard this and suddenly silence reigned. He said, 'Yes and how could I help?' A bit put out, she explained that Cher would like to come in and requested a VIP area plus six bottles of champagne. He explained politely that we didn't have a VIP section, as our club was about inclusion and that everyone was treated the same. He hadn't done this for Madonna and he wouldn't be able to do this for Cher, or any other celebrity. The crowd burst into a spontaneous round of applause and the limo sped off into the night."

On another occasion: "Axl Rose came to the door, we wouldn’t let him because two weeks prior to that he’d made some very homophobic comments in the press and came to the door apologising and we said 'No, you’re not coming in, mate. Get on your bike'."

From its early days, 'Trade' carefully crafted its own "brand", with flyers, murals and artwork by Mark Wardel aka TradeMark (geddit?) - largely based around the club's logo in the shape of one of its most popular comestibles, the drug capsule.

These have gained a semi-legendary status of their own, and a collection of them, together with compilation CDs, posters and other memorabilia has now been curated in a new exhibition at Islington Museum: Trade - often copied, never equalled. Celebrating 25 years of after-hours clubbing in Islington, to the launch of which I went this week.

Although I never went to 'Trade' - I wasn't even in London at its heyday - anyone and everyone who did (from DJ Stewart Who? to the gang of former punters who gathered at the museum itself on Thursday) mourns its loss. 'Turnmills' itself was demolished to make way for an (inevitably glass-fronted) office block. Laurence, however (shrewd businessman that he is) threw his resources into a new club venue 'The Egg' in another (for now) non-residential corner of London, Kings Cross.

And it is at this venue that the final outing for 'Trade' takes place on Sunday 25th October 2015: History – Trade: The Final.

As a recent interview with Mr Malice in the Irish Star put it:
These two revolutionary clubs - 'Egg' (ranked alongside 'Fabric' and 'Ministry of Sound' as London’s best) and 'Trade' (the legendary 90s and noughties after-hours party) - are a most fitting legacy for [a man] whose profound impact on modern dancefloor culture has been greater than any other.

Trade didn’t just revolutionise the London club scene - it went on the change the world.
The exhibition Trade - often copied, never equalled is at Islington Museum until Saturday 16th January 2016.

Friday, 16 October 2015

I'm the bionic woman

"Here I am, I still go on, you know, like the tides."

"I'm the bionic woman; I've got knees, hips, everything is new and that has made a tremendous difference to me; replacements are high on my list of goodies."

"I'm not one of those people who sits in the dark, looking at their work from 70 years earlier. I'm really not."

"I just stopped playing bitches on wheels and peoples' mothers. I have only a few more years to kick up my heels!"

"Providing I can put one foot in front of the other, I will continue to act."

Our Patron Saint Dame Angela Lansbury is 90 years old today.

All hail!

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Ladybird, ladybird, fly away home

A cynically humorous range of "adult" oriented Ladybird books is in the news.

I prefer these piss-takes myself...

100 years of the "real" Ladybird books. We - like every UK household - had dozens of them when we were kids.