Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Goodnight, Miss Neely O'Hara

RIP Anna Marie "Patty" Duke (14th December 1946 – 29th March 2016), star of The Miracle Worker and, of course, Valley of the Dolls.

Here's her angst-ridden rendition of the theme from that cult camp movie:

More about Valley of the Dolls Over at my other blog Give 'em the old Razzle Dazzle on the occasion of the 90th anniversary of its author, Jacqueline Susann.

Thursday, 24 March 2016

Wednesday, 23 March 2016


...It's Miss Crawford's birthday, bitches!




Joan Crawford (born Lucille Fay LeSueur, 23rd March 1904 – 10th May 1977)

Sunday, 20 March 2016

The Flirt

Spring is a flirt. Unexpectedly gleaming
Over the shoulder of some far blue hill.
We glimpse the blue eyes of her, smiling and beaming,
We hold out our hands to her, all of a thrill.
A bloom in her lips, for a moment she lingers
Pouf! And she's gone with a flick of her skirt.
And Winter once more, with his icy-cold fingers,
Seizes us, freezes us. Spring is a flirt.

- C. J. Dennis

Ostensibly the "first day of Spring" [it certainly doesn't feel like it!], today is the Vernal Equinox.

So much to look forward to...

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

How would that look in lights?

"Joan Crawford is a movie queen. I had never met one before. I know now what I don't want to be."

"I cannot sustain hate for longer than a couple of years."

"I have always had a lot more trouble with my truths than with my deceits."

"It is a remarkably beautiful piece of home furnishing, the Oscar. I used to keep it up in front of a mirror so that it looked like two."

"My name is real, which probably explains why I never became a superstar... how would that look in lights?"

Today's centenarian, the multi-talented (and impossible-to-deal-with, by repute) Mercedes McCambridge.

  • Orson Welles called her "the world's greatest living radio actress."
  • For her very first Hollywood film All the King's Men, she won the 1949 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.
  • She gained a huge following as a "lesbian icon" after portraying the vindictive "Emma" in Johnny Guitar.
  • Most surprisingly, Miss Mercedes provided the voice of the demon "Pazuzu" in The Exorcist .
  • After years of recovery from alcohol abuse, she became president of Alcoholics Anonymous.
  • She suffered tragedy when her son was exposed as an embezzler, then went on to murder his own family before killing himself.

Charlotte Mercedes Agnes McCambridge (16th March 1916 – 2nd March 2004)

Saturday, 12 March 2016

The Patron Saint of Pizzazz

"I believe all drunks go to heaven, because they've been through hell on Earth."

"The regrets of yesterday and the fear of tomorrow can kill you."

"I walk fast. Keep moving. Always be a moving target. Marilyn Monroe taught me that."

"Smoking is one of the leading causes of all statistics."

"I've decided that I am totally against jewellery. So I have all fake. There's no reason to have real diamonds. People think it's real anyway."

"Reality is something you rise above."

"The male gay community seems to be very into female singers. I think it could be the songs we sing. They're more open with their feelings. And they have good taste!"

Lordy. Our Patron Saint Miss Liza Minnelli's seventy!

All hail...

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

It's all about the Women

  • "You simply must see my hairdresser, I DETEST whoever does yours."
  • "She’s got those eyes that run up and down a man like a searchlight."
  • "Get me a bromide - and put some gin in it."
  • "He almost stood me up for his wife!"
  • "Isn’t that (nail polish) divine? Jungle red!" "Looks like you’ve been tearing at somebody’s throat!"
  • "Oh, poor creatures. They’ve lost their equilibrium because they’ve lost their faith in love. Oh l’amour, l’amour."
  • "Where I spit no grass grows ever!"
  • "Oh, she can’t help it. It’s just her tough luck that she wasn’t born deaf and dumb."
  • "When anything I wear doesn’t please Stephen, I take it off."
  • "There is a name for you, ladies, but it isn’t used in high society... outside of a kennel!"
It's International Women's Day again.

Monday, 7 March 2016

Saint Bowie?

Images from Saint Bowie - "An exhibition of artist-made reliquaries, ex votos, Santos, sigils, altars, ephods, spirit photos and much more objects dedicated to communing with Bowie on the other side."


It's on at the Stephen Romano Gallery, Brooklyn, New York until 29th March 2016.

Thursday, 3 March 2016

Found in the "Sexual Deviancy" section

On this, World Book Day, I thought I'd revisit one of my favourite books, ever. I first wrote about it eight years ago, after our visit to an event at the Southbank Centre called The Lavender Library, featuring favourite books chosen by a marvellous array of gay talent - Julian Clary, Dave McAlmont, Andy Bell, Maureen Duffy, Stella Duffy, Paul Burston, Karen Mcleod and Rupert Smith.

In that blog in 2008, I told the story of my first encounter with this life-changing book - Queens by Pickles (which was championed on that night by Mr Burston, soon to become the overlord (along with Mr Smith, for a while) of the legendary Polari gay literary salon):
Visiting the hideous 1960s mausoleum that passed for a library in Newport in the mid 80s, I was searching for The Naked Civil Servant by Quentin Crisp - and discovered it had been catalogued by the neo-Fascist authorities that ruled the roost in South Wales at the time in the "Sexual Deviancy" section.

Outraged (and slightly intrigued) by this awful description, I made a thorough investigation of this particular area of the teak'n'gunmetal shelving and discovered the book (Queens) was part of the collection in that category. To my everlasting shame (not really!) I stole it (well, never returned it anyhow), and its tattered and well read and re-read pages adorn my bookshelf to this day (complete with added graffiti by a sexually frustrated reader, carefully Tipp-Exed out by the librarians - how very Joe Orton!)

Published in the year I came out - 1984 - the enigmatic author of Queens must have spent years observing people as he travelled through the London gay scene. His long list of characters: the Screaming Queen, the Straight-Acting Queen, the Old Queen, the Opera Queen, The YMCA Queen, the Insidious Queen, the Clone - and the scenarios and interplay between them that he portrays - are all instantly recognisable today.

Although Paul read out his particular favourite passage from the book, I have one of my own I need to share:
The girly queens flock to Heaven like toddlers to a sweet shop. They flounce about the place, giggling and shrieking, hands and arms flung about in a wild sign language embellishing phrases like "She Never!" and "Ooh Gloria - don't!". They like to call each other bitch and never ever stand alone.

Once out of the pubs and set free in Heaven's wide-open spaces, they know no restraint. Lacking androgynous beauty, they daub themselves with Boots blusher and eye-liner, and bat their eyelashes like Sixties sluts... Like so many queens they have no shame in public, but can be quite suburban and prudish in private. This is always an annoying reversal and lets them in for a lot of abuse which, because they are so desperately inadequate, they enjoy...

Although impressed by money, they are unlike rent boys, and want sex more than cash, more than stardom even. Heaven is where they hope to find love one day. Love, of course, is the same regular big cock.
I think we can identify with that - we have all met these caricatures at some stage in our lives, along with all the others in the book. I certainly can spot Pickles' "types" whenever and wherever I enter a gay bar, and have spent many an absorbing evening doing just that!

Pickles also illustrated his work with some quite grotesque sketches of grotesque people...

Queens by Pickles is a must-read book for every gay person - I cannot recommend it enough!
And that remains the case today, dear reader.

Queens by Pickles on GoodReads

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

The Women of Weatherfield...

Ena Sharples, Minnie Caldwell, Martha Longhurst

Elsie Tanner

Bet Lynch

Annie Walker

Betty Turpin

Hilda Ogden

Rita Tanner (née Littlewood, previously Sullivan, and Fairclough) and Mavis Riley

Deirdre Barlow (with Mike Baldwin and Ken Barlow)

Raquel Wolstenhulme (with Curly Watts)

Vera Duckworth (with Jack)

...Tony Warren created them all!

RIP, the Creator of Coronation Street Anthony McVay "Tony" Simpson MBE (aka Tony Warren, 8th July 1936 – 1st March 2016)

Back in 2010, we were privileged to see Mr Warren in person at the BFI, entertaining the audience as he introduced the 50th anniversary showing of the first three episodes of Corrie.