Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Pet Shop Boys

Perhaps my favourite part of the Olympic closing ceremony which we watched last night - The Pet Shop Boys performing West End Girls whilst being driven round and round in circles on origami rickshaws.  Magic.

Whilst all the other old hetero has-beens put aside their walking sticks and oxygen masks to belt out the hits that made them famous in yesteryear, the Boys did the gay equivalent by camping it up to a level you would not have thought possible in public, but that's the power of lottery funding.

I've always liked the Pet Shop Boys music, and I also like their choice of gay-icon guest artistes as well.  Their tune with Dusty Springfield was simply magnificent.  I was mates with Alex Gifford - the gay one of the Propellor Heads - when his group of two lived in Bath, and the documentary of the making of 'History Repeating' provided hours of hilarious entertainment, far greater than the music itself, even though the same short tune was repeated about 50 times in the album.

Somehow, Alex's people managed to persuade Shirley Bassey to do the lyrics (over and over again), and about half way through the recording of the video, Ms Bassey has a complete and utter melt-down, threatening to storm off the set and never come back.  More magic.

Alex's dream was to do a score for a James Bond movie - any James Bond movie - and by nabbing Ms Bassey who had already done at least one, he thought he might be in with a chance.  After History Repeating, he went to the U.S.A. and I have not heard of them since.  Shame.  They were good, and -sadly - their best album of which I have a bootleg copy, never made it into the shops.

Now here's a fact which not everyone in the world - let alone the Olympic Committee - knows, but it adds an extra frisson of hilarity to the Pet Shop Boys performance on Sunday night.  At this point, some of you more sensitive readers should stop reading.  'Pet Shop Boys' was the slang name given to some rather strange members of the gay community who found solace in shoving small, furry rodents like hamsters up each other's fundaments, then trying to coax them out again using - in some cases with disastrous consequences - small lamps and candles.  Takes all sorts, I suppose, but I will have to speak to a certain famous film-star as to where the enjoyment comes in to it.

We are off to Tetbury today, for our annual get-together with an old friend who lives near Oxford, but visits the grave of her long-lost paramour on the anniversary of his death.

Our friend comes from an extremely aristocratic family, but looks more like a classic fairground Gyspy fortune-teller than a woman whose brother is a lord.

She told us - the last time we met up - of how one of her family married a prominent member of the German Von Bismark family, and what happened when she attended the wedding in a massive marquee, somewhere in Britain at the grounds of a huge country house.

It seems that her family and the Bismarks stood at opposite ends of the giant tent, eyeing each other up in a frosty stand-off.  After a while, a few of the English aristos broke the ice by giving Nazi salutes to their German cousins, and a fist-fight ensued with half the members of the European 'crowned heads' bashing seven shades of shit out of each other.  The fight was so protracted and violent, that they actually managed to demolish half of the marquee.

How I wish that I had been there to see it.  See you later.


  1. My late mother-in-law worked for the Von Bismarks. During the war they left Sweden for Rome, and my MIL refused to go accompany them (she wasn't keen on Mussolini); she stayed in Sweden. They were furious.

    1. I've just found out that my mate's title may be gone forever, because her cousin was shot dead in Spain recently. Oo - err...

  2. Well I have to say Tom, you learn something new from your blog every day - not sure I really wanted to know that though!
    Dare I say that The Stomp and Ray Davies were my favourite bits - plus I was so relieved that Paul McCartney did not put in another appearance.

  3. Loved the Pet Shop Boys, Elbow, Muse, Queen and The Who. It was good of Freddy Mercury and John Lennon to turn up too !
    When I worked in A & E, there were many incidents of objects up the orifices, including lipsticks and lightbulbs and I do remember reading about a famous actor indulging in a little furry animal play !
    When I said that I was going shopping the other day, I was being facetious Tom ..... I was blinded by the science of Scagliola and Porphyry !!
    Sorry Weaver ...... I liked Stomp but I think Ray Davies should have stayed at home........he has lost his singing voice and had far too much Botox. He used to be one of our patients and I'd rather remember him as he was back then !

  4. I once went to a wedding like that in Birkenhead once,....
    the bride did some "air guitar" on the dance floor then bitch slapped one of her bridesmaids

    1. You must have been in heaven, Jonathan.

  5. Replies
    1. I have a friend who came from Birkenhead - he says everyone called it 'Brokenhead' in those days.

  6. As a nurse, I can say I've seen it all. Mostly hamsters in the darkest of places. What I will never be able to undestand is...why don't they at least declaw them first?

    1. And I'd imagined that Tom was pulling our collective legs!!

    2. That would take all the romance out of it, Donna.

      You sound like Queen Victoria, Cro, when she refused to believe there were such creatures as 'lesbians'. This is why all the legislation was aimed against male homosexuality.