With the wonders of cutting edge digital photography, it’s supposed to be virtually impossible to take a bad snap. Just aim and click, right? Wrong. I’m rubbish. Sometimes, though, there’s a little unexpected magic among the discarded litter on the cutting room floor. I was clearing out the camera the other day and came across these images from our February trip to London. The images are of the London Eye taken from inside the Royal Festival Hall. Neither of the pictures has been retouched. It shows what fun you can have with a wobbly wrist.
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Blimey. Perking the Pansies has made the long list of 10 for the prestigious Polari First Book Prize. I popped along to the Polari Literary Salon at the Royal Festival Hall to catch the broadcast. I sat at the back with my eyes firmly shut, a nasty stirring in my stomach and fingers crossed so tight they developed rigor mortis. In my pretty days I might have offered to sleep with one or two of the judges to increase my chances. Now I’ve reached my midriff years, this strategy would attract pity not punters. The colour slowly drained from my face as the successful titles were read out one by one by top-hatted MC, Paul Burston. I was held at the edge of my seat right to the bitter end. My book was the last on the list. Will I make the short list? Can my ancient heart take it? Find out in September.
Check out the illustrious company on the long list at the Time Out Blog and Out in the City.
As my regular pansy punters know, I’ve just done a gig for the Polari Literary Salon at London’s Royal Festival Hall. I was in the company of a fine cast of literati – Rebecca Idris Hugh Mulhall, Max Wallis, Catherine Hall and Tiffany Murray. The chorus line was made up of friends and regular pansy characters – Nancy, Murat, Clive, Ian, Matt and Philip. I calmed myself with a quick wine stiffener in the Green Room before I climbed the stage to perform against a sumptuous backdrop of The London Eye and Palace of Westminster. I’m not sure who was the more nervous, Liam or me. Despite the tummy terror, I didn’t fluff too many of my lines. I was well received by the enthusiastic audience and I’m eternally grateful to the wonderful and gifted Paul Burston who made it all possible.
I’ll be banging on about my book ad nauseum at the Polari Literary Salon at London’s Royal Festival Hall on the 6th February 2012. All my profit and more has gone on paying for the bloody airfare. I suppose you have speculate to accumulate. Anyone who has read the book and likes it, please add a review to Amazon (if you haven’t already). Every little helps, as they say in the Tesco’s advert.
For details about the event check Time Out online. To buy tickets check out the Southbank Website.
Apart from celebrating our niece’s nuptials and spending quality time with our folks, the main purpose of our extended excursion to Blighty and beyond was to rejoice in the half centuries of my two oldest friends, Clive and Ian. Their birthdays are a day apart and they decided to revel in style, each with a two centre commemoration.
Clive’s was up first with a posh meal in a posh eatery in posh Islington attended by a select group of friends and family, including his consort and civil partner, Angus. The superior banter was lubricated with bountiful booze and nourished by top notch nosh. Clive’s second soiree was at Duckie, the legendary avant-garde club night for those seeking something a little bit different from the usual Saturday night set menu (hard house and South American waiters with chest implants and spaced out expressions).
Coincidentally, it was Duckie’s 16th birthday bash, so they too celebrated in style by hiring the ballroom at the Royal Festival Hall for the evening. The compere dished up a hit and miss medley of arty-farty cabaret which I must confess was more miss than hit, a bit like watching someone’s end of year drama college project. The evening had a British tribal theme – punks, mods, new romantics, blokes in bowlers, housewives, Greenham Common wimin – you get the idea. We went as seventies clones – check shirts, tight stone washed 501s, coloured hankies and joke shop handlebar tashes – more Frisco than disco. We danced the night away to period pop courtesy of the resident DJs, the Readers Wives. I pogoed to God Save the Queen by the Sex Pistols, which seemed appropriate given the venue. My cheap fake tash dropped off in the process.
As the evening drew to a close, we tottered across Hungerford Bridge to the Strand and boarded our night bus home. Of course, we sat on the top deck like a couple of tourists. The passenger list was like London life in miniature. Two young men sat canoodling at the front on the bus, nothing pornographic you understand, just a fine romance. A mixed-race straight couple sat in the seat behind in animated exploratory conversation. He’d obviously just picked her up (or vice versa). Two gangsta-looking types in chunky chains sat behind us talking not of drug deals but of share swaps. A gaggle of girls giggled at the back. The good-humoured Clapham omnibus led me down memory lane through the south London streets of my salad days. We arrived home safe, sated and sozzled.
Tomorrow – The Bow Belles
For more on Clive and Ian you might like to read:
Tales of the City
It’ll Make You Go Blind