Tag Archives: music

Telly Vision: The Hit Factory – The Stock Aitken & Waterman Story

6 Aug

my name is pete. her man. hit.

A month ago, they were planning to celebrate 25 years of the Hit Factory at Hyde Park. But it rained.

But where real life and heavenly nature fails, Telly can succed. And as A-Ha said in that song: the sun always shines on TV.

And you can bet’cha life on it that for sixty minutes this evening, ITV 1 will actually worth watching.

Mike. Matt. PETE, of course. Kylie. Jason. Rick. Bananarama. Mel and Kim. Sonia. The other one that’s not Sonia.

And PETE BURNS. Ohyeah!

hit man.

my name is pete. hit man. not her.

Here’s a blast from the past…      nine of the clock tonight!watch it!!!!

Talk Show: The Musical by WILLS MORGAN

2 Aug

IT HAD TRASH TALK performed by opera singers . It had a musical score which boasted some some actual tunes. It had a whole first act and a bit of a second act. And it had a big black man in a clean white nappy. This is the story of how JERRY SPRINGER: THE OPERA became the hit show a decade ago today at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.  NOW READ MORE……

IN AUGUST of 2002, a modestly staged entertainment was to become the hit of the 2002 Edinburgh Fringe Festival. An indication of what was about to hit the city appeared on the cover of the weekly guide to Fringe events: the LIST magazine.

 

All undressed…and nowhere to go.

 

In small letters: Edinburgh stripped bare. In capital letters and in a larger font: NAPPY DAYS. And the picture? A big and beautiful Black Man. Wearing a Diaper and With a Dummy In his Mouth. And Nothing Else covering his Modesty. Apart from the strategic placing of a TV talk-show cue card which bore the following legend:

 

JERRY SPRINGER: The Opera.

 

Note the title of the Legend. JERRY SPRINGER: a man who has had many careers. A lawyer, politician and an Emmy-Award winning news anchor. And, in 1991, the host of what was called a ‘talk show’ called (naturally enough) The Jerry Springer Show.

This show started in a lower case font. As un-sensational social commentary of the kind that Mr. Springer was already known for. The viewing figures were not good. (This is a polite way of saying those same viewing figures were shit. Really quite shitty.)

A new producer was brought in; his name was Richard Dominick. He’s responsible for Jerry Springer becoming the character that we know we love to hate to love: JERRY SPRINGER.

The new show was pretty much like life itself: full of surprises. Low lives. Unhappy marriages. Perverse behaviour. The Ku Klux Klan. The odd prostitute. God. Romances with animals. You know what I mean. There was heckling. There was fighting. There was people throwing things. There was people throwing up. But most of all…importantly…most especially…there was people having themselves a good, good time. It was trashy. It was ‘bloody funny’. It was made for TV. But equally…it was…and is…opera.

So how did JERRY SPRINGER get attached to The Opera in its lower case sense? Here’s how: with one man with a piano.

Lore Lixenberg. She sings. And then some.

A glamourous, voluptuous mezzo-soprano singer named LORE. A couple of crates of John Smiths bitter. ASDA lager, as well, just for a bit of contrast. In a small studio in Battersea, South London, In England, that itty-bitty island off the coast of Europe.

The Brixton-based composer Richard Thomas’ workshops were called ‘How to write an Opera about Jerry Springer’. The flyer for the show was an apology: ‘Have an idea. Think it’s a shit idea. Despair. Do it anyway’. It was done: and the Legend was born.

In August 2001, Mr. Thomas’ London cabaret group, known as KOMBAT OPERA took to the stage in multiple guises. Serial seducers. Trailer Trash. The Ku Klux Klan. And right in the middle of it all…an anti-chorus every bit as fierce as the crowd of Jews as portrayed by JS Bach in his Matthew and John passions.

The Indepenent on Sunday journalist Anna Picard wrote of ‘the first opera to take television as its subject’. She is 50 percent correct. As I know only too well, the subject matter of JERRY SPRINGER: The Opera is both Tele-Visual and Opera-Tic.

The word was spread that this was a show to see. In January and February of 2002 anybody who was anybody came to the second run of performances. Germaine Greer was there. Nicholas Hytner visited daily. Tim Rice came. Harry Hill, Chris Morris, Mel and Sue, Frank Skinner, Soo from “The Sooty Show” and much of the cream of British comedy saw what had inevitably become JS:TO.

Journalists wrote about it unbidden. Lyn Gardner of the Guardian came, saw half the show and wrote a review of the whole that was not polite. How we in the cast laughed at her. She should have gone to Specsavers, we said.

Fortunately, there was enough good press to secure an investment from TV mogul and celeb hairdresser Allan McKeown for a rewrite: the cast and newly-expanded company of 20 reconvened in Clapham to prepare to take JS:TO to the comedy Mecca that is the Edinburgh fringe.

Thomas and Lee in 2002

Stewart Lee became director of JS:TO as well as co-writer. This was to be both a happy and unhappy accident for him. Richard Thomas continued to de-compose. International ABBA expert Martin Lowe urged and inspired us on. Dance expert Jenny Arnold helped to cover cracks that were still evident in the concept.

Day one of rehearsals was a bit nervy. Mr. McKeown came to the first sing-through with his wife, the artist formerly known as Tracey Ullman. We were a cast member down, as Andrew Bevis (a talented Australian singer) was voiceless. I was given the job of filling in Andrew’s part whilst Andrew had to endure listening to me rip his role to shreds!

Mr. Auf Wiedersehn, Pet with Miss ‘I had “The Simpsons” in my show first’

Allan McKeown takes up the tale: “In the car on the way to the first ever sing through of JERRY SPRINGER: The Opera my wife asked me how much money I had invested in the show. I told her. ‘You must have loved the script’ she said. I told her I hadn’t read it. ‘Oh you loved the music?’ I said I hadn’t heard it. ‘You idiot’ she said. Half way through the sing-through she whispers to me ‘How much of the show do we own?’ ‘50%’ I told her. ‘You idiot you should have bought the lot.’”

There were two major additions to the cast. I had played Dwight, the serial seducer who was always ‘seeing someone else’. I exchanged that for the role of Jesus (a higher calling) whilst Benjamin Lake took the role of Dwight. Richard Thomas was so impressed with Ben that he wrote in an extra role for him: that part was the biggie… that of God Almighty himself.

from Rocky to Satan: David Bedella.

But the major find was David Bedella. David had scored major theatre credits which included singing Fran-N-Furter in The Rocky Horror Show alongside Meatloaf, La Cage Aux Folles with Gene Barry and Caiaphas In Jesus Christ Superstar with Ted Neely and Carl Anderson. Credentials enough for the dual roles of Devil and Warm-up Guy.

Returning members of KOMBAT Opera were Valda Aviks in a myriad of roles, including a Superior Mother: also Lore Lixenberg as Valda’s vocal and comedic foil…and of course the play friend of Diaper Man. I was Montel, the guy revealed to be the Man of Diaper, who was to return as Jesus in the second act.

this is a wierd pic. get over it. talk to the haynd.


The Canadian funny-guy Rick Bland reassumed his true characterization of ‘The Springer’. Andrew Bevis played Tremont, the Chick with a Dick. The distinguished actress Beverley Klein had a go at being a pole dancer. David Birrell was Klein’s Hillbilly husband.


To say the casting was ideal was not completely true: but enough of the pieces were there for the show to succeed up north. Most importantly, the writers insisted on colour-blind casting in all areas of the company. Later…much much later…the entire chorus of our little show was to win an Olivier Award for their outstanding contribution to a Musical.

JERRY SPRINGER: The Opera wasn’t the only thing happening at the 2002 Fringe Festival. The other big ticket was for Derevo, the theatre ensemble from St Petersburg. Omid Djalili and Ross Noble made the cover of the List magazine alongside that picture of me in the nappy. But there was only one show that had low lives, unhappy marriages, perverse behaviour, the Ku Klux Klan, The odd prostitute and God in it. You know the one I’m talking about.


Word spread that this was a musical event that should be seen. Many, many people saw it. Including the man himself: Jerry Springer. On a lovely Saturday afternoon. ”The Theatre was packed. The producers didn’t want to scare the cast, so they didn’t tell them which day I was coming – that was the plan at least. When I walked into the theatre though, everyone started chanting ‘Jer-ry! Jer-ry! Jer-ry!’ I think the cast caught on pretty quickly.’”

his middle name is norman

Afterwards Jerry met the cast and shook my hand. He admitted he wasn’t sure he should shake it, given my casting as the Diaper Man.

I said ‘It all right, I’ve wiped my hands.’

(c) Wills Morgan 2012: published first in CCK.

Unhook Yourself with Marc Almond

9 Jul

So. It’s No Bra Day today. It’s up to social enterprises like CCK to rise to the occasion and say something (ahem) uplifting. Fingers at the ready…

icon at 55

chest a song at twiliiiiiiiiight…..

Marc Almond returns to the O2 Shepherds Bush (fnar fnar!) Empire five years after his triumphant gig for his fiftieth birthday. I guess that would make him fifty-five then. Anyway, the show’s at 8pm; doors open at 7: and it should be a good place to unhook your bra whilst nobody is looking. (best to do it in the ladies loos…don’t tell anybody it’s my idea!)

Ticket prices are 19:50/27:50 plus the usuals. You can pay in cash at the door from 4pm. Or online at www.ticketweb.co.uk

MARC ALMOND at the O2 SHEPHERDS BUSH EMPIRE

Shepherds Bush Green, London W12 8TT  tube: Shepherds Bush bus: lots of them

Parking: between 6pm and 12 midnight at Westfield Shopping Centre…just £3 for O2 customers. Check for entry and exit points and read up on the rules..

Drinking: 21 and over. Bring and ID.

day on bra

surely you can see this is a responsible adult

Younger ones welcome, but bring a responsible adult. Like what you see pictured above. You know it makes sense…don’t you?

I Envy the Rose…

18 Nov

It was a dreadfully grey winter’s day in 2006, dull and drizzly and damp enough to guarantee we wouldn’t be warm until the third class of the afternoon. The wind howled down around us, though none of us really noticed it; we were transfixed by the song being thrown out of a friend’s mini speakers, the tinny voice ensnaring us and causing us to cry with laughter. That was the day I was introduced to Tom Lehrer and the amazing Masochism Tango.

My best friend had stolen her father’s mix CD, and we could hardly contain our mirth when the erstwhile Lehrer warbled lyrics such as ‘your eyes cast a spell that bewitches/ the last time I needed twenty stitches/ to sew up the gash/ you made with your lash/ as we danced to the masochism tango’. Incredible. Invincible. Immortal.

Tom Lehrer is an American singer-songwriter, satirist, pianist, mathematician and polymath. A Harvard graduate, he went on to lecture at MIT, Harvard and Wellesey. To say he is a genius is an absolute understatement.

Years later, this song still brings a smile to my face. A truly timeless tune: I urge you all to take a few minutes of your day and watch this video. I assure you, you will never regret it.

Coffee Feature – Black Coffee Song

2 Nov

Black Coffee – The Careless Lovers (The Official Music Video) from Joon Chang on Vimeo.

I spotted this interesting little vid while browsing for coffee features. The song is called Black Coffee by The Careless Lovers, and the video is produced by Joon Chang. A perfect example of the perils of drinking too much Black Coffee!

http://coffeecupnews.org/black-coffee-music-video/

Talk About..Pop Factory

22 Mar

This Friday, 25th March, Wotever World are hosting their biggest queer club night at the Scala in Kings Cross, Pop Factory. For a mixed gay/queer/straight crowd, this will be a poptastic, tune-orgasmic night of dancing to some of the best pop, electro, indie, punk, rock n roll, glam and riot grrl music from the past few decades!

As you will have noticed, the term ‘pop’ is themed in a kinky kind of way, not following narrow-minded definitions, but keeping to a much broader spectrum, which is what we like! With POP ART (by the multi-talented, magically gifted Joe Pop) on display, free POP noodles to the first 50 through the door and lolliPOPs for the masses.

A live PA by BOY, a fantabulosa line-up of DJs to include Bob Henderson (Club Motherfucker), DJ Wanker (Fuck The Pain Away), Jo Bunny (Bar Wotever) and Vicki Lester (who I’m sure you all know from Torture Garden) means there will be plenty of choice for you to hit the floor, with happy dancing feet.

Entry is only £5 with a flyer/concessions before 10.30pm, others £7; or £7 concessions, £8 others after 10.30pm, so it won’t break the bank. Remember kinksters, sometimes it’s all about the music, so get down to Pop Factory to mingle with a wonderfully wotever crowd and start the weekend off with a POP (to go with a bang!)

Wotever World

Wild Thing, I Think I Love You!

9 Mar

A-wop-bop-a-loo-lop a-wop-bam-boo! Calling all LGBTQ hep cats and happening chicks (and all you ker-azy rockin’ Wotevers), Wild Thing is the happening place to be on Thursday 17th March,  at the Retro Bar.

Wild Thing flyer courtesy of Joe Pop

This is the place that gathers the best in Rock n Roll, rip-up Rocksteady, girl group harmonies and the coolest music throughout the ages, courtesy of the talented (and Bearishly handsome!) Joe Pop and, this month, Dapper D from Nitty Gritty, with her soultastic sounds and skanking ska beats.

A place where the good and great (hairdos) can meet, drink and dance their dappily dancing boots away. Wild Thing (formerly Retrosexual) has that glorious mix of great music, cheap booze and gorgeous lovelies to bop and chat with, which is what all us happy (and slightly degenerate) LGBTQ  folks look for in a fab night out. Tattoos are de rigueur (especially old school ones!) as is plenty of cleavage, whether ’tis on the same person or not.

So all you queers with attitude (of the best possible kind) or, indeed, everyone with a quiff to tease and a story to tell, get yourself down to Wild Thing. Hair don’ts need not apply!

Night of the Blue Stockings- Up the Ladder to Success!

28 Feb

Night of the Blue Stockings, photo K.James for Coffee Cake and Kink

Be upstanding for the fabulous Night of the Blue Stockings! We were lucky enough to go and see this popular and busy evening of cabaret and burlesque performance held monthly at the Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club last Thursday night, and what a glittering, fun-packed show it was. A host of  hilarious acts with a warmth and sense of joy that would be hard-pressed to better, captivated their appreciative crowd.

Fancy Chance, photo K.James for Coffee Cake and kink

Our honorary Madam Chairperson for the evening was reigning Alternative Miss World 2009 and London’s Top Tranny 2010, Fancy Chance. Keeping things swinging, with her humour and audience interaction, she MC’d throughout the night between the other great acts on offer. She also delighted us with her own revolutionary act, taking us all the way from North Korea’s national anthem to good ol’ Yankee capitalism via an outrageously funny dance and rhythmic gymnastic display that had the audience on their feet and wanting more.

Honey Wilde, photo K.James for Coffee Cake and Kink

First act up was Justin Pants, with his alternative burlesque Action Man strip. If you ever wondered what Action Man keeps under his pants, well, yes, it is a weird, plastic non-penis. A very clever take on male stripping! Next up was Honey Wilde, the fantastic burlesque artist, with an avant-garde, in the most tongue-in-cheek way, musical performance of inventive cover versions of some 80s electro classics. Never before have two (yes, TWO!) toy pianos and a kazoo (!) sounded so good. The crowd both recognised and loved her amusing renditions of tunes by A-Ha, the Pet Shop Boys and others. Laurie Anderson could learn a thing or two.

Misster Blanche Dubois, photo by K.James for Coffee Cake and Kink

All the way from 1933, Depression era Kentucky (kinda), came songstress Miss Anna Kronist. Playing her guitar and singing quite beautifully, she entertained us with her songs about love, death and a Blondie cover in the style of  down home Americana. A wonderful musical moment.  She was followed by Misster Blanche Dubois, who was somehow able to  blend drag with a lion costume! Singing ‘La Vie En Rose’ in an operatic, lionesque (trust me) chanteuse way, he then transformed into a kinky, burlesque striptease. The audience bellowed with laughter as we were treated to what a ‘naked’ lion can do.

Anna Kronist with Fancy Chance, photo by K.James for Coffee Cake and Kink

The Madam Secretary of The Blue Stocking Society is Audacity Chutzpah, and, as her name suggests, she certainly had plenty of both and more besides. She amused and delighted the house with a very witty sketch about being stuck on a desert island. It was an inventive and engaging act, which had the audience in stitches. Ending with a sing-along, in which we all happily joined in, this was a fantastic evening.

Audacity Chutzpah, photo by K.James for Coffee Cake and Kink

With tea and cakes on offer (a nice little touch) and DJ Josephine Shaker playing a suitably impressive selection of retro sounds in keeping with the ambience of the night, a very enjoyable and entertaining night was had by all. The lack of any pretension, the engaging nature of all the performers, and the unique blend of inventiveness and hilarity on offer, makes this a night out I can not recommend highly enough.

Night of the Blue Stockings, photo by K.James for Coffee Cake and Kink

Art Wank- Porn, Performance, And A Pleasure!

24 Feb

The London Launch of Art Wank happened last night, and what a happening it was. Curated and hosted by the talented, funny and damned sexy Ophelia Bitz, Art Wank is the perfect night for lovers of classic, retro porn, the curious and those of us who like a chance to dress up, have fun and be enlightened to our kink history. Yes, a pornucopia of entertainment was had by all!

Ophelia Bitz, photo by K. James for Coffee, Cake and Kink

Art Wank was held at the Horse Hospital in Bloomsbury, a wonderfully intimate venue that felt just right for the occasion. Ophelia Bitz, our hostess with the mostest and wearing a stunning outfit to boot, welcomed a glamourous capacity crowd who had also dressed for the occasion. The night itself was a glorious mixture of showings from very early porn films (from the silent era up to early 70s ‘lost’ classics), entertaining acts, music, comedy and an insightful mini-lecture on ‘Why sex is fun’.

Kitty Stryker, photo by K.James for Coffee, Cake and Kink

Ophelia has spent days, nay months, researching early porn films (so you don’t have to!) to delight a very appreciative audience. From early (mostly French, ooh la la) films, that seemed to have a penchant for outdoors threesomes, up to early 70s football themed gay male porn, with a witty, specially selected (by Ophelia herself) and apt music accompaniment , the films showed how both the aesthetics and content of porn have changed over the decades. The innocence, naivety and lack of camera awareness of the early performers was a refreshing joy, and the audience happily laughed along to the films. Mr Tom Baker provided wonderful musical accompaniment on the accordion to these very early classics, which seemed especially fitting for the French films, in particular.

Kitty Stryker, sex worker and sex educator, who you may know from Kinky Salon London, gave a thought-provoking, amusing, empowering and well researched mini-lecture on ‘Why sex is fun’. Challenging the audience to think about how we view and consume porn, how we should bring the fun and pure joy back to it, even encouraging us to take control and make it ourselves; Kitty reminded us that sex is both fun, and often funny. She is also probably the reason why there were so many clowns in the audience (you should’ve been there).

Crimson Skye, photo by K.James for Coffee, Cake and Kink

Ophelia Bitz held the night together with both wit and aplomb. Charming all who were there, she added her amusing asides to accompany and introduce the films, performed a very funny take on the song ‘Falling in Love Again’ (with an apt change to the lyrics) and held a competition that had the crowd hooting with laughter. Performance artiste, Crimson Skye, also entertained the crowd with her sassy, sparkling (in more ways than one!) act. She had the audience whooping for more, and added to a brilliant night’s entertainment.

Ophelia and contestants, photo by K.James for Coffee, Cake and Kink

Art Wank is a magical amalgam of  a night out. Educational (though not in the way that our education system works. If only school was like this, I would’ve paid more attention!), fantastic performances, fabulous films, humour and the chance to socialise with a charismatic crowd, it was all very enjoyable. There will be another Art Wank next month, and if the popularity of last night’s event is anything to go by, I recommend you get your tickets early. Trust me, you will love it!

S&M, Rihanna Gets All Kinky!

11 Feb

Rihanna, the successful, chart-topping pop/R&B singer has been causing some controversy and much publicity with her new single and video ‘S&M’. No sooner does YouTube deem the video too explicit for the under-18s, then the BBC upsets the diva by considering her lyrics are a little too risqué for young people’s ears. Apparently singing about “pain is my pleasure” and how “chains and whips excite me” is a “na na na na” for delicate dispositions! Even the title of the song is deemed too controversial for pre-watershed ears of the BBC, with the alternative title “Come On” replacing it.

Well, it’s not exactly new for pop stars to court controversy around the subject of sexuality. Why, it seems like only decades ago that Madonna’s ‘Erotica’ single and video caused a similar stir! How things have (not) changed. Still , it gives Rihanna a lot of publicity and makes discussion of kinky sexuality a hot topic. Shame it hasn’t been particularly favourable or seriously in-depth. Though, at the end of the day, it is just a pop song.