Sunday, July 31, 2011

Dutch Divilment

Come 9.45 tomorrow morning, the Bear and I will be squeaking with excitement as we board a plane that'll take us to Amsterdam for five days of mischief and frolics on a houseboat. A HOUSEBOAT! In a shock twist, I'm actually packed and everything which is very unlike me, although I ended up doing it in my underwear due to constant trying on of clothes I was bringing as I seemed to have completely forgotten what everything looked like on me.

A few days ago I came to the conclusion that I had absolutely NOTHING to wear for fuck-acting around Amsterdam and its tremendous environs and did what any reasonable girl would do. I panicked and tried on around 38 different things in Penneys. After getting annoyed at the fact that I appear to be a size eleven in AWear, finding myself trapped in a pair of Topshop skinny jeans, buying and then returning a floral dress from Forever 21, I eventually calmed down by picking up this spotty navy gúna in River Island.

Yes. This will do nicely.

Given the indecent amount of fun we had the last time around, the odds are pretty much in our favour that it'll be at LEAST twelve kinds of amazing. At LEAST. Hooray!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Hero In A Half Shell

In American burlesque of the forties and fifties, competition was fierce among dancers constantly trying to outdo each other. It became the age of the prop, with sights like Rosita Royce and her bikini of trained doves that would fly away on her command, Linda "Cupid Doll" Brigitte who would swirl about in a giant champagne glass and Lili St. Cyr who playfully splashed around in a transparent bathtub all performing to packed houses. My favourite story from this age of extravagant props and imaginative dancers concerns Kitty West, who performed an act as Evangeline The Oyster Girl in New Orleans.

Kitty West aka Evangeline The Oyster Girl

In 1949, Evangeline was the headliner of the Casino Royale burlesque house on Bourbon Street, with a routine that involved her rising up out of a giant oyster shell, stripping to a jazz soundtrack and dancing with a giant pearl. She even dyed her hair green for a while, to evoke the idea of seaweed. However, a rival water-themed act soon came swishing into town in the shape of Divena and her 300 gallon water tank in which she performed an underwater striptease.

Divena "The Aqua Tease"


Evangeline mid-performance. (Note Divena's tank on the right. Not only was she trying to muscle in on The Oyster Girl's claim to aquatic fame, she was encroaching on her stage space! The WAGON!)

The management at the Casino Royale immediately gave Divena top billing, a move which Evangeline was having absolutely none of. One night, while Divena was doing her nautical thing, Evangeline had decided "balls to this" (possibly not in those exact words, however) and marched onstage wielding an axe.

"I just wanted to break the tank into a million pieces, and I did. I went out there and I just started pounding away at the bottom. I didn’t want to hurt her, but I was just in such a rage that I didn’t want her to take all the spotlight."

The furious stripper smashed the tank open, sending water crashing over the edge of the stage, drenching the audience and leaving a bewildered Divena spluttering at the bottom of it. Apparently, before the startled performer even had a chance to crawl out of the destroyed tank, Evangeline reached in and pulled her hair, as if she hadn't already gotten the message loud and clear.

Take that, you soggy bitch!

Yeah. You better recognise.

Conveniently, a photographer from Life magazine was in the attending crowd and managed to capture the entire incident, making it headline news the next day. Evangeline has always denied that it was a publicity stunt and insists that she had no idea that there was a photographer in the audience. Saying that though, cameras in 1949 weren't exactly the most discreet of apparatus, so he can't exactly have been Mr. Inconspicuous.

A look that seems to suggest that one should not fuck with The Oyster Girl unless one wants their head caved in from a sudden change in water pressure.

Evangeline was promptly hauled off to prison where she was photographed again and fined $10, which, considering the nationwide publicity and cover of Life she got out of it, was a total bargain.


Incidentally, I've been rambling on about the sexy publicity stunts pulled by the brazen ladies of the 30s, 40s and 50s over on, most of which involved their boobs. So that particular post contains pictures of boobs, just so's you're warned. Boobs.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Amy Amy Amy

The first time I heard an Amy Winehouse song was when Ian Dempsey played Rehab during his breakfast-time slot for Today FM. I was living just off Anglesea Street in Cork and slowly getting my act together for work that morning in my tiny bedroom that overlooked an alleyway frequented by drunk old homeless men. I remember being genuinely amazed by the voice that came streaming out of the speakers and I'm pretty sure I did that stupid thing where you stare at the stereo as if doing so will help you hear what's coming out it that bit better. Up to that point, I was vaguely aware of Amy as a brassy, mouthy London jazz singer but had never actually heard her.

There's been a huge amount of beautifully worded tributes written about her that say everything far more eloquently than I ever could (Russell Brand's piece is particularly moving), and to be honest, I still can't quite believe what's happened. As much as I love Back To Black, I really just want to watch this video for In My Bed, from Frank, where Amy slinks around an empty hotel, all Coca-Cola bottle curves, showgirl legs and raw, spectacular talent.


Friday, July 15, 2011


Well how about that. I actually went and achieved my aim of making it out of Punchestown both alive and relatively unscathed. (Save for a smattering of sunburn on my shoulders - I know, SUNBURN at an Irish festival! It's unheard of!) I genuinely wasn't sure if that would be the case after the helpful and terrifying comments on my last post and hearing that Oxegen is the only festival that the security guards are required to wear stab vests at, but we somehow pulled it off.

As I sat by the tent drinking cans with T Cup and her sister, observing the festival attendees passing through the campsite, it felt a bit like a wildlife programme. That is, if David Attenborough wore giant sunglasses and the wildlife in question consisted of drunk, half naked teenagers.

It seems that boys favour walking around with a hand down the front of their pants. Or in one case, BOTH hands. BOTH hands were actually shoved down the front of his pants as he wandered about. What the holy fuck is all that about? The less skangery variety seem to think that everyone wants to hug them, and much of the weekend was spent humouring seventeen year olds with high fives for fear of being called a cunt. The girls inexplicably appear to enjoy writing on each others arms and legs (who brings markers to a festival? WHO?) and wear denim hotpants with the mandatory two inches of ass cheek hanging out. I swear their shorts were wedged so far up their arses they must have been able to taste the frayed denim. All weekend it was wall-to-wall ass on show.

Anyway, aside from just not getting kids today, there was some most enjoyable music to be encountered, at which I found myself:

* Dancing in the Electric Ballroom while Bitches With Wolves were their usual exuberant, sparkly and ferociously fun selves, with their cover of Toca's Miracle sending the crowd into a disco frenzy.

* Catching Weezer play My Name Is Jonas and a cover of Teenage Dirtbag, at which point I sniffily decided that this crowd of kids probably thought they were actually Wheatus.

* Having Joyce Country Céilí Band lodged in my head until Tuesday after seeing The Saw Doctors.

* Coming to the conclusion that The Black Eyed Peas and Foo Fighters are actually the polar opposites of each other in terms of live performances. You see, and his motley crew are probably the worst band on the planet, but their live show is actually sort of entertaining, thanks solely to an abundance of lasers and great visuals, even though their songs are criminally awful. Whereas Dave Grohl and the lads crank out hit after tremendous hit with inescapable charisma and enthusiasm and no reliance whatsoever on fancy light shows and as such, rock the pants right off you.

Dave can rock my pants off any time he damn well likes.

* Squawking along happily at Fight Like Apes and their typically raucous and demented set. May Kay emerged onstage dressed like a version of Morticia Addams that had decided to take up crime-fighting, with the boys in the band wrapped in technicolour morphsuits. Their performance was an obscenely fun mix of whacking giant iron bars together, the title sequence from California Dreams and a trailer for Plan 9 From Outer Space being played on the big screen and May Kay clambering onto a surprised security guard's shoulders from the stage, from where she finished belting out her song.

* Being taken completely by surprise at how much I enjoyed Beyonce. Seriously, when Twitter was set alight during her Glastonbury performance, I didn't even bother changing the channel to see what all the fuss was about, and yet there I was whooping, dancing around and singing along to the Destiny's Child medley, Crazy In Love and Single Ladies, out of my mind with happiness. I have to hand it to her, girlfriend puts on one HELL of a show.

Honourable mention must go to Tinie Tempah, Two Door Cinema Club, Swedish House Mafia, Manic Street Preachers and Coldplay (who were surprisingly fun) as well as the outdoor screening of The Life Of Brian which was exactly what we needed on Sunday morning. But not Arctic Monkeys, seeing was they were shite. So despite the surrounding knackpocalypse and being wary of everyone in the crowd in general, a great weekend was had, and yet...and's still no Electric Picnic. Which can't come soon enough.

EDIT: Completely forgot to mention that Imelda May was fantastic as ever and Slash & Friends was like watching a quite good cover band. Except for the part where Fergie Ferg joined them onstage, at which point it was more like listening to a bag of cats being swung against a wall.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

This Ain't No Picnic

Earlier this week, a free ticket to Oxegen was most kindly bestowed upon me. Having never been to this particular festival, and having been spoiled by year after terrific year of solid gold fun at Electric Picnic, I find myself both scared and excited about the weekend ahead. I made the mistake of reading this article a few days ago, which served to frighten the bejaysus out of me and envision a three day stint spent as a paranoid wreck, but nevertheless to Punchestown I go.

The weather forecast is awful and I'm well aware that the surrounds will be nothing like the fairy-lit forest or rolling green hills of Stradbally. The only rolling green things I expect to encounter are discarded cans of Tuborg. Then again, with a hipflask of rum stuffed into each cherry-print welly boot, I'll make it my mission to ascertain the perfect level of fucked up and enjoy myself enough to be undeterred and unfazed by the myriad shitfaced teenagers. Also the prospect of Fight Like Apes, Bitches With Wolves, Fun Lovin' Criminals and Foo Fighters will surely make up for any amount of mud. Right?

If all else fails I can just throw things at Amanda Brunker.