Sunday, September 29, 2013

"You can say that again. Something has finally dawned on me, Sally. We should have picked our own cotton." Honey waited while Sally laughed. "All right, give me the list," she said, "and I'll start calling. I'll get somebody here to help me."

Mary Ward Brown, "Let Him Live," from Tongues of Flame (124-25)

Friday, May 31, 2013

I almost broke my back leaning over to pull my socks on. No way in hell I was going to attempt to get the underpants on. I'd go commando and take excruciating care with the zipper. The shirt was easy enough, but the main event was obviously going to be my pants. I awkwardly wrestled my feet through the pants legs, scrunching the thing down, and then lay back on the bed. I was suddenly reminded of a girlfriend from back when I was in my teens: watching her lean back and hump and writhe into a pair of stretch jeans, and thinking, Christ, she looks good in them and all, but is it really worth all that performance?

Warren Ellis, Crooked Little Vein (77)

Sunday, April 28, 2013

One member of the house party was John Phillips, the songwriter and leader of the American group, The Mamas and the Papas, who told Colin about a long-sleeved T-shirt printed to look like a dinner jacket, complete with a black bow tie and white carnation. For Colin it was a must-have item. Frantic calls to Los Angeles followed and a dozen were air-freighted overnight, picked up at Heathrow and carried to Edinburgh to arrive moments before the male chorus opened the show with a rendition of 'Chattanooga Choo Choo'. Then Prince Rupert Loewenstein and Michael Szell, with Jade Jagger, May and Amy, tripped onto the stage dressed as sugar plum fairies, followed by Bianca Jagger who danced the danse de faune, only the performance was the 'danse du phone' when a telephone rang and she answered it at the end of her performance. Roddy Llewellyn, dressed as a wizard, sang 'What I See in Your Eyes' to a skull, followed by the author, who danced a highland fling in a kilt that slowly came apart and fell to reveal a large green fig leaf - pinned to flesh-coloured tights. Colin, in his usual role as master of ceremonies and appropriately dressed in a top hat and frock coat, introduced each act culminating with two masterful performances from Princess Margaret. In one, dressed as the Valkyrie Brünnhilde complete with horned helmet, blonde wig and spear, she mimed a spirited aria from the Die Walküre, the second opera in Wagner's Ring Cycle. In the other performance, dressed in a sleek black dress, a feather boa and a curly blond wig, she appeared as Sophie Tucker, the 'Red Hot Momma'. Again she mimed two songs before metamorphosing as Mae West, when she parodied all the seductive gestures of the old movie goddess. It was these photographs of Princess Margaret that Charlie sold to a friend for just £20, which appeared soon after in the Daily Mail. Anne sued for breach of copyright, and won large damages, which she donated to charity.

Nicholas Courtney, Lord of the Isle: The Extravagant Life and Times of Colin Tennant (154-55)

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Another group that was overwhelmingly supportive of Italian fascism was American big business, which praised Mussolini for bringing order and stability to the Italian economy. The president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Julian Barnes, repeatedly declared in speeches and magazine articles that "Mussolini is without question a great man." James Emery of the National Association of Manufacturers praised Il Duce at a NAM convention for "leading through the streets of a reunited country a great body of citizens" who rescued Italy from "the blighting hand of radical socialism." Referring to the American economy, the Wall Street Journal titled an editorial "Needed A Mussolini." Thomas W. Lamont, head of the J. P. Morgan banking network, called himself a "missionary" for fascism and devoted himself to "quiet preaching" on its behalf. According to [historian John P.] Diggins, "With few exceptions, the dominant voices of business responded to fascism with hearty enthusiasm." Many later directed their firms to donate money to the Nazi party.

Thaddeus Russell, A Renegade History of the United States (246-247)