Category Archives: Haunted jukebox

Summer Flowers

In writing about people who died long ago, frequently in obscurity, it’s heart-warming to know that their secret influence continues to erupt in unpredictable locations around the globe.

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Summer Flowers

In writing about people who died long ago, frequently in obscurity, it’s heart-warming to know that their secret influence continues to erupt in unpredictable locations around the globe.

The Death of Lovers

Strange flowers, evil flowers, mystical blue and tarnished mirrors…

The Death of Lovers

Strange flowers, evil flowers, mystical blue and tarnished mirrors…

The Queen

The Queen of Latin Soul, La Lupe, died on this day 20 years ago, although the intercalary anniversary is only swinging around for the fifth time.

The Queen

The Queen of Latin Soul, La Lupe, died on this day 20 years ago, although the intercalary anniversary is only swinging around for the fifth time.

Dress-down Friday: Umm Kulthum

I was shopping in the Gaza Strip when I first encountered Egyptian singer Umm Kulthum. I was struck by numerous stalls selling what appeared to be pirated CDs with an arresting, almost unvarying image: a woman d’un certain âge, raven hair piled high, with dark glasses and long gown, holding a scarf.

Dress-down Friday: Umm Kulthum

I was shopping in the Gaza Strip when I first encountered Egyptian singer Umm Kulthum. I was struck by numerous stalls selling what appeared to be pirated CDs with an arresting, almost unvarying image: a woman d’un certain âge, raven hair piled high, with dark glasses and long gown, holding a scarf.

To the very dregs

Peter Warlock’s enthusiasms were as tempestuous as his disdain, and the flip side of his antsy vitality was the crippling despair to which he would periodically succumb. He conducted vituperative public feuds, writing obscene limericks about his enemies which he at one stage anthologised on a toilet roll.

To the very dregs

Peter Warlock’s enthusiasms were as tempestuous as his disdain, and the flip side of his antsy vitality was the crippling despair to which he would periodically succumb. He conducted vituperative public feuds, writing obscene limericks about his enemies which he at one stage anthologised on a toilet roll.

Bola de Nieve

Bola de Nieve was sophisticated, gay, well-connected and a follower of Santería; in short, there was much about him designed to antagonise Castro’s revolutionaries. But he came to an accommodation with the new regime and stayed in Cuba until his death in 1971.

Bola de Nieve

Bola de Nieve was sophisticated, gay, well-connected and a follower of Santería; in short, there was much about him designed to antagonise Castro’s revolutionaries. But he came to an accommodation with the new regime and stayed in Cuba until his death in 1971.

A Percy Grainger glossary

If you know anything of Percy Grainger’s idiosyncrasies it is most likely his weakness for flagellation. However the more you read about him, the more you realise this was one of the least strange things about him.

A Percy Grainger glossary

If you know anything of Percy Grainger’s idiosyncrasies it is most likely his weakness for flagellation. However the more you read about him, the more you realise this was one of the least strange things about him.

Oh baby

It’s currently not rocketing up the charts anywhere, with its limited run of 400 copies ensuring that Valeska Gert’s posthumous pop career is unlikely to assume Gaga-esque proportions.

Oh baby

It’s currently not rocketing up the charts anywhere, with its limited run of 400 copies ensuring that Valeska Gert’s posthumous pop career is unlikely to assume Gaga-esque proportions.

A German miscellany

The documentary just shown on German TV about Weimar Berlin included Lotte Lenya singing a mesmerising “Seeräuber Jenny” and a rare glimpse of Valeska Gert’s infamous grotesque dances.

A German miscellany

The documentary just shown on German TV about Weimar Berlin included Lotte Lenya singing a mesmerising “Seeräuber Jenny” and a rare glimpse of Valeska Gert’s infamous grotesque dances.

Scarlet sheila

In 1908 Leila Waddell left Australia and toured Europe and the United States with a vaudeville act made up of female violinists, along the way encountering Aleister Crowley who was captivated by the part-Maori beauty.

Scarlet sheila

In 1908 Leila Waddell left Australia and toured Europe and the United States with a vaudeville act made up of female violinists, along the way encountering Aleister Crowley who was captivated by the part-Maori beauty.

Hearse power

A high-speed hearse chase, a rooftop chess match and some surprisingly demure up-skirt action…

Hearse power

A high-speed hearse chase, a rooftop chess match and some surprisingly demure up-skirt action…

Dress-down Friday: Zeki Müren

Müren was a huge star in Turkey from the 1950s to his death in 1996. He wore outrageous costumes of his own devising, though a debt to Liberace’s “more is more” approach to wardrobe and grooming can be discerned.

Dress-down Friday: Zeki Müren

Müren was a huge star in Turkey from the 1950s to his death in 1996. He wore outrageous costumes of his own devising, though a debt to Liberace’s “more is more” approach to wardrobe and grooming can be discerned.

Verlaine’s funeral

The public funeral drew around 5000 mourners on a cold, bright day and marked the exact point at which the hitherto disreputable Paul Verlaine was rehabilitated by the bourgeoisie.

Verlaine’s funeral

The public funeral drew around 5000 mourners on a cold, bright day and marked the exact point at which the hitherto disreputable Paul Verlaine was rehabilitated by the bourgeoisie.

Madame Butterfly

Starting her film career with one of the largest grossing, most awarded and most beloved movies of all time was something of a poisoned chalice for Butterfly McQueen.

Madame Butterfly

Starting her film career with one of the largest grossing, most awarded and most beloved movies of all time was something of a poisoned chalice for Butterfly McQueen.

XIIDX day 10: life after Fassbinder

Of the core of performers who featured regularly in Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s movies, two of the most compelling were Ingrid Caven and Hanna Schygulla. Both still perform, whether in front of the camera or — occasionally — in cabaret.

XIIDX day 10: life after Fassbinder

Of the core of performers who featured regularly in Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s movies, two of the most compelling were Ingrid Caven and Hanna Schygulla. Both still perform, whether in front of the camera or — occasionally — in cabaret.

XIIDX day 9: Glenn Gould

A brief highbrow diversion into the life and genius of Glenn Gould, the Canadian pianist known for his unparalleled mastery of Bach keyboard pieces (and in his honour I am typing this on a very low chair and mumbling a bit).

XIIDX day 9: Glenn Gould

A brief highbrow diversion into the life and genius of Glenn Gould, the Canadian pianist known for his unparalleled mastery of Bach keyboard pieces (and in his honour I am typing this on a very low chair and mumbling a bit).

XIIDX day 5: film poetry

Looking at Harry Smith’s early experiments in filmmaking a few weeks ago made me want to go back and explore other American pioneers of the form

XIIDX day 5: film poetry

Looking at Harry Smith’s early experiments in filmmaking a few weeks ago made me want to go back and explore other American pioneers of the form

XIIDX day 4: Hilde!

Knef was a peerless interpreter, with a voice of limited range but extraordinary expressive power; Ella Fitzgerald called her “the greatest singer without a voice”.

XIIDX day 4: Hilde!

Knef was a peerless interpreter, with a voice of limited range but extraordinary expressive power; Ella Fitzgerald called her “the greatest singer without a voice”.

XIIDX day 2: Sad songs, big hair

My favourite genre of music is something I call People With Big Hair Singing Sad Songs in TV Studios with Orchestra Around The Mid-Sixties a.k.a. PWBHSSSTSOAMS.

XIIDX day 2: Sad songs, big hair

My favourite genre of music is something I call People With Big Hair Singing Sad Songs in TV Studios with Orchestra Around The Mid-Sixties a.k.a. PWBHSSSTSOAMS.

¡La Lupe!

With her on-stage histrionics and off-stage drama, La Lupe was a suffering, Garland-esque prima donna, name-checked in Susan Sontag’s Notes on Camp. While touring with Tito Puente, La Lupe proved so erratic that she was replaced with two drag queens.

¡La Lupe!

With her on-stage histrionics and off-stage drama, La Lupe was a suffering, Garland-esque prima donna, name-checked in Susan Sontag’s Notes on Camp. While touring with Tito Puente, La Lupe proved so erratic that she was replaced with two drag queens.