Online Engagement Party.

Please join me over at Uborka, where I am taking orders for the regular Friday afternoon cocktail hour. This week, we will be toasting the engagement of Blogland’s Cutest Couple, Like, Ever:Stuart (from the Isle of Wight) and Krissa (from the island of Manhattan). Hands across the ocean, and all that.

Quickly, now – I need your orders in the next three hours (it’s currently 14:00 UK time). Oh, and there will be Rare & Endangered Species canapés to boot. Yum!

Continue reading “Online Engagement Party.”

The Troubled Diva Old Curiosity Box – Item 144.

One Two Cha Cha Cha – Usha Uthup & Chorus. (1981)

ushaThere has been quite a buzz going round recently about a mysterious 7-inch single by the Bollywood Freaks, called Don’t Stop ’til you Get to Bollywood. (Indeed, an MP3 of the track turned up on Fluxblog not so long ago.)

For those that haven’t heard it, this is a hugely enjoyable Bollywood/disco cover version of Michael Jackson’s Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough – although in actual fact, it’s an only slightly re-tweaked bootleg mix of a genuine Bollywood soundtrack song: Chhupke Kaun Aya, as recorded in the early 1980s by Usha Uthup.

(Coincidentally, this original version has just been re-issued on Tom Middleton’s highly recommended double mix CD, The Trip.)

However, the real jewel in Usha Uthup’s crown is her TOTALLY and UTTERLY barmy masterpiece One Two Cha Cha Cha, as featured on the soundtrack of the Bollywood movie Shalimar in about 1981. (It also incorporates elements of a well-known disco classic – but I won’t spoil the surprise.)

You can purchase One Two Cha Cha Cha on a splendid compilation CD called In Flight Entertainment Vol.2, which is a pot-pourri of all manner of similarly kitsch delights.

This is a bit of a treat, actually. Take it away, Usha!

The Troubled Diva Fame Academy.

Guest Weeks. Dontchajustluvvem?

I know I do. Over at Uborka, I’m having a high old time, and enjoying the challenge of coming up with postings that will, at least to some degree, fit into Pete and Karen’s house style.

(Incidentally, to fully understand my third Uborka posting (Recipes of Yesteryear), you will need to be familiar with the second posting, including the comments. Meanwhile, the fourth posting (YAHNET Acronyms) is something of a world exclusive, which will hopefully be of particular interest to Internet historians. Overseas readers may struggle with this one, I’m sorry to say.)

In the meantime, Peter has been assembling his cast for the first ever Naked Blog Guest Week, which kicks off on Monday June 7th. I can scarcely wait.

Today, upon reading some marvellous news in one of my favourite blogs, I had a sudden realisation. Namely, that of the five contributors to my inaugural Guest Week in March 2003:

I am beyond thrilled. Just call me Richard Park.

There only remains one thing for me to say: YOO-HOO! COO-EEE! OVER HERE!

Continue reading “The Troubled Diva Fame Academy.”

Question 7.

Zed asked:
If you could live anywhere else in the world, which country would it be?

At the risk of coming across as a depressingly myopic Little Englander, my immediate answer is: nowhere. Horizon-broadening be damned; for all its glaring faults and myriad irritations, I like it here.

However, given the somewhat improbable choice between transportation or death (or serious maiming at the very least), I suppose I would have to plump for San Francisco.

I am, of course, well aware that San Francisco isn’t actually a separate country in its own right (much as many of its citizens might like it to be – although, come to think of it, that must be part of its appeal), but it is the one and only place which I have visited, and thought: yes, I could quite cheerfully unpack my bags here, and never leave.

What a blessed relief it is that Zed omitted to append the increasingly ubiquitous “…and why?” to her question. For I’m not sure that I can meaningfully translate SF’s appeal into words. There was just something in the air over there. Particularly one sunny afternoon on Russian Hill…

Question 6.

Zed asked:
Would you like to take up journalism as a full-time job?

Ah, pipe dreams. Well, it would depend heavily on the type of journalism.

Give me a cosy little opinion column in the second section of a “broadsheet” (can we still say that?) and I would merrily churn away at my copy until the cows came home. Give me some Cultural Artifact to dissect (gig, play, film, album, restaurant, exhibition) and I would bash out my pithy aperçus with gusto to spare.

However, give me anything in which competition was involved – scoping out a hot new story, fighting for an exclusive, pitching my wares/whoring my ass to every editor in town, schmoozing and charming and networking with anybody who might be “useful” – in short, situations in which the actual writing part of the gig would amount to no more than a fraction of the whole – and I fear I might flounder miserably. You may laugh, but self-promotion doesn’t come easily to me. No, seriously, it doesn’t.


Question 5.

Zed asked:
What do you see yourself doing in 10 years time?

…and, tellingly, I delayed answering for over a week. Feel free to draw your own conclusions.

Originally, I was going to cop out of this with a joke answer.

suelawleyMy castaway this week is a writer, broadcaster, actor, comedian, art collector, bon viveur, philanthropist, style icon, and much loved national institution. After the runaway success of his first novel, “Memoirs of a Troubled Diva”, he was famously cast as himself in the Academy Award winning film of the same name – a film which brought him firmly onto the international stage. A string of best-selling books later – not to mention the newpspaper columns, the one-man stage shows and the television series – he still finds time to update his weblog, Troubled Diva, at least once a day. He is – of course! – Mike Troubled-Diva.”

But that would be cheating. It would also be a somewhat laboured extension of a self-parodying comic persona of which I am becoming increasingly weary.

Which leaves me with no option but to attempt an honest answer.

Essentially, I have always shied away from specific long-term aims/dreams/desires. In fact, I find the whole notion slightly oppressive. This is probably because I have never really known what I wanted to do with my life; instead, life just seems to happen around me. Which, despite an astonishing run of good fortune, particularly in the last four years, is far from ideal – and, as I touched upon in an earlier answer, a recurring source of stress. Particularly at present, if truth be told. But that’s not something which I have the slightest desire to discuss here. Let’s just say that I’m actively working on turning a particularly sharp corner.

So the best that I can do is offer an answer in vague, general terms. In ten years time, I see myself as having successfully built on the groundwork that I started laying down in my early forties, following the extended pleasure-spree that characterised most of my thirties. I definitely see myself writing, hopefully with some measure of financial reward for doing so. I also see myself deriving a noticeably larger proportion of my identity, and sense of self-worth, from what I do, rather than from what I enjoy.