They’re changing the guests at Troubled Diva Palace…

Time once again to pipe out the old and ring in the new, as Guest Week Three prepares to launch.

First of all, who could forget my dear, big-hearted, irrepressible, jam-tastic Auntie Cyn, over yonder in Liechtenstein? I regret to say that disturbing news has reached me this week, from well placed sources on the Liechtenstein Mail & Herald, that Cynthia’s days in the kingdom may soon be numbered. Something about export shipments of Auntie Cyn’s Special Herbal Preserve, Made To A Unique Recipe And Guaranteed To Cure A Wide Range Of Ailments & Maladies, and a team of over-zealous sniffer dogs. This is clearly a terrible misunderstanding. However, it does rather explain Cyn’s somewhat hastily announced “Big European Jolly” (see below). Auntie dearest – wherever you are – your loving nephew sends you his heartfelt gratitude for being such splendid company over the past week.

Thanks also to Mac, whose virtual acquaintance I have enjoyed making. What with all my pop-culture Anglicisms, I don’t always do a terribly good job at nurturing an overseas readership, so it’s good to form bridges across the water. I’m equally grateful to Quarsan for waxing lyrical about one of my favourite periods in music – the post-punk era – and for maintaining some directly music-related content on this site.

And then there was John, who I’m sure has endeared himself to us all over the past week. I’m not sure which part of “you should be prepared to make a minimum of five posts, spread reasonably evenly over the week” he failed to grasp, but never mind. I blame the falling standards in our educational institutes, obviously. “I’m just like Jack from Will & Grace, only hotter“, he claims. Clearly no twink, then! Hope you enjoyed having your URL at the top of the page all week, and all that FABULOUS extra traffic, John!

On to next week’s guests, then. They are, in alphabetical order:

Buni, loyal old mucker, confidante, partner in crime, and my stalwart companion on the podium at NG1 on Wednesday nights, when the R&B section kicks in. Many of you have asked me how to pronounce his name: does it rhyme with Bugs Bunny, or George Clooney? The answer is, of course, neither. It’s pronounced Boo-NAY.

Fiona is a twenty-something database administrator for a global internet company, who can still remember the wet paint smell of the Web from the early Nineties. She has written for various sites in various guises, and under too many pseudonyms to list, without ever settling down to blog in one place.

London Mark should need no introduction. Founder member (and indeed sole member) of the self-appointed Blogging Z-List – as he will remind you at every conceivable opportunity – Mark is perhaps best known for his exemplary “The Art Of…” series. For a master-class in The Art Of Guest Blogging, keep ’em locked on Mark’s postings over the next seven days. (I haven’t over-sold him, have I?)

Melodrama is a web mistress and self-confessed drama queen, currently living in Calcutta. Judging by the number of referrals which came my way following her endorsement of this site on her blog – the most referrals I have ever received from a single weblog – she is quite a force to be reckoned with.

Hello India, with your thriving and constantly expanding IT industry! Got any vacancies for a washed up mainframe systems developer? Also, could you tell me more about those Ayurvedic Spas of yours? It’s just that K likes the sound of them, and is considering coming over for a week in November to avail himself of their delights.

Zena is an international woman of mystery, currently residing in London. That’s all she wants you to know for now. Yes, that makes five guests this week. Yougottaproblemwiththat?

Guest Week Three starts….NOW.

quarsan has left the building

Well, it’s been a blast. May I leave you with a link to wfmu the world’s greatest radio station where many tracks that will educate young people are broadcast. Indeed almost every show’s playlist is archived and available to listen to. It is an awesome treasure house.

They also think I have a footnote in musical history for ‘helping to define Post-Punk”

Well, what can I say. It was a wet Wednesday and someone had to do it 😉

Goodbye to all that

(posted by Aunt Cyn)

Hello, my dears. It’s me, Cynthia, again. I’m still here – although not for much longer.

This is my last post on Mike’s site and, you know, this week on the web has got me thinking. Meeting all you gorgeously thrusting young bloggies and bloggettes – even if only through the computer screen – has made me remember all the people out there in the extended Troubled Diva family whom I haven’t seen for some years (because of – well, you know – my colourful past). Great Uncle Boris, who we used to call Great Uncle Bulgaria because he lives in – aha! – Bulgaria; he’ll be about 103 now. The Russian branch of the family – the Divasnikovs – out there in Kiev. And my long lost artist cousin, Pierre, who sealed himself up in a Paris attic almost twenty years ago in pursuit of his artistic vision. The last time any of us heard about him, he’d decided to go one better than his hero and chopped off both his ears. Poor, poor Pierre. Oh, and I mustn’t miss out Cousin Bettina either, who’s still doing her act with the snake and the performing dwarf in Hamburg, even though she must be nearly 70. Bless!

I’ve remembered all these people, and I think it’s time I visited them. So I’m about to embark on Aunt Cyn’s Big European Jolly. Oh yes! I’m not going alone, of course – my driving skills have failed me somewhat since the incident when I ran into a lorry load of plastic garden gnomes. Friedrich, my extremely smooth and muscular German handyman, has agreed to accompany me, to drive the 2CV and regularly service the engine. He’s such a good boy.

I’ll let Mike know how I’m doing and – well, you never know – he might even be able to report my progress here occasionally, with a few photos. “There’s Aunt Cyn in front of the Eiffel Tower, there’s Aunt Cyn drinking beer at the Oktoberfest, there’s Aunt Cyn getting arrested for procuring young men in – ” Ahem.

Oh, and a special message to Mike and K – I’m coming to see YOU too!! Yes! That’s right! You must be overwhelmed with delight! Expect me around Christmas – I’ve already loaded the car with twenty-three jars of jam (Prune & Melon, because I know it’s your favourite!) We shall have SUCH fun, shan’t we? In particular, I want to see the garden – because, ooh I shouldn’t really tell you this now but I’m just SO excited! – because I’ve been making something special for you in my evening sculpture class. It’s your very own p*ssing cherub, painted in gold. Wonderful, isn’t it? I just KNOW you’ll love it. So put the kettle on, Mike, and make sure you’ve got some teacakes in!

Fire up the 2CV, Friedrich – I’m on my way!

Big kisses to all my readers; it’s been lovely knowing you,
Auntie Cyn

Tracks to educate young people with (Cynthia’s version)

(posted by Aunt Cyn)

That young Quarsan fellow has quite enlivened my musical listening in recent days. I’ve thrown my walking stick to the side as I’ve fair pogo-ed round the Parker Knoll to the sounds of the Buzzsocks, Joyful Division and The Runts. How did I miss these golden oldies in the 70s, when I was a comparatively spritely young lady in my early 40s?

But I do feel it’s time that I did a little musical education of my own. And I like nothing better than spending a sedate Saturday afternoon pulling the heads off flowers while listening to my Flanders & Swann collection (on vinyl, of course). Rich Tea biccie, anyone?

Auntie Cyn sniffs out a problem

(posted by Aunt Cyn)

Thanks to Mike for alerting me to the problem, detailed below.

Well, Opie, I think it’s a sign from Cupid that you and your wife are destined to be together, and you should stop dipping your wick with these other bits on the side immediately. They obviously don’t share the same (whirl)Wind of romance as you and your darling lady wife do. Although these other young nymphettes may flatulate – sorry, flatter – your wilting male ego, only Mrs Opie knows the true pleasure of your passionate trumping, and the breath of (un)fresh air you bring to your romantic liaisons. Return to the marital bed invigorated, and promise her your undying farting – sorry, I meant love.

Failing that, lay off the All Bran.

lots of love,

Calling Liechtenstein…calling Liechtenstein…Liechtenstein, can you hear me?

(posted by Mike)

I see from one of the comments boxes that my Aunt Cyn has finally been given a personal problem to solve. The problem in question is, I think, worthy of being plucked from its box and placed on full display.

Dear Aunt Cyn,

I hope you don’t mind if I submit a letter for your attention to the comments section.

While visiting Scotland several years ago, I was invited to a party at a country house. Arriving slightly early due to an error on the invitation, I discovered the hostess and her daughters busy with preparations. I gallantly offered to help.

Unaccustomed as I was to the local cuisine, while bending down to lift a heavy rack of glasses, I broke wind with astonishing force. The hostess emitted a muffled snort. This in turn distracted her youngest daughter, who dropped her rack of glasses, tripped over an untidy garden hose and fell into a small decorative pool.

As a result of this incident, I made the acquaintance of the now drenched daughter. We subsequently fell in love and have now been happily married for several years.

It transpired that our mode of acquaintance was more important than I had initially surmised, however. My wife is uncontrollably aroused by male flatulence during the act of sexual congress. To please her, I eat vast quantities of roughage and drink copious volumes of the fine local ale. Her ardour has had a very nearly Pavlovian effect on me; small toots and flutters begin to slip from me at the mere sight of her, and our lovemaking has become a windy Rabelaisian revelry.

Recently, however, with the renewal of hunger that attends on long marriage, I have discovered the pleasures of dalliance. And therein lies the problem.

For inevitably, as I begin to achieve a thrilling intimacy with a new lover, the whirlwind of my passions is, as it were, aroused. The beast my wife has awakened inside me will not be tamed. I will soon be unable to count my assignations on the fingers of two hands, yet only one brave combatant has stayed the course.

I have tried changing my diet but the response is too ingrained. I am at wit’s end, Auntie Cyn. What can I do?

Yours & c.,


Whatever can he do, Auntie? Whatever can he do?

Tracks to educate young people with

(posted by quarsan)

Number Eleven Nobody’s Scared – Subway Sect (wav file)

One of the first punk bands and one of the most iconoclastic. Subway Sect, and especially Vic Goddard, stood out from the crowd. From their debut, and their long awaited follow up – Ambition, they were street smart but had their sights set higher than the others. Indeed, they were the thinking spikey’s punk band.

When many people jumped on the bandwagon and the image of punks became one of loud yobs, it was people like the Sect that represented what it was all about. They were, shock, horror…. literate. Their second single was a perfect piece of post-punk, a song that remains as fresh and as enigmatic as the day it was released

Vic’s first LP, What’s The Matter Boy (photo) struck me as being full of ideas and tunes. It charmed and intrigued me, and I spent many hours playing it as a backdrop to my life.

And then he did Songs For Sale a selection of songs in a swing style – including the divine Hey Now I’m In Love.

Vic Goddard had such a clear and interesting talent as a songwriter it is nothing short of criminal that he has underachieved by so much. In fact, this towering genius is, according to this interview working as a postman.

That’s a national disgrace.