Thursday, July 22, 2004
It may come as not a great surprise to discover I do indeed possess the odd Judy Garland CD or two. You'll find them filed carefully away in the "diva" section of my collection, right after the Dietrichs and the best of Gracie Fields, and just before the so-bad-it's-good Ethel Merman Disco Album. And yes, that's right, the crashing sound you hear is whatever remaining butch street-creds I had being chucked unceremoniously out of the window and kicked right back up that Yellow Brick Road. Mind the broken glass, as you skip off home to the Emerald City, won't you, my Munchkins? Camp? You don't know the half of it.
I don't know what's behind the fascination some gay men of my age, and older, have for certain female singers, those they constantly refer to by their first names. You know the ones I mean: Dusty, Marlene, Shirley, Liza and Judy herself. And if you don't know who I'm going on about, then what on earth are you doing reading this blog in the first place?
Traumas and tantrums, dramas and despair, and more pills than you can neck down Queer Street come Saturday night. And whether it's Marlene's screen siren, or Judy's little girl lost, each of them possesses an over-the-top femininity, exaggerated to such a point of caricature, that you realise you're actually watching a gay man in drag anyway. What queen could ask for more? The adoration of the Eternal Woman, without any of that nasty little hetero-sex getting in the way. And besides, as Marc Almond once so memorably sang, a diva a day really does keep the boredom away.
(This post was originally going to be about Songs My Mother Taught Me, singer Lorna Luft's tribute to her "mom", Judy Garland, currently playing to half-empty houses in London's West End, and a performance of such stomach-turning and pseudo-sentimental sweetness that I threw up on the way home, and all my teeth fell out. Let's just say that Lorna's greatest talent lies in the fact she isn't Liza Minnelli, and leave it at that.)