Sunday, September 21, 2008

Transsexual Transylvania

(Another Warning: Readers of the resolutely meat-and-two-veg, “a man should look like a man” opinion may be disturbed by what I'm about to say, and they are advised instead to look at pictures of Steve Reeves.)

This, of course, is a quote from Richard O’Brien’s Rocky Horror Show and not an accurate description of the place where I live, as I shall explain later with the help of two advertisements that have recently come to my attention. Now, I have a theory that countries, regions, ethnic groups, etc can be quickly and irrefutably characterised using very simple metrics. (One such is how they recreate Elvis in their own image - more on that another time.) But here I want to look at how easily a culture can be characterised by its transsexuality. (Yes, it’s a rather sensitive subject; and I hope that you’ll bear with me, and appreciate that the “want” here is a thirst more for sociological enquiry than for sensationalism.) Britain of course has always had the likes of Cissie & Ada, France the more soave La Cages aux Folles, Spain its fatalistic Almodóvar queens, Germany its hard-edged Weimar cabaret, America its street-smart RuPauls, New Zealanders elected “sensible-shoes” Georgina Beyer to their parliament and lovable Mr Entertainment Danny La Rue is Irish. You see, it’s all you need to know about a culture. (Even Bulgaria, for heaven's sake, has Azis, a frightening transvestite gypsy singer, and they’ve named an asteroid after him... who’da thought!)

Now, whether this all makes you feel a bit ill or in the mood for rummaging in your sister’s wardrobe is entirely up to you. I've no pressing need for it myself - though some people remarked that I did look surprisingly comfortable wearing a kilt for the first time at my wedding. But I tend to think, hey, women can wear trousers, and it costs nothing to give a little succour to citizens who feel a bit “Glen or Glenda”. And as a liberal ponce I’d say, “when was the last time, yeah, that a tranny created major problems for ordinary people??” (1924-1972, J. Edgar Hoover, allegedly). But returning to my original idea, I must now take issue with Mr O’Brien. Just like Bram Bloody Stoker before him, he’s never been here, has he! It’s just not like that here. However, if we ignore this gross misrepresentation it is still possible that my thesis holds true. Transylvania has just now made its first tentative step; so, please be brave, take a look at the pictures below, and try not to judge us too unkindly:

21 comments:

scarlet-blue said...

It's a little half hearted perhaps . . . I'm sure they'll get into the swing of it eventually . . .
Sx

Gorilla Bananas said...

A hybrid of T-Rex and The Village People would give the The T-People. Good name for a band from your part of the world.

Kevin Musgrove said...

Transyvlia's Kiss FM plays the Beverley Sisters?

The bank advert's a pretty desperate attempt at getting the powers of magic to give a fillup to the market.

BTW: take the word of One Who Knows - Cissie and Ada exist in real life and can be found in bus stations around the north-west.

Can Bass 1 said...

May I be the first to offer heartfelt thanks, Mr Dilio, for not making unnecessary comments about cassocks in this post. Those of us who have to wear them for a living have heard all the jokes by now. (BTW, I note that you list 'The Song of Songs' as a favourite book in your profile. I have a recording of Canon Webster reading a passage from said book during a BBC broadcast from the cathedral a few years ago, and I shall endeavour to post it on my site. Be sure to listen - he delivers it in the manner of a Shakespeare veteren, rather than a clergyman).

Ellis Nadler said...

I didn't know Danny LaRue was Irish

Gadjo Dilo said...

Scarlet: it is a little weak, I agree, and with seemingly no attempt at eroticism either real or ironic. I'll watch for further developments.

Mr Bananas: A great name for a band! Do you remember that momentous day when The Glitter Band (Gary's backing group) announced they'd be calling themselves The G Band? (Wisely, as it's turned out).

Kevin, I envy you: if somebody asked me to say what makes me proudest to be English, I'd say "Cricket, Marmite and Les Dawson in a dress"! (Are they trying to be the Beverley Sisters?? I can't imagine what possible connection Romanians could have with them - except when 178 American Liberator bombers cacked over Ploieşti in 1944 to stop the Germans' oil supply.)

Mr Can Bass: You're welcome sir, discretion is our watchword at Gadjo Dildo. (Also, being frightfully low-church, I don't believe I've ever seen a cassock.) Yes, please send me that recording of The Song of Songs, it sounds ravishing.

Mr Nadler: La Danny is (he's still with us, I believe) as Irish as Graham Norton, though more talented. I've got a soft spot for him: he reputedly had the most successful "marriage" in showbiz.

Mrs Pouncer said...

Very nice. See how wearisome I am? I can't even come up with anything pithy, anything controversial, anything even mildly amusing or apposite.
Goodness, I am in the doldrums. It could be that I need some prescription medication. Where is my inspiration? Danny La Rue is from Cork. I knew R. O'Brien's son, Linus, well many years ago. I am not sure about kilts, although you looked very fetching in yours. It's the knees, though, Kevin, isn't it? Remember the Clitheroe Kid? And what about the Crankies?
No, it's no good. I am going to bed. 2.30 pm in the afternoon, and that's all I can do. Yours in heartrending sobs of longing, Clarissa Pouncer

Gyppo Byard said...

The top picture is, I assume, aimed at sailors on the grouns that only someone who had been at sea for several months would lower their standards quite that far. It was my father - an ex-merchant navy officer - who pointed out to me that the legend of the alluring mermaid was actually based on sightings of manatees, and thus schooled me to base my assumptions for what nautical types would stoop to on that factoid.

To continue your thesis, Gadjo bor, Indonesia has some alarmingly convincing "bancis":

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=HWnymPyL3II

And as for Thailand...

Gadjo Dilo said...

My dear Mrs Pouncer, I feel sorry now that I coerced you into revisiting my blog: I thought it would do you good if you got out a bit more, but maybe the moment wasn't right. We must all try to think of something to say about the Clitheroe Kid to cheer you up.

Gyppo: an impressive female impersonator and what good-natured judges they have on Indonesian Idol! I didn't dare mention Asia in my thesis as I know so little about what goes on there. I'm sure it's true that sailors will do almost anything; and a manatee is actually not such a bad looking animal if one's ship can't reach any port in a storm ;-)

The Dotterel said...

Hey, Gadj - when do you declare your true colours, eh? Go, the OU Choir!

Gadjo Dilo said...

True colours, Mr Dotterel? This post was a scientific enquiry, not a personal declaration!

Do you know the OU choir? Have you also wandered the groves of academe on the campus at Milton Keynes, that city of dreaming spires?

M C Ward said...

If I may be so bold, why did you wear a kilt at your wedding? Are you part Scot, and if so, how often do you say "Och aye the noo" in an average month?

Gadjo Dilo said...

Hi MC. I'm an eighth Scottish on me mother's side so I wore her family's tarten - a pathetic excuse, I know. I just said "Och aye the noo" 540 times, just now, which means I've said it on average once a month over my entire life - beat that, Billy Bloody Connolly!!!

No Good Boyo said...

Mr La Rue ran a pub in South Oxfordshire, but steered clear of frocks while pulling pints behind the bar. A shame, really.

We Welsh exile our few homo-sexualists to England, and I've yet to hear of a cross-dresser let alone a transsexual in our midst. he uncharitable would say that our womenfolk obviate the need.

Are we the butchest nation of these Isles?

Gyppo Byard said...

Boyo - I shall mention to the next Ulsterman I meet that I meet that you said the Welsh were butcher than the Orangemen. I shall then furnish him with strong drink and drive him round to your house, not forgetting my camcorder.

No Good Boyo said...

Sorry, Gyppo, but anyone who names himself after a fruit has already lost the contest.

Also, how much of Wales do we have Loads! How much of Ireland do they have Not much!

If he's a proper Orangeman he should not need you to supply him with a strong drink.

Gadjo Dilo said...

HomosExodus, mun the story of the Welsh Shirt-Lifting diaspora is a story yet to be told. I can see it making a fine film: heavy choral music, wistful images of long-remembered green valleys and chaps drinking Brains with a creme de menthe top in Islington bars whilst bitching about Shirley Bassey.

Gyppo Byard said...

A didn't say 'a' strong drink, I said 'strong drink'. The difference is significant.

I was about to point out that the Orangemen took their name not from a fruit but from King Billy who was, er, a gay Dutch.

So maybe you have a point. I was misled by the likes of Ian "SAEVE ULSTER FRUM SODOMY" Paisley and current homophobic unionist Mrs Robinson, whose comments on the need to cure gays made for derisive comment mong mincing meedja-types in London earlier in the year.

Can Bass 1 said...

Right - come on, Mr Dilio. Time for another post.

No Good Boyo said...

Point taken about the drink, Gyppo, but your further comments suggest that these Ulstermen protest too loudly. They also like men in uniform, albeit the uniform of interwar bank clerks and Freemasons.

Gadjo, Welsh TV has treated us over the years to dramas about the much-praised flight of the Dolgellau Quakers to Pennsylvania and that of stale composer Joseph Parry, who followed them not quickly enough in my view.

Perhaps we could interest Russell T Davis, Wales's most successful gay scriptwriter, in your all-singing, all-fleeing spectacular.

Gadjo Dilo said...

I'm very out of touch with British let alone Welsh television, Boyo, and am personally in no way equiped to initiate such a project. I've heard of Russell T Davis, but unfortunately don't have the necessary connections to get a good word in with him. Good point about the average Ulsterman's wardrobe.

Certainly Mr Can Bass, and thank you for your enthusiasm! I think I'll have a rest and try to be less provocative this time.