Monday, 19 May 2014

Chapter 6 - The Bearded Lady

The Eurovision Circus.  All countries, costumes and cabaret.  Love it.  Somehow it completely passed me by this year. I was hopeless at a very topical Quiz Night last week.  Do you know the double-barrelled surname of the English Entry?!  But the triumph of Bearded Lady Conchita Wurst was always going to register.   Having just played on YouTube the winning "Rise Like a Phoenix" I hear Shirley Bassey reincarnated or Tina Turner belting out a Bond anthem - though the song would have to lose the line "the neighbours say we're trouble" - a bit too suburban for 007.

While Conchita Wurst's drag persona of a Bearded Lady is a self-styled construction, interestingly a beautiful singing voice is actually a trait of hypertrichotic women. The veritable bearded ladies.  

One such lady was Annie Jones, who P.T. Barnum "bought" at the age of 9 months, when her parents, in biblical fashion, nicknamed her the Infant Esau, on account of her hairy body.  She was famed for her voice, and an  an accomplished mandolinist to boot.  I discovered her first in a stunning coffee-table book on "The Circus. 1870s-1950s." by TASCHEN Books, sitting in the window of the The Book and Kitchen in Ladbroke Grove.

Annie Jones was billed a freak.  She hated that word and campaigned to have it banned.  Smart lady. We live in more enlightened times now.   Though you wouldn't know it, reading some of the responses under Conchita Wurst's videos on YouTube. 

From Wurst to Frank Furter@Dr FN Furter who, on Twitter recently,  took his time to pull off what Stephen Fry has called "the greatest twitter joke of all time" in a sequence of four tweets  (see below -  but sorry, technology defeats me, you'll have to work your way from the bottom up...).  The tweets, lyrics from the Rocky Horror Show's "Sweet Transvestite", sung by Dr Frank N' Furter, left you hanging for 5 years, from 2009-2014, in antici...

I'm calling it a knock-knockwurst joke.  Or not the wurst actually, simply the best.


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