All things dragtastic, vulgar, and fabulous in classic movies, pop culture, and television. Friends and desperately 'real' housewives Dr Gaby Malcolm (writer and pop culture obsessive) and Sarah Musselwhite (teacher and pop culture obsessive) push everything through the Camp Culture filter and see what comes out of the other side!
Faking it through your children. Gaby and Sarah discuss how fame and fortune has affected three different families in the showbiz and reality arenas.
What is the impact of early childhood fame, and what if your father refuses to let you go to school? Dream come true, or recipe for a nightmare?
Diversions include the restoration of hairdressers and beauticians as the UK lockdown eases!!
Gaby and Sarah resume their exploration of faking it in popular culture and the media. How camp does that make you - if you have to maintain a facade from childhood onwards for the sake of other people's bank balances - and at the cost of your own sanity, sometimes?
With diversions into rose-gold Rolls Royces, as well as which Gaby plugs her appearance on Channel 5's 'In Jane Austen's Footsteps' (Viacom UK) and also forgets what a vocal fry is for the whole episode and then salvages it at the end.
What makes a person from a privileged, well-off, white family turn their identity into that of a different nationality or ethnic group - and one that might have traditionally been more disadvantaged? Is it just the attention? The money? And what about the pressure to keep the pretence going??
Gaby and Sarah look at some recent high-profile cases from Rachel Dolezal to influencer Hilary "Hilaria" Baldwin. Diversions along the way involve just how desperate we are for pedicures!
Happy 2021 - and join Gaby and Sarah for the first episode of Season 2 in which they go deep with the secret life of Hollywood heart-throb Rock Hudson. They pay tribute to his gorgeousness and bravery and the hard choices he had to make in order to maintain a career and a private life, and then go public with his health status in 1985.
Along the way, they drop in on lock-down issues and of course give the legend that is Liz Taylor her due!
White Diamonds are Forever!
In our season 1 finale, Gaby and Sarah contemplate the heyday of Judy Garland's career and officially dub her a Queen of Camp!
We also consider our future for 2021 - with merch, more shows, and a search for patrons. So, if you are interested in assisting the creation of TOP QUALITY podcasting on all your favourite most sexy topics, then we will let you have our Patreon details very soon. And Gaby also rates Sarah's parties on the Wiltshire/Beverley Hills scale - proper scientific.
Happy 2021 y'all!!
For this episode we're in tears in tiers. Tier 2 restrictions mean that Gaby and Sarah are socially distanced (that's why the sound quality is what it is) - but that doesn't stop us getting emotionally involved in the early life and times of Judy Garland. From the 'Baby' Gumm sister she travels Over The Rainbow thanks to the pushiest mother of all pushy show-biz Moms - Ethel Gumm.
Join us for Judy, the first of a two-parter.
In which Gaby and Sarah twist and turn between the triumphant and the tragic. For the very epitome of Camp, we celebrate the good news about the new influences in politics in the USA - a female VP and a first lady who is a college professor and doctor of education, and then hark back to the 'bonkbuster' world of the writings of Jacqueline Susann. She was the novelist of 'Pucci decadence and a big mouth' who broke down barriers with her depictions of taboo subjects in the late 1960s bestseller 'The Valley of the Dolls'. Even camper still came the movie, the casting controversies, the cat fights, and then came the re-makes, and most of all the reality of the female stars. Their lives were reflected in the roles they played, and their fates were even more strange, bizarre, and tragic. How do we process the decline of Judy Garland (reflected in the character of Neely O'Hara in 'Dolls') as she auditioned for the movie only months before her death at 44? How do we fathom the depravity that took Sharon Tate (Jennifer in 'Dolls') from this world at only 26 and eight and a half months pregnant - slaughtered by the Manson family? We use Camp. We use the system of Camp to try and understand the mixture of madness, talent, beauty, and cruelty on show. And also gin - we use gin. In a martini like Jacqui Susann, or simply with tonic. ('I like a cocktail onion in mine, so I'm more of a gimlet girl' - Gaby).
Gaby and Sarah consider the legacy of 'Big' Kathy Fenton, matriarch of the Richards/Hilton women. Her grand-daughter whom she called 'Star', Paris Hilton, has now released a documentary (free on Youtube) chronicling what she claims was the abuse she suffered in a residential school in Utah. Paris is now looking to shed her 'wild child' 'reality queen' image and heal. But the ghost of Big Kathy looms large over the family. What does it mean to have a narcissistic parent - and grand-parent? Should we live through our children, or for them? Did the school save Paris, as her mother Kathy Hilton claims? Gaby and Sarah talk through this difficult issue that surrounds this dynasty of actors and reality stars, with digressions into making mistakes in your early twenties, not treating your daughters like princesses, and a timely warning about the original narcissistic mother - our patron saint of NWH - Joan Crawford!
Gaby and Sarah delve into the legacy of 'Big Kathy' - the matriarch of the Hilton/Richards/Avenzino clan of women who populate the socialite world of upper-class America and have dominated the past two decades of reality television. We consider how Big Kathy (an Irish-American go-getter from Omaha) made it to the top and how 'Little' Kim Richards was the money-maker for the family throughout the 1970s and 80s. Tragedy, triumph, family feuds, and Big Kathy's philosophy all come under the microscope. The campest of 'Momagers' and the OG - Big Kathy Fenton!!
A look at mother/daughter relationships in showbiz again, and how Carrie Fisher tried to navigate the nonsense of her life. A tribute to her, in which Gaby and Sarah reveal as much about themselves as anyone else - yet again. Gaby's schoolgirl crush on Harrison Ford is blown apart once and for all, and Sarah offers advice on whether to go with the Princess Leia look for Halloween (hint: 'Don't bother!')
In which Gaby and Sarah uncover what a grafter Debbie Reynolds truly was. We also learn about the amount of celebrities Sarah is stalking on Instagram, and given the chance how Gaby would have sniffed Errol Flynn's Robin Hood tunic. There's some disturbing insight into the male fantasy of the younger woman on film as imposed on Reynolds in her early career; and we're agreed that Sarah and her mother should be on the new real Housewives of Jersey (that's the Channel Island).
In which we get all White Diamonded up!! After the marriages and the celebrity, came the down years of pills and 'washed-up' woman roles. But then Liz bounced back with a vengeance in the 1980s. Gaby and Sarah look at the Neverland world of friendship with Michael Jackson and Gypsy the Elephant. Gaby admits that she has no sense of smell, so a White Diamonds gift set would be wasted on her. We speculate as to whether the Brando/Taylor/Jackson Flight From New York actually happened after 9/11 - or is it all just showbiz mythology??
In which Gaby and Sarah wonder if anyone who was born with a double layer of eyelashes could be a movie icon too. We work our way up to husband number four - and then everything is eclipsed when Gaby talks to Lisa Pennington (actor and wife of producer Jon Pennington) who knew Liz in Rome when she met Richard Burton and had to dodge the paparazzi when she left their villa!
Gaby talks to Dr Mark Edward - creative artist, performer, author, academic, and all-around Camp expert about his career and outlook. We discuss the difference between Camp and 'Camping it Up'! And talk activism, fabulousness, shaving your pubes on stage, and give a reflection on the 1980s club scene in the North of England. There's 1970s kitsch, Marie Condo, and Danny La Rue also. Join NWH for the power, presence and bravery of Mark Edward - artiste - and one of his (many) drag personae Gale Force!
Check Gale out here in 'Council House Movie Star' directed by Rosa Fong (Dir. 'Cut Sleeve Boys', 2006).
In which Sarah and Gaby look at how reality TV has overwhelmed the media and political scene of the 21st century. And what strangeness is going on with Denise Richards’ husband - is he really being followed??
Gaby and Sarah face up to the problematic content - and have a couple of interruptions on the way - hence the jumpy edits! We get to celebrate Hattie and Babs but you do NOT want to miss the inside story! Gaby puts on her cultural critical hat and we delve into how to answer the serious questions and account for your own actions and agency.
Gaby and Sarah grapple with the stiff topic of the British ‘Carry On’ films. Positively drenched in innuendo and entendre we discuss the merits of music hall, saucy seaside postcards, and Sarah’s mother-in-law’s walnut and rosemary shortbread. Oh - and the Mayor of Bradford-on-Avon pops round for a chat!
In which we consider the brilliance of Fosse & Verdon, Chicago and Cabaret - divine decadence darling! We recognise just how many great women have played Roxie Hart - and ask the burning question - when will it be my turn??? There’s also decadence, the rise of Fascism, turned in toes and Peppa Pig.
In which Sarah revisits her 1990s self thanks to the Proustian effect of Calvin Klein perfume and grunge. We explore Tonya Harding’s early life and THAT moment in 1994 when everything went wrong. We mention strong thighs - a lot - and James Hunt the racing driver. And Gaby let’s you in on her true age and recalls the pain of a busted coccyx.
In which Gaby and Sarah arrive at What Ever Happened To Baby Jane, by way of frumpy shoes, bad perms and what we hid from our mothers as teenagers. We also delve into the problematic issues of plucking and waxing during the 2020 Covid-19 lockdown in the process of discussing the lives of great actresses.
In which Gaby and Sarah lay out their philosophy of campology and explore what it meant to be a working single mother for Bette and Joan in Hollywood. They also touch on Jane Austen (of course), Kenneth Williams, Susan Sontag and Marie Antoinette. As well as the recurring theme of the Real Housewives. We also find out why Gaby chewed gum and smoked as a teenager and Sarah contemplates how much paperwork there would be if she were the teacher of Joan Crawford’s children.