Lorielle London, Jorgen Raymond, Stuart Semple
The Weekly News
Lorielle London, Jorgen Raymond, Stuar
It’s been a roller-coaster week and I’m still moving at 90mph, so hang on tight — this week’s column is going to be a non-stop white knuckle ride.
The celebrities on my German show this week included the towering Lorielle London, spectacular star of Ich Bin Ein Star, Holt Mich Hier Raus! (Even if you don’t speak German, read it out loud and you’ll soon guess the British name of this outback survival gameshow.)
Lorielle was born Lorenzo Woodard, who became a drag star called Lory Glory and then had a sex change operation in 2007. She’s an emotional young woman — loud, excitable, and on the brink of tears when she isn’t raoring with laughter. Her German fans, and there are millions, think she’s fabulous.
I made a mental note to ask Paul O’Grady, who shot to fame as Lily Savage, whether he has ever considered gender realignment. I’m pretty sure he’ll give me one of his thunderous stares and snap, “Certainly not — have you?”
The celebs who guested alongside Lorielle included Vanessa Petruo, a singer, actress and songwriter so acclaimed in Germany that she’s known simply as Vany. She got her big break on the reality show Popstars, where she blitzed the audition rounds with her version of Ain’t No Sunshine and was later voted a place in the all-girl group No Angels — a German version of Girls Aloud.
That’s Vany and Lory… no prizes for guessing that my third guest, the singer Oliver Petszokat, also had a nickname. “I’m Oli P,” he told me.
“I’m Uri G,” I replied.
One more guest was Hayashi, a former contestant on both the German and the Dutch shows, who returned to demonstrate his mystfying gifts as a mentalist and a sword-thrower.
The tables were turned when Jorgen Raymond invited me onto his talkshow. Imagine the lovechild of Dame Edna and Jonathan Ross — he’s a ferociously witty interviewer who enjoys a second life of stardom as a Surinam drag
During our chat he asked me about my marriage, and I looked at Hanna, who was sitting in the audience. On the spur of the moment, I leapt out of my seat and strode across to kiss her — on live TV. Hanna is not used to having the cameras on her, and she was taken aback, but she rose bravely to the occasion and threw her arms about my neck.
My romantic mood had been heightened by a stage show in Amsterdam on Valentine’s Day, where I presented Hanna with a bouquet moments before the curtain went up. “They’re beautiful,” she said — “and do you know what I’d love you to do? Throw them into the audience!”
So to the mystification of my guest stars, the mentalists Rob and Emile, I walked onstage, leant across the footlights and hurled blooms into the stalls. Come to think of it, that’s Dame Edna’s favourite crowd-pleaser.
I’ve been buying lots of flowers for Hanna at the Bloemenmarkt, Amsterdam’s flower market, which is how I came to discover Fons Welters’ gallery on nearby Bloemstraat. I was puzzled by some of the sculptures on show — they looked like plaster left-overs that had oozed out of a cast.
The artist, Tom Classen, is capable of magnificent work: his most famous piece is a pair of concrete elephants beside a main road, and he also created a centrepiece, two men on a bench, for Schiphol airport.
Fons gave me a tour of the exhibits. “Try thinking of this space as an open field,” he suggested, but it left me none the wiser.
I’m not losing my taste for modern art, though — my protege Stuart Semple is planning to release 2,500 Smiley-Face balloons from the Embankment to float over the Tate Modern. The balloons are made from a mixture of helium and soap, coloured with vegetable dye, invented in Hollywood to create special effects… they float and then dissolve in the sky.
Each balloon lasts about 30 seconds, and Stuart plans to release one after another, every few seconds, until all the mixture is gone. “I’ve had enough of the doom and gloom,” he told me. “I just want to create a really positive art installation.”
Meanwhile, as Stuart turned the air above the Thames pink, a keepsake has materialised on my island in the Firth of Forth, north of Edinburgh. My purchase of Lamb Island has caused a sensation in archaeological circles, and I’ve been bombarded with fascinating letters.
Linda Dalgleish from the Scottish Seabird Centre in North Berwick was concerned that I’d disturb rare nesting gulls if I used a helicopter to drop in on my litle fifedom, so she offered to provide a boat whenever I feel the need to visit.
I couldn’t let her do this for nothing, of course, so I sent a donation of £1,000 to the centre. Charities like Linda’s do a fantastic job for wildlife, even though they don’t focus on the big headline-grabbing animals like polar bears or eagles.
Another email came from Andy Strangeway, the Island Man. He has made it his mission to spend a night on as many of Scotland’s islands as possible, and with my blessing he took a trip out to the Lamb. Andy collected a couple of stones for me, and placed a photo of Hanna and me in the soil of the island.
Wherever we go in the world, it’s great to know that we’re always together and alone on our island.
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