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Reimagining Doris Day: Queer eye on the straight woman

During December, the British Film Institute’s (BFI) season of films featuring Doris Day aimed to give the public a chance to rediscover and re-imagine the career of an often misunderstood screen heroine. In her heyday, Day was the biggest female screen star, regularly topping box-office charts and named the biggest star of the year on several occasions. Her star faded in the 1960s, when her independent spirit was written off as frigidity and her straightforward attitude to love and sexuality wasn’t permitted in the face of gender inequality. She was, essentially, a woman ahead of her time; a vibrant combination of actress and singer whose individualism was often mutated by the movie industry.

In Young Man with a Horn (1950), Day is made to play the ordinary straight woman against the perverse artistic dedication of Kirk Douglas’ eponymous trumpet player and the discontented woman he falls in love with, Lauren Bacall. More recent commentators have suggested that Bacall’s aloof character is the closest 1950s Hollywood cinema could get to a lesbian character – a scene late in the movie shows a female friend insisting on Bacall’s visit, rebelliously and purposefully enacted in front of Douglas’ angry presence. In one scene, director Michael Curtiz vividly realises Day’s difference from her friends by planting her, bathed in light, directly between the other two at a dinner table, where they are shaded in darkness away from the table lamp. It’s a suggestion of her relative naivety and simplicity that is also used in Pillow Talk over a decade later – Day’s buttoned up Jan Morrow made the central triangle of a split-screen phone conversation between the virile Rock Hudson and his current ladyfriend.

But Day’s screen presence is not as uncomplicated and plain as all that. One of her most celebrated films, Calamity Jane (1953), has long been acknowledged for its queer subtext. Day’s eponymous heroine, a Wild West gunslinger, proudly marches around wearing mud as an outer layer of clothing, speaking in a grizzled accent. The men around her undermine her attempts at masculinity, and, with scenes ending with moments such as her slip over before the bar, the film seems to concur with this position. When Calamity heads to Chicago to invite famous actress Adelaid Adams (Gale Robbins) to perform in the local saloon, she stares in disbelief at the protruding posteriors of the decadent city ladies. This moment is a peculiar mixture of queer desire and astonishing naivety; later in the film, she’s accused of having become ‘mean, selfish’, a suggestion that discovering sexuality has corrupted her innocent spirit. But she has long since declared her possessive love for Danny Gilmartin (Philip Carey). She clearly recognises the demarcations of gender – during the opening number, ‘The Deadwood Stage (Whip-Crack-Away)’, she produces swathes of ‘calico and gingham for the girls’, holding it up against herself – either befitting her gender, or conflicting with her muddy, masculine outfit. Later, Calamity is the only one to immediately recognise that Francis Fryer is not a beautiful actress, but a cross-dressing man – a rather remarkable scene for its unabashed queerness.

Calamity herself is made to cross-dress, in a way. When she invites singer Katy Brown (Allyn McLerie) to stay in her cabin, Katy turns Calamity from roughhousing gunslinger to a ‘proper’ woman. Over the course of the sprightly song ‘A Woman’s Touch’, Calamity and her cabin are turned from muddy disarray to colourful floweriness. She and Katy even paint ‘Calam & Katie’ on the canary yellow door. Ostensibly, this is Calamity learning, as Day’s Jo Jordan in Young Man with a Horn does, about her female inferiority, but ‘A Woman’s Touch’ is just part of Calamity Jane’s tendency to show its audience the performative nature of femininity. Adelaid Adams’ big number in Chicago shows, both lyrically and physically, how the star controls the male audience. Compared to the striking movement of Adelaid on stage, the men are shown as a black-suited collective, all staring in her direction as she describes them in ‘pens at the stockyard’. Similarly, no sooner has Calamity been feminised than she is called to visit a neighbour up the hill and removes her new high heeled shoes, declaring, ‘can’t wear shoes ‘cross the creek!’ Calamity’s been dressed up differently, but her practicality and fearless spirit remain.

This independence and adherence to her core spirit are something that characterise many of Doris Day’s cinematic roles. In Pillow Talk, this freedom manifests itself in a conscious decision to pursue true love, and involves having dated ‘a lot of… very nice men’. These men, with the exception of the effeminate Jonathan (Tony Randall) – and of course Rock Hudson’s Brad Allen – are off-screen allusions, in contrast to Brad’s not-entirely-dissimilar string of women that clog up his and Jan’s shared phoneline. This crucial difference led to the characterisation of Day’s character as frigid, despite Jan being led by her libido on meeting Brad. Her first thought about him is, ‘what a marvellous looking man’, and she exhales with glowing sensuality after their first kiss. Day’s Jan Morrow is a performance of subtle and effervescent sexuality – quite apart from the reported personality of an outmoded woman.

The ending of Pillow Talk might explain why. Throughout the film, it’s been made clear that Jan desires marriage with someone she loves, but the climax shows Brad conspiring with Jan’s boss to get Jan back. Finally, Brad carries Jan down the street in his arms like a prize, and his revelation of his changed ways immediately wins Jan’s affections again. On the surface, these scenes show Brad reasserting his male superiority, manipulating and sublimating Jan to a stereotypical existence. But they also show Jan achieving her desire to win the hand of the man she loves, having changed his natural behaviour. Nothing has changed within Jan herself. Once again, despite a change in circumstances that involves her character moving into a more stereotypical female role, Doris Day’s innate character remains steadfast, strong-willed, and, finally, successful. It’s a moral that Day, alive to this day, can certainly be proud of.

The Doris Day Season ran throughout December at the BFI Southbank.

Featured image: Doris Day (centre) and Howard Keel (right) in Calamity Jane. Image courtesy of the BFI.

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Kimberley Walsh shoots first solo music video

Back in early November we brought you the news that Girls Aloud member Kimberley Walsh has been working on her début album, Centre Stage.

In between wowing millions and dancing her way into BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing final and promoting the latest Girls Aloud greatest hits album, Ten, Kimberley Walsh managed to find time to film a music video for the first single from her début solo album. The video for Kimberley’s take on the classic ‘One Day I’ll Fly Away’ was shot at the legendary Pinewood Studios in just one day.

The single is taken from Centre Stage, an album of songs from musicals which will be released through Decca Records on 4 February 2013.

While probably better known for being one fifth of pop super group Girls Aloud – who are currently celebrating ten years with the release of their greatest hits album as well as a forthcoming arena tour – Kimberley has loved musicals from a very young age. In many ways this album is the ultimate for Kimberley; songs that she has been singing her whole life put together in a way that is totally her own.

Always one to push herself out of her comfort zone, she managed to pack in six or seven hours of dance rehearsals a day whilst taking part in Strictly Come Dancing, simultaneously upholding her Girls Aloud commitments and promoting her new solo album.

‘There’s a lot going on but I am loving every minute and can’t wait for people to hear these songs I’ve recorded’, says Kimberley.

Check out an album teaser for Centre Stage below.

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Album Review: CN Lester – Dark Angels

Dark Angels was 2012′s second album from CN Lester, this time in collaboration with classical guitarist Toby Carr. Both musically and vocally, this is a huge departure from the restrained but beautiful tones of Ashes. Instead of whispering through many of the vocals in a tender manner, CN projects to the full extent of their mezzo-soprano ability, and the results are nothing less than spine-tingling. Anyone familiar with Ashes will also be blown away by the difference in style and arrangement of CN’s vocals.

Dark Angels is a classical album that celebrates the late 50 years of the classical repertoire, drawing on composers like Benjamin Britten and Peter Maxwell Davies, alongside compositions from new artists such as Philip Lawton. The result is a piece of work that is unique in the truest sense of the word, something that amazes the listener with its beauty and accomplishment.

There is so much that delights about Dark Angels that it is difficult to know how to begin. Nothing quite like this passed our way at So So Gay in 2012, and if 2013 were to bring something similar then it will be a good year. It is the pure simplicity and talent of the two artists which is the stunning aspect of the album. The musical setting has tension, staccato notes, and unexpected Pinteresque pregnant pauses. It is fresh, dramatic and its draw is thoroughly infectious.

The songs themselves are like their own self-contained little works of art. They vary in length, some as short as 90 seconds, others averaging 6 minutes, whilst ‘Noctural After John Dowland’ comes in at just under 20 minutes. Listening to Dark Angels is a truly emotional experience, drawing the listener in through mature themes as diverse as lust, desire and depression.

In musical style, and maybe this is more a personal reaction, we were reminded of a stripped-down baroque at times; something about the musical and vocal arrangement makes this feel delightfully timeless. This was particularly felt in the simply delightful ‘Farewell to Stromness’, a lovely musical interlude in the first part of the album that showcases Toby Carr’s extraordinary ability, and in both vocal and musical arrangement in the more energetic ‘I Had A Guinea’.

In more general terms, songs such as ‘The Drowning Brothers’ just go to show how much power can be achieved through one instrument played with such dexterity and a vocalist of outstanding talent. There are soft, low notes building up tension and drama alongside the restrained power of CN’s voice. There is a soft, dream-like quality that is juxtaposed with sudden climaxes. It certainly commands the attention; indeed, much of the album encourages the listener to close the eyes and drift away.

The sheer power and intensity of CN Lester’s vocal prowess is showcased to amazing extent by the ‘Lullabies’, a song cycle set to poems by Roz Kaveney by up-and-coming composer Philip Lawton. Aside from the glorious nature of the lyrics themselves (‘When you sleep / All the voices in your head sleep too / Maybe they tiptoe round to find somewhere to sleep’), the sudden power of the delivery is nothing short of breathtaking. Although it is a phrase which is so crassly overused today, it is no exaggeration to say that through ‘Lullaby II’ and ‘Lullaby IV’, the listener is literally carried on a ‘journey’, and a magical one at that.

This is no less than creativity at its much lucid and profound. The great beauty of this collaboration is that it feels so unforced and unpretentious. Maybe this comes unconsciously from the strong relationship between CN Lester and Toby Carr, who have been working together in some manner for over two years. Listening to Dark Angels was almost like sitting down with a great work of literature as a student, wondering what you are going to draw from it. It is a work that requires, nay commands, you to think as you listen, and isn’t that quite wonderful?

Go Get It: ’The Drowning Brother’, ‘Lullaby II’ and ‘Lullaby IV’

Forget It: n/a

Dark Angels is available to order from CN Lester’s website.

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Azealia Banks in homophobic slur row

Rapper Azealia Banks has defended using a homophobic slur during an online spat with US gossip blogger Perez Hilton.

Last week a feud began between Banks and another rapper, Angel Haze. Both of them used taunts in diss tracks to get at each other, with Perez Hilton championing Haze. This is thought to be the catalyst to Banks’ homophobic slur to Perez where she tweeted, ‘lol what a messy faggot you are’.

She then went on to call Hilton ‘dickbreath’, told him to ‘gobble a dick’ and added, ‘omg u should just kill yourself…Like for real.’ The American blogger then responded with a series of tweets in which he condemned Banks for using homophobic language. He replied, ‘Some of your music is cute, but your attention-seeking ways are pathetic and hurtful. You drag while others choose to uplift! Wishing death upon someone. Real cute! The only thing I wish dead is your barely-beginning career!’

 

Perez Hilton was on the receiving end of Azealia’s tirade.

Banks responded by tweeting, ‘Does your butthole whistle? Like is your butthole so stretched and raggedy the air whistles when you move it?’

Banks later defended her position and tweeted a rather ill-advised apology by saying, ‘A faggot is not a homosexual male. A faggot is any male who acts like a female. There’s a BIG difference.’ She added. ‘Really not as moved by this f word thing as u all want me to be. As a bisexual person I knew what I meant when I used that word. And I meant what I meant when I used that word.’

Fans took to Twitter in their droves criticising the up-and-coming rapper for using such offensive language. Has the rapper ruined her career before she’s even started?

What do you think about the argument? Tweet us at @SoSoGay and tell us your thoughts.

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TV Review: Splash! With Tom Daley

As So So Gay’s Sports Editor, and a huge diving fan, I approached ITV’s Splash! on behalf of So So Gay with equal amounts of excitement and dread. We wanted to know if this could be the show that helped raise the awareness of the sport, and lift it out of the minority sport category, or would it be the standard poorly produced, celebrity ego-massage that ITV seem to so proficient at creating? Unfortunately it was the latter.

To anyone who remembers The Games on Channel 4, this was not like that. We were expecting there to be a selection of celebrities who spent weeks improving and learning new dives, kind of like Strictly Come Dancing or Dancing on Ice, but it wasn’t to be. On Splash!, the celebrities perform one dive from the board of their choice. Without going into the complexities of the scoring or the viewer vote, it’s easier to say that the two best divers go through to the semi final, where we assume they will need to perform a more complex dive.

Presented by Vernon Kay and Gabby Logan, the show followed five celebrities as  they trained to perform a dive on the live show. Each dive was judged by a panel of ‘experts’ including 2004 Olympic silver medallist, Leon Taylor, Tom  Daley’s coach Andy Banks, and comedienne and professional belly flopper Jo Brand. We were not really sure what qualifies Brand to be a judge on a diving show. She mentioned something about being a 3m springboard diver in her youth, but it was hard to distinguish fact from joke with her dry humour. Leon Taylor, meanwhile, was cast as the Nasty Nigel/Simon Cowell character, which came across as forced and unnecessary; anyone who heard his diving coverage at the Olympics knows that’s not what he’s like.

Tom Daley

Tom Daley

The show opened with a professional performance. Several divers performed a show routine which culminated in Daley performing a dive. This was accompanied by constant screaming from the numerous 14 year-old girls and middle-aged gay men in the audience, which almost had us reaching for the off switch in the first two minutes, but we stuck with it.

This weeks celebrity contestants included Sugababe Jade Ewan, Benidorm actor Jake Canuso, comic actress Helen Lederer, presenter Jenni Falconer and comedian and actor Omid Djalili. The viewers followed their journeys, which included a bumped nose and a strained shoulder, as they learnt how not to land arse-first in the water. It was hardly a journey though; they started diving on the Monday and performed on the Saturday. The producers attempted to string this section out with the obligatory sob stories, including how Canuso survived the Boxing Day tsunami in 2004, or Ewan not being able to swim. Whilst they may have had the courage to overcome these obstacles, if they feel so traumatised by it all, why seek therapy by throwing yourself off a diving board on national television? We’re guessing their fee had something to do with it. Z-listers still to compete include Caprice, Joey Essex and Linda Barker.

Once all the divers had performed, and the lines had opened, we were treated to a James Bond themed stunt-diving display. This looked to be the highlight of the show, hopefully dragging it out of the deep and into something more entertaining. It should have done that too if it wasn’t for the poor camera work, which led to numerous crowd shots showing the stunned reactions of the members of the audience, but missing the stunts that had produced such a reaction.

Following the show Daley tweeted to ask what everyone thought of the show. #Awkward

Images courtesy of ITV

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Patty DuPont’s Total Celebrity Meltdown: 7 January 2013

I don’t know about you, dear readers, but I can’t think of a better way to start 2013 than with a plethora of two-bit celebrity reality television shows. Who needs high quality drama or side-splitting comedy anyway?

First up this year is Celebrity Big Brother. Although you are more likely to recognise someone on Cash in the Attic (Lacey Banghard anybody?), this year’s line-up of illustrious housemates does throw up some important philosophical considerations. How will Claire Richards of Steps fame cope without KFC? Who wears more make-up: Rylan Clark or Paula Hamilton? Will Gillian Taylforth spill the beans on that infamous lay-by incident? As pretty much no-one seems to be watching, we may never know the answers to these unsolved mysteries, but if I were a betting woman (I’ve stayed clear of gambling since personally witnessing Gloria Hunniford‘s sad decline into scratch-card addiction), I would take a wild guess that the answer to the second question is Rylan.

Dancing on Ice fares slightly better on its fame quota, but it is celebrity diving show Splash that I am most excited about. This of course has nothing to do with the host being eighteen years of age, rather ripped and cavorting around in skimpy trunks. If you are reading this, Tom Daley, I would like to reassure you that I am not personally responsible for those obscene late-night Tweets sent from my personal Twitter account.

I was very disappointed to learn of the end of Gaydar Radio. I would often tune in to the station and get myself in the mood before a night out with Joan Collins; I love a Benny Benassi remix as much as the next person and I found the radio to be more fun than the evening ahead of me. There are only so many times one can tolerate the phrases ‘world’s biggest soap star’ and ‘eighties icon’ in the one evening. I can only hope that new licence holder Gaydio continues the sterling work of its predecessor and continue to make future soirées with Ms. Collins at least partially bearable.

Famous love child rumours of late include Britney Spears as the illegitimate offspring of Liza Minnelli (this story is offensive to a least one individual involved, although I am not sure which), and Charlie Sheen as the son of Hugh Hefner (the pair do look alike and Sheen has been seen with yet anther porn-star girlfriend, but I am not sure where that story came from). I am the love child of a former Pope and Princess Margaret, but I don’t like to brag about it.

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Theatre Competition: My Big Gay Italian Wedding

Following its critically acclaimed UK tour, My Big Gay Italian Wedding is heading to The Greenwich Theatre for a strictly limited engagement, and So So Gay is excited to offer you the exclusive opportunity to win two free tickets to the Gala Performance on Friday 1 February 2013 at 8pm.

Come and join the congregation as this off-Broadway, and comic tour-de-force cult hit arrives in Greenwich. Andrew and Anthony are getting married – and everyone wants to ‘help’! My Big Gay Italian Wedding spins into a hysterical fiasco as everyone tries to have their way. Planning a wedding can be hell, but planning to ruin a wedding can be a hell of a lot of fun.

This music and dance filled extravaganza has been playing to sold-out houses in New York for years and is showing no signs of finishing the reception early. The show also features members of The London Gay Men’s Chorus. With the popularity of Channel 4’s My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding and Don’t Tell The Bride, this laugh-a-minute comedy couldn’t be more current. It’s set to be the wedding of the year!

Theatre review website Broadway Baby said, ‘The energy of the piece is phenomenal: there is not one moment in the show which does not make you howl with laughter’, whilst Scotsgay magazine called it, ‘the most fun I have had yet on this year’s fringe’.

The show is written by Anthony J. Wilkinson, and is directed by Paul Taylor-Mills, whose credits include Rent (Greenwich Theatre), which won the Broadway World Award for Best Regional/Fringe Musical, and Steel Pier (Union Theatre) which has been nominated for Best Fringe Production by Whatsonstage, as well as six Off West End Awards, including Best Director.

To win, simply complete the form below before 6pm on Friday 25 January 2013 to be in with a chance to see this hilarious musical that is guaranteed to have you rolling in, or down, the aisle.

My Big Gay Italian Wedding tickets

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As It Happened: Dancing On Ice – Week 1

ancing On Ice is back and the list of celebrities, which was announced last year, has promised us some amazing talent. Torvill and Dean themselves claiming that this may well be the most impressive line up they have ever had on the show. We also welcomed back the ice panel made up of professional skaters Robert Cousins and Karen Barber, along with new girl, Pussycat Doll and dancer Ashley Roberts, fresh from the wilds of the jungle along, with a return of the ‘ice queen’ himself, Jason Gardiner. If we were not already excited by the line-up, then the opening ceremonies which introduced the celebrities and the professionals decked out in a gold and silver standard certainly assured that, followed up with a suitably dramatic entrance from Torvill and Dean bringing true elegance and power to the arena.

In this opening show, only six of our twelve celebrities took to the ice with rest doing their first performances next week. However, we think we got some of the cream of the crop this week and our appetite was certainly whetted to see the rest.

Samia Ghadie and Sylvain Longchambon

First of all, we have to give special mention to the size of Sylvain’s biceps – they are nearly bigger than Samia’s head. They must have come in handy since this first routine was quite heavy on the lifts, and soap star Samia seemed too happy to be held in this skating hunk’s warm embrace. Her motions were very fluid but there is definitely room for her to improve, although we are sure we will see a lot more of her in the season to come. It is safe to say that this was an impressive first performance, but we have to admit that we were a bit sad to not see her do more on the ice on her own without her towering adonis tossing her around the ice. The judges picked up on it being an amazing first attempt, but Jason meanly critiqued her lack of control with her arms and the overall lack of polish. We were just impressed by what was a the great first routine and we can’t wait to see what they go on to do later in the series.

Keith Chegwin and Olga Sharutenko

Keith’s skating career was marred by an injury sustained in his training in October 2011, so we would have forgiven him for not being in the same league as some of his more athletic skating colleagues. However, he managed to hold his own, making a very good impression and working very well with partner Olga. Was it a wow performance? Not really. However, it was quite fun and he had obviously worked very hard. Ashley liked the fun aspect of it, and Karen saw a lot of character in his performance. Jason. however, did bring us crashing down to earth by pointing out the sloppy presentation. Personally, we thought that it was a pretty good routine from someone we didn’t honestly expect a lot from. He was also humble in the face of his criticism and made a promise to do better next time. We are looking forward to see Keith go on, but we were concerned we may not get that chance since he did have a pretty weak routine compared to Samia’s amazing opener.

Beth Tweddle and Daniel Whiston

The first of this year’s two Olympians, we came in to Beth’s routine expecting a great deal of grace and flexibility and we were not disappointed in the least. She was also wisely partnered with Dan, who had previously helped two other celebs win the show. We also got to see the pair create a new lift that has never been seen on Dancing On Ice before. We were a bit sad to see that the performance did not quite flow as much as we would like, and she seemed to be ever so slightly uncertain of herself on the ice. However, she did amazingly well and her athleticism worked in her favour. Beth also divided opinion with the judges with the performance being marked down by Jason who found it boring and robotic, whereas Robin and Karen praised the technicalities.

Matt Lapinskas and Brianne Delcourt

This Eastender is certainly easy on the eye, but now that he has hit the ice we do wonder if he is perhaps a tiny bit too orange to be allowed. He seems to have the skating equivalent of ADHD and we were occasionally hoping he would calm things down. The performance, however, was charmingly self-indulgent. with Matt relying on a few of his own dance moves to make a lasting impression. He certainly has a lot of power which he showed with his lifts, and we were amazed by just how fearless he was at performing, even pulling out a few moves that make him an ice skating cheeky-chappy that we would love to see more of. The dancing and flashy performances put a bit more of a smile on Ashley and Jason’s faces, who even cracked a smile and was quite complimentary. Definitely one to watch in the coming weeks.

Shayne Ward and Maria Filippov

Having never been on the ice before. Shayne definitely needed to work on his confidence, seemingly in need of a lot of encouragement from partner Maria, and Torvill and Dean themselves. However, on the night he managed to unleash a little bit of charm and did a fairly competent job considering this is the first week, and he is competing against professional athletes. He also looked rather cute in his tight little red number, which presumably helped. Nevertheless, looks are not what are being judged here and this was probably the weakest routine of the night, along with Keith. The judges certainly picked up on this, quite rightly telling him he needed to build his confidence and raise his game. We weren’t greatly impressed.

Pamela Anderson and Matt Evers

Pamela Anderson is perhaps the most well known name to grace this year’s cohort of Dancing On Ice, and we were very keen to see how the Baywatch babe would do off the beach and on the ice. We were not let down when Pamela delivered one of the most lovely performances of the night. It was a little slow, which we were surprised about since we thought she would try to make it loud and memorable, but it was well executed and she had great chemistry with her partner Matt. There were a few wobbles which let the overall performance down, but she did quite well considering that she was another complete beginner. The judges picked up on her lack of confidence on the ice, but suprisingly Jason criticised little, and simply urged her to relax and enjoy herself and not overthink her movements. We agreed with Robin that she came across as very natural in her movements, and has great potential.

Altogether, we are thrilled that Dancing On Ice is finally back on our screens and this is definitely going to be a line up to watch in the coming weeks and months. The performance that shone for us this week was Matt and partner Brianne in their mad but thrilling routine. We were not overly enthused by Shayne Ward’s less than impressive turn on his skates. In the end, though, it was down to the public to decide as the lines opened and we waited with baited breath for the results.

The Results

In a departure from previous seasons, the celebs and their professional partners had to have a special skate-off routine rather than repeat their previous performance, making this somewhat more interesting for the viewer. This week, the public had decided that first skate-off of 2013 was going to be between Keith and Olga, and Pamela and Matt. This seemed a shame, as we didn’t want either pair to go this early in the series, but we were more than impressed by the energy and passion that they each put into they final performances. Keith was competent in his role and came across well in a simple but dramatic number that saw his partner do most of the acrobatic work. However, when Pam got onto the ice she went for an elegant turn all in white which was rather sweet but wobbly beyond belief after a dress malfunction; nerves clearly got the better of her.

It was a tough decision, but finally all four judges decided to save TV presenter Keith Chegwin and we said a shockingly early goodbye to Pamela Anderson. We could not help but feel quite bad about her early exit, and even presenter Phillip Schofield seemed rather subdued by losing our Hollywood star so early. Roll on the second week, when we get to see the rest of our celebrities brave the ice.

Dancing On Ice airs on ITV every Sunday at 6.15pm

Images courtesy of ITV

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London Collections: Men AW13 launches

Monday 7 January 2013 sees the start of London Collections: Men, the biannual fashion event aimed at promoting, supporting and celebrating the Capital’s design talent.

Over three days, emerging brands as well as more established ones, will showcase their collections for the coming Autumn season.

On day one, Lou Dalton kicks off the week with a show at The Hospital Club in Covent Garden, followed later in the day by Topman, Lee Roach and Mr Start.

Tuesday sees shows from Burberry, Alexander McQueen,Christopher Shannon, Martine Rose and James Long. The latter of the group recently being awarded the prestigious NEWGEN sponsorship award from the British Fashion Council and Topman.

The final day proves an eventful one with a mixed variety of talent. Tom Ford makes his debut LCM appearance, Eco-friendly designer Christopher Raeburn and Topman favourite, Matthew Miller all present their take on Autumn-Winter 2013.

So So Gay will be covering the majority of shows and events. Be sure to follow our new @SoSoGay_Fashion Twitter account, as well as checking the site daily for show reviews and the latest updates.

Feature image courtesy of Matthew Miller Spring Summer 2013.

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London Collections: Topman A/W ’13

What a way to kickstart the second London Collections: Men!

This morning (7 January), fashion press and buyers decamped to The Old Sorting Office on New Oxford Street, to see what Sir Phillip Green’s design team at Topman had to offer for Autumn 2013.

After the neon overload of Spring 2013′s collection, it was surprising to see that the opening ensemble was completely white. The focus, it seemed, was on texture and layering rather than colour and statement prints.

The hungry audience – including David Gandy and Tinie Tempah – were soon treated to some more colourful hues in the form of tangerine, tomato and lemon. Feeling fruity, Sir Phil?

Cropped duffel coats layered over knitwear and matched with loose-fit trousers created a new silhouette, destined to be adopted by the fashion-forward crowd.

If men can be ‘Ski Bunnies’, then this is definitely a tag we would use to describe the models coming down the catwalk. Padded jackets, trousers tucked into boots and faux-fur lined hoods offered escapism from grey London to the slopes of Chamonix.

A great mix of people in the audience gave the venue a real buzz. Henry Holland was an avid tweeter during the show, our favourite tweet coming from him:

‘I don’t trust a straight man who likes clothes.’

For the latest fashion news from London Collections: Men follow @SoSoGay_Fashion or our Fashion Editor @Andrew_Whitty on Twitter