Sunday, April 28, 2013

Fanny and Stella

Remember our Cocks in Frocks competition? And remember the winner... Miss Cocks in Frocks?

Now let's have a look at Fanny and Stella: a couple of "He-She Ladies" who could give all of you laydeez a run for your money.


Stella rests her head on her beloved Fanny’s breast.

Mistress MJ is currently reading "Fanny & Stella: The Young Men Who Shocked Victorian England" by Neil McKenna. See review here.

By day, Ernest "Stella" Boulton and Frederick "Fanny" Park were, respectively, a bank clerk and a solicitor. By night, they were part-time actresses and part-time prostitutes.

Arrested in the Strand Theatre whilst dressed as their alter egos, Fanny and Stella were accused of “conspiring and inciting persons to commit an unnatural offence”. I think you can read between the lines to know what that means.

Their trial shocked the nation as every detail of Fanny and Stella's lives were dragged into the public eye. Their frocks and undergarments were paraded through the courtroom as evidence. They were required to submit to humiliating, intimate physical examinations for signs of sodomy by no less than six doctors. If they did not go free, they would face a lifetime of penal servitude.

Reading this book is like peering through a keyhole onto another world and time.

Pick it up and enjoy a lively and gripping account of two men dressed as women whose camp excesses scandalized a nation.

But enough about what I'm reading. What are you reading, Bitches?

76 comments:

  1. We went to a fab evening in February with Mr McKenna, reading from the book. He is a lovely man!

    The story is certainly a fascinating one - I do so agree!

    Jx

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    Replies
    1. JON: I was so busy reading the Autobiography of Miss Normadesmond that day, that I missed your post.

      But when I purchased the book, it crossed my mind that it’s something you might have on your bookshelf.

      And I love this quote that you’ve included from Mr. McKenna in your post…

      “I don’t think you can ever have too much camp,” he said. “Bring back camp.”

      And this…

      I had wanted to write a book which was going to be completely gay. I was fed up with writing stuff that had to be seen through a prism of heterosexuality. I just thought I’m going to go for it. I’m going to write a book that is totally and completely gay. I’m going to call Fanny and Stella ‘she’ because that was what they called themselves… and that was a little bit of a sticking point again at various stages of the publication process. I much preferred to call them ‘she’ and that was a battle I won.

      I think it’s quite new and quite exciting for Faber to publish a rip-roaringly gay, unmediated, utterly-butterly book about gay men, drag, bottoms, fucking and cock-sucking.

      p.s. Let us know your opinion on “Exchange” once you’ve finished it.

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    2. "Bring back camp" is my eternal motto... Jx

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    3. JON: A big butch tattoo with that slogan would be lovely.

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    4. I was think more of an embroidered voile scarf, but each to their own. Jx

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    5. JON: I have a lovely piece of chiffon you might like.

      By the by, did you know that "chiffon" is the French word for "RAG?"

      Proving that everything sounds better in French.

      Delete
  2. Finished A House for Mr Biswas by Naipul last night and soon to start on Anthony Powell's epic A Dance to the Music of Time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. TOPHER: Epic, indeed!

      Am I correct that “A Dance to the Music of Time” is composed of 12 volumes?

      Delete
    2. you are most assuredly correct on that!

      Delete
  3. I read a review of that book and am keen to read it too. I've just discovered Lorrie Moore and am reading her collected short stories xxx

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    Replies
    1. LULU: I’m still waiting for your autobiography entitled, “Memoirs of a Professional Jelly Wrestler.”

      Delete
  4. Replies
    1. MAGO: You know...the things you smell like.

      And I mean that as a compliment.

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  5. Now, those were frocks one could go to war in. Lead-lined, industrial strength crinoline over an all-round bustle constructed of girders. The very last word in factory-grade Victorian frou-frou.
    I'll take a UK size 12, extra long in gunmetal grey, please.

    Oh, and I'm about to start reading The Candle Man (A Victorian Thriller), by Alex Scarrow.

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    Replies
    1. MR. DeVICE: constructed of girders …sounds like my bra.

      I’m reading a review of your “Candle Man” book and found this description…

      if you’re just looking for a rollicking read set in Victorian London with a bit of serial killer action to spice things up a bit, this will probably do the trick nicely.

      Sounds inviting enough but then I read this…

      This is definitely a book to avoid if descriptions of infanticide are likely to cause upset.

      Perhaps I’ll give it a miss.

      Delete
    2. Infanticide? Jinkies! I'd better not lend this to Indescribable when I've done with it - She's just popped her sprog!

      Delete
    3. MR. DeVICE: Congratulations!

      You’re an uncle!

      Although I’m sure the sprog will call you Auntie.

      Delete
  6. Not reading nearly enough, but when I am, at the moment it's Ethan Mordden's joint bio of Weill and Lenya - two utterly mismatched people who nonetheless were a marvelous fit, while the world around the them collapsed repeatedly. Reminds me of the Mister and me...

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    Replies
    1. MUSCATO: Tell me, are you playing “September Song” in the background?

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  7. I must admit the book does sound intresting. But read? With the gin ,the words have tendency to jump around. That's what my houseboys do, they read to me.

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    Replies
    1. I sympathise, dear, but I didn't think any of your houseboys could read... (And certainly nothing with the word "Fanny" in it) Jx

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    2. MISTRESS MADDIE: Jon has a point.

      Don’t the houseboys simply point to the pictures?

      Delete
  8. Standard for Surface Raceways and Fittings for Use with Data, Signal, and Control Circuits, Underwriters Laboratories Standard 5C.

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    Replies
    1. That sounds gripping LX. I've just finished reading "If You Give A Cyclops A Kitten".

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    2. LX: A real page turner!

      MITZI: I suggest you follow it up with “Mommy Needs to Go to Detox.”

      Delete
  9. being mankiewicz

    a memoir by tom, frank's son.

    uncommon knowledge

    a memoir by judy lewis, loretta young & gable's daughter

    tom's is okay. can't say i'm fascinated by all he's worked on, but it's still fun. and that bitch loretta, well.....i'm still not finished.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. NORMA: If it is possible to posthumously slap a bitch, I say go for it with Loretta.

      Delete
  10. I'm flipping through the catalogue of bulges... er... I mean BULBS... yes... that's right. I need to buy some tulip bulbs and those... how they're called... priscilla sibericca.

    And for many years, I have on my night table the score of Wagner's Götterdämmerung (try to pronounce this one, bitches). I want to learn it by heart...

    I'm still on page one!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. HUGGY JON: Götterdämmerung?

      Such language!

      Go wash your mouth out with soap!

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    2. Huggy Jon: Might I suggest this as a very good place to start? Jx

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    3. Love, love, love Anna. I posted her Lecture on Wagner's Ring on my old blog.

      I also love her talk on how to become an opera singer.

      I think I should get myself a wing helmet and a brass bra!!!

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    4. You mean you haven't already got them? Jx

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  11. I'm still still struggling with
    "Fun with Dick and Jane"
    That Jane... Boy... was she one Bitch of a cock blocker!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. PRINNY: I have the Yiddish version.

      Delete
    2. in THAT book, she's one
      bitch of a cut cock blocker.

      Delete
  12. MJ, wanted to know if you're still watching Selfridges? I tried a couple episodes and: was it me or was:

    1. the story good, but executed kinda so-so?

    2. The acting slightly OTT?

    3. The scenery/costumes just not distracting enough?

    I've got two more episodes PVR'd - do I watch em or not? Please advise.

    luv ya!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. RILEY: Although I’ve recorded the latest episodes, I’m not caught up yet.

      But my advice is not to watch anything that raises those three points you’ve mentioned.

      If it isn’t doing anything for you at this point, it won’t improve.

      The same goes for books…if it doesn’t grab you within the first couple of chapters, put it down and pick up something that does.

      Delete
    2. I am of one mind with Riley. I finally realized the only thing the show had going for it was Jeremy Piven's beard.

      Right now I'm reading a trashy blog ground out by a trashy Canadiannne harlot and her misguided minions. Trash.

      Delete
    3. PEENEE: It may not be as well known as the Pulitzer prize or the Man Booker prize but Infomaniac is the recipient of the prestigious Knudsen Award.

      Delete
    4. With regard to Mr Selfridge, don't say I didn't warn you - it made "Are You Being Served" seem like "Hedda Gabler". Jx

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    5. JON: It just goes to show that I should have listened to you instead of prescribing tranquillizers.

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    6. i haven't returned to selfridge either & haven't lost a moment's sleep.

      as for mr. peenee's reading list, maybe we could
      do something about having it bound....

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    7. NORMA: Funny enough, I was thinking of creating a hard copy of my blog entitled, “The Worst of Infomaniac” and sending copies to all my Bitches but I’m too cheap to pay the self-publishing costs and the postage.

      Delete
    8. we could have a fund-raiser.
      i'll make a casserole!

      Delete
    9. Why not bake your famous Ding Dong Cake, Norma?

      Delete
  13. I think the six doctors were up to something....?
    Perhaps they feature in a sequel?
    Sx

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    Replies
    1. MISS SCARLET: A "Carry On" film, perhaps?

      Delete
  14. Carry On Fanny.... or Carry On At Her Majesty's Pleasure?
    I missed the question at the end of your post... I am reading....Quiet by Susan Cain... and, The Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce... have only just started both... one is a novel and one is non fiction.
    Sx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. MISS SCARLET: I read three novels in a row about old men (not intentionally,) including “The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry.”

      The other two were “Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand” by British author Helen Simonson and “The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared” by Swedish author Jonas Jonasson.

      As for “Quiet” it’s been on my “to-read” list for months and I’m sure I’ll see myself reflected in its pages.

      Delete
    2. oh! And something else to look out for... after Corrie tonight a new comedy series called Vicious starring Derek Jacobi, Ian McKellen and Frances de la Tour... it's about an elderly gay couple... Crikey, what a cast though! I'm hoping it lives up to expectations.
      Sx

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    3. I fear that may be a "fly-on-the-wall" documentary of our home life here at Dolores Delargo Towers... Jx

      Delete
    4. ...and I will be adding your books to my reading list.
      Sx

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    5. I'm really looking forward to it, Jon!
      Sx

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    6. MISS SCARLET & JON: I’ll play “Vicious” on a loop in the Infomaniac Villa of Queens Old Homosexuals' Haven Retirement Home.

      MISS SCARLET: If you enjoy the books, send me an email and let me know. Occasionally I read books that I think might tickle your fancy.

      Delete
    7. I started Major Pettigrew but decided it was too much like an E.F. Benson/Barbara Pym retread with all the good parts left out.

      Delete
    8. PEENEE: Mistress MJ thinks it’s delightful that you’ve read Barbara Pym.

      *pictures Peenee reclining on antique fainting chaise, cat in lap, teacup in hand*

      Delete
  15. Replies
    1. AYEM8Y: Thank goodness you’re pretty.

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  16. An article to read about two of The Mistress' pet peeves: stray bodily fluids and CROCS!

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    Replies
    1. XL: Why must you taunt me so?

      I liked this comment from someone who read the article…

      If you're not a toddler, a senior citizen or a doctor, please do us all a favor and NEVER EVER EVER WEAR CROCS IN PUBLIC.

      Delete
    2. Oh right! I mention crocs and I end up in the oubliettes but lx uses the word in capital letters and he doesn't even get a slap in the face.

      *pouts*

      Delete
    3. HUGGY JON: LX is “Personal IT Consultant to Mistress MJ.”

      She must tread carefully or risk losing his services.

      Delete
  17. I love this story. I grew up in a small town called...wait for it...Fannystelle!! How could I hhave never heard of Fanny & Stella? Seriously?

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    Replies
    1. DONN: You’re from a town called Fannystelle?

      That explains a lot about you.

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    2. Nice. It was named after a Parisian gal who built a town close to Whateverpeg for down-on-their-luck French immigrants..her name was Fanny and it was called Fanny's etoille Star or Fannystelle.
      I kid you not.

      Delete
    3. DONN: Population 105!

      104 now that you've left town.

      Delete
  18. Terrible thing to admit, but it's been only gardening & cooking books for me over this last year.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love terrible! ;)

      I did get this book about bulbs....

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    2. WALLY: Nothing terrible about that.

      In fact, we’ll be discussing gardening books and cookery books in an upcoming post.

      Delete
  19. DOes "Diary of a Wimpy Kid", "Charlottes Web" or anything Harry Potter count?
    My youngest crumb grubber has INSISTED that I read these (and so very many others) with him.
    Well, I DID re-read "Catcher in the Rye" with oldest, but that doesn't much count either does it?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. BLAZNG SCARLET: “Crumb grabber”… I like that.

      All of the above books count BIG TIME.

      Reading is one of the most important things you can do with your children.

      *steps off soapbox and back into gutter*

      Delete