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“I have to say tonight is a dream come true for me. But I feel very, very well prepared because I have been singing for queens my entire life. At last, I’m in front of a real one!” – Bette Midler kicks off her performance in front of Queen Elizabeth II at the Royal Variety Show in Blackpool, England.

 

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“I have to say tonight is a dream come true for me. But I feel very, very well prepared because I have been singing for queens my entire life. At last, I’m in front of a real one!” – Bette Midler kicks off her performance in front of Queen Elizabeth II at the Royal Variety Show in Blackpool, England.

 

Nothing gets me in the holiday spirit more than my annual trip to the UK for a week of theatre. Our first story is about Pamela Anderson. Huh? It’s true – when the annals of British theatre are compiled, a tiny footnote will be about the “Baywatch” beauty’s debut on the legitimate stage in a production of “Aladdin” and Billy was there. Pam’s role as the genie was brief, but memorable. Her entrance was precipitated by “Aladdin” rubbing his lamp (at least I think it was his lamp). He was rubbing something and then had a big smile on his face. That’s when Pamela made her entrance – descending from the heavens aboard a silver sequined surfboard in a costume reminiscent of her iconic red swimsuit. She then knelt before “Aladdin” and intoned, “I am here to serve you.” Excuse me? Did I stumble into a stage adaptation of the Monica Lewinsky story? At least the script played to Pam’s strengths and it must be noted that she most definitely did NOT make a fool of herself – even when she sang Christina Aguilera’s “Genie in a Bottle.” In the second half she had more to do – a group song, some more dialogue and a number of in-jokes that I think went over the Brits’ heads. She sang, she danced, she recycled some lines from “Barb Wire.” She seemed to be having a blast, and so did the audience.

 

Off then to witness Keira Knightley’s stage debut in Moliere’s “The Misanthrope.” OK, I really went because I figured her beau, the dashing Rupert Friend, would be in attendance (he was – in jeans, sweater and knit cap. Is that what passes for opening night in London?). Keira was “terrified” about attempting the stage, but philosophical: “If my best isn’t good enough, then so be it.” As it turned out, her best is somewhat lacking by theatrical standards. She’s not bad, but she lacks significant vocal range and doesn’t seem able to command your attention without the benefit of cinematic trickery; in fact, many times she completely got lost on the stage.

 

One of the highlights of my trip was seeing Belinda Carlisle in “Hairspray.” This almost didn’t happen. One week earlier, Carlisle had laryngitis and missed a couple of shows. She expected to be back to work this week. Once I landed, I was greeted with a warm e-mail, which also informed me that her voice was still missing in action. The beginning of the week, she remained out sick. Fortuitously, I was busy with Pam and Keira and planned to see Belinda on my last night in town. As luck would have it, she was able to do the performance I attended and was in great form. She really pulled out all the stops as the villainous Velma and the crowd roared with approval.

 

Recently George Michael gave one of those long, rambling interviews that usually get him into trouble. There were not many Earth-shattering revelations. After all, as he says, “It’s just who I am.” He admits to still smoking pot (and actually enjoys two joints during the course of the interview) and talks openly about cruising for anonymous sex. When reminded that he could get any man he wanted, Michael retorts, “I do get anyone I want.” And one of the things he does is invite men to his house for some “shagging.” When asked if he was referring to spousal-equivalent Kenny Goss, he laughed, “If it was shagging with Kenny, I wouldn’t have to invite him round, would I?” Lest you worry about Ken, George is quick to allay your fears. “Kenny gets his, believe me.” I believe you.

 

Rupert Everett claims that Madonna has not forgiven him for some things he wrote about her in his autobiography. “Elephants don’t forget. She doesn’t trust me anymore.” It might have something to do with that elephant crack. Or it could have to do with that God-awful film “The Next Best Thing” that the pair starred in. Rupert has choice words about that flick. “It blew my new career out of the water and turned my pubic hair white overnight.” OUCH!

 

We leave Merry Ole England for our last round of “Billy’s Holiday Gift Giving Suggestions.” Since you have to act fast, the first two are online and you can get them instantaneously. No, not a subscription to BillyMasters.com – although I’ve been known to be quite a stocking stuffer! No, we’re talking about Kylie Minogue, who has released her “Live in New York” concert directly to the internet. You can get it on Kylie.com – where you can also listen to the first half of the concert for free. Next up is my buddy Jeff Timmons. The former “98 Degrees” hottie is more than a gorgeous face and perfect body. He’s also a helluva singer. Jeff’s second album will be hitting his website (JeffTimmons.com) and you can sign up to get the music for free! By the way, I recently interviewed Jeff and it’s available to you as a podcast on BillyMasters.com.

 

Billy Masters can take your questions at Billy@BillyMasters.com and promises to get back to you before before Rupert dyes his pubes!  Until next time, remember, one man’s filth is another man’s bible.  Trust me, it’s true!

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