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“Sylvester Stallone’s Masturbating”: Pete Burns eyes up Bette Davis

Born 116 years ago, Ruth Elizabeth Davis would go on to become the formidable Hollywood actress who spawned the Kim Carnes mega hit Bette Davis Eyes. She’s remembered by the then more alive than dead Pete Burns, enticingly extracted from an April 1984 interview with Melody Maker’s Adam Sweeting. 

Not only that but the teenage me proudly displayed the entire article on my Bucks bedroom wall at the time. The one with the week’s singles reviews on the reverse side, which was less than kind to new song called West End Girls by a duo called Pet Shop Boys. Whatever happened to them? 

The perverse Burns alleges that when everyone else was writhing in the throes of punk, he, doggedly unhip, preferred to gavotte round dancefloors to the accompaniment of people like Donna Summer and Tavares. He preferred grooves to artificially-induced personality cults. But surely there must have been somebody he admired sometime?

Burns pondered, idly dismembering a piece of toast and peering round the edge of his hair. 

“People whose personalities I’ve admired? Bette Davis. I don’t even smoke, I could never get to be like her. Whatever Happened To Baby Jane was my favourite film, I thought it was wonderful the way she kept kicking her sister over.

“All About Eve was brilliant too. I love the way she swishes her fur coat over that guy’s head when they go into the cinema – ‘Hello Max, you old fox! She’s great, but I can’t really see Bette Davis in a group.

“It’s really hip to have a film-star’s name in your record now, isn’t it? We must try it.”

[To the tune of Bananarama’s Robert De Niro’s Waiting]: He improvised a bar or two of a strikingly atonal song – “Sylvester Stallone’s Masturbating…”

Steve Pafford

Bette Davis, she loves you is here

Mommie Dearest’s Perfect 10: Joan Crawford’s most memorable movie roles is here


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