I just went for a wander into Headingley, provisionally
to buy food and fruit and veg but I actually ended up charity shopping.
I bought quite a few things, had a good haul and it made me want
to write this.
Partly to be self-indulgent and partly because the things I bought
and almost bought seemed to represent a fair few of my cultural
obsessions in one fell swoop.
I'd been past the big Oxfam book and record shop before I'd moved
here but the gal I was seeing at the time wouldn't let me go in
'cause we were meant to be looking for somewhere to live (some people
have their priorities all messed up).
I think it was the first proper day that we lived here, we were
decorating and the like but I was just itching to go and check out
the big Oxfam. It's the hunter gatherer addiction in me or some
In the end the lady I was living with sent me off, she could see
that I wasn't going to be satisfied until I'd been through it all,
checked for hidden treasures and the like.
Y'see, though it's convenient to get stuff online, I just don't
get the same connection with it as I do from physically finding
it in a shop. I like the rummage and the unexpectedness.
Anyways, I came back thoroughly disappointed. Didn't
really look at the book part, mostly did the records but it felt
like all the good stuff had been stripped out and put online (in
fact there was a poster asking for people to help do that) and all
that was left felt terribly bare and uninspiring. Bah humbug.
...and it's always felt a bit like that when I go in there.
...but today, well, it was a fine bumper kinda day. In fact I had
to restrain myself but also I thought "sod it, I'm buying myself
Today I bought:
1) A hardcover edition of Dead
Man Upright by Derek Raymond
You know some things sit on your shelf or
in your cultural awareness for years without you ever really
paying proper attention to them? Well, this is one of those
I've only read one other book by Mr Raymond...
I Was Dora Suarez, set in and around truly sordid underground
Soho and it was one of the darkest, most brutal things that
I've ever come across. The opening chapter is pretty tough
to get through but it's not shock for shock's sake, there's
something terribly human about it all and it's shot through
with flashes of terrible, terrible human need that take your
Gallon Drunk did an album and a live performance of I Was
Dora Suarez with him. I had the album for quite a few years
before I listened to it all as again the opening is just so
bloody and well, downright nasty...
Derek Raymond said he wrote it and then just had to leave
it, he couldn't look at it and read it again... "all
I know about Dora Suarez was that it devastated me to write
it..." and... ''Writing 'Suarez'
broke me; I see that now. I don't mean that it broke me physically
or mentally, although it came near to doing both. But it changed
me; it separated out for ever what was living and what was
dead. . . . If you go down into the darkness, you must expect
it to leave traces on you coming up."
There's things from it that have stuck in my head that I think
I don't want to pick up and look at again. Derek Raymond doesn't
use the term noir but "the black novel". Reading
this, I know what he means.
Not quite sure what I make of it yet but it's definitely recommended.
Photo by Frank Spooner from the dust jacket. He looks a bit
of a one I reckons. Believe it or not he spent quite a bit of
time misbehaving around Soho.
2) A copy of George Orwell, The
Road to 1984.
I bought this for a friend that likes him a lot.
Though over-exposure to his writing and ideas may make us forget,
he had strong genuinely humane socialist beliefs.
Oh and he went off to fight in the Spanish Civil War against the
right. Which is probably a bit more "pro-active" than
building a website and having a right good moan about things.
3) The Complete Terry Thomas book
The classic 'tache wearing British comedy actor. One of those books
that goes through somebody's career film by film.
Wasn't completely sure about this but there's a photo of him and
Diana Dors in it that made me buy it. You know when you buy a book
just for one picture? Well, this one of those.
Diana Dors is looking like a right proper English
bombshell. She's not the English Marilyn Monroe, she's too from
over here for that and she's adjusting Terry's tie while he gives
his best gap toothed grin, looking dapper, comic and just an ever
so slight touch sleazy with his slicked back hair and buttonhole
carnation... oh and his tache is a bit more outre than usual.
I just tried to do an image search to find a
copy of the photo but couldn't and my scanner's a bit temperamental
at the mo', so you'll have to look at this photo instead. Apparently
this poster went for $600 online. Blimey.
Mind you, I found out when I was searching that there was a Diana Dors 3D book made back in the day. As Ann
Magnuson says about Nick Cave dolls on the classic Bongwater
Power of Pussy album "I want one!".
4) Charles Willeford "New Hope for the Dead"
noticing quite a few of The Flaming Stars song titles come from
films, books and the like (New Hope for The Dead, The Villain, Kiss
Tomorrow Goodbye, Sweet Smell of Success, the band's name itself).
Was in Borders the other day and I saw this book. I don't know much
about the chap. That one was this Haiwaian shirt cover one on the
...which is nicer than the copy I bought but I was
being good that day and trying not to spend money.
Mind you, a bit of an internet search and I find a fair few really
nice covers of Charles Willeford's books and the old rogue himself.
You can have a look at some rather well done scans here.
(By the way, the No Experience Necessary one says '"You
like it?" she whispered. "I like it," he clenched
his teeth, "I like it, I like it!" on the cover '...
wander if it deserved the "Adult Reading" red band or
if that was just to sucker you in?)
Anyways, I was sat in the Oxfam bookshop, trying to work out which
of the pile of books I'd gathered that I should actually buy and
suddenly I saw this just sat there on a shelf opposite me.
Well, just had to buy it with a mild bit of fate like that. Easily
persauded I am.
I've been reading quite a bit of noir-ish crime of late. It partly
came from reading Cathi
Unsworth's "The Not
Knowing" book and reading her article on such things in my
sis and her chap's Nude magazine. Both also thoroughly recommended.
Oh and The Flaming Stars? Max Decharne's band of afterhours sleaze
and dignity rock'n'roll chaps. How many more recommendations can
I put in this article? Well, here's another one.
I discovered the
" You Don't Always..." song quite a bit after around 1998/1999/2000
when I was listening to The Flaming Stars a lot while me and my
sis had our shop The
Last Chance Saloon. Back then I played the albums Sell
Your Soul to The Flaming Stars and Pathway to death in the shop.
They felt really exciting, people used to ask what we were playing
all the time when they were on.
...and this one chap had a bit of a moan about "Sell Your Soul..."
where he said it was too short, it only felt like half an album.
I didn't reply properly at the time but I still sometimes play the
conversation over in my head and go "...but that's why it's
great, I'm always left wanting more, not like these 79 minutes of
filler albums where my brain's gone numb by the end".
Anyway, it has this rumble that just gets me every time and makes
me want to skip back to the start over and over.
...also the cover of "Sunset and Void", painted by Sophie
a thing of beauty.
5) No Surrender on proper old VHS video
Now this you can't get on
your DVD lark. I used to own a copy of it quite a few years ago
but a lass I used to make clothes with and had a bit of a fling
with borrowed it and I never got it back. Last thing I heard she
was living in a bus and had lost a couple of her toes through illness.
It's written by Alan Bleasdale who also did Boys From The Blackstuff.
Things like this are almost like looking at another country than
the England of today.
Made just as the contemporary consumer culture was starting to fully
kick in, it's a view of a lost England... I guess it was before
the last great set battle between the old left and the new right/way
of being, the Miners Strike of 1984. Funny year to have that.
can see some of the prints I designed that were partly based
around the Miners Strike here.
I'm semi-obsessed with this point in history and culture: A
Civil War Without Guns as it's been described...
it shows how easily people will throw away the rule books about
freedoms and protest. We sit happily in our homes taking it
all for granted.
I remember having an
arguement at a pub quiz with a gothic nurse lass where she was saying
that people just wouldn't let things go back to the repression of
previous eras. I wish I'd come back with something snappy like "That's
just a denial and ignorance of history. Look at Chaucer's times, women
were much more free then than in years to come... let alone the more
obvious movement of German civilisation to National Socialism or Thatcher's
anti-gay Clause 29"...
...but at the time I was just thinking "shut up you fat goth".
recommend a read of David Peace's GB84 for probably one of the best
accounts of the whole thing I've come across.
I'm not great at reading dry academic accounts of history... this
isn't that, it's a fictional hidden history view of it all.
I like this new cover they've given it (to the right, the photo
on the left's just there 'cause I like it, it's by Don McPhee if
you want to know. Looks like he's taken some interesting photos
of political and industrial action by ordinary people).
No Surrender... 's very funny to. Set in a rough
working man's club where the previous manager has booked a group
of Orange Lodge OAPs and their Catholic equivalent to the same do
and the entertainment includes a useless magician (Elvis Costello)
and a kinda new wave-y band who sing a song that goes "We're
gonna die, die, die, die, die, die, die, it's gonna come from the
sky... look at me I'm young and free, look at you, you're old and
Plus it has Joanne Whalley in it and I'm a chap of a certain age
where that's always a kinda bonus. She's only six years older than
me and almost from my part of the world. There's still time. Sigh.
Bleasdale also did The Monocled Mutineer, which was a TV series
about a chap who impersonated an officer and was instrumental
in an uprising from the ordinary ranks in the First World War
against the useless slaughter.
I sometimes wander about the human herd mentality where we will
follow orders, even if we know we'll die for no use. Why do
we do that? Is it to preserve our lives for just a few seconds
more and not really believing that we will die?
I saw this when I first left school and it had a profound effect
was a lot of very fine TV drama at that point that's really
stayed with me... The Singing Detective and The Edge of Darkness
spring to mind also. Oh and Mrs
Whalley is in both of them to.
The Edge of Darkness is probably one of the best things I've
It deals with ecological and hidden political issues in a way
that I don't think anything else I've ever seen has. To a background
of eighties activism it reflects the period very well but it's
in no way a period piece. V'intelligent, human and it has a
darkness that chills me...
...and can somebody tell me how come politics and entertainment
aren't presented together this skillfully any more?
Bob Peck is just superb as the terribly solid, no nonsense Englishman
who's daughter dies in his arms. That's her teddy bear on the
Paul McGann looks terribly handsome in it).
Anyways, I was just
about to go "that's enough things" when I saw this here
video of No Surrender.
6) Reg and Ron Kray's Our Story (with Fred Dinenage)
I think this is the first edition hard back. Such
things don't normally bother me but with this for some reason it
Now, I don't massively mythologise the Krays and all that but having
been reading quite a bit of the old crime fiction, I quite wanted
to read this.
I think it's partly 'cause of the ongoing romantic idea of 50/60's
Soho and clubland that I have in my head from watching Scandal (starring
Mrs Whalley from above), the club scenes in Our Friends Up North
or the drunken carousing in Dance With A Stranger (and just how
great does Miranda Richardson look in that?)...
Mrs Miranda Richardson looking rather stylish
on the cover of the soundtrack album...
...and Joanne Whalley as Christine Keeler in Scandal, with
Ian McKellen as Minister for War John Profumo.
Interestingly, as an insight into how class works, John Profumo
carried on living a life of privelige after lying to parliament
about his affair and effectively bringing down his own government.
Christine Keeler went to prison and even only a few years
ago was still subject to it affecting her life when she lost
her job as a dinner lady when the headmaster found out who
...oh and all
that Soho yearning also comes from reading Jake Arnott's The Long
Firm and basically kind of living that kind of basement cellar sleaze'n'glamour
lifestyle in London myself once upon a time (read my article on such
Also, it's the hidden history of shennanigans that the establishment
get up to that fascinate me about such things. I'd recommend reading
Anthony Frewin's London Blue as a way into the Profumo affair, Christine
Keeler, Kennedy, London's vice in day's gone by and the like.
I shall write a full article about this book at some point.
(While on the subject of The Krays does anybody remember that 7"
called Wibbling Rivalry that was put out of the Gallagher brothers
arguing, with Noel giving Liam a bollocking for getting them barred
from entering some country they were meant to be playing in through
drunkeness? They used a photo of The Krays on the cover without asking
their permission. Apparently a "representative" of The Krays
had a word with the indie record label about this and told them that
they expected all profits from it to be donated to the charity of
I would of loved to have seen the look on the indie boys faces when
that visit happened.)
7) Step Right Up: The Songs of Tom
Now, this may not be the most beautifully packaged
CD I've ever seen, though it does have a picture of the Tropicana
Motel where Tom Waits used to live on the cover...
I reckons the picture to the right is my all
time favourite Tom Waits picture.
Now, I'm not a huge fan of Mr Waits music,
though I do find him an interesting character and I was one
of the people who desparately tried to get tickets for him
playing live last year when the phone lines and internet just
jammed... it's maybe the American-ness, me being a bit obsessed
with what makes up Englishness (over the summer a young Scottish
chap lived with me and when he was really pissed one night
he started saying "away and polish your tennis bats"
to a bit of well spoken English chap, there's something in
that that says a lot).
I've just watched Down By Law (£7.00 in Fopp, bonus!
A bit nasty DVD reissue cover, not such a bonus) and I reckons
it's one of my all time favourite films.
Set in a noir-ish could be now, could be the forties world
of swampland and fine ties, it's incredibly stylish and the
"I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream"
scenes just kills me every time.
There's a moment when they start where you can see Tom Waits
cool break for just a moment, he knows he's got to do it but
it's not that cool but a lot of fun and he's just a human
like the rest of us.
I watched it while putting the backs in 1400 badges, just
after Cry Baby (just re-released on DVD but watched on VHS
video that inside advertises Jesus Christ Superstar and Xanadu
along with Cry Baby and says "the universal appeal of
the musical" which is kinda twisted). Cry Baby is a genuinely
feel good movie, in a John Waters kinda way and some of the
"I give Cry Baby. I give bare second on the first date"...
"My brother wouldn't touch your titties with a ten foot
pole. He likes his women bad not cheap"...
and "...you may be a square but you're still a tramp".
Traci Lords looks like a Vince
Ray painting come to life in this. It's those pencil
...Tom Waits lived
at the Tropicana Motel with a chap called Chuck Weiss apparently
(second on the left below)...
...I've only just heard of him but I'm planning on
seeking out one of his albums.
Tom Waits seems to have created a world all of his own. Part beatnik,
part cool-hep cat, part gravel voiced crazy man at the late late
night bar. You tend to think that nobody manages to actually live
such a life but romantics like me do the best we can in our heads.
I remember my ex telling me about Richard E. Grant saying about
working with Tom Waits and him arriving in a Cadillac and being
just like you expect him to be... actually I've just Google'd it
and found it:
"Everyone else is in smatterings of designer casuals. Mistah
Waits arrives straight off an old record cover in a '64 open topped
Cadillac, with fins, with a funnel of dust trailing down the dirt
road. The gravel voice gets out some howdy-doodys and his clothes
and hair are crumple-sculpted to him. Doesn't seem to have a straight
bone in his bearing and kills me off with his cool by growling out
a compliment for 'Withnail'. Out of the side of his mouth. Like
we might be being spied on by the bailiffs. Him, rolling tobacco
and reefer. Winona [Ryder] and I are 'We've got all your recordings,
Tom!' to which he just heh-hehs."
Tom Waits and Richard E. Grant's With Nails book).
I always think of a part in the Siouxsie and the Banshees official
biography where she says she didn't want world domination, she just
I guess a huge part of my adult life has been about that. I'm rubbish
at working for anybody else, I'm quite good at the job but working
within other people's structures and authority just does my head
in and makes me miserable. It's not an adopted mannerism, it's just
how I am.
The tricky part, of course, is how to be your oddball bohemian self
and make a living at your oddball bohemian work... "too each
according to his needs, from each according to his abilities"
as a certain Karl Marx once wrote... (don't know about you but I
don't reckon hardly anybody needs a thirty grand 4*4 or people carrier
to drive around town in).
My most recent relationship partly failed 'cause my other half just
couldn't seem to let me just get on with being my oddball bohemian
I've been working on and planning small businesses ever since before
I was ten, so I guess it's just in me and I'm looking forward to
being that older eccentric bloke with sticky-up balding hair and
...oh yeh, this CD. It's got Tindersticks and Jeffrey Lee Pierce
(Gun Club) and These Immortal Souls (Rowland S. Howard/Birthday
Party) on it, amongst others, covering Tom Waits.
I'm actually in the process of writing
a book on the likes of Tindersticks, Gallon Drunk, Flaming Stars,
Michael J. Sheehy, Bonebox, suits and slicked back hair, proper
old barbers, a dash of the hidden history found in London Blue,
The Long Firm, The Profumo affair and shennanigans amongst them
twinkling Soho lights...
It's not going to be a "and
then this gig was played and then this gig was played" kind
of thing. More an almost journal like thing of how this music and
culture has been the soundtrack to my life and others.
It's a very British thing and it's not going to be about all that
punk'rock'n'roll cartoony stuff, it's going to be about music that
comes from somewhere much darker than that.
I thinking of calling it Afterhours Sleaze and Dignity.
||The Tindersticks when suited and
booted at the Rivoli Ballroom in 1993.
||...and Tindersticks in more casual
When I first saw them live and they were dressed casually I
was a bit disappointed, I guess I'd built up this whole Tindersticks
world in my head that involved stocky chaps in suits brokenly
...now, though, it kind of makes sense... and of course Mr Staples
is sporting a fine tache, which helps.
It may be a double A-side. The other
side of it is more Billy Childish/Thee Headcoats/Holly Golightly/Singing
Loins related. I'm thinking of calling that either Thee English
Garage Punk, Thee English Kitchen Punk or No Man Is God.
8) Puressence "It Doesn't
Bought this on a 49p whim as I'd liked some of their
stuff that an ex used to play. Was hoping it was one of the songs
that I really liked. It's not. Oh well.
9) Earl Brutus "Come Taste My Mind"
Now, I've already got this but I appear to have bought
it again just 'cause this has got a radio edit on that I haven't
got and a promo company sticker that says "Earl Brutus continue
their assault on anything pretentious and up it's own arse",
which isn't strictly what they were about...
...actually I bought it just 'cause they were such
a fine band... "will you talk to me for a fiver 'cause I'm
English and you hate me"... and I wanted to buy something by
||Earl Brutus made this record. It's
one of the finest records ever made. A big bloody nosed electro-glam
stomp in the face of crap British culture... actually it's probably
even more relevant in these days of celebrity culture than it
"Tudorbethan mansions, hair designed by Nicky Clarke"...
said with such a fantastic sneer...
and "ginger satan, ginger satan" which I think is
directed at a then popular chatshow host.
I'm always seeing this in charity shops and bargain bins. I
reckon that's me liking what society considers detritus, the
things that are maybe a bit broken, battered and bruised. You
can probably find a copy if you look a bit. If you can't then
email me and I may even send you a copy (I've bought a few up
over the years to give to people)...
...oh and the gal I had a fling with who borrowed
my copy of No Surrender, well one of her cousins was married to
one of them and she used to make them trousers that were designed
to split on the bum onstage...
...it's curious how things get written out of cultural
history and it seems to be even easier nowadays for that to happen
to things that were pre-the internet explosion. Earl Brutus were
just pre that (it started properly about 1998 I reckons) and if
you search for them, they're ain't a lot out there...
...mind you, I actually don't mind that in a way. I like having
to search for things and it not just being there at the click of
Curiously, I recently found out that Nick Sanderson from Earl Brutus
was in The Gun Club...
...here's him with Kid Congo Powers. People from
The Jesus and Mary Chain, The Gun Club and Earl Brutus were all
variously in those bands. The only band I'd known about Nick Sanderson
being in before was World of Twist...
...oh, you know that thing about making a living from the oddball
stuff you do? Well, Nick Sanderson apparently has recently become
a train driver. I wander what he thinks of that?
I'm not taking the mick about it. Funnily enough, earlier this year
when I was thinking about more normal jobs I could do, I thought
about working on railway stations. Seems like a pretty unstressful
kind of a job. I remember hearing that actual train drivers get
paid quite a lot...
In an accidental discovery on the web I found out that Nick Sanderson
had an almost religious zeal about pre-nationalised British rail
and said that he had finally "made it" as he had become
a driver from Brighton to London.I actually really want to ask him about it.
10) Richard Hawley "Coming
Home" CD single
My sis's chap, Ian, told me about him. It's good easy listening
music of a kind, very Scott Walker-ish. He used to play guitar for
Pulp (not sure if he was actually in the band), who funnily enough
had Scott Walker produce their final album... see how it all works
and connects up and all that?
Sue and Ian went to see him play live recently and
Sue overheard Jarvis Cocker saying to a chav-y chap who was trying
to talk to him "I'm actually here to watch the show mate".
11) A fairly old looking vinyl album by a band called
I know absolutely nothing about these people, which
I like and I'm avoiding looking them up on the internet.
It seems to be some kind of oddball arty synthesizer
duo. On the back there's a collage of interviews in English and
French and in part of it they're asked isn't it restrictive using
a Casio and always getting the same sound? They reply that you can
use effects boxes to obtain as many sounds as you want and it's
small enough to take anywhere...
...the interviewer says "But the public doesn't
care about the size. Perhaps."They reply "Everybody can play Casio. It costs
about the same as a pair of shoes. It can produce a good sound."
"It costs about the same as a pair of shoes". Now that's
a proper DIY spirit. I like that.
The songs have titles that include:
"The Band Was Playing Some Unfamiliar and Unharmonious
Music, and Some Younger People Were Dancing While The Older People
Formed Little Groups and Stood Around Talking With Sandwiches In
Their Hands" (maybe that's a description of goings on at one
of their gigs?) and...
"This Guy Was So Mad He Stuttered As He Dragged Me Toward the
It's kinda pretentious but I kinda like it. All the letters in the
words go up and down from lower to upper case to.
I like things like this where you don't know quite what it is.
So, all in all a pretty successful bit of charity
shop hauling. Oxfam ain't that cheap, which is annoying but...
Things I thought about buying:
1) A book by some aristocratic Russian gal who became
a radical communist and was around in the early days of the Russian
Revolution It's all workers committees and that, originally wasn't
allowed to be published there for being too sexually explicit.
2) A Raymond Chandler novel. Though I know that this is one of the
originals of noir writing, I reckon that it might be a bit too of
a particular genre, diluted by all that's come after it, the same
way that Robert Johnson like blues all sounds like £2.99 off
a market stall CDs nowadays.
3) Marc Almond's singles collection from when he was on Virgin.
£2.99, played it, thought about it. It is Mr Marc Almond but
there's only one, maybe two songs that I don't have on it. Hmmm.
Would quite like it but I've never liked the cover all that much,
he looks pretty normal in it. Now if it was the video collection
of the same, I'd have bought it straight away.
||Well, actually, if you want a Marc Almond album
I'd recommend this one.
He was on absolute peak form creatively at this time, hugely
prolific and appeared on the front of Sounds in one of these
sailors hats under the headline "Can Filthy Marc Corrupt
The Nations Youth?"
||I've had this picture
of Marc riding a mechanical horse with a Barcelona transexual
on my wall on and off since the issue of Sounds came out in
It's yellowed with age and I recently ripped
it (not sure how but I was rather drunk that night) but it's
I recently read an interview with Antony Hegarty
where he said that Marc Almond was the man who laid the trail
of crumbs that he followed to subculture...
...that was terribly sweet. Though not strictly
the same for me, Mr Marc Almond has always been around in
my life, a bit of a cultural beacon for me and this album
is a lot where it all started...
...it's tales of terrible passions, lovers
that taste of somebody else and being bruised and yet so so
beautiful through red drenched nights...
...oh and did anybody see that BBC 4 concert special with
Antony and the Johnsons the other day? I thought it was lovely
(though they didn't play Mr Cripple and the Starfish) and
Antony Hegarty just comes across as such an abolutely lovely
I loved the bit where he said about just not being able to
take in and process everything that'd happened yet and when
Marc Almond said he was terribly nervous about meeting him
and probably came over as though he was playing the whole
...Antony said about playing a tiny cafe in Glasgow with Coco
Rosie and finding out about his record deal being turned down
and him thinking "well, that's it, that's me done, it's
over"... I'd seen him and them in London just a few days
before and it was phenomenal, one of those performances that
just touch you deep down.
...and a bit annoyingly, I was in Glasgow
but a day after that performance, so I just missed them.
When we went to Mono, which was a lovely music
shop/cafe/library/health food store/venue/pop brewer in Glasgow,
there was a sign up saying that Mono was going to be closed
that night as all the staff wanted to go and see Antony and
the Johnsons and Coco Rosie.
I tingle just at the thought of it.
||"I still preferred the blonde hair though, sorry but
I just do..."
4) A Lydia Lunch and Clint Ruin 12"
EP called Stinkfist... some right proper angry brutal lyrics along
the lines of death and poison and fucking but really full on. I
reckon I would've got more into it when I was younger. Kinda like
how I like the Angels of Light more than early Swans, being an older
chap. I like my dark nastiness kinda more subtle nowadays.
5) Kenneth Williams autobiography. Almost bought this as I'd been
wanting to read up more on him of late but flipping through it I
could tell that one of the main points of interest would be how
much he hid and didn't say, particularly about his sexuality, despite
some outrageously camp looking photos
that I definitely want to seek out are some of these compilations
of Julian and Sandy sketches from Round the Horne.
These are outrageously sexual in a homosexual innuendo way.
Well, I say innuendo but it's a loss less hidden than that and
uses a fair old bit of old queer Polari slang... basically it
was a way of them being open about gay subjects and fancying
blokes without actually saying it ("get a load of her lallies"
and "vada the bona casa").
Apparently it's use was "rife in Soho's gay clubs, bars and 'backslums'
(sex rooms) in the 1950s" (from Stop Messin About)
...'backslums', what a great word.
Absolute gems and from the days when touching another bloke's bits
in a sexual way was illegal.
Aren't people wierd, that somebody actually made a law to say that?
My ex used to say that an ideal night for me would
be sausage and mash and a Carry On film. She said it disparagingly.
I took it as a compliment. There's something about those films...
I recently rewatched Carry on Cabby. If it was anything but a Carry
On maybe it'd just be a bit rubbish but it properly cheered me up.
...and there's just something about the English
lasses in these films. They just don't make them like that no more.
I don't know if it's 'cause I grew up watching them but...
they're even carrying their own spares"
||...and the scene
where all the new taxi rank gals line up...
...actually, in this one there's more innocence
than the more full-on sexuality with a touch of sleaze that's in
some of the later films.
I remember reading about Sid James saying to Barbara
Windsor "I dreamt about you last night"... "Did you?"...
"No, you wouldn't let me".
Hey, writing this has made me look up something
A few years ago I was seeing this lass and I caught
part of a drama about Sid James and Barbara "Babs" Windsor's
relationship. It was terribly moving. At one point Sid James asks
her to be with him and says "I've got a few more years in me"...
I never knew what it was called and the young lady I was seeing
wasn't too interested. I guess her being from borderline Taiwanese
aristocracy meant she didn't have the same cultural reference points
and love of such things.Anyways, apparently it's called "Cor, Blimey",
you can order it from the States.
Here's Sid James laughing, just 'cause it cheers
8) A book of Margaret Thatcher memorabilia from when
she was prime minister, called something like "Margaret Thatcher,
The Premiership Years".
Now, this is the kinda thing I'm normally pretty
interested in but I've been back twice now to look at it and I've
not bought it.
It's a collection of photos of mugs and plates and
toys and chess sets and the like that bear her dear image... but
y'kno' what, I think it's a bit too spoddy and maybe a touch too
reverential. I reckon there were a lot more things that weren't
quite so pretty about her out there... like where's the boxing Maggie
glove puppets? I had one, well part of one, I think it'd been Thatcher
but they'd kept the mould after she'd stopped being prime minister
and turned it into a boxing nun. Well, no point in wasting it I
guess they thought.
7) The Last Cowboy... a book about a chap living
in the West of America, wanting to live like a proper cowboy but
the world's changed.
I have a mild interest in some of the more oddball bits of Americana
and deep southern folklore. 16 Horsepower 'cause there's a genuine
darkness there and it's not like all the bland alt.country stuff
... have you seen that live footage of them where David Eugene Edwards
head is bleeding and he's not even noticing it or where his eyes
are fluttering and rolling back up in his head like he's speaking
and singing in tongues? I can't tell how much it's actually happening
to him but it's mighty spooky and intense... (it's on the first
double DVD that they released, by the way)...
... but I guess if I want to
read this here kinda thing, I've already read Harry Crew's
"My Childhood" and that's about at deeply southern
as you could be...
...this is him to the left.
This man is a lecturer.
This is a fine picture of him (I can't find a bigger one I'm
tattoo on his arm says "how do you like your blue eyed
boy Mr Death?"...
...I know I probably shouldn't and it's a bit prejudiced
but if I'm ummming and ahhhing about a book I'll often read the
bit at the front that says a little bit about the author. If they
sound poncey or priveliged then I often won't buy it. My mind goes
"they've got enough in their lives without me reading their
The Last Cowboy book was written by somebody who'd
been writing for the New Yorker all her life or some such thing
and this made me question the authenticity of it all.
8)...and in another Oxfam, there was a bit battered
looking old leather suitcase with reinforced corners. Proper, not
like you're plastic formed thing for a tenner from Tescos. No wheels
either, to make sure it's a bit awkward... oh and a record player
that was kinda okay, kinda a bit cheap looking but mine plays slow
half the time and the wires to the cartridge have been mended by
me with gaffer tape and I don't think they're quite right...
...well, about all that could've made it perfect would've been finding
a copy of Party Monster on DVD with all the extras and maybe a really
nice shirt with a touch of retro-ness that I can wear open necked.
Ah well, can't have everything.
Post script... I went back to have a look at the suitcase today.
I quite like it. Couldn't tell if it was actual leather. Can they
make leather hard and box like?
...but, I was just looking at the cover to Marc
Almond's Mother Fist when I was building this page and I've realised
that it's the same kind of suitcase that he's carrying. Maybe I
should go back and get it?
I went back and bought it. It's a real Billy Liar leaving home kind
of a suitcase. Made me a bit sad.