The Nubility of Helsingfors Blogging

18.01.2010 kl. 15:13

Civilization



Some of my friends are not entirely domesticated yet.
18.01.2010 kl. 11:03

Summer



Seems so far away.
18.01.2010 kl. 10:49

Monday moggie

funny pictures of cats with captions
18.01.2010 kl. 10:43

Ratata Blocking



designed by Tomm Velthuis
17.01.2010 kl. 21:58

Public domain pictures

Here’s an incomplete compendium of (mostly) public domain pictures.

Images created before 1923 are out of copyright, no matter what their original status was.

Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Collection (http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/index.html) -- There are over 100,000 historical images on this site.  
 
Fromoldbooks.org -- Just what it sounds like -- high-quality scans from old books, all out of copyright. 

National Atlas (http://www.nationalatlas.gov/) has all sorts of useful maps, all free of charge.

New York Public Library Digital Image Gallery (http://digitalgallery.nypl.org/nypldigital/index.cfm) -- There are over 500,000 images in this online collection.

GIMP-Savvy (http://gimp-savvy.com/PHOTO-ARCHIVE/index.html) Indexes photos from NASA, NOAA (National Weather Service), and the Fish and Wildlife Service in one convenient search engine.

Web Gallery of Art (http://www.wga.hu/index1.html) -- another good resource for old art, completely kosher because they don't put up pieces from after 1850.  The images are high-res.

EveryStockPhoto (http://everystockphoto.com/) This one is good, and not listed on Wikipedia.  The site boasts over 380,000 free stock photos, with no usage restrictions (unlike Yotofoto; see above).

Openphoto (http://openphoto.net/) -- CREATIVE COMMONS LICENSED, which means you need to cite the photographer when you use it.

Flickr Creative Commons Pool (http://www.flickr.com/creativecommons/) – Use with caution, these photos are under different kinds of Creative Commons licenses. There are literally tens of millions of images here.

Archive.org (http://www.archive.org/index.php) Not really for images, but great historic video and audio collections, whose copyright status is clearly marked.  An excellent resource.

Indymedia (http://www.indymedia.org/en/index.shtml) -- News photos of current events are posted here and at several subsidiary sites (linkable from the main page) under a Creative Commons license, which means post WITH ATTRIBUTION.  This is a fantastic resource if you want news photos for your diaries.

MorgueFile (http://www.morguefile.com/)  -- An excellent and exhaustive database of surplus stock photos.   Use with attribution, otherwise you're violating their copyright.

Dover Clip Art (http://www.doverpublications.com/dspa023/) -- Just what it sounds like: free clip art from the Dover publishing house.  You have to sign up for a weekly e-mail digest to use this one, but once you've done that you've got over 400,000 clip art images available for use WITH ATTRIBUTION.

WPClipart (http://www.wpclipart.com/) Clip art optimized for Word documents, but eminently usable online.  Unfortunately, the site uses a Google interface, so you have to click through a few pages to actually see the images, but the upside is that you don't need attribution for these.

Have fun...
17.01.2010 kl. 21:22

The Kipsi Kings



I promise you raklos and raklyis some stories about the gentlemen above.
17.01.2010 kl. 20:52

Celebrities with nothing to celebrate




Rita Tainola, seen befittingly here in the shadows, is the 55 year old Hertiginna of Finska Skvaller. She is very good at what she does – relentless even. If you are a Finnish celeb, she will find you. Like the commentators for the President’s Independence Day bash at the palace, she knows every face. Unlike them she also knows all the naughty bits behind the faces.

Should you ever wish to promote yourself outside the duck pond, there’s a couple of things to remember: have a story ready. If you don’t, they will invent one. Two: serve decent champagne to the hacks. Three: if you have something to hide, do the old escaping convict from the chain gang trick – drop a piece of someone else’s clothing liberally sprinkled with cayenne pepper. Bubba the Bloodhound’s sniffing capabilities will be curtailed for several hours. In other words, throw the hack a bit of scandal about someone else. It’s a dog sniff dog world out there.

But better still, keep yourself out of the limelight. Neil Hardwick told me how troubling it was to go even into a Teboil for a coffee and have a dozen eyes watching him drink. The problem is that if someone like Neil is often on TV, appearing in people’s living rooms, the punters eventually start to believe that he is one of their friends. And the punters can become agitated when they are not treated as long lost friends.

I’ve not been on television, but 35 years ago I was involved in making a record that affected a large number of young lives at the time. Still, all these years later, people come up to me in bars, hotels or at gigs, and ask if I am Mr X. Often a pitkä is sent over as a peace offering. As I don’t drink beer, this is tricky. I wish they would understand that a G+T would be gratefully accepted. But whoever and wherever I always try to give them some time, because the punters paid my wages then, and Teosto still sends me money every year. For the same reason I always agree to fan interviews about that record – even though they want the same old stories that have been told a hundred times.

Journalists like Tainola don’t want old stories. They want the latest, and exclusively. I was on an Icelandair junket to Washington in the Nineties with 3 lady gossip columnists on board. Talk about bitchin’. The ladies finally agreed that none of them would file stories until they were back in Finland. So what does Tainola do? She keeps her photographer up late in Baltimore uploading pictures for immediate publication. (And it was not an easy process then). On the trip back, Tainola settled down in business class with an inflatable sleeping cushion round her neck. In mock horror I said “You’ve not broken your neck?” It greatly amused the other hacks, but it was a mere pinprick in the thick hide that a pro gossiper has to develop.

I last saw Tainola close up in the summer, at the launch of the rejigged Svenska Klubben, courtesy of Mr Riki. She looked straight through me.

17.01.2010 kl. 20:30

Don't vorry, boys...

The Santana tour reached Hamburg. The Atlantic hotel – a favourite of James Bond - was/is a massive edifice on a hill overlooking downtown Hamburg. I don’t know exactly why the band was glum – perhaps the grey, rigorously conformist society of Northern Germany was upsetting our laid-back Californians.  But at the venue everything began to perk up. The percussionists had slipped into a more relaxed mood, after being well serviced in the backstage toilets by Teutonic Groupies. We mostly filmed the show from the audience, this night, looking up at the high stage. Tony the soundman was supposed to be getting a feed from the mixer, so we could synch up the music later, but he was having problems. So I focused more on ‘beauty shots’ of individual musicians, and their interaction with the audience. Every time I got close to Jose Chepito Areas he mouthed “I fork your mothah” at the camera. It was Jose’s answer to everything: perhaps the only English he knew. “Nice to meet you Jose!” - “I fork your mothah”. Wanna coke, Jose?” - “I fork your mothah”. But he was the most amazing timpales player ever. Really lightning fast. He maybe had fucked our mothers – at the speed of light, and we hadn’t noticed.

There was a celebration in the dressing rooms after the show, and some West German actress in black velvet hot pants was proposing a party at her ‘chateau’. There was a discussion about where to go – to the chateau, or some club downtown.  We opted for the chateau because I’d been having long off-camera chats with percussionist Coke Escovedo and I thought he might be ready to open up in an interview. Coke chose the party in the boondocks. “I never been in a chateau, man”.

There were three large black Mercedes limos waiting for us at the stage door. The convoy headed out of the city into the black countryside. At first, post-gig elation kept up the jokes, but after half an hour of driving, everyone was getting restless watching winding narrow roads through the forest – we were beginning to joke about evil goings on, we were heading into a Goth horror experience with black magic women. Three goats caught in the headlights added to the sense of surrealism
.
The limos pulled up in the inner yard of a big walled chateau. We made the fatal decision to leave the camera in the boot. Then we all sat around in a lobby worthy of Third Reich architects, while the hot panted actress disappeared. Tony the soundman rolled a joint. The actress came back a bit later with salmon sandwiches. We munched and we talked, but were getting bored fast and talked about leaving. Suddenly the actress returned “Don’t vorry boys, der Pussy vill be here zoon”

And sure enough, 15 minutes later, we heard the sound of a coach turning in the gravel outside, the baronial doors open and finally some real professionals arrive. I’ll spare you the details of the saunas, spliffs and sauciness that I studiously avoided that evening. Only to tell you, that the last time I saw Mike Myers (the director) that evening, he was still in his standard double-breasted blazer, his Pancho Villa moustache droopier than usual, a G&T in one hand and a cigarette, with a grey curl of forgotten ash, in the other. He was standing at a bar in an alcove modelled on a cuckoo clock. He was explaining the Meaning of Film to two totally naked hookers glued to his every word. They stood adoringly either side of him, so he was turning from side to side to make his cinematic points. It is a measure of the coolness of Myers that his ciggie ash only dropped under its own weight, not due to a careless hand movement.

Sometime in the early hours I found myself in the company of the young Baroness Stups von Meckow, who someone earlier had told me was gay. The party was winding down into coupling and she was ready to split. As was I.  She whisked me off in her BMW with the hood down, the harsh morning air of a Germanic dawn jerking me into wakefulness, and we headed for the Atlantic Hotel. Perhaps bi, but definitely not gay. We exchanged postcards after the tour.

Next morning I was dog-tired as our car headed down Zeppelinstrasse to the flughafen. There were a lot of green and pale faces as we met up the rest of the band in departures. I was very happy that there would be no ‘spontaneous crazy moments’ from the band that morning. I didn’t have the strength to hold up that Éclair camera to my eye.


17.01.2010 kl. 12:34

Interlude...

15.01.2010 kl. 23:54

Aboard the Good Ship Krupskaja

I fell in love with Finland on a Soviet ship in the Skattegat. All I knew about Finland before 1964, was that you turn right at Denmark.



USSR Motorship NADEZHDA KRUPSKAYA

I was terribly, terribly drunk at the time, thanks to a shaven-headed Russian barman called Valeri, whose abacus was obviously out of order, as I had spent very little money to achieve this state of inebriation. I was heading down into the bowels of the red ship, where I shared a cabin with a complete stranger in the form of a fundamentalist Christian Yank called Chuck. But I decided to first seek a refreshing breeze and clear my befuddled brain, in case the Billy Graham wanted to exploit my helplessness and general moist bonhomie in the aid of conversation, if not of conversion. So, at three o’clock in the morning, I found myself on the aft deck of the ancient Soviet ship Krupskaja, out of London, bound for Helsinki. Two tall young blond Finnish youths were methodically throwing Soviet deckchairs over the rail into the phospherent wake behind the plodding Krupskaja. They looked very serious as they worked, their pasty faces etched out of the inky night sky by the bright bulkhead lamps.

“What’s happening, man?” (At the time, when nervous, I sometimes spoke in this pseudo-hip fashion)

“Ve are Finns, ve alvays do this”

That was good enough for me. Apart from the undying gratitude of an impoverished art student, which I owed to Valeri, I had no other sentimental attachment to the Union of the Socialist Soviet Republics. Indeed, I regarded the whole Marxist scam as a great threat to my personal wellbeing. So I bid the Finns goodnight and staggered down into the bowels, happy in the knowledge that two young lads were representing their country so well in the Olympics of Revenge.

A somewhat shorter blond Finn was the reason for me to be on the boat in the first place. I had studied at Leicester College of Art with a fellow student called Ristomatti Ratia. He had invited me and Roger Ford, the third member of our little gang, to Finland for the summer. Ristomatti, as far as I know, has never tossed any outdoor items overboard, but he’s certainly designed a few pieces of furniture that could be lifted with ease. He once tossed himself overboard, by mistake, in a storm, as we headed in a small boat to his island in the archipelago. It was dark, there were large waves, and we had been boozing. These are not ideal conditions to urinate off the back of the boat. We lost his glasses (thank the lord), but saved Ristomatti. Captain Olli dove overboard and did the heroic thing, leaving me and my girlfriend Judy Phillpot temporarily in charge of the vessel. This was like apes being given PDAs, but we managed to keep things ticking over until two bedraggled Finnish mariners struggled back on board. I only mention this as a variation on the theme of two Finns and disposal into the deep.



Mrs Revolution

The Krupskaja, named after Lenin’s wife, was at least as wide in the beam as Mrs Revolution was in her later years. It was a ship that wallowed, in much the same way as Lenin’s better half did in the bath, when using the forbidden French bath salts that she was not allowed to use when Vladimir Ivanovic was at home, on the rare occasions when he suffered a lack of kulaks to taunt. Imagine a ship that wallows from side to side AND yaws end to end. Imagine this marine mambo beginning on the first night, as we headed out of the Thames estuary into the greeny dumbness of the North Sea, and continuing for 48 hours thereafter. Imagine, if you will, the effect on certain passengers with tender digestions. Now picture clearly in your mind, looking down a row of ashen faces leaning against the deck wall at night, with hands behind them steadying their legs against the swell below. Suddenly, a supportive hand comes to a mouth, and the hapless owner of the hand trips to the ship’s rail and then technicolour yawns over the side. A second hapless passenger, inspired by the smell of retching, trips over to the same rail, as the first staggers back. And so on. Ad Nauseum. Valeri, your favourite barman, had been plying me with Russian vodka the previous night also. He was resplendent in a white gypsy shirt, and a black leather waistcoat. He had begun his tactics of telling me ‘pay later’ when I asked for another, and later never seemed to come. Valeri and I had conversed at length about various matters and we were just getting to the philosophical stage where I ask him does he know anything about love, and he replies ‘No, been a barman all my life’. But we never reached that stage because I began to feel a bit queasy myself, and wanted to get some fresh air. Which led me to the revolting sight described a moment ago. My sea legs have always been perfect, but that night I was otherwise legless. It was not the heaving and yawing of the ship, but the tossing of Valeri’s vodka serving hand. But I was not tempted to join in. Neither dinner nor deckchairs came in my list of throwable objects. I had instantly sobered up when confronted by these wretched vomiteers and went back to the ministrations of Telly Savalasich. When I tried this time to pay my tab, Valeri’s brain emptied suddenly like the digestive tracts on deck above, and all knowledge of English vanished into the cheap cigar smoke air of his tiny domain – Vodkanistan. Perhaps he had been employed by unknown Finns to get me in training for the hard drinking of Finland to come? We shall never know, as the files of Supo are sealed forever. But the therapy worked.



The next morning we were still bobbing about in the North Sea. I was about the only one at breakfast, apart from Mr Chuck Graham. He was reading an edifying book by the light of a porthole to the side of the restaurant. Chuck had clearly written me down as a sinner beyond redemption, and not one of the chosen few to be resurrected on Judgement Day. He was forced by the ship’s manifest to suffer the temptation of ‘Lucifer of Leicester’ in the top bunk of his cabin, but he would avoid me on all other occasions .

A waitress swooped through the tables and chairs with a tray, like a lucky drunk, and plonked down a plate in front of me, with a sweaty slice of salami and a couple of slices of gherkin. I looked up, as a middle aged couple sat down unsteadily at a table facing me. He was red in the face and sweating profusely. She was green in the face, with the unnatural skin translucency that comes with a female hangover. I recognised them instantly. Mr Salami and Mrs Gherkin. I’d seen them in Vodkanistan last night and they were actually paying for their many drinks. Valeri was subsidising my youthful hangovers by taxing the Capitalists. The waitress, again without a word, wended her way over to Mr S and Mrs G, and plonked their portrait plates in front of them. Having looked down at this healthy repast, I watched as they both exchanged demeanours – he taking on a viridian hue, and she breaking out in the cold sweat of processed food panic.

I never saw any of the crew talking, or even smiling. They were a sullen lot, chosen probably for their language disabilities, their contempt for Western hedonists, and a genetic surfeit of bile. Except of course for my personal liver masseur. Let’s hear it for Valeri!



The storm continued throughout the day. I had wandered the ship admiring the job lot of red velveteen they’d used for curtains, and the excellent globular drip effect the Red painters had imparted to all steel surfaces. I had even spent ten minutes in an edifying Soviet cinematic presentation of tractors, before the claustrophobia, the smell of disinfectant, and the motion of the ship led me out and into the ballroom. A party of French students and their tutor were happily ensconced in a bunch of wicker chairs on the port side of the dance floor. Le Professeur was just explaining a bit of Satre, as a particularly heavy wave bucked under the keel and sent the whole gaggle of Frogs sliding in their basket chairs across the shiny dance floor to starboard. I was transfixed. Le Professeur hardly noticed, so immersed he was in the black joys of Existentialism, that his party of adoring ecolettes was now sliding back to portside and returning to their original positions. Their faces showed that only the smallest of glitches in the matrix had occurred. Sang froid to the end. But not perhaps as professionally oblivious to ridicule, as the Russian Jazz trio that was to play for us a couple of hours later. Looking like KGB henchman in light grey suits and bulging biceps, the drummer swayed first behind one cymbal and then the other. The pianist’s feet kept lifting off the pedals as he rocked on his stool, and the double-bassist defied gravity as he and his massive instrument swayed many degrees off vertical, to the twisting of the ship.

That night I also talked to Linda, English rose, who was the close friend of a Finnish female pop star, and also coming to visit Finland. She laughed at my jokes, so we hit it off immediately. She was travelling with a school friend, who looked a dab hand with a hockey stick. It was hard to get Linda on her own, but I finally managed it, and we spent next afternoon snogging in my bunk, as the grey Baltic drifted by. Until ‘Thou-shalt-not-spill-thy-seed’ Chuck arrived outside the cabin door, with a crewman and a master key, and burst in to find us fairly flagrante. Christ had knocked many times, he said, but clearly passion gives me acute deafness. We were arriving at Helsinki the next day, so a further chance for a bit of slap and tickle with Linda did not present itself. But she invited me to a party at her Finnish friend’s house a week later.



There I was to meet Linda’s penpal, the gorgeous Ankki Lindqvist. My first Finnish celebrity musician acquaintance. 
15.01.2010 kl. 00:23

Cherry Red

A ‘band’ called Art Pop Kombo released a 7” single on Poko Rekords in 1979. The A side was ‘Car Park Drama’, B side was ‘Old Timer’. Here’s a little secret not many people know. The band was Eppu, with me singing instead of Martti. He’s never forgiven me. It was one critic’s single of the year. It sold 53 copies.

Soundi reviewed it: "Tämän combon single ei kuulosta kovinkaan suomalaiselta. Piisit ovat sen verran lennokkaita ja hyviä, varsinkin se kakkospuolen kumma koirantappojuttu. En tiedä sitten. Kun minulle ojennettiin tämä single sain kuulla, että se on Pokon arvauskilpailu siitä, keitä levyllä soittaa. Jos uskaltaisin moiseen arvauskilpailuun lähteä, voisin ehdottaa jotain seuraavanlaista: Ainakin A-puolella Top Rank (laulajan "oikealta" kuulostava ääntäminen), ehkä joku Epuista, vaikka Torvinen, kitarassa (kuulostaa vain siltä), Ilpo bassossa (ei tullut muitakaan mieleen). Tai toinen vaihtoehto: Mikko Alatalo (laulajan miehekäs ääni), kitarassa Jukka Tolonen (niin lennokasta soittoa, että), kosketinsoittimissa Martti Syrjä (debytoi onnistuneesti jo "Science Fiction" -piisissä), rummuissa Heikki Silvennoinen (olisi tosin kehittynyt tosin melkoisesti sitten Soundi-levyn päivien). Mutta kuten sanottu en uskalla arvailla - pelkään, en pelaa - joten en voi kapsahtaa katajaan ja nolata itseäni.

J-V. Sappinen, Soundi 12/1979"

Context: Jive Väänänen and I had split from the legendary Love Records. We disagreed with the policy of the successful rock bands subsidising overtly political records with smaller sales. The company was in bankruptcy soon after. Jive and I started working with Epe Helenius, founder of Poko, in founding a publishing company, doing record covers, producing, and helping with marketing and distribution. Jee Jee Music (from the Eppu song) did so well in the first year, that we went to Rosendahl Hotel in Tampere to celebrate. Coincidently it was the Maitotyttö gala that night. It was a naughty evening. We finally got porttikielto from the nightclub after standing on tables to sing along with Frederik during ‘Tsingis Khan’. Ilkka was not pleased. But it was punkish.

I worked with several Poko artists – Black Widows, Top Rank and Jam Rock Band from Lappeenranta. ‘Wax’, the Jam Rock Band LP, was recorded at Microvox Studios in Lahti, run by Pekka Nurmikallio. It was a cellar with a very low ceiling, and 3 Revox G-36 stereo recorders in a tiny airless control room. By starting the 3 machines at the same time it was possible to get a crazy 6 track recorder, but mostly it was bouncing tracks from one machine to another and adding new instruments. A feature of work at Microvox was the need for fresh air every couple of hours. Everyone would troop upstairs to Pekka’s mother’s flat for coffee and cakes. The coffee cups had doilies, the cakes were delicate, but nevertheless these punk and rock bands were as good as gold – just as if they were politely meeting their aunt Hanna in Nummi-Pusula. The Jam Rock Boys were no exception – angels they were.



Cover by pretentious, moi?

Back at the Black Cat Hotel in the evening the band could be a little more raucous. One night I found the sax player, Paananen, totally off his crust, trying to perform that classic rock and roll gesture of throwing a television out of the window. Except the window was small,high up, and not intended to be opened, and the only object suitable for ejection was a full sized refrigerator. He struggled with it for an hour before finally collapsing. We couldn’t get a puff of a sax solo out of him next day.

But I digress.

Along with producing, I’d also done stuff like translate Eppu songs into English: ‘Give the people beer’. Päntse Syrjä and I got on very well and we talked about doing some producing together. I sent them a couple of strange songs that I’d written, and we booked Mika Sundqvist’s studio in Ylöjärvi for a day. We had a lot of laughs, a lot of creative experimenting, and Aku drummed incredibly as always. I like to think it played a small part in expanding their sound beyond punk, because it was still 4 years before their breakthrough with ‘Rupisia riimejä karmeita tarinoita’.

The 2 tracks of Art Pop Kombo eventually made it onto a compilation record called The Shape of Finns to Come released by the then recently formed Cherry Red Records in the UK. Cherry Red had already scored with the Dead Kennedies.

LP Info: ‘The Shape of Finns to Come’

The biggest Poko band I worked with was Teddy & the Tigers, but that story is for another day.
14.01.2010 kl. 18:44

Demolition Men

Awlright, Spunkbubble?” This is how I was first greeted by one of the crew at a Sutton Coldfield demolition site, when I arrived to spend the summer of ‘63 working, after my first year of Art College in Leicester. I couldn’t survive on only bacon sandwiches and tea for much longer. Labourers were always needed at that time and by living at my parent’s home, I could save enough for the year ahead.

The Demolition Men were a motley lot of tough Brummies*, who nevertheless mixed kindness and teasing in dealing with a middle class art student with almost zilch experience of the working class. I was sporting rather long sideboards at the time – an act both of artistic rebellion and to emphasise that I did shave, but chose not to. (Sideboards are what Americans refer to as sideburns). My sideburns were quite long.  “Yow ain’t got bloody sideboards, Spunkbubble – they’re bloody wardrobes.”

We were demolishing a school in a deprived area. As a problem-solving intellectual with delicate-skinned hands, I was assigned by the gaffer to do delicate and analytical tasks like stacking used bricks.

There was a brothel overlooking the site. Sometimes, in between gigs, the women would pose provocatively at their windows in a special show for the stripped-to-the-waist primates that were my fellow workers. And for me too, though my eyesight was not good enough to enjoy the show. Or perhaps the blur was fortuitous. These were not Kate Mosses.

Thus it was made clear by the Brummies, during the daily banter of the site, and especially at the communal consumption of packed sandwiches and a Thermos of tea at lunchtime, that yours truly was highly inexperienced in the art of macho shagging and macho behaviour in general. And they were right.

There was another young guy on the site who didn’t join in the chest-thumping mating displays. Terry was a lower middle class, but nouveau riche lad, and I never knew why he had to work on a demolition site since he always had plenty of money. He lessened the impact on me of the lunchtime teasing sessions, so we became friends of a kind. And we discovered a mutual interest in music – especially R&B. He invited me to his home, where his mother made tea and we listened to his amazing record collection in the posh front room with doilies under our teacups. It’s where I first heard Chuck Berry unfiltered through the Stones. Tony’s father worked on some US airbase near Birmingham, and had brought his son these rare, for England, records. This was still early days of the Beatles. I had dismissed their early records as pop (I wanna hold your gland, indeed) though the photography student with whom I shared a flat had shown me pictures he had taken of the hysteria outside the De Montfort Hall when the Beatles had played in Leicester in Spring. I didn’t get it. All the fans were girls. Far more interesting for me were the performances of Graham Bond Organization or the Farinas (later Family), or listening to records of Blues classics like Huddie Ledbetter or Big Bill Broonzy.

Every concert venue I had been to so far, the lights went up, and the curtains opened onto the stage as the band launched into the first bars. That was until the Graham Bond Organization appeared at De Montfort Hall. The lights went down, the curtains withdrew and the stage was exposed, just the bright red lamps of the switched on Vox amps in the blackness. But silence. Several mesmerising seconds later, the lamps blinked as indistinguishable musicians moved in front into position, a few screeches, the dull snapping sound of guitar being hot plugged, and then Bam!, the stage lights hit and the band launched into ‘Wade in the Water’. It’s hard to describe how riveting this was – at the time.

Things were changing in politics too. The Profumo Scandal dominated the headlines during my Brummie experience. The British Navy Minister had been cavorting with hookers, who had been cavorting with a KGB officer. Christine Keeler and Mandy Rice-Davies were not dumb hookers. They were smart, geishas with handbags and poppers, and they also offered services for more sophisticated tastes.



Christine Keeler

These girls' inventiveness in the face of customer demands for severe inconvenience, lead to my begrudged acceptance by the Brummies as they perused their daily dose of the Redtops*. “Ooh fookin’ ‘ell, it says ‘ere she’s got a cane!  And a fookin’ whip. I doan bleedin’ get it. ‘Ere, Spunkbubble, you ‘ang out wi’ big nobs, Wazzit about?”

My lunchtime lecture in the hut – entirely derived from literature – on sado-masochism and the excitement of humiliation, was the most successful I had ever given up to that point. The audience was rapt. After a dangerous silence, there were quiet murmers: “Fookin’ ‘ell”. “It teks all kinds” “I’d never ‘ave thought…”, “D’yer think my Sheila’d go for it?”

For a short time I imagined myself a hero, bringing nuance and variety to their daily dreams of gigantic mammary glands attached to tarts in leopard skin prints. It lasted but a couple of days. “Gerraway! Yer ‘avin’ us on!”, “Fuck you, Spunkbubble!”. But it was said in a much more friendly and conspiratorial tone than before. I was in. One of the lads.

*Brummies = people from Birmingham
*Redtops = The sleazy tabloid newspapers
14.01.2010 kl. 18:12

Pix and video

Some kind person will no doubt explain to me how to post pix and videos. Thank you.
14.01.2010 kl. 17:30

Mr X has been wandering in the media desert for 40 years. He has spoken to the Burning Bush. He will now lead his people to the Promised Land. "Los Angeles give me Norfolk Virginia, Tidewater four ten o nine Tell the folks back home this is the promised land callin' And the poor boy's on the line." See my first diary for more info... Mr X is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 1.0 Finland License.