Penny Spencer

March 1, 2017

I’ve been watching some of the earlier episodes of the ITV/London Weekend “Please Sir” TV comedy from the late 1960s. These days I tend to look up actors on the Interweb mainly to see if they are still alive. Of course Deryck Guyler the Caretaker, Noel Howlett the Headmaster and Deputy Headmaster/Headmistress Joan Sanderson are long gone. But so too are some of the “pupils”. Malcolm McFee, Liz Gebhardt and Peter Denyer all died too young. Penny Spencer, playing the cute Sharon Eversleigh was always a favourite of mine and I’m surprised she did so little TV/Film work and evidently drifted away from the industry when she was still young.

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A few small roles in a handful of dubious films in the 1970s completes her filmography. She wasn’t even featured in the “Please Sir” spinoff film or the “Fen Street Gang” spinoff TV series. She left “Please Sir” after two seasons and was replaced by Carol Hawkins. Meant to be fourteen or fifteen most of the “pupils” were actually much older when the series began so I guess it was understandable that they were all replaced in later series.

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From this image it looks like she had a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it role in the Gerry Anderson TV show “UFO”.

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More Effing

March 1, 2017

Did you notice a few years ago when this Blog jumped the shark? It is about to once again as I have recently rediscovered that section of my audio archive containing a shedload of cover versions of Cee Lo Green’s frankly wonderful 2010 hit “F**k You”. Some songs sound even better as an acoustic version.

Patsy and Lois comics

March 1, 2017

A few days ago I awoke with an image of the cover of “Superman’s Girlfriend Lois Lane” No 50 in my mind even though I probably haven’t owned a copy since 1973! Memory seems to work along similar lines to a tape recorder. The majority of mundane memories get overwritten by new ones. However, with important/traumatic happenings in your life the brain must put a “do not delete” marker so that you can forever recall them for good or bad. Yet some mundane memories of various days have stayed with me with startling clarity. These memories haven’t been overwritten and I can still vividly picture the scenes after many decades whilst more recent events are forgotten.

For example I still recall random events that took place on a holiday in 1965, although I can’t recall the resort. In the 1960s family summer holidays were usually a week at the coast in a static caravan. For some reason in 1965 the accommodation was at a boarding house/small hotel. As we arrived at the hotel I noticed a shop further down the road with a comic spinner rack outside amidst the usual seaside sales tat. It didn’t take long before I’d blagged a two shilling coin from my father and set off to investigate. The comics on the spinner were an immediate disappointment. No superheroes at all. Some of the comics looked quite tatty as if they’d been there for years exposed to the salt air. Apart from a few Dell comics featuring long-forgotten western heroes, the rest were all GIRLS comics. I picked up a DC love comic and checked the small print on page three. It said 1963!! Still I went carefully through all the comics until I found two Lois Lane comics. Hooray! They weren’t too girly for me. They had Superman on the cover!

Inside the shop I proffered my two shillings and was surprised to get a shilling change. I was expecting to be charged 10d for each comic. I still had funds for two more comics! I carefully went through all the comics on the spinner rack once more. I found a Dobie Gillis comic. I assumed Dobie was a girl’s name (and I didn’t notice the full title was “The many loves of Dobie Gillis”) but the cover showing a spaceship looked interesting. Then finally I noticed a lone Patsy and Hedy comic amongst all the DCs. This really did look far too girly for me but it surprisingly had a Marvel comics logo top left so why not take a chance if it was only 6d? I was quite pleased to have added four more issues to my small but growing collection of “American” comics for the princely sum of two shillings.

I can even recall the four issues I bought that day. In fact I still own that Lois Lane number 54 fifty two years later.

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It’s funny what things stick in your mind. I still can’t recall the resort but I vividly remember the next day of the holiday when right by the beach I found a kiosk selling icecreams etc and ALAN CLASS COMICS. I’d never seen these before but immediately realised they contained black and white reprints of REALLY OLD comics. Over the course of the week I purchased at least half a dozen which were read cover-to-cover sitting in a deckchair during one of those perfect summer days that only existed when you were young.

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Nuff Said 62

March 1, 2017

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More Disc and Music Echo

February 1, 2017

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Disc and Music Echo 2nd August 1969

I was in my mother’s loft recently putting away the Xmas decorations. I cleared most of the junk out of there years ago but in the furthest reaches I found stuff that’s been there 50 years and can stay there a while longer. My old blackboard and easel. A large tin painting set with a fantastic coloured “Treasure Island” image on the lid. A broken etch-a-sketch. A Spirograph. The artificial xmas tree with two dozen sparce branches complete with the set of (count them) 12 cone-shaped xmas lights that so delighted us every year in the early 1960s when my father performed the annual switch-on ceremony in the pitch dark. We were easily amused then. No treasures at all. I just rescued a bundle of magazines tied up with string. Mostly “Woman’s Own” from the mid sixties. In the bundle I did find two things of interest however. An old newspaper and this copy of “Disc and Music Echo”. The pages were brittle and crumbling but I managed to scan all twenty before it completely disintegrated.

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Reading the paper brought 1969 rushing back to me. I loved Disc and must have bought every issue from 1967 to 1977. From 1970 JEO was a highlight. Although the music of the time was good, 1969 was that no-mans-land when all there was on the radio was Radio One in the daytime and Radio Luxembourg in the evenings. RNI wouldn’t launch for another six months. Everyone was demanding commercial radio. Look how crap that turned out in the UK.

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PS: Then later we’re sitting by the fire drinking tea and my mother begins to relate the tale about the time her friend was abducted by aliens. I’ve heard the story before but I have to admit this was the first time I’d heard mention of aliens.

They were good friends and went to the same schools, the same dances as teenagers. They attended each others weddings and both had two children, gave up work and became housewives. Then one day in the 1960s l—— went missing. Her children came home from school, her husband came home from work but she wasn’t there. Her handbag and coat were still in the house. Nothing had been removed from her wardrobe. No suitcases were missing. She didn’t own a passport. The only bank account was a joint one with her husband. No money was ever removed from it. In the early days there were the
usual investigations. Neighbours hadn’t seen anything. No strange car had been seen on the (then extremely quiet) cul-de-sac. Teams searched the fields and outbuildings around. They checked back gardens for signs of fresh soil where a body might have been buried. Divers searched local rivers and lakes. No body was ever found. The years passed and her children had children of their own but she never made any contact. Fifty years have now passed and to this day it remains a mystery as to whether she is living or dead.

My mother thinks that they were close enough that if l—— had marital problems (or even a lover) she would have confided in her. Even in those days it would have been possible to get a divorce if that had been what she wanted. It is quite rare for a mother to walk away from her children and never see them again. Was she murdered? Did she leave on her own volition or was she abducted? When all possible explanations have been discounted then you start considering the impossible. Hence the talk of aliens.

A surrealist alphabet

February 1, 2017

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Nuff Said 61

February 1, 2017

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