Summer of Savile – Prologue
I recently stumbled on a great big cache of autobiographies of minor British celebrities from the seventies and early eighties. To a man, they’re real life versions of Alan Partridge’s Bouncing Back, and it’d be wrong not to share extracts of, say, the Mike & Bernie Winters story, both Diana Dors bios, (one genuinely entitled Behind Closed Dors) or Pete Murray’s One Day I’ll Forget My Trousers, cover apparently depicting pants-clad Murray on said fateful day.
Lets start things off with Jimmy Savile OBE’s – this is pre-knighthood – 1974 opus Love is An Uphill Thing. Not until Russell Brand’s Booky Wook did a book so capture the voice of its (supposed) author. The whole thing is full of “says I” or third person, “Says Jim,” and people often “spaketh he,” instead of just speaking. Jim’s also quite fond of the phrase “on the morrow,” and at one point, there’s even a Poe-esque “Quoth The Dutchess,” regarding the dead mother those of us who saw the Louis Theroux book surely love like our own. It’s actually a pretty well written, funny book, but the passing 35 years and the out and out weirdness of a lot of it to begin with make it worth sharing.
Written as it is, before his ticks and screeching were drilled into the national consciousness by bad impressionists, there’s a surprising amount of Jimmy clichés, and the whole book is littered with “as it ‘appens,” which was the original title. Of course, back in 1974, you could talk about sexy young crumpet without looking suspicious, so there are endless anecdotes about Jimmy trying to look inconspicuous as a parent bursts into a caravan, and what could only be absolutely harmless repeated mentions of wheeling bodies down to the morgue.
So here begins the Summer of Savile. Over the next month, we shall share in daily extracts from Love is An Uphill Thing, many of which, robbed of their context, transform into strangely poetic mental images, rattling across the landscape of the mind like so much shaking jewellery. SoS begins proper tomorrow, but here’s a taster, I assure you taken completely at random.
“My present life’s spectrum runs from dead bodies in the middle of the night to riotous times in schools with children.”
The Summer of Savile will be our woodstock, so fly loose your clothes, and let us weave flowers in each other’s hair and stay well away from the brown acid (as it’s likely to have been up a hippy’s bottom)