Summer of Savile – Day 20: Dropping Names
Everyone wants to be famous, but for most of us poor, unfortunate unknowns who might as well climb into an unmarked grave now and be done with it, the closest we can hope for is having one of our Twitter witticisms retweeted by the host of ITV2’s Schizophrenics Do The Funniest Things. My own celebrity anecdotes are pretty thin on the ground. Aside from bumping into Brutus ‘The Barber’ Beefcake in a dream I had, I did once find myself at a urinal, standing next to supposed ‘nice guy’ Michael Palin, only to find that he’s actually very rude, refusing to shake my free hand, and getting rather cross when I pulled out my phone for a picture.
Let’s remind ourselves of the level of fame we’re dealing with.
Sitting in our super seafront flat one day she was holding forth to some of her lady pals. I was reading. One of the ladies had mentioned the Post Office Tower in London. “Oh yes,” said the Duchess, “Jimmy opened that.
Good old Duchess. Although regular Summer of Savile readers will know how adept Jimmy is at opening things.
Seeing the Duchess had seen the Pope, I decided it was about time I saw Elvis.
You may scoff at the idea of The King even knowing who Jimmy Savile was, but you’d be a fool.
For the first time in pop history, Elvis, winner of the top male vocalist section, had sent a voice tape thanking his legions of fans. “Listen to it,” said Maurice Kinn, editor of The New Music Express, “there’s a surprise for you at the end.” Sure enough, after thanking his fans, Elvis carried on “and we were very pleased to have Jimmy Saville with us in Hollywood this year.”
Let’s try and imagine that for a moment.
Elvis is one of those people that everyone does an impersonation of. Frank Spencer, Frank Bruno, Frank Lloyd Wright (“Ooh look at me, I’ve built an ‘ouse and that!”), and Elvis Presley. A curl of the lip, a wiggle of the area that houses the genitals, and there he is, easy. But amid all the “thangu mama,” and “uhu huh!” at no point, when doing the Elvis voice, has anyone ever used the words ‘Jimmy Savile.’ I’m not calling Jimmy a liar, but when I try and visualize that tape, my brain goes into a feedback loop so loud it scares the birds off of the roof.
Moving on, not only did Jim know some of the biggest superstars in the world, he also made superstars.
An executive from their record company came into the studio brandishing a photo of the group. “Have you seen these layabouts you’re championing?” says he. The picture showed five young men standing by some railings. “Sure,” says I, “we keep with them, they have a good sound.” Keep with them I did, and just as well. The group was the Rolling Stones. Nobody argued with me after that.
“Dear reader, would you believe that man I told to calm down and stop taking everything so ruddy seriously went on to become the bleedin’ Dali Lama?”
It goes without saying that he also had a run-in with The Beatles. It’s exactly as you would expect.
Paul made his escape by climbing over John and it was all a terrible melee accompanied by the continued screaming from the fan on the floor.
Occasionally Starmaker Savile’s connections would get him a sticky string of wisdom-pearls, right up his back.
As Nat King Cole told me, ‘records were made to sell and that’s that.’
And finally, some actual royalty. Although in hierarchical terms, the Duchess of Kent surely falls below Jim’s mum, The Duchess, who is the Duchess of everything, particularly in the area of having a son who creeps me the fuck out.
My high spot was while talking to the Duchess of Kent she came over all funny like nearly fainting. There was only the two of us, and she puts a hand to her head and says the Duchess equivalent of ‘Cor I don’t half feel a bit off.’