‘I’m Nobody’s Nephew’ – Rare Quentin Crisp interview

‘So you sit there. There’s the nail, and there’s the piece of wood. And you wait.’ Probably for the Great Dark Man to bang it in. Broadcast on UK television in 1975, the day after The Naked Civil Servant aired, thrilling and shocking the nation, this fine interview by the great Mavis Nicholson is one that I don’t recall seeing before. Though of course, Crisp didn’t really do interviews – he declaimed. Gloriously. Crisp was forever in the dock, making a final, impassioned appeal to […]

Flora Men

After my dad had a health scare in the 1970s butter was banished from the Simpson household and replaced with Flora, probably partly as a result of this ad, which ran in heavy rotation for what seemed like most of my childhood. I continued eating it myself for years after leaving home. Back then we – or, rather, our mothers – were told that butter with its saturated fats was bad for you. Flora margarine which was ‘high in polyunsaturated fats’ and made from sunflower […]

The Breathtaking Beauty of Rod Stewart’s ‘The Killing of Georgie Parts I & II’

I recently chanced upon this clip of Rod Stewart singing (or lip-synching) ‘The Killing of Georgie Parts I & II’ on a late-night BBC4 re-run of a Top of the Pops from 1976. I was completely transfixed. Not by nostalgia though, for a change. Bizarrely, scandalously I don’t recall seeing or even hearing this well-known classic before. I have a bit of a blind spot about Rod Stewart. As a kid I hated ballads. They were bor-ing. Like the kissy-wissy bits in films. And by the time […]

Welcome to AbbaWorld – Prepare to be Abbassimiliated

“NO MORE F****** ABBA!!” So bellowed an ageing transsexual Terence Stamp in Priscilla Queen of the Desert, driven to distraction by his fey fellow bus passengers’ obsession with the silly Swedish 1970s super group. Some hope. We’re all trapped on a Day-Glo bus full of drag queens squawking along to a loop tape of Abba Gold playing on the stereo. And that’s just watching the Sydney Olympics. The Abba revival in the 1990s turned out to be not so much a rediscovery of a critically […]

Unleash the Geek

By Mark Simpson (Independent on Sunday, 21/01/07) When I was a boy in the lan­guor­ous 1970s I looked for­ward to Christmas not just for the prez­zies but the bore­dom that only cold tur­key and just three TV chan­nels could pro­duce. I cal­cu­lated that the more bored every­one was the more chance there was that they might suc­cumb to my out­land­ish, vaguely inde­cent entreaty: ‘Let’s play Escape from Colditz!’ ‘Oh, no! Not Escape From Colditz!!’ every­one would cry, shrink­ing away in hor­ror as I bran­dished the unfeas­ibly […]