Yeah, this is Jack the Lad speaking.

Download: Chantilly Lace – Mike Reid (mp3)


The main job of British movie dolly birds in the 60s and 70s was to be passive objects for the likes of Sid James or Robin Askwith to phwooaar all over or to scream helplessly and faint when Christopher Lee appeared in a cape. But with her imposing height, Amazonian build, and drop-dead looks, Valerie Leon didn’t fit the part of the ditzy barmaid or virginal damsel in distress so she was usually the one being sexually aggressive and domineering — entering rooms like a panther in heat, thrusting her cleavage forward like a deadly weapon, giving off enough horny static to power a large city — and it was the men who got all flustered and ran to the fainting couch when she approached.

She looked like such a you-are-not-worthy goddess that a lot of the time she wasn’t cast as a regular human being and played a variety of jungle warriors, aliens, and reincarnated Egyptian queens. Even in the Hai Karate ads she came across like some amorous Terminator robot who could not be stopped. Typically, when she did play a normal person we were supposed to believe she was such a crazed nympho that she’d chase after such weedy targets as Jim Dale, Ronnie Corbett, and even Charles Hawtrey. But I guess that was supposed to be the funny part.

She was a ubiquitous presence on 1970s telly, forever popping up as the comedy crumpet on variety shows and sitcoms, and you could always rely on her to class up a production — at least visually. As a boy I would immediately, um, perk up when she appeared and would sit through some right old rubbish in the hope that she’d appear again, however briefly, in that low-cut cocktail dress or fur bikini and play havoc with my hormones.

I’ve no idea if she was any good as an actress, watching her my normal critical faculties tend to be short-circuited, and her filmography is full of such nameless roles as “Hotel Receptionist”, “Lady in Bahamas”, “Serving Wench”, “Bath Girl” and, amusingly, “Queen of the Nabongas.” But one credit she should be proud of is having Roxy Music’s “Beauty Queen” written about her. I never knew that until recently but apparently she had a fling with Bryan Ferry at some point and now the opening line “Valerie please believe, it never could work out” makes sense to me. Whether this is true or not (the internet says it is) I hope it is because someone as gorgeous as Valerie Leon should have songs written about her.

Download: Beauty Queen – Roxy Music (mp3)

Menace to society

A clip ’round the ear or a spell in the army should sort them out.

If my kids ever turn “punk” I’ll just bore them to death with stories about how much better it was back in my day.

Download: Norman (He’s No Rebel) – The Mo-dettes (mp3)

Something for the Weekend

I saw The Banshees live several times in the early 80s and they never failed to be brilliant. I had one of those Star of David t-shirts too, it went very well with my black jeans and suede Chelsea boots. It looked better on Siouxsie though.

Blazing guitar work by John McGeoch in this clip too.

Commercial Break

Why wasn’t this an Olympic sport? We’d have dominated the medals.

The wonderful, horrible 1970s

Thanks to Simon for pointing me in the direction of the terrific Scarfolk Council blog, the humour of which will be instantly familiar to anyone (un)lucky enough to have grown up in England in the 1970s.

I’ve added it to a new link category called “English Diseases” over on the right where you will find all that is rotten, depressing, lovely, and weird in old Blighty.

Scarfolk Council may be a parody but they don’t need to stretch the truth that much when it comes to the grim weirdness of the 1970s. For example, these are the opening titles to a children’s television program from back then. This used to terrify us while we ate our fish fingers and mash at teatime.

And records like this got to number one. How we got out of that decade alive is beyond me.

Download: Mouldy Old Dough – Lieutenant Pigeon (mp3)

Something for the Weekend

Pay attention, children. The Faces are going to show you the correct way to play the rock music.


I only just heard the sad news that Cecil Womack died last week. Apart from being part of a legendary soul family (and being married to the daughter of another soul legend) him and his missus were responsible for two of my favourite soul records of the 1980s.

“Teardrops” is great but I think I’d give the edge to this one. The albums they come from are both excellent too.

What’s it all about?

The sentimental musings of an ageing expat in words, music, and pictures. Mp3 files are up for a limited time so drink them while they're hot. Contact me: lee at londonlee dot com