Thursday, November 08, 2007

Time to come home M'Lady

I made a somewhat obtuse reference to a bubblegum card in one of my recent posts. You may remember – but of course that presupposes you a) actually read my ramblings and b) you find them remotely interesting enough to commit them to memory, unlikely I know!

Anyway, I found it – the bubblegum card that is.

Recently a nostalgia trip with colleagues at work led me to dig out my small stash of bubblegum cards, avidly collected “back when I were a lad”. As I remembered it I had a full set of the 1966(?) black and white large Somportex Thunderbirds cards. On looking through them I discovered No.51 was missing. Oh no! On searching the Internet I found that No.51 was Lady Penelope. Oh no again! But I was sure I had had the whole set. Then a flash of recall. I knew it was in the house somewhere. Was my memory playing tricks? I didn’t think so.

I warn you, you will have stick with this. Throughout most of the latter half of the 70s I ran a mobile disco, together with three school friends of the time. We were dreadfully pretentious and decided to jump on the homemade xeroxed and stapled fanzine bandwagon (probably most famously represented by “Sniffin' Glue”) and produce our own organ to be distributed free at our mobile discos. The fanzine was called, appropriately, “Pseud” – you see we knew we were being pretentious – and the enterprise lasted for two issues in 1978! From memory possibly as many as 20 copies of the first issue were distributed! But I’m not sure if the second issue ever made it past the proof stage. I remembered that I had copies of them still lying around somewhere, and I now had the distinct memory that my Lady Penelope bubblegum card had made an appearance in one of the issues.

So it was that I finally unearthed them just now and there indeed, still lightly sellotaped into place on page 11 (of 12) of the proof of the second issue was my No.51 Thunderbirds bubblegum card. Lady Penelope has spent the last 29 years contemplating such highbrow literary articles as reviews and charts of our favourite records of the time, impressions of the Anti Nazi League Carnival in London’s Victoria Park, the story of a drunken weekend in Cambridge, a Steely Dan discography, and the history of the 12” single.

I have decided that after all these years she is maybe missing her Thunderbirds friends so I have now tucked her back into my stack of Thunderbirds cards, of course between No.50 – Jeff Tracy – and No.52 Parker, Lady Penelope’s trusted servant. Back home. She will like that I’m sure.

What to play to celebrate Lady Penelope’s homecoming? Peaches & Herb’s “Reunited”? Or Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway’s “Back Together Again”? Great records but maybe too obvious and well known. I first alluded to the fact that this post may at some time appear when I featured Jean Carn recently. Initially I thought No.51 was missing and a Jean Carn track came to mind. Now Lady P has been found and my Thunderbirds cards are once again a complete set another Jean Carn track comes to mind – “Completeness”.

This track dates from 1982 and was the B side to her version of “If You Don’t Know Me By Now”. This single had been filed untouched in one of my boxes for a long time. I’m not sure I had ever played “Completeness” until a few months ago. It just goes to show you shouldn’t ignore B sides. It’s included on the Best Of compilation “Closer Than Close” which is a strong collection of Jean’s output, if you can find it.

For good measure you can also hear a track from my “Pseud” (Vol.1 No.2) featured Top Twenty – Narada Michael Walden with “Soulbird” which you can find on the album “I Cry I Smile”.

Jean Carn – Completeness 1982

Narada Michael Walden – Soulbird 1977


davyh said...

A magnificent tale Darce, I love it.

No Darts in your chart though, I couldn't help but notice...

dickvandyke said...

great post - covering more than a monthfull of sunday supplement social commentaries. top work.