a blast from the past in 2013….

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Yes, I watch the British soaps here in my home in Toronto… have done for decades now.

EastEnders is a couple of years behind for us, so I have no idea if the character Eddie Moon is still part and parcel of the show in 2013!

eddie moonI just have to say that when his character appeared on Eastenders a while ago, I thought wow, it’s amazing when I see a man with a full head of fully grey hair, I don’t look too closely at first (yes in my early 60’s now, I am still a blonde). However, when I did get a real look at old Eddie, I thought wow, he must have been a real charming looker way back when, um .. hell, he is a looker now!!! I rattled my brain wondering if I could figure out if this actor was big when he was young. Having limited knowledge of the UK TV scene, I thought to myself, he was probably some famous dashing character on 70’s or 80’s British TV series… ! I thought that I had already looked at his name on the program closing credits … I guess I didn’t!! Imagine my surprise when last night I happened to glance at the name Eddie Moon, only to glimpse the name David Essex!! a blast from the past that I do remember…

David+Essex+-+Rock+On+-+Quadraphonic_Sealed+-+LP+RECORD-439669

Now I actually don’t know anything about Mr. Essex except that he was a fairly big name, a touch on the glam-rock type singer and had some hits back in the 70’s including the above, and when I lived in London for a while the  ‘We’re Gonna Make You A Star’ … I loved that number, and I remember seeing his face on the telly and in some mags and  thinking how gorgeous he looked.  Now, of course, I can totally see him as an actor, especially as the cockney father of an assortment of young men in Albert Square..

This is an excerpt from a previous post that I wrote about first visit to Biba back in 1976 (London~ magical visit ~ BiBa) :

Armchairs and couches! With live people sitting in them (in the display windows)! Turns out that the BIBA shoppers were the display, and they were truly fabulous trendoids! What an incredible idea I thought, trust BIBA to think of such a cutting edge concept so far removed from traditional stores. I approached the glass doors with total rapture. I walked in and immediately was immersed in loud heavenly (to me) music. It was one of my absolute favourite tracks: David Essex and ‘I Want To Make You A Star”! Somehow, it fit my enchantment so perfectly.essexa There were many counters, fabulous Art Deco décor, heavenly scents, artfully arranged racks of beautiful clothes, totally hip salesgirls and of course the vibrant beautiful people who were the customers. There was even a tea place with light fare. I eventually became part of the window display as I sat in a plush comfy armchair drinking my pop and smoking a ciggy taking a break from the ‘hell’ of shopping. BIBA more than lived up to my expectations.

Fancy that!!  Mr. Essex grew up real good…

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For the benefit of fellow Brook student nurse, Florence, I am showing this class photo of the student nurses that enrolled at the Brook General School of Nursing in September, 1972.  I am Carol the blond in back row.  A few first names I remember were Diane, Marion, Anne ( a lovely Welsh gal), Naomi, Jasmin, Sue, Jean, Wilma, David, Andrew, Pete and ‘Sprog’brook….  I met a wonderful lot of fellow-student nurses in my one year at the Brook..

1976

just a snapshot …on my own ….

Taggs Island & Glasgow

I hated moving to Canada at 15… I did not want to leave my home in Glasgow where we had lived for 10 years.  Unfortunately my dad lost his job at Scottish Television.  Uncle Peter, his brother had already emigrated to Canada and found work in television at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. He suggested that Dad try his luck there.  In 1967, Canada was welcoming a huge influx of immigrants.  So off we sailed in August 1967.

High school ………. yuch ….. .keep to myself ………. difficult because of extreme self-consciousness due to my dark passenger (my gammy leg)… and also undiagnosed chronic depression (as it was more often than not in those days – ‘snap out of it’!!) come by so honestly from my Irish side.  I just wanted to disappear into the ground…

Fast forward to January, 1971, I had graduated from high school and decided to take a year to figure out what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.  I got a part-time job, and saved up my money to make a trip back home (my parents kindly let me keep my money to do with what I wanted).  They say never go back in the first couple of years after emigrating.… As circumstances would have it, I went back, on my own, 4 years afterward.

Yes, I planned to visit my former home, Glasgow, but I first wanted to check out London.  Luckily for me my Nanny had a flat in Muswell Hill, and my aunty Bee lived on a houseboat on the River Thames with her boyfriend Ken and her daughter, Sh.  So my plan was to find a charter flight to London and stay with my Nanny, and somehow at some point, take a train or something to Glasgow.

I loved my first taste of London as a teenager.  I had spent my first 5 years of life living in Hackney, but that’s different.

My aunty Bee and Sh and Ken soon came to drive me to the houseboat, named the Vernette which was moored on Taggs Island.

What an adventure! It was January, so everywhere was so cold and damp!  I can’t remember the logistics of my staying on a houseboat for a few days.  I do remember there was a paraffin oil heater in the kitchen to warm up the interior, and Aunty Bee had sprinkled some dried rosemary on it, perhaps to hide the smell of the paraffin.

Aunty Bee and Sh, my cousin and I went exploring.  On the shore, close to the Vernette, were the amazing ruins of an old hotel.  Bee told me that they filmed some scenes of a movie there.  Actually the movie was A Clockwork Orange with Malcolm McDowell………. wow, exciting!  Apparently Bee and Sh were watching filming from a distance and poor Sh was asking her mum ‘what are they doing with that lady’?  I am not sure, but Bee said it was a nasty rape scene that they were watching.  I had tried to read the book, but could not get into it.  I did see the movie and hated all the wanton violence, rape, and psycho-pathological acts of these yobo’s or whatever they called themselves?…’droogs’??

Recently I Googled Tagg’s Island and Clockwork Orange movie information and finally found information about a very grand old hotel.  I found this wonderful photograph of the Karsino Hotel, Hampton Court.  I was so excited when I saw that the stairway and pillars matched my photo of the hotel ruins…

I took the pic at the bottom of the Vernette by the old hotel ruins

I took the pic at the bottom of the Vernette by the old hotel ruins

I felt pretty growed up, especially when Bee and Ken took me around to visit their London friends.  Ken  had access to, or owned a motor bike with a side car.  It was so much glorious fun when Sh and I squeezed into that sidecar and Ken took us for a ride along the island roads……….Halfway through my 3 week visit Ken very kindly drove me all the way up to Glasgow.  We travelled all night and arrived in Glasgow at about 8am on a Sunday morning.  I was lucky enough to have a place to stay in Glasgow.  The family who bought our house in 1967, still lived there and welcomed me with open arms.

I must say that seeing Glasgow again was a disappointment.  Maybe because it was winter, but as Ken drove me into that big city, all I could really see then was big, grey, grimy and gloomy…  I visited my 2 school friends, June and Frances and we even went to the Kelvin Hall annual fun fair, where I had enjoyed all the midway rides, rollercoasters and handsome lads who operated the rides, as well as the loud pulsating beats of Brit Sixties pop.  Keep On Running by the Spencer Davis Group always comes to my mind when I think back on my blossoming teens spent on an annual outing every winter after Christmas at Kelvin Hall.  However, speaking with my school friends, in my mind, I felt that I still had the world at my feet and the possibilities were many… I was still trying to figure out what I wanted to be?  My pals had both finished school, but June was quitting her job as she was getting married soon and Frances worked as a secretary in an office.  So I think that moving to Canada really changed my way of thinking……….. not settling for any old job, or getting married when you leave school … which seemed like the common thing to do in the old City of Glasgow back in the late 60s….  To be perfectly honest, I could not wait to catch my train a few days later and go back to London.  No disrespect intended to my old home of Glasgow, which a few years later, demolished a lot of the slum areas and had a renaissance of reconstruction and won some European awards for design and architecture… My heart now belonged to London!

my cousin Sh & I waiting for the bus to Gatwick Airport, just down the road from Taggs Island. Look at all the stuff I brought back with me........ mainly lovely London clothes!

my cousin Sh & I waiting for the bus to Gatwick Airport, just down the road from Taggs Island.  Aunty Bee took the photo.   Look at all the stuff I brought back with me…….. mainly lovely London clothes!

That trip, on my own, to London, was a pivotal point in planning my future…

d4def46ef650e0efc18d3109af5f4ddfbibaI still have these 3 posters after, what is it??..THIRTY-SIX YEARS..……. oh lor………..a long time indeed. Actually considering how old these posters are they remain in great condition…having said that, you will notice them looking creased.  I had them stored away during my many years of motherhood and only retrieved them last year.  I guess I should have ironed them before I modpodged them onto bristol board paper.I don’t know the order of these posters, although I believe that the poster showing the lovely gal lying naked on lovely cushion-covered bed came after the 2 gorgeous iconic Ingrid Boulting by Sarah Moon posters…aadd4a8b67387a8026928570819af2e6bib3c

I paint all my pin-boards white...

I paint all my pin-boards white…

friends in the workplace…

friends

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Can you believe how exquisite Sue’s handwriting is!!!

Funny thing, I didn’t think that I had any friends when I lived with Ty, as I was so absorbed in him.  I found these old letters from 2 people I do remember from JJ.  We continued to correspond after I left London and went back with my tail between my legs, to Toronto.  The letter above was from Sue B.  She had worked at JJ longer than most.  She was one of 2 head cashiers, younger than me and when I started at JJ, she showed me the ropes.  I thought she was really cool, but she also seemed somewhat cool (read dipped temperature interaction) toward sensitive old me.  She was so pretty, had long blonde hair parted in the middle and was always sweeping one side of her growing-out fringe out of her eyes.  I envied her swaggering walk. I loved her London (not sure which part of London) accent and thought she was so self-assured.  Turns out in reality, she was not so confident (like most of us I suppose), but she always managed to project a ‘what the hell, I don’t give a fuck what you think about, don’t mess me!!’ personna.

As I gradually got to know Sue at work and after work at the pub… sometimes the Argyle (close to the London Palladium) and other times the Phoenix, which seemed to be the JJ local… I realized that she was a really nice young woman with self-confidence issues (What!! her too??) and anxiety about her future.  She had completed school, but did not want to work in a shop for the rest of her life!  She had spent a year in Greece, learning the language as she worked in touristy pubs or clubs.  I told her she was amazingly brave to have been able to work in a foreign speaking country like she did!  Unfortunately we did not keep up our correspondences… (probably my fault, but who knows?)

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This letter was from Bill… a (younger than me … it seemed they all were as I reached my 25th birthday working at JJ) young man of about 23, who had hailed originally from Lebanon.  He had been brought up in London, but would occasionally pay a visit to relatives still living in Lebanon.  One day, after returning from a flying visit to Lebanon, which at that time was always in the news for death, bombs, destruction, shelling, smashed buildings…  (I dont remember the cause of the strife back then other than it degenerating into a civil war), Bill handed me a cassette tape and asked me to put it in the tape deck.  Thinking it was music, I did, only to be assaulted by the sound of loud machine guns, explosions and general mayhem!  Of course, Dennis (I think) the manager rushed over and exclaimed ‘what the hell is that??’  Billy, dark and swarthy, was full of male bravado, but once I got to know him, he was really a pussycat!!   Again, I don’t know whose fault is was that our correspondence ended.

You may  notice the self-fulfilling prophecy noted in both letters…………… that no-one from the old JJ days, writes back!

Of course if we had had smartphones back then…..   who knows.

My BiBa diary

bought in 1975 or early 1976.

inside page

the inside page…the gold fading.. but it does say 1976

It is a 1976 diary and it is full of magical graphics, special days, even a directory at the back of trendy London cinemas, clubs, hairdressers to visit. Those back resource pages contained gold writing on a black background. Unfortunately the gold has worn off over the years leaving barely legible works….but I love my BiBa diary and used it too!

ahem....... an angry young woman here...

ahem…….looks like an angry young woman here…

a HONEY of a magazine

April 1969…. and a few pages inside for your viewing pleasure!

the original Rimmel cosmetics, available at Woolies...

the original Rimmel cosmetics, available at Woolies…

woolies

how cool are these 60s psychadelic graphics..

mini shirtdresses, mostly made out of stretch jersey..

mini shirtdresses, mostly made out of stretch jersey..

such a cute little trench worn by ?Sue Murray???

such a cute little trench worn by ?Sue Murray???

'boyfriend' jumpers

‘boyfriend’ jumpers

 

MY BIBA DRESS

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Back in 69, I really wanted something from BiBa. We were living in Toronto, our new home. I had seen the articles and the photos of the wonderful BiBa line and had fallen in love with Barbara Hulanicki’s delightful and dreamy fashions. I even asked my Aunt Bee to send ma a BiBa catalogue, which she did.  I picked the dress I wanted, actually I wanted everything.  I saved up all my money and bought an international money order and sent it my my Aunty Bee. I was really never sure if Bee bought it mail order or if she bought it in BiBa. I do not know if she was still living in London then ….bibadr

Imagine my delight when the mailman delivered a package wrapped in a large BiBa envelope, with my Aunty Bee’s writing all over it! Bee had a very distinctive style when it came to addressing packages to us in Canada…  Inimitable, colourful, fun, and irresistible. I have kept some of her wrapping and still love looking at them. I will post pics of them soon.

The dress was gorgeous! Dark navy blue cotton, with a little red flower print… fitted bodice with puffy sleeves and a full gathered skirt flowing from the waistline. There were little buttons on the bodice and a zip at the side. Unfortunately I discovered that I was a little too busty to be able to completely close the bodice fastenings, so for this photo I draped a black lace shawl over the top. (I bought this shawl for a couple of bucks at the most famous store in Canada ~ Eatons. They were having a spring fashion promotion and if you bought a garment, you could buy this lovely Spanish shawl for about $3… I still have it).biii

Below is an attempted photoedit that I did to show the bodice as I remembered it, if it had fit me perfectly!

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I am sorry to say that in those days I hadn’t really developed my clothes renovating skills yet. I wonder why I didn’t ask my mum, who was an excellent seamstress, to alter it for me? Perhaps it was that as much as I adored my BiBa dress, I don’t think I could have worn it anywhere as my life was then! Sadly, I do not remember what became of my precious BiBa dress, but at least I have this Polaroid of me wearing it (as I do also of a pair of leather FRYE boots that were all the rage that I bought, but alas could not walk in!!!!) ….

back to London.... 1977

This is me in Otober 1977 standing at the bus stop in Hackney waiting for the bus to take me to Mile End tube station…. the same stop I waited at many a time a couple of years earlier, to go to work at JJ on Oxford Street…My friend Darla took this photo…

September 1977

This time it was a ‘holiday’…. why? because I wanted to see Ty!!! He still lived at the VicPark house, his mum in the basement!  I was working as an RN at HSC, making a good buck, living in a big apartment in Toronto with my brother and his girlfriend.

I don’t think I arranged beforehand to stay with him, because I have a couple of photos of me staying at a B&B. My friend Darla had arranged to fly over with her pal Carolyn about a week after I had arrived in London. Carolyn was staying about 4 days in London, and then would be leaving Darla to visit her relatives who lived in England. So the plan was that after Carolyn left, Darla and I would hook up and do London.

I give Darla credit for wanting to join me for a the rest of the 3 week holiday, bunking up at Ty’s house. Darla and I did London well and I had a really good time. We even went to a punk club called ‘the Vortex’ and survived an evening of pogoing punks!  There were punk bands galore, screaming, cursing, yelling, frenetic energy, vibrating eardrums, flying sweat, lithe young men and women jumping into every body around, booze and probably lots of the other…. For safety of our limbs, Darla and I tried to stay glued to one of the walls, but then we realized that to get to the bar, which was near the stage, we had to make our way through moving walls of hopping limbs… I swear it took us 15 minutes to safely negotiate ourselves from a wall (we tried the other 2 walls, they were all just as bad)… after all, it’s not the sort of place you would want to experience sober..  A straight looking guy, well I suppose I looked straight too, compared to the devoted audience, started to chat me up, and perhaps he got us a couple of beers… I cannot remember too well… except that I had to tell him to sling his hook, as we were headed back to our London host!!!

1977

1977

It took me less than a day to realize that Ty was never going to change…. I think I knew that even before I left Toronto. Perhaps it was ‘closure’ for me… I was never going to have a life with a broken, damaged alcoholic man no matter how much I loved him!  Thank God, I had my return flight to Canada and my own life….

declps…………. checking up on some of my blog entries, I see that some of the photos I added have SHRUNK …….. don’t know why, and I can’t seem to fix them in WP anyway….