Opening the meeting, Chairman Peter Wilson was pleased to annouce that Roger and Lindsay Bancroft had volunteered to organise the Christmas Lunch at Ascot House. Members showed their appreciation of another fine example of participation in the running of the Forum.
Our Speaker, Malcolm Johnson, returned to continue his previous foray into Children’s Favourites on BBC radio – this time from 1960 onwards to its close in 1982. When updating his talk he surprisingly found that it became a rather harrowing story full of sad endings for many of the artists. Sex and drugs and depression and suicide and gambling and bancruptcy and murder all featured in the unfolding tales from the pop stars of the era.
First on Malcolm’s list was Adam Faith who had seven consecutive chart hits in the early 60s He made the headlines in an eclectic range of topics from dating Chris Evert to theatre and journalism. He wrote a financial advice column in the Daily Mail until he declared bancruptcy owing £32m.! His notorious womanising produced many more hits than his singing until 2003 when he died of a heart attack in a hotel bed with a 22-year old.
Lonnie Donegan with his skiffle group was the inspiration for many a 60’s pop artist including Paul McCartney, Brian May, and Roger Daltrey,. His career spanned from the mid 50’s with Chris Barber and Ken Collyer to a final appearance at Glastonbury in 1999. Malcolm declared his favourite memory was listening to “My old man’s a dustman” after a Saturday morning visit to the childrens matinee.
Harry Belafonte, Charlie Drake, Bernhard Cribbins, Kenneth Wiliams, Josh McRae, Speedy Gonzales, Clive Dunn, David Bowie, Benny Hill all featured amongst his favourites chosen for analysis.
Also mentioned were that wholesome Danish/Dutch duo Nina and Frederik whose final hit released in 1999 was “Puff the Magic Dragon” An intriguing title when linked to the untimely death of Frederik, who was shot on a beach in the Phillipines in a drug related incident in – 1999.
Finally, Malcolm gave us the breaking news of the revival of the Wombles from family favourites of the 1970s to the singalong musical theme for COP26. In case you didn’t know Wombles live in burrows, originally on Wimbledon Common, where they aim to help the environment by collecting and recycling human rubbish in creative ways. So there’s the link.
Godfrey Alderson proposed a vote of thanks to Malcolm for his well constructed talk which engaged and enlightened the audience with childhood memories and some surprising revelations.
Posted by RICHARD WRIGHT