I have an idea for a new sitcom where Jimmy Tarbuck, Max Clifford, William Roache, Jim Davidson, Freddie Starr, Rolf Harris, Stuart Hall and Dave Lee Travis are serving their time in an open prison. The opening scene would be a prison guard showing the men to their cells in the newly opened block called Savile Row. The show would be scripted by Ronnie Barker’s son and be called either ‘Pervy Porridge’ if on the BBC or ‘Up the Shitter’ if on Channel 5. New cast members are imminent.
I think the world will stop spinning, at least for people in the UK, should Sir Terence of Wogan ever get caught up in the tsunami of sexual scandal that has engulfed comedians and light entertainers of a certain age. So many household names have been arrested in relation to allegations of sexual abuse that the public now, more or less, expect anyone on TV during the 1970s and 1980s to be the next front page story.
But surely it is unreasonable to expect such a narrow strata of society to be the only culpable party? Apart from the stupendously stupid Gary Glitter, who went to get his computer fixed with a hard drive full of child porn, no rock stars from that era have been targetted. And yet, surely, when we consider sex with underage fans, rock stars, by their own admission, have been leading the way for decades, whether singing about the joys of underage sex (Hello, Alex Chilton), actively participating (Hi, Mr Berry, is that a gun in your pocket or are you just glad to see me? Oh both) or a mixture of the two (Way to go, Motley Crue).
King of the Pervs surely has to be Chuck Berry, who not only transported a Sweet Little 16 year old girl, no make that 14 years old, across state lines for immoral purposes but also installed cameras in the women’s toilets of his restaurant so he could subsequently play with his ding-a-ling whilst watching the videos he had made. Jerry Lee Lewis thought it a good idea to marry his 13 year old cousin and we should probably draw a veil over a secondary reason as to why he may be known as The Killer. Ted Nugent has even admitted to being a serial paedophile with his marriage ending due to his numerous flings on tour, often with underage women (Courtney Love evidently gave him a blowjob when she was 12). Don Henley of The Eagles drugged and fucked a 16 year old. Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler even adopted his under age girlfriend so he could fuck her. And that’s just a small sample of our American cousins (that’s cousins in the loosest sense, Jerry Lee).
Now Operation Yewtree is not going to concern itself with Americans but it is difficult to believe that British musicians have not behaved similarly. Some are lucky not to have been already incarcerated. Bill Wyman of The Rolling Stones admitted to fucking Mandy Smith when she was 14 and yet the police were not interested in pursuing the case. Leaving aside the fucking of girls with sharks, Jimmy Page got his roadie to kidnap a 14 year old girl and then kept her imprisoned while he fucked her. Make no mistake about it, the list of English stars will rival that of Americans and it won’t be long before well known names of 70s and 80s rockers will be added to the names of light entertainment as the branches of Yewtree grow and extend over spring and summer.
There is a moral witch hunt being waged here which, by design or not, takes headlines away from the economy, austerity measures and the privatisation of the NHS. It comes as no surprise that it was the morally repugnant Daily Mail which broke the Jimmy Tarbuck story. This leaking of names feeds into the prurient interest of the general public and by targetting high profile names, the police know they will gain the requisite publicity which demonstrates they are doing an efficient job. Americans appear to forgive or forget the sexual peccadilloes of their stars. The French are used to sexual scandal and shrug their shoulders ( hell, in Roman Polanski we keep a paedophile as a personal pet to taunt the Americans). But the British appear horrified, surprised and upset that some of their national treasures are being paraded through town with a sign around their necks that reads “PAEDOPHILE”. When they run out of comedians to entertain us in their twilight years, don’t be surprised when they come for your music heroes, a final encore which will see their music removed from playlists and record stores. Now, can someone tell me where I can get a copy of ‘Rock n Roll Part 2’?