Without Hitler to concentrate his mind, Churchill started going barmy. Just like the Americans, he started looking for ‘the enemy within’ but to a British Tory, the enemy within isn’t often people that they suspect of being communists. It sometimes is, but not often. For your average Tory, the enemy within is the working classes, or once they have closed down all their jobs, the unemployed.
Churchill felt that the working classes were responsible for dragging down moral standards in the1950s. And one of the ways he thought that they were doing it was by sending each other rude postcards from the seaside.
Now, you know as well as I do that there is no call for anyone to be rude, and that double entendres are the last resort of salacious and filthy minded so and sos. But you also know as well as I do, that we can all let ourselves go a bit when we visit the seaside, and the right to laugh a little bit at the salacious and filthy side of our nature is an essential part of the British character.
We’re not talking about ruddy pop shots, here, not even photographs of naked people. Just funny drawings of men holding enormous pink sticks of rock, with the wrapper peeled away off the end, or woman in their scanties, making innocent comments which are taken the wrong way by shocked gentlemen or old aunties. “Gentlements requisites sir?” says the dolly bird working the shop floor of a department store. “Go right through Ladies Underwear.” You and I know that there is no real harm in that sort of thing at all.
But Churchill and his cronies knew different, and they set up a system where local councils could prosecute the creators of these cards under the 1857 Obscene Publications Act. Donald McGill, who had drawn a fair few, was hauled over the coals in Lincoln Court after his bits and pieces had been seized in Cleethorpes. Not a pleasant experience at all. They find him 75 pounds and set fire to his stock. That must have made his ruddy eyes water. It certainly reduced the size of his profits. They Pulled his big long stick of rock all the way along the Promenade at Skegness, and told him that if he ever tried to stick it in any of the shop windows along there again, they would stick him in handcuffs until he promised never to get it out again.
I used to prefer the postcards with scenic views on, myself. But My Raymond used to always send his brothers and friends the ones with filthy jokes on them. Boys will be ruddy boys, and none of the stuff on them was anywhere near as bad as some of thse Videos his John used to watch in the 1980s. A single entendre would have been too subtle for some of those things. Big John Holmes wouldn’t know how to make a joke with a stick of rock, he had probably never even been to the seaside. He was too ruddy busy poking his way into places where he had no business. Like the video cabinet under John’s television. Once he started, educating and informing was the last thing our John’s television was ever going to be used for.
Auntie Doris’s Pick of the 1954 pops: “This Old House” by Rosemary Clooney. The records that would influence a nation of Rock and Rollers were beginning to arrive, and listening to Rosemary, it is easy to hear what caught the ear of the future King of Rock and Roll, who was to have a massive international hit with the same song, just 27 short years later. Michael Barratt, known to his hundreds of fans as none other than Mr Shakin’ Stevens!