Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A little research project for a day in mid-September

Keith Waterhouse, author of 'Billy Liar' dies, age 80

Sep 04 2009

Author, playwright and Fleet Street legend Keith Waterhouse has died "quietly in his sleep" at the age of 80. Waterhouse made his screenwriting debut on the 1961 film Whistle Down The Wind, but remains best known for his 1959 novel Billy Liar (which was made into a critically acclaimed film starring Tom Courtenay in 1963). Among a generation of British adults who grew up in the 1980s, he should also be remembered for his TV adaptation of the Worzel Gummidge books by Barbara Euphan Todd.


Reading this immediately brought to mind a song by The Kinks - Where Are They Now, from Preservation, Act 1, 1973.

Here we are, 36 years since the song came out, and these names and words are even more lost in the mists of time. So I did a little research.

First I'll show the lyrics; then I'll give links to all the references; and then offer a you tube of the song. Sadly, it isn't a live performance, but at least you get to hear the words and music, and you can even sing along while reading the lyrics if you wish.


Where Are They Now
written by Ray Davies

I'll sing a song about some people you might know
They made front pages in the news not long ago
But now they're just part of the crowd
And I wonder where they all are now.

Where have all the Swinging Londoners gone?
Ossie Clark and Mary Quant
And what of Christine Keeler,
John Stephen and Alvaro,
Where on earth did they all go?
Mr. Fish and Mr. Chow,
Yeah, I wonder where they all are now.

Where are all the Teddy Boys now?
Where are all the Teddy Boys now?
The Brill Cream boys with D.A.s,
Drainpipes and blue suedes,
Beatniks with long pullovers on,
And coffee bars and Ban the Bomb,
Yeah, where have all the Teddy Boys gone?
I hope that Arthur Seaton is alright.
I hope that Charlie Bubbles had a very pleasant flight,
And Jimmy Porter's learned to laugh and smile,
And Joe Lampton's learned to live a life of style.

Where are all the angry young men now?
Where are all the angry young men now?
Barstow and Osborne, Waterhouse and Sillitoe,
Where on earth did they all go?
And where are all the protest songs?
Yeah, where have all the angry young men gone?

I wonder what became of all the Rockers and the Mods.
I hope they are making it and they've all got steady jobs,
Oh but rock and roll still lives on,
Yeah, rock and roll still lives on.


Swinging Londoners

Ossie Clark

Mary Quant

Christine Keeler

John Stephen

Alvaro (I wasn't familiar with the name, but this seems to be the answer)

Mr. Fish and Mr. Chow (scroll down a bit to find Mr Chow)

Teddy Boys

The Brill Cream boys with D.A.s

Drainpipes and blue suedes

Beatniks with long pullovers on

And coffee bars

Ban the Bomb

I hope that Arthur Seaton is alright:
character in Alan Sillitoe's first novel Saturday Night and Sunday Morning

I hope that Charlie Bubbles had a very pleasant flight - 1967 movie

And Jimmy Porter's learned to laugh and smile:
character in John Osborne's Look Back in Anger

And Joe Lampton's learned to live a life of style:
character in 1965 movie Life at the Top

Where are all the angry young men now? Here's an interesting piece written a few years back.
all authors:
Stan Barstow
John Osborne
Keith Waterhouse
Alan Sillitoe

And where are all the protest songs?

Rockers and the Mods



6 comments:

  1. 1973 was the year that I got married. Thanks for the brilliant links and the memories they bring.
    Maureen

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  2. And I thank you for reading, Maureen.

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  3. I got married in 1973 too. Keith Waterhouse used to write a column in the Daily Mirror when I was a teenager. It was the highlight of the day to get home from school or work and read his writings. There were times when he reduced me to tears of laughter. A sad loss.

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  4. Cath, I should go try to find those columns online - or maybe there is a collection published as a book. The amazing thing to me is that, there is Ray Davies writing about all those people not so many years after their heyday, and already they weren't known to some people.

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  5. Thanks so much for the research. I was listening to this album for the first time on CD yesterday and puzzled yet again over Mr Fish and Mr Chow. Growing up in a remote corner of Canada I had to rely on imagination to put faces to those names. (As it turns out, some of those guesses were a deal more exotic than the reality.)

    And I have to say, anyone who is au courant with both Keith Waterhouse and Ray Davies is Top of the Pops in my books!

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  6. Geoff, what a wonder to find a new comment on this posting! Thank you so much for taking the time to write. I had such fun looking up all this stuff. If you love Ray, he's made a few appearances in my Letters. Thanks again.

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Now that I am a grandmother, it seems that I am often late in replying to your most-appreciated comments. But I read them as soon as they come in, and I will write as soon as I can. Please do come back and check. I love these blogging conversations. A little addendum - I've just spent quite a long time catching up with dear notes you left me months ago!! I do hope you can get back to read them. And I'm trying to be much more prompt now!

Also, you may comment on any post, no matter how old, and I will see it.