Ricky Stratocaster's Forgotten Heroes
Not everyone makes it into the hallowed halls of rock and roll fame, but a few have their brief fifteen minutes. Here we take a moment to remember some of those who have been forgotten along the way.
Lead singer with The Flying Trifles
If you were around in Sheffield in March 1965, you'll know all about The Flying Trifles. They were everywhere: every newspaper, every club, every radio station. They were even guests of honour at the opening of a new branch of Wimpy. According to industry insiders, The Trifles were considered the next Beatles, but then this was the '60s and every group was considered the next Beatles at some point. It was inevitable, therefore, that by the following month they had been completely forgotten.
The band struggled on for another couple of years in the face of mounting apathy before they decided to call it a day. Lead singer Roy Pannick continued as a solo performer for a little while, becoming the warm up act for the likes of the Kinks and Herman's Hermits and driving the crowds wild as he stood in front of the microphone and went 'One, two. One, two. One, one, one. Two, two. One two'. One Two was even released as a single and became a minor hit, but the follow-up, Three Four, failed to chart.
These days you will find Roy working the afternoon shift and the EasySaver Megamart, near Sheffield bus terminus, where he is quite happy to take a break from stacking shelves to chat, reminisce about the old days and sign the occasional packet of Cornflakes.
One-fingered keyboard player with synth-pop outfit Toasted Arcade
In describing Sim Rekrap as a one-fingered keyboard player, I am of course referring to the fact that he played the instrument with one finger, not that he only had one finger to play it with. According to a 1983 interview published in Smash Hits, his signature playing style meant that it left his remaining fingers free to do other things during a performance. Sim did not elaborate on what those other things were.
In the same interview, Sim revealed that his real name was Simon Parker, and that he had cleverly devised his stage name by reversing the letters of his surname. How he came up with the name for the band is less easily explained and the origins of 'Toasted Arcade' remain a mystery to this day. In fact, these days Sim is reluctant to talk about his former life as a pop star at all. He currently scrapes a living as a taxi driver in Nottingham, where you will most likely find him working Friday and Saturday nights. He may not be particularly chatty, but you will be pleased to know that he still has the mullet.
Seventies Teen Idol
Davy Bottles might be a name that is familiar to you, since he has had two bites of the fame cherry. As a seventies teen idol he had a run of hits including Girl, Let Me Carry Your Satchel, Schoolyard Romance and Peppermint Kiss. His wholesome, boy-next-door good looks and his cheeky smile ensured he was always in the pages of teen magazines and his posters were on every young girl's bedroom wall. He even made movies, including Glitterball Gangshow in which he played a teen pop star, Spangled Dreamland in which he played a teen pop star, and Ballroom Berserkers in which he played a fish porter, who wanted to be a teen pop star.
But by 1976 the bubble had burst, the records had stopped selling and Davy filed for bankruptcy. He disappeared from view but re-emerged into the public eye in 1996 when, now pursuing a career as a full time actor, he appeared as a regular in EastEnders, playing a fat, balding pornographer. He had a successful eight-month run in the show, but his career stalled once again after he left.
These days you can still find him performing in small theatres and holiday resorts as part of seventies nostalgia shows, but the image of the fat, balding pornographer from EastEnders performing sugary pop ballads like Schoolyard Romance is one that audiences find difficulty in acclimatising to.
You've probably heard of Blur. What you probably don't know is that one of their founding members was Seymour Tonker and that their music was originally considerably more 'banjo-y'. It was the combination of Seymour's hectic plucking style and Damian Albarn's soulful accordion work that first brought them to the attention of audiences.
Nevertheless, the band's first record deal only came about on the understanding that Seymour left the instrument at home. Seymour resisted and record company boss Milton P Wodehouse pressured the band into firing him. (Wodehouse, you may recall, is the same man who got rid of the glockenspiel player from Keane.)
So Seymour Tonker was out of the band and Britpop took a very different course as a result - being a mainly guitar-based movement with minimal banjo input. Seymour himself is quite philosophical about it. These days he runs a pub in Chester but if you ask him nicely he's more than happy to whip his banjo out for a quick pluck.
Or rather, Dr Carole Parsons. Little did Carole know, back in 1978 when she released her first single Bip Bip Bip Bippity Bop, that she would one day become a highly respected psychoanalyst whose extremely expensive services would be sought by film stars, celebrities and many of the performers she once shared the charts with.
That first single was a huge hit and was quickly followed by other notable, if lyrically stunted, successes, including Rubba-Dubba Doo Doo, Wim Bam You're the Man and Oopsy Doop (Slight Return). Dr Parsons has dismissed any suggestion that she is embarrassed by the seemingly juvenile output of her former career. Those songs are classic expressions of our inner child, untainted by societal norms, and as such they provide a vital link to the deepest parts of our subconscious and allow for a cathartic re-evaluation of our neuroses.
That's what she says, anyway, and she's got the certificates so who am I to argue?
Reality TV Star
Two years ago, Jeremy Bellowes-Harpic was everywhere, following his appearances in the popular constructed reality show Posh Wankers in Chester. Basking in the glow of all this media attention, it was only a matter of time before the gormless simpleton decided that there was no way that an acute lack of talent was going to prevent him from realising his dream of becoming a pop star.
His one and only release was both immediately forgettable and an instant hit, and was enough to give him another two years of appearing on cooking programmes, game shows and mid-morning magazine shows. He can still occasionally be found doing nightclub appearances and opening car showrooms, and most people's reaction when he is announced is, quite rightly, "Who?"
Fluffy pink one hit wonder
I'm sure we can all remember the naughty pink sock puppet from the popular Saturday evening show Uncle Freddie's Family Fun Time. Laughs aplenty. And you must remember the novelty hit The Piggle Song. Of course you do, it was number one for five weeks in 1987 and no one could get the bloody thing out of their heads.
But did you ever stop to wonder what happened to Mr Piggles when Uncle Freddie was thrown in prison as a result of Operation Yewtree? Well the people who bought Uncle Freddie's house, after the police had finished with it, found the puppet stuffed down the back of a radiator. They cleaned it up, thoroughly, then put it up for auction on eBay.
Now, I know what you're thinking: who would want to buy a creepy, threadbare puppet from an embarrassingly awful 1980s light entertainment show? Well, nobody - nobody would, which is why the people who found just stuffed it back down behind the radiator again.
The oldest rocker on the block
In 1981 Fred Forelock was a 72-year-old ex-miner who had a novelty hit with The Oldest Rocker on the Block. Today he is a 23-year-old insurance broker from Brighton. Go figure.
Rock and roll royalty
If I were to ask you where legendary rock band Caveat Emptor are now, then your answer would probably be that they're still going strong and about to embark on yet another farewell tour. You're right, of course: the group, which started in the late sixties, is still rocking out today. But people often wonder what happened to the original line up.
Caveat Emptor's founding members were Rob Rhomboid, Daryl Spike, Lionel Carpets and Colin Findus. This version of the band lasted until 1976 when Rob Rhomboid left due to molecular differences. He was replaced by Jimmy Piccalilli. Colin Findus left the following year and was replaced by Timothy Spall (not the actor). This iteration of the group remained stable until 1988 when both Jimmy Piccalilli and Lionel Carpets decided to ship out, following separate but entirely unrelated pogo stick accidents. They were replaced by Hugo Truffaut and Sir Maurice Crumple respectively.
It soon became apparent that Truffaut and Daryl Spike really didn't get on and both announced their departure, each unaware that the other had also quit the band. Truffaut was replaced by Rob Rhomboid. Remember him? Yep, he'd been there at the start, as had Colin Findus, who also returned to the fold.
In 1998, Timothy Spall (not the actor) departed after, ironically, landing his first acting job. He was replaced by Davy Bottles, former teen heartthrob. Then, in 2001, Sir Maurice Crumple, now Lord Crumple of Windermere, left to take up a seat in the House of Lords. He was initially replaced by Colin Findus, but this was problematic since Findus was already in the band. However, following a chance encounter in Burger King, the band's manager learnt that Daryl Spike was once more available. After leaving Caveat Emptor he and Hugo Truffaut had unwittingly joined the same band once more, and both had promptly left again. Daryl accepted Caveat Emptor's invitation to return.
Finally, in 2004, Davy Bottles quit the band in order to spend more time with his tortoise, and was replaced by original member Lionel Carpets.
So, in summary, if you want to know where the original line up of Caveat Emptor are today, the answer is pretty much back where they started.
Taken from The University of the Bleeding Obvious Annual 2020. FREE Download