I now acknowledge that a mixture of Patrick Swayze's rippling, thrusting torso and a laughable Warnes/Medley caterwaul had even more of an impact on the sexual awakenings of the heterosexual women of this nation. The vast majority of women of all ages just can't get enough of it.
Just look at the audience for the opening night of Dirty Dancing, The Musical. Babs Windsor, Judes Dench, Abs Tittimouse. No, it's not just ordinary working women and ex-students, it's real stars, too.
But what about us heterosexual men? What about me? Which screen images with which musical accompaniment hit a nerve with me?
I am currently reading Alan Bennett's Untold Stories, specifically the part where he visits his mother in an old people's home in Weston-super-Mare...
"...in a world where so much must seem strange, to be wearing a familiar frock may be a comfort...As time goes on, though, this argument carries less weight. When she can't recognise her own children and doesn't even know what children are, how can she recall 'the little coatee I got at Richard Shops' all those years ago?"
It's tearjerking, but the nerve is hit. Not by Alan's mother's coatee, but by a television advert for Richard Shops which hit our screens sometime in the mid seventies. Lovely legs in lovely stockings. Lovely older women (early twenties) who could teach me so much in their lovely fragrant way.
And the song...
Richard Shops are filled with all the pretty things
The soft and lovely pretty things
Hey, there pretty things
Make the world a prettier place
Come buy your clothes
At Richard Shops
I think it was "Come prettier", though "Come pretty-up" would sound more logical. "Come and pretty yourself up, pretty lady."
"Pretty things" were both the clothes and the wearers. Richard Shops were filled with them, pretty clothes and pretty ladies. We never had a local Richard Shops and I'm glad because I'm sure the dream would have been shattered. Imagine walking into a branch of Fosters around the same time and seeing a shop full of male model types, admiring themselves in the full-length mirrors. The dream and the reality never really hit it off.
But dream and reality did come together for me just 15 minutes ago. There I was, coming back from Tesco, egg & cress sandwich in my hand, when who should I see but dreamboat and love-machine, the British Patrick Swayze, Mr Peter Stringfellow himself. He is shorter than I expected (unlike Robbie Williams who is a giant), has lovely long flowing blond hair, and wears his camouflage trousers with a certain panache. He was available, ladies, as he did not have a young piece of crumpet on his arm. He was talking into his mobile phone but I'm sure he noticed me. Was that a jealous grimace he gave me? "Who is that handsome young man with an egg & cress sandwich?" he was thinking to himself. "That's why I opened my nightclubs, to keep sexy young men with egg & cress sandwiches out. The chicks would be flocking at his feet if I let him in with his egg & cress sandwich. He wouldn't get any further than the hat check girl before he was ravished on the spot."
4 days ago