In a shameless attempt to boost our hits, Dirk Malcolm’s World of Film is not proud to revive one of the regular features from Starburst magazine. People come here in search of Wierdos with Beards, Mad Max 2, Saving Private Ryan and our house-favourite Caroline Munro, so in a desperate attempt to get more people reading this guff, this is a post about fantasizing about girls (stroke) women in the early 1980s (I was 13 at the time, so I can be partially excused). If you need something more ‘right-on,’ you’ll need to look elsewhere.
This is a true story: I was asked by a careers teacher, “What do you want to be when you leave school?” Quick as a flash, I replied, “A bar of soap in Clare Grogan’s bathroom.” If citation is needed for this story, then I can provide independent verification.
Like we were going to get jobs in Thatcher’s Britain anyway.
Back in 1981, I was totally infatuated with Clare Grogan.
While she was appearing in GREGORY’S GIRL, she was also ‘storming the charts’ as the lead singer of Altered Images. They had a huge success with Happy Birthday, thanks to its radio-friendly riff and timeless refrain that has assured its longevity in the forty-something party circuit. It wasn’t at all representative of the rest of their output. Seek them out, they have a sassy punk-pop sensibility that still seems fresh. There’s an energy that is similar to The Sugar Cubes to the vocals, with an ear for a catchy hook.
I used to have the cover to Smash Hits, Holiday Issue, December 1981 pinned to my wall. That’s right, PINS, we didn’t care back then. I have been reunited with a copy thanks to the magic of ebay. They had been awarded the ‘Most Promising New Act for 1982,’ and were in the throes of writing their second album, the sublime PINKY BLUE produced by Martin Rushent. The US release of GREGORY’S GIRL was pending:
“Out go those rich Scottish accents (which would be a total mystery to Americans) and in come mid-Atlantic drawls.
“It’s a bit of a shame because I think it might have lost some of its character. But Bill says its alright.”
She hoped that Santa would bring her a copy of The Human League album. Years later I would see her popping out of a not-very-convincing birthday cake at a not-very-convincing Here and Now concert, that was headlined by The Human League.
Clare wasn’t my first love. No. Carrie Fisher was my first love. A common interest in collecting Princess Leia bubble-gum cards provided an instant connection with my lifelong friend, the poet Steven Blyth.
I mention it now, because a new behind the scenes still has emerged of Fisher, off-camera in her famous Jabba-bikini.
Regular readers will know that I am interested in how some films become part of the everyday idiom and I believe that Fisher in this costume provides an interesting cornerstone of modern popular culture.
It has become something bigger than it is, providing an ‘index’ for male fantasy for a particular generation.
There are convention ‘cos-play’, there’s the appearance in landfill favourite ‘Friends’ and there is a sniffy cartoon in a contemporary MAD magazine.
It is very interesting that bikini.
I will leave you with that thought.
At this rate, Dirk is a shoe-in to host next year’s Oscars.
- Starburst Magazine Joins Forces with Sci-Fi Weekender (geeksyndicate.co.uk)
- Coming Soon – New Starburst Training Level! (eyewire.org)
- Gregory’s Girl school set to be closed by North Lanarkshire Council despite fierce public opposition (dailyrecord.co.uk)