Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Part 1: Equating D.H. Lawrence With Pornography

Bras Basah Road bookshops, right, near Cathay Building - Images:
That Knowledgeable Owner in a Bras Basah Bookshop in the 1960s.

Dear Andy, 

I loved your feature on comics and I'm glad so many people responded. You obviously struck a nostalgic nerve in all of us.  I have a few anecdotes relating to comics/magazines when I was in Singapore in the 1960s.
When I was stationed at RAF Changi I used to buy paperbacks from the second-hand book stalls in Changi village and Orchard Road, but I don't recall any of them selling comics.  There were several book shops in Bras Basah Road and I occasionally bought textbooks and hardbacks there. I remember calling at one of those shops on my way to the Capitol cinema and seeing a huge pile of Dandy and Beano comics from the 1940s and 1950s on top of the glass counter.  

There must have been about a hundred comics and I asked the Chinese shopkeeper how much he wanted for them.  I can't recall the exact price but they were amazingly cheap.

I asked how long they had been in stock and he told me they had been there for several weeks.  I didn't want to lug a pile of comics to the cinema so I left them, intending to call back later in the week to buy them.  Why I didn't pay for them and ask him to reserve them, I will never know. Needless to say, when I returned a couple of days later, they had gone.  Very sad.

On another occasion, when I was looking for a particular short story by D.H. Lawrence for my English Literature course, I tried all the book shops in Bras Basah Road.  None of them had his collected short stories or any anthologies containing the story I needed. In the last shop I tried, the Chinese owner was quite knowledgeable.  

"D.H. Lawrence?" he said.  "He write Lady Chatterley's Lover?"  I nodded.  "You wait," he said.  He gave me a bottle of Coke and a Consulate menthol cigarette and told me to sit down on a chair before disappearing upstairs.  I could hear him moving around above my head and when he returned, he beckoned me to follow him, leaving his young male assistant to mind the shop.  We went up two narrow flights of stairs and emerged on to a balcony with a low table and some cane chairs.  A suitcase lay on the table.  

"Sit! Sit!" he said excitedly, so I sat down on one of the chairs, still clutching my Coke and cigarette.  Then, with a triumphant flourish, he lifted the lid of the case.  It was crammed full of glamour magazines with garish covers featuring over-developed young ladies wearing very little, if anything, at all.  I was astonished.  After a brief look at one or two of the *magazines, I told him they were not quite what I was looking for.  

He looked puzzled.  "But D.H. Lawrence - Lady Chatterley - very naughty. No?"  "Very naughty, yes," I replied, "but not exactly what I was looking for, thanks."  He obviously equated anything written by Lawrence with pornography.

Best wishes, 
Allan Thompson**

Silver Bells Hanging On a String

Dear Allan, 

Thanks very much for your contribution.  Here's some inspiration from Chuck Berry and 130 very sporty ladies. We're not going to equate this song with pornography are we folks? 


               Chuck Berry - My Ding-A-Ling(1972)You Tube by: baybeecas2

(Only 3 verses of a 6-verse song):

When I was a little bitty boy
My grandmother bought me a cute little toy     
Silver bells hangin' on a string
She told me it was my ding a ling

And then mother took me to Grammar School
But I stopped all in the vestibule
Every time that bell would ring
Caught me playin' with my ding a ling

Once I was swimming cross Turtle Creek
Many snappers all around my feet
Sure was hard swimming cross that thing
With both hands holdin' my ding a ling

(My Ding-a-Ling was originally recorded by Dave Bartholomew in 1952.)

Image 1:
Images 2,3,4,5:  from Allan Thompson and Google.
Video: You Tube.

** Allan has written up to 20 articles for this blog, documenting his experience on Singapore in the 1960s both as a uniform personnel and a lover of life.  Check him out by clicking on his name under Labels below.



I am doing fine, Thank you Andy. Happy to see that your blog is still active. By the way, there is an installation about "The Swallows" at The Malay Heritage Center. Hope you could drop in before it ends this August.

JAMES SEAH said...

Thanks Andy for your latest blog. Pls check out my updated blog at:

(Check James' blog by clicking on his name).

Andy Young* said...

Thank you both for the support. Erwin's note is from FB and he has a blog about the 'Swallows'. Based in France Erwin is a media-consultant and free lances for film companies. He has done documentaries on pop music, etc.

James doesn't need introduction, having appeared in many local documentaries, blogs and newspaper interviews. Check out his blog.

Barry Hunter said...

I saw Chuck Berry in Exeter UK in `64, absolutely amazing act! Trouble was the screaming girls! :-)

Anonymous said...

Nice, funny and entertaining story about Lady Chatterly's Lover, Andy.


Hi Andy

I saw the Chuck Berry video and enjoyed the way he sing and capture the spontaneous crowd reaction to it. Well it is a good song to brighten up your day, thanks.

Bst rgds

Andy Young* said...

Thanks Rickie, Would be great to sing it on stage, right? With audience participation.

Andy Young* said...

Thanks Barry for the Chuck Berry experience. Would have been great to see him on stage. He never came to Singapore.


How are you Victor? Been a while since you last wrote? Thank you for your support. Seems like old times when blogs were the in-thing. Now everybody's run to FB and Twitter.

Allan Thompson has lots of stories to tell about Singapore 60s.

Andy Young* said...

Thank you Herry Jusof,Yen Chow, Priscilla George, Victor Koo, Adeline Pang, Aaron Choo, Joycelyn Leong, Zhen Shu Cai, Larry LMF, Tan Teng Teng, Tracy Tay and others on this page who have supported me on my return to FB. It's hard going out there.


Ho! Ho! Ho! Very nicely laid out, Andy! (I refer, of course, to the article, not Lady Chatterley!).
Best wishes.

Andy Young* said...

Yes, Allan thank you. A very laid back kinda format. No fuss. Suitable.

Anonymous said...

U r most welcome! :D Yen