QUAIFE, Pete : original bassist who played on practically all the early hits up to and including ‘Days’, which Pete famously (allegedly – see below) inscribed as ‘Daze’ on the master tape box. Peter Alexander Greenlaw Quaife, no less, born 31 December 1943, died 23 June 2010. He was at school with Ray and Dave and drew lots with Dave as to who was going to be the bassist; the way Dave tells it, Pete lost. Smart dresser with mod tendencies. He left the Kinks because he was fed up with all the fighting (apparently he was known as ‘the ambassador’ in acknowledgment of his peacekeeping role in the band at some stage) and frustrated at being used by Ray as a session man, allowed no creative input; his subsequent career in music was short (but I’m in no position to say whether it was sweet or not). When Ray performed ‘Days’ on his ‘Twentieth Century Man’ and ‘Storyteller’ tours he always told of Pete’s departure with great poignancy, and he dedicated his 2010 Glastonbury set to him, including what a reviewer in the Guardian justifiably described as a heartbreaking rendition of ‘Days’. Up until his death the Kinks were the only ’60s UK band of any significance with all of their original line up still in the land of the living, though he’d had health problems for some time. Sign of the times – appreciative obits in the Guardian , the Telegraph and the Independent.
Chris Kocher has put together a compilation of Pete’s responses when he engaged in a dialogue with people on the Konks web digest, the Kinks Preservation Society over three years early in the twenty first century, in which he disputes Ray’s version of various events in the band’s history, like the ‘Daze’ incident:
“Lets try and get this clear ———:
I did not refer to Days as ‘Daze’. That is nothing more than a product of Ray’s slightly twisted mind. I do not know how he came to think of it – all I can surmise is that he thought it would sound good on stage, making himself look grander than those peons that manufactured the backings on his recordings. I remember the time and the place from where he concocted the story. We were in Studio 2 recording. We had been there for EVER! As usual we, the musicians, had nothing to do. All of the instrumental recordings had been done and we were ‘required’ to sit there and observe the ‘Master’ at work. Hours and hours had gone by and we were all very bored with listening to Ray go over and over and over the same bloody piece. It wasn’t necessary and made absolutely no difference to the recording. Meanwhile I was doodling on a tape box – a little man wearing a working man’s hat, long coat and rough shoes. Oh, yes – he had a moustache as well. Ray saw it and had one of his screaming fits “Why was I drawing funny little men whilst he was creating a masterpiece?” etc etc etc. I thought it was a complete over-reaction to the situation and sodded off out of the studio. (To this day I think it was because Ray was extremely jealous that I was a better artist than he was!) Tough! Thats it in a nutshell. No, I did not call it fu*king “DAZE”!!!!!!!!!! Gimme a break!”
And even about the origin of the band:
“I did not know Dave in the beginning. (Wow! You mean – ?) Yup! Ray lied! The Kinks were started by Ray and myself – after the school music teacher asked if we could form a “combo” and playat the school dance. We were looking for other ‘musicians’ and Ray suggested his brother, Dave. I never knew Ray had a brother and I was rather nervous when he introduced us. After all, Dave was the school’s madman. I had no idea he was Ray’s brother! So, in answer to your question, No, we were not close. I know this does not jibe with the accounts given by the Davies brothers, but, hey that’s how it was!”
No comment. Pete wrote a novel – ‘Veritas’ – drawing upon his experiences. Volume 1, dealing with pre-Kinks days, was published posthumously in February, 2011, with Volume 2 to follow in November, both from Hiren Publishing. He called me a wanker once, in a Kinks chat room, and I took umbrage, though a mutual friend tells me he probably thought I was his brother, Dave – I’d signed in as DaveQ, so fair enough. RIP.
QUANT, Mary (Where are they now? on PA1) : Swinging London, mini-skirts, the straight cut hair (Vidal Sassoon), colourful cosmetics. Born November 1934, which makes her, somewhat incredibly, 80 (as I edit this). Opened her first shop as early as 1955, awarded an OBE as early as 1966. Has a website with a very neat timeline feature which skips from 1996 to 2012 at the end, and she looks pretty good for an oldie in the last photo. Still big in Japan. But, this is from the Guardian of Saturday December 2 2000, written by Audrey Gillan:
“Icon of the swinging 60s ‘forced out’ of company now run by Japanese businessmen in secret deal” was the headline. “Mary Quant, the fashion icon who was the inspiration for the swinging 60s, has resigned from her empire under a veil of silence. The woman who claimed she invented the mini-skirt and did invent hot pants resigned as a director of her company, Mary Quant Ltd, and will no longer have control of her universally famous name or the simple daisy design that became synonymous with her creations.” One former senior Quant employee said: “As a business, it wouldn’t surprise me if Mary has been carved out. Mary was very independent minded and accountants were necessary evils. It’s the story of an entrepreneur being forced into a large company environment and not liking it. Anyone can be a casualty, their name doesn’t necessarily protect them … Quant did not just design, but influenced the attitude of the 60s, dying her pubic hair green and telling the public about it and infamously talking about that taboo area “the crutch” in an interview for The Guardian’s 1967 groundbreaking series, The Permissive Society.
“Quant’s shop Bazaar – which she set up with her husband and Mr McNair – was the place to be in London. The Beatles often popped in to buy designs for their girlfriends and George Harrison married the model Patti Boyd in clothes designed by Quant. Her friends include David Bailey and Terence Conran and Sassoon still cuts that famous hair every now and again. Quant was responsible for hot pants, the Lolita look, the slip dress, PVC raincoats, smoky eyes and sleek bob haircuts, but it was make-up that eventually made her company the most money. Her immediately identifiable bottles of nail varnish and capsules of lipstick were licensed to be sold around the world … Quant lives a quiet life between homes in Surrey and Grasse. She is a non-executive director of the House of Fraser group.”
In a companion piece, Jess Cartner-Morley, fashion editor added:
“Contrary to popular legend, Mary Quant invented neither the miniskirt (that was Courrèges) nor coloured patterned tights (Balenciaga). In fact, she invented something much more important. She instigated a new era in style, one in which fashion was for any modern young working girl rather than just for rich ladies. Anyone could wear a Quant mini, if they had the legs. At Mary Quant’s Bazaar, the tiny shop which burst onto London’s Kings Road in the mid-50s, the look was of a sulky, coquettish French schoolgirl – skinny rib poloneck sweaters, miniskirts, bright tights and knee-high boots, with geometric Sassoon bobs, kohl-rimmed eyes and coltish turned-in toes … Quant recalls that when she asked manufacturers to make up her unusual patterns, “most would just send us packing”.
In 2012 Headline published her second autobiography. The first, Quant by Quant, appeared in 1966; as I write there’s a UK first edition going for £75 on AbeBooks. This new one is adventurously called (roll of drums, trumpet fanfare) … Autobiography. What follows are some of the things Private Eye magazine (No.1309) said about it. The admittedly anonymous reviewer called it “a vast ungainly thing peppered with soundbites, aphorisms and slogans” that were “meaningless” most of the time. Quant is accused of being “an inveterate name-dropper” but “the names remain just that: names. Elaboration is rare, anecdotes virtually non-existent.” The book is “glib and reductive and stupefyingly predictable.” Furthermore, the book is repetitive, and “all surface, no feeling” with “few acknowledgements of failure.” Which is a shame, but there you go. Meanwhile, reviewed in the Independent, we are told that, “… the story is modestly told, and the book less an autobiography than a series of deftly painted scenes from a life. In a scant half-dozen pages, she recalls her parents, the children of Welsh miners, who won scholarships and took Firsts, and the “enormous fun” of a wartime childhood. […] Quant brings to her memoir the same unerring sense of style and detail she once brought to fashion. She’s got terrific recall, a neat turn of phrase, and the story she tells is as much the socio-cultural history of an era as a personal one. If only she’d told it at greater length.” Private Eye reviews are notorious hatchet jobs (not a bad thing in itself), so you pays your money and you takes your choice. Somehow I don’t think I’ll be bothering.
Mary Quant featured in the New Year Honours List for 2015 (don’t get me started) when she got a DBE (Dame Commander of the British Empire) for “services to British fashion.”
RAG, Harry (Harry Rag on SE) : not a person at all, but a bit of cockney rhyming slang. The derivation is from one Harry Wragg, a well known jockey in the 30’s and 40’s named Harry Wragg. Cigarette becomes “fag” (a source of some confusion over the years to our American-English speaking compadres) through the magic of rhyme via “Harry Rag”. see Harry Wragg
REDDING, Otis (Otis riffs – one of the Jane Street songs): ‘Respect!’ Stax soul man – writer, singer, performer – who famously said to the white kids at the Monterey Festival, “This is the love crowd, right?” then blew them away and broke their hearts with an act he’d been doing for years. Earlier than this in the UK there was a time you couldn’t find a cooler album to walk down the street carrying than his ‘Otis blue’ – a huge item of mod iconography (not to mention the wonderful music). A friend of a friend’s first job was with Otis Lifts in Northampton, the name being a major factor in his decision. Big inspiration to the Rolling Stones who to their great credit (they did it for Muddy Waters too) promoted his work to a largely un-knowing white America. Died far too early, his plane crashing into a freezing lake, just two days after recording the lovely ‘(Sittin’ on) The dock of the bay’.
REMBRANDT (20th century man on MH) : painter man. Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn as he might have appeared on his Dutch passport, if passports had been invented then. 1606 – 1669.
Also mentioned in despatches in the instrumental break to Top of the pops where someone can be heard saying “Shot of a lifetime! It’s a Rembrandt!” – an in-joke referencing the BBC tv programme Top of the pops‘ in-house photographer.
See entry for Harry GOODWIN
REPORTER, Mr. : Dave wanted to kill him for doing his job badly, apparently. Utopianism, comrade – this is what journalists do. Another composite character methinks.
RICARD or RICKARD (Long distance on SOC) : scores 10 points for something or other in an Australian hotel. I’m reliably informed (my lips are sealed), it’s Rick Graham, responsible for security and production on the February, 1982 tour of Australia and Japan. The song also refers to other members of the touring crew, who appear collectively, along with the band, as the Merry Men.
RILEY, Old Mother (VGPS on VGPS) : now here’s a thing: on this day – September 16 2004 – that I sit down to amplify the previously minor entry here for good Old Mother Riley, we celebrate the birth 119 years previously in 1885, of Arthur Lucan (born Arthur Towle, in Sibsey, near Boston in Lincolnshire), he who was to create that successful stage persona. What are they chances of that? – about 364 to 1, I guess (365 in leap years), but nevertheless …
Arthur left home aged 14 for a career in the music halls. Touring in Ireland, performing as a red-nosed baggy trousered clown, he met and married Kitty McShane, over 10 years his junior, in 1913. Tis said he got the stage name Lucan off a Dublin dairy cart. They developed a double act, the centre piece of which became ‘Bridget’s night out’, a sketch for which he appeared in drag as an Irish washerwoman; there was no sexual ambiguity – it was always theatre dame humour. Kitty was his flighty daughter, returning home late from a date. There are excepts and a description to be found here. It’s well worth a look: “Where did he kiss you?”/ “Between the Post office and the Railway Station”. And: “Yes, but I married your father; you want to marry a stranger”. All this lead to the London Palladium in 1932 and a 1934 Royal Command Appearance. In the ’30s they were a top draw act on the variety theatres circuit as ‘Lucan and McShane’, and his character went under the name of Mrs O’Flynn. Radio and film followed, and it was the screenwriter of their second film who came up with ‘Old Mother Riley’ and that was what stuck for the rest of their career. The character, whatever her name, had always been played as an Irish washerwoman but the English Lucan never affected an accent; it was enough that Kitty played the role of his daughter in her strong natural brogue. He was to make 15 Mother Riley films with her in most of them.
The pair separated in 1951, with tales of them only being on the set of their final film on opposite days, though he supported her financially to the end. It is claimed their marital arguments would sometimes find their way into the knockabout routines that were part of the act. In a situation parallelling that of the latterday Drifters and Beach Boys there were two Old Mother Rileys treading the boards at the end – Arthur himself, and Kitty performing with an understudy. “He was an alcoholic, and she a nymphomaniac who taunted him for his impotence. The real horror movie would have been the story of their marriage…” is the way one Andy Boot describes the marriage, in his ‘Fragments of fear’ which is quoted in a piece about Lucan’s last film (see the Lugosi link below). Arthur died May 17 1954, waiting in the wings at the Tivoli Theatre, Hull; his own understudy went on and the audience never realised. Kitty was informed on the phone, “Arthur’s dead”; she asked, “Where?”. “Hull”. “Typical”. There is an Old Mother riley’s Appreciation Society which is easily found on the web, and even a Yahoo discussion group. His last film was made without Kitty in 1952, more details of which can be found incredibly enough in the entry for Bela LUGOSI.
“There’s laughter and tears, smiles and regrets, sunshine and showers, but we must all carry on to the end” – from Arthur Lucan’s sketch ‘The matchseller’.
We’ll have to overlook the undoubted fact that he gave Jimmy Clitheroe his first break in show business.
Oct 2014: He’s got a FaceBook page: and there’s a whole book just been published all about Arthur and Kitty, written by Robert Kenny, who happens to be the uncle of a friend! Small world … and even smaller, apparently the author grew up in the town where I now live.
ROAD HOG (Long distance on SOC) : he’s the one whose face is turning red. He later gets drunk. Not to be confused with the Hound Dog or the Bird Dog. I’m reliably informed (my lips are sealed), it’s Kevin Brown, piano and guitar tuner on the February, 1982 tour of Australia and Japan. The song also refers to other members of the touring crew, who appear collectively, along with the band, as the Merry Men.
ROBERT (The moneyground on LVPATM) : see Robert WACE
ROBINSON, Tom (Prince of the punks: Father Christmas b-side/bonus track on Sleepwalker): As I say in the entry at ‘Prince of the punks’, it’s not literally all about him, but his tale is certainly a big part of the picture. Cafe Society, Tom’s first band was signed to Konk, Ray Davies’ record label for new artists, and their first album (not without its tuneful moments but nothing like what was to come) was produced – at a very slow pace, we are told – by Ray. Any ‘best of’ compilation of TRB – the Tom Robinson Band, his second band – is well worth a listen, not least for ‘Ford Cortina,’ one of the best ‘Ray’ songs the man himself didn’t write. And for sure there’s a hint of what the Kinks were to became musically in the ’80s on the Tom Robinson Band’s first album, 1978’s ‘Power in the darkness’. I fondly remember some fine crowded gigs at the Brecknock, a North London pub just up the road from where I was living in the late ’70s, and it wasn’t just gays singing along to “Sing if you’re glad to be gay”. Tom was a committed activist, pushing gay rights, ‘Rock against racism’ and other left causes. Who knows the full story of this sorry little saga of Ray as record company mogul? Robinson once dedicated a version of ‘Tired of waiting’ to Ray Davies when Ray was in the audience; Tom’s side of it is to be found here. And I am grateful to Mike Segretto, on his estimable Psychobabble website – and in particular his stylish Kinks A-Z, where it is embedded – for pointing out that TRB’s ‘Don’t take no for an answer’ is at least in part a response to ‘Prince of the punks’; there’s a shorter telling of the Konk saga there too. Tom Robinson has released 20 or so albums with various bands or solo down all the days; since 2001, as well as continuing to perform live, he’s been a well received radio presenter and social commentator, mainly with the BBC. Publicly seen as homosexual, in the ’90s he caused some surprise (and dismay in the gay community) by marrying a woman and becoming a father; he released an album called ‘Having it both ways’ in 1996 and has continued to support gay rights and other progressive causes. A charming man indeed. The Cafe Society story is told from the viewpoint of fellow group member Hereward Kaye at his website here; Hereward later became one of The Flying Pickets.
ROGERS, Mr (It on OFTR): Mr Rogers never really penetrated the good ol’ UK. I’d never heard of him before hearing this frankly not very good Kinks ‘song’. Fred Rogers received the Presidential Medal of Freedom – the USA’s highest civilian honour, created in 1963 by JFK – in the July of 2002. The text of his citation reads: “Fred Rogers has entertained and educated children for more than 30 years through his extraordinary public television program, “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.” His program helps children understand caring, safety, and respect for others, and his legendary commitment to young people has been an enriching part of American life. The United States honors Fred Rogers for his dedication to the well-being of children, his faith, his family, and his community, and for a career that demonstrates the importance of kindness, compassion, and learning.” In presenting the Medal of Freedom to Fred Rogers at a ceremony in the East Room of the White House, President George W added, “Fred Rogers has proven that television can sooth the soul and nurture the spirit and teach the very young.” “The whole idea,” says the beloved host of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, “is to look at the television camera and present as much love as you possibly could to a person who needs it.” This message of unconditional love has won Fred Rogers a very special place in the heart of a lot of moms and dads all across America.” First broadcast in 1968, the program was set in a fantasy neighbourhood where all the neighbours were puppets except for Mr. Rogers and a guest. In each episode a character called “Trolley” took young viewers into make-believe land to learn a new lesson. The nu-metal group Korn claim to have been scarred for life by the unconditional love offered by the show, testifying that they were terrorized and hypnotised out of their innocence by this “dumb old man” (“child f*cker” is the chant in the second verse). The song ‘Mr Rogers’ comes from their 1996 album, the platinum selling ‘Life is peachy’ which has been described as the work of “…Perverts, psychopaths and paranoiacs” (The Chicago Tribune) and as “An ingeniously twisted piece of personal hell” (The Cleveland’s Plain Dealer). Their website praises the album for its humour. I remain neutral on the matter but I think I’ll stick with the Teletubbies. Mr Rogers is probably best known – if at all – in the UK for the Simpsons episode in which Bart and Milhouse take over the running of the comic book store; ‘Mr Rogers drunk’ is one of the pirate videos in the basement. Died 2003.
ROLLING STONES, The (The road on OFTR) : another London based r’n’b beat combo. Mick Avory auditioned with an early incarnation a couple of times but didn’t fancy a full time commitment. Ray an obvious songwriting influence on things like ‘Mother’s little helper’.
ROMEO (Hidden quality on Picture book Vol 5) : romantic lead role, as in ‘Romeo and Juliet’ (Shakespeare) or even ‘Romeo + Juliet’ (Baz Luhrman); it didn’t end well but the name has just slipped into the language on its own without the tragic connotations: “He’s right little Romeo”, an amourist (or one who fancies himself as such).
ROMEO (Long distance on SOC) : now there’s a name on which hangs a tale or two (see above) … not here though. In this specific instance, I’m reliably informed (my lips are sealed), it’s David Powell, guitar tech on the February, 1982 tour of Australia and Japan. The song also refers to other members of the touring crew, who appear collectively, along with the band, as the Merry Men.
ROOKE, Rosie (Muswell Hillbilly on MH) : the singer makes his farewells to her prior to his being moved to Muswell Hill as part of the council’s rehousing programme. He’s going miss her. In the liner notes to the re-mastered MH Ray says his mother actually had a childhood friend of that name. In an interview that was part of Little Steven’s excellent Underground Garage web radio show – February 2006’s Episode 203 featured Ray’s new ‘Other people’s lives’ CD – Ray further elaborates her importance to the Davies family:
“[My father] worked in a market industry. He worked in Smithfield Market and my mother met him when one day she was walking down the street with Rosie Rooke, her best friend, and someone threw a bag of dog, no … horseshit at Rosie Rooke, and knocked her hat off. And my father ran to Rosie Rooke’s aid and met my mother and that was that.. That was kind of a romantic introduction. Her best friend was hit by a pile of horseshit and my father saved the day. That’s where that romance started.”
The version of that first auspicious meeting given in Dave’s ‘Kinked’ is more prosaic – she was working as a waitress in a coffee shop – and doesn’t mention RR.
I pinched what follows from Lloyd Jansen and Rob Peirson’s Rosie Rooke website, put together to support their well regarded ‘Two for the road’ Kinks fan DVD. They quote from an interview with Janis Schact in Circus Magazine from February, 1972:
“Rosie Rooke … she really existed,” Ray said, still intent on his drawing. “She used to be my mom’s friend when they were about sixteen. They used to walk up Holloway Road, and all of the boys whistled at her because she was very big and well endowed and nice and shapely. She had a very sad life, drink and all of that, and she never felt fulfilled as a person. On the original demo for the album there was a whole song called ‘Rosie Rooke.’ Leaving Rosie Rooke behind is like leaving everything behind. She symbolized all that for me. She was what it was like and I didn’t actually know her.”
ROONEY, Mickey (Celluloid heroes on EIS) : born Joe Yule in 1920, rose from the ranks of ‘b’ movies to star with Judy Garland in several musicals in the forties. ‘Boys Town’ (1938) is something of a classic tough kids / saint in the city morality movie, for which he got an Oscar, and which the ‘Radio Times guide to films’ (2000) describes as an ” … incredibly corny and manipulative tear-jerker.” Buddies with Charlie Chaplin, Errol Flynn and James Cagney, came up with Marilyn Monroe as a stage name for Norma Jean Baker and claims to be reason Disney named Mickey Mouse, um, Mickey. He made many many films over 7 decades, including ‘Breakfast at Tiffanys’ and was the lead voice for 1998’s ‘Babe: Pig in the city’. Eight marriages, the first to Ava Gardner in 1942 lasted just over a year; his sixth, to Marge Lane in 1967 hardly made 3 months. Number 5 died in a suicide pact with her lover in 1966 at one of Rooney’s houses. “You always dream of marrying your high school sweetheart and getting a box of detergent and going off into the sunset. Well, oft times it doesn’t happen that way,” he said in retrospect. Finally hit the jackpot in 1978 with Jan Chamberlain, a country’n’western singer songwriter (don’t ask me). As I type, featuring as Baron Hardup in Cinderella, this year’s pantomime at Milton Keynes Theatre (December, 2009)
ROSY (Rosie won’t you please come home on FTF) : That would be sister Rose, the eldest Davies sister, aka Rosie, who married Arthur (of album fame) and emigrated to Australia. Ray stayed with them for a period and blagged guitar lessons off of their son, Terry, he of Waterloo sunset fame. (When I had a thing for the delicious Rosie “Light of my life” S – Liverpool, Newcastle early ’70s – there seemed to be an awful lot of songs featuring one Rosie or another, not the least being Fairport Convention’s and never mind Neil Diamond … )