Without wishing to be a little low rent The Last Word, although oh how we wish, what a week for celebrity death it has been. Like buses, three come along at once, Shere Hite, Sir Terence Conran and Toots from Toots and the Maytals, Toots Hibbert, all leaving an almost inhumanly massive cultural impact for the generations, when the story is told.
SIR TERENCE CONRAN
On Saturday evening I left the house and was sitting with friends testing out an impeccably polished new patio, akin to the mausoleum beneath Our Lady Queen of Angels Cathedral, (still some of the most expensive real estate in Los Angeles I am told). The patio was modernist, open and pure and perfectly linked the lawn to the house. It was micrometer measured exact and laser level smooth. Builders' tolerances did not apply. It was a thing of stunning, engineered beauty.
The guitarist, Sonny Pine was there and while discussing some of the giant cultural figures lost last week, he recalled thinking nothing of it at the time as his parents filled their house in the 70s with Conran knick knacks.
"Unrealised at the time, as childhood 70’s slipped into 80’s Teendom, Terence Conran brought colour, light and form into a humble domestic Stoke on Trent New Build. Pre Swedish Flat Pack, Habitat made good design attainable on an Art Teachers salary. The family Pine household had post school fame (as much as any moulded plastic household item could have) amongst friends for it’s bright, deep red kitchen sink and matching (mixer!) taps, accessorised with red curly cable snaking up form red plug to the cooker hood.
Cabin beds, red floor standing angle lamps, yellow and red light switches... It was a blast of Post Modern Memphis Style primary colour brought to the newly discerning in a brown paper bag... And also the duvet, less we forget, Sir Terence gave the blanketed masses a new Swedish downy hug, freeing us all from under a tucked and pinned woollen weight."
Shere Hite is just a giantess and while she didn't change everything with her books, her teaching, she confirmed what women already knew about women, and what men, just a few years ago, often didn't. Shere Hite was a Kinsey for 70s moderns.
And she talked about it when no one would.
Her best selling books became the basis of sex education in Britain. Oh wait, no they didn't. Sex ed teachers in the UK are often still dealing with pre-Shere sexual mores, that for girls sex is something boys do to you and not something to enjoy. OMG, whenever I bother to look under any rock in this place I see time rolling backwards.
I know some people are going to dismiss the purity of her research techniques and methodology where say 90% or so of Shere's women are unhappy in their marriages and man, that was when they could stay home all day because the economy meant one income could support an entire household. You can contend those figures but I have to say I am not seeing a whole lot of joyful women in my neighbourhood.
Would there even be the great Nancy Friday without Shere Hite? Maybe delving in Shere's work guys, could, change everything for you too. Before it's too late.
Toots and the Maytals are on everybody's list of favourite bands. That's how great they are and, well, is there even anyone on earth who has not danced to the Maytals?
"From the opening manifesto of melody hum to the direct 'It is you' an insistent reminder that Pressure is coming, an external oppressive force, liberated, ultimately of that pressured weight through 2.59 minutes of instant joyful, call and refrain, to the heart every time, a kind of mantra reminder, an instant karma drop." - Sonny Pine.
Toots and the Maytals sing your favorite Clash song...