Sunday, 25 November 2018

Victor's Little Bookshop.

As far as I can recall I never ever saw my late older brother Victor read a book. I remember he used to like reading the Daily Mirror when he was sat on the toilet in the mornings but that was about the extent of his reading material. So, it was a surprise when he became the owner, along with his friend Tom, of a small bookshop in Camberwell, London. There was nothing grand about the shop. In fact, it was basically just a rather dingy little one room down a side street. I think, to be honest, the main function of the bookshop was as a place to sell the newspapers which were its main source of revenue supplemented by several newsstands around London.
I was pleased to spend time with my big brother Victor because circumstances beyond both our control, had kept us apart for far too long. At twelve years old Vic was my hero. So, it was that I was helping out in the bookshop when the notorious book Lady Chatterley’s Lover written by DH Lawrence was cleared at the Old Bailey of being pornographic.

Lady Chatterley’s Lover
Oil on canvas board.
20in x 16in

The little bookshop suddenly became extremely busy. People were, it seems very keen to read the book. Not surprising considering all the publicity the trial had attracted. Some people were open in their desire to purchase the book but there were many who had to conquer embarrassment to enter the shop let alone purchase the book in question. It should be remembered that in those days, life was not as liberated with regards to sexual matters as it is today. Sex was a rather taboo subject. Indeed, pornography was illegal. How times have changed. Many of the men who bought the book asked for it to be put into a brown paper bag. Some would enter the shop and make a pretence of browsing the shelves before plucking up courage to pick up a copy.
I felt extremely pleased when Victor told me that at age twelve, I was the youngest person in the whole world and probably even the first person in the world, to sell a copy of Lady Chatterley’s lover.
I expect some of you might be wondering if I had a read of the book? Well, I have always been a prolific reader and so, yes, I did read it. Very instructional. I learned such a lot from it. I think it was what subsequently caused me to become such an excellent lover and irresistible to the ladies!

Lady Chatterley’s Lover
Oil on canvas board.
20in x 16in

Wednesday, 7 November 2018

Bowler Hats and Pinstripe Suits

This is my latest painting.

My big brother Victor who I hadn’t seen for years turned up suddenly at my foster home. He and his friend had a bookshop and a newspaper stand near the Admiralty in London. During the school holidays Vic gave me a job there selling papers. I had to shout out, “NEWS AND STANDARD”. I was a bit shy about shouting out at first but soon got used to it. I loved that job and I was very happy to be with Vic.
Most of the customers came from the Admiralty. They spoke really posh and wore bowler hats and pinstripe suits. Lots of them gave me a tanner for the newspaper and told me to keep the change.
One day one of the posh blokes who had a big handlebar moustache found a ten-bob note on the ground and he looked at me and said, “I say young fellow I think you should have this,” and he gave it to me.
Ten bob? Cor blimey! That was a good day.
Some days Her Majesty the Queen went past in her golden carriage. She always gave me a friendly wave but usually I was too busy to wave back.
The bag for the money used to get really heavy. I think Vic and his friend made a lot of money from selling newspapers. They also had the concession to sell newspapers and sweets off a trolley to the patients in Charing Cross Hospital just down the road. I liked going around the wards with the trolley. I don’t think that would be allowed these days.
The business came to an end when Vic’s friend disappeared with all the money they had saved up. I won’t tell you what Vic said about that!
That what I said earlier about the Queen. I made it up, sorry. But I am pretty sure if she had seen me, she would have waved. She seems like a nice lady.

Bowler hats and Pinstripe Suits.
Oil on canvas board
20in x 16in.