Fenella Fielding and the Savoy's subtext of Menace - how Mancunians learnt to love James Anderton and the Manchester
mafia Masonic brotherhood
From the Deserts of Araby a recommendation to acquire an Independent on Sunday and read the wonderful "The lady vanishes: What ever happened to Fenella Fielding?" by Robert Chalmers - which is also available for those not near a source of the printed copy here. Nominally about her recording a curious set of tracks at Suite 16 in Rochdale last year ... "It was a venture which united the woman famous as England's first lady of the double entendre with the last man in the country to be jailed under the 1959 Obscene Publications Act. "
Who couldn't turn the page ?
The man responsible for this odd collision of having Fenella ( she won't mind me calling her that) intoning the lyrics in her arousing voice , of "Passive Manipulation" by The White Stripes, "Rise" by Public Image Ltd and Nick Lowe's "The Beast in Me" to what even she says of the rythm track , "is a nasty sound" is wannabe rock / sci fi / horror Mancunian legend in the making Dave Britton of Savoy Records whose eclectic output of records tracks . writings (?) and pictures is available here. One of there more fascinating products is Blue Monday/ Cadillac Ranch performed by Lord Horror with the Savoy Hitler Youth Band . Recorded in 1986 12" and available on Savoy Entropy Records SH1T 45 rp
They also have P.J. Proby (who still tours) reading "The Waste Land" and have not yet released Fenella's stab at "The Four Quartets".
The period when the overweight, bearded preacher, James Anderton led Greater Manchester Police and a one man (albeit well supported) homophobic campaign seems dreadfully long ago and far away. In 1989 Dave AKA Lord Horror, took one of Anderton's rants put it in the mouth of fictional James Appleton and replaced "homosexuals" with "Jews". He got 4 months under Section 2 on the basis of material seized in an August 1991 police raid. Fenella says ... "Historically, I have never thought of the police as great literary critics."
The original complaint arose about Lord Horror and the Anderton lierary spoof was in a front page article in the Manchester edition of the Jewish Telegraph, by Doreen Wachmann , probably not the sort of reader the book was aimed at. It then became a matter of major concern to the Editor of the Manchester Evening News - a monopoly evening newspaper whose profits enable the CP Scott Trust to continue publishing the loss making Guradian and Observer .(London based Daily and Sunday newspapers)
You can (and should) read the complete story how Anderton behaved and the Police Committee of Greater Manchester Council (as it then was) allowed him to - ably assisted by stipendiary magistrate Derrick Fairclough at Index on Censorship.
'Since 1976, when James Anderton took over as chief constable, Savoy premises had been raided over 40 times, resulting in the loss of tens of thousands of pounds worth of stock. Between 1977 and 1981 Anderton obtained a total of 1,010 search warrants from magistrates under the Obscene Publications Act, which meant that on average one Manchester premises was being raided every two days. The material seized and destroyed was mostly softcore pornography of the kind that could normally be distributed and sold elsewhere in Britain with impunity.'
Michael Butterworth, 'Under Siege', Savoy Dreams: The Secret Life of Savoy Books, David Britton and Michael Butterworth (eds), Savoy 1984.
Derrick Fairclough achieved some degree of legal and national fame when he ordered the electronic tagging in the earliest trials of these hi-tech shackles - of some mothers who had a dispute about their children's use of a bouncy castle in 1996. ... "THE LAW'S heavy-handed involvement in a fight at a children's bouncy castle, and the damage to the fortunes of an exotic troupe of nightclub dancers which followed..."
" the magistrate, Derrick Fairclough, ordered that they must agree to be tagged for four months or go to prison. Electronic monitoring was to confine them to their homes between 8pm and 1am. "You all have young children and it is no real hardship to be in with them at night," he told them. The women protested that the alleged assault had taken place at an afternoon party. Ms Erving, a black 24-year-old, added that it could threaten her only source of income - Hot Supreme, a three-woman dance group which performed in Manchester nightclubs..... "