Rolf Harris is the latest in a long line of celebrity kid fiddlers convicted of being child rapists or similar. There could yet be many more to be flushed out from whatever sewer they have been lurking in and it is apparent there are others out and about who have access to better lawyers. Either way it would seem that during the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and beyond, the TV and radio airwaves were infested with pedophiles and other sexual predators who used their celebrity status as a “power” tool in order to perpetrate their crimes. This was largely unbeknownst to the vast majority of us, as we watched, listened, laughed, clapped, sang along and danced as the various stars strutted their stuff.
We lapped it up and knew all the various catch phrases, and “as it ‘appens” we would watch Harris use a big emulsion brush, slapping paint about asking if we “knew what is was yet?”, and of course we never did, when suddenly, with a few more brush strokes, a clever picture of an animal or skyline would emerge.
There was not an inkling among the general public of anything untoward as they laughed along with Stuart Hall at the hapless antics on “It’s a Knockout”.
Although myself and everyone I have asked always considered Saville to be a “bit spooky weird freaky” but the fact remains that the overwhelming majority of us had no idea as to the depth or scale of his depravity.
In the same era when Gary Glitter came over the speakers of the youth club disco, the dance floor would be rammed with us singing along to the choruses of “Rock and Roll and shouting the answer “Oh Yeah!!” when asked if we wanted to be in his gang. If you were a young teenager it was of that time, and we, the average radio listening TV watching punter, had no clue that he and a number of other celebs were finishing their shows and then going on to fuck children.
We had no idea that ‘Peers of the Realm’, MP’s, famous pop stars and their chums were raping kids snatched from children’s homes in an organised pedophile ring, and then using their powerful positions to keep it secret enabling those concerned to continue to live lives with the façade of respectability intact and the rewards that come from that status remaining intact.
One can only hope that the majority of them are bought to justice and punished for their crimes and/or exposed for the sly, duplicitous, shameful, foul perverted scum that they are, (or were when they were alive).
This righteous outrage is all fine and dandy, and well placed, however the big question is “What about us??”
You and me? The punters, the music fans, the adoring trusting, and (as it turns out) gullible general public who were being swept along on this tide of euphoria in this embryonic time of superstar radio DJ.s TV personalities and pop stars ??
Do we have to be punished for not knowing?
Do we have to accept that because we didn’t know, (or notice) anything was wrong, our memories of enjoying the performances and shows, listening to the records, and using the catchphrases of the stars of the time, have now become somewhat sordid, or tainted by association, because many of these celebrities were pedophiles?
Should we feel a prickle of shame or some sort of remorseful complicity because we bought the records, went to the concerts, listened to and watched the shows of these people??
The answer is, of course, NO!!
They are our memories of, what were for the vast majority of us, a wonderful time, full of opportunity, excitement and discovery. The fact that many of the people indirectly involved in those memories turn out to be rather disgusting human beings is not our fault, nor should we feel that our experiences are besmirched because of that.
I have written this because of something I read lately that suggested we all should collectively take some of the blame, to which I say “Fuck off”
You can’t pass retrospective censorship on the soundtrack of your youth just because some of the people involved in that soundtrack are exposed at some stage in the future as sexual predators. We cannot as whole be held culpable and have our memories diminished or spoilt by the actions of a criminally perverted minority.
Of course we don’t have to listen to their songs or voices or watch TV re-runs with them on any more, and an additional inspiration for this blog came the other day when I found a Glitter album in my old vinyl collection. I was caught between putting it on to revisit the time, or smashing it up in disgust.
In the end I did neither, which unlike me is a bit of a of a fence sitters position. On the one hand I don’t want to be a “book burner” and get all pious by destroying his album and pretending he didn’t exist, and on the other I don’t want to be listening to a child rapist strut his stuff.
There is no denying that “Rock and Roll (parts 1&2)” “D’wanna be in My Gang” and “I Didn’t Know I Loved You Till I saw you Rock and Roll” were great pop tracks of their day, or that he was a great performer, but now because of his being convicted of being a child rapist I don’t want to hear his stuff on the radio, or as film soundtracks, or see it on TOTP re-runs, but I can’t stop them cropping up and playing in my mind as a back-track to occasional reminiscences of that time. They were of that time and are part of the memories of that time. Anyone who went to big school from 70 to 75 will know this only too well.
I am annoyed that I feel a twinge of guilt about that which sneaks in and sullies the memory, and so I will be keeping the album because smashing it up wont achieve anything other than to align me with the book-burners, the fucking lunatics that stand outside abortion clinics shouting abuse at women, and people who want to try and pretend it didn’t happen, but I sincerely doubt I will ever play it again.
Love and Peace