For us Nifties Jimmy Savile is a constant reminder of how gullible we can be and how naive the world was back then. Although maybe naive is the wrong word, perhaps ignorant is better. Jimmy had all the sincerity of Ken Dodd singing, Tears for Souvenirs, and the charisma of canoe man, but he was too embarrassing to dismiss, took attention seeking to new heights or should that be depths? The bleach blond hair that looked like a few false beards stuck on at odd angles, the huge cigar that he smoked live in the studio, the shiny tracksuits, the mindless catch phrases, the white Rolls Royce. Let’s think back, there’s the photograph of us with long hair wearing loons. The police caution for pushing a police motorbike over when you thought no one was looking as a protest against the Vietnam war. The stolen oil lamps they used to put around holes in the road at night and caste an eerie light around the room whilst drinking Natch and listening to Bob Dylan. And people at work who would say, ‘boom boom,’ after making a pathetic quip. Why Marianne from accounts laughed when Phil from sales said it I will never know.
Jimmy was the transition of pop music into a genre all its own. Burt Weedon to Jimmy Hendrix, via Hank Marvin. Tommy Steel to the Beatles via Frank Ifield. He was the necessary grease to the squeaky wheel before John Peel (Margrave of the marshes) introduced the mad idea of DJ’s voicing opinions and saying that Teenage Kicks by the Undertones was the best pop song ever. Which obviously it wasn’t as, Bus Stop, by the Hollies has that distinction. Jimmy didn’t have opinions like that, in fact I don’t think he even noticed the music at all, even when he danced, which was a scary kind of jive not unlike John Travolta in Pulp Fiction although his persona would have been more at home as a psychopath in Reservoir Dogs.
And the endless charity fund raising, which of course, was admirable. But even this seemed to fit with a personality obsessed with being famous, being noticed was his raison d’être and nothing was allowed to get in its way. There didn’t appear to be a private life at all, as if he were packed away in a zip up, suit bag, and hung up on the spare room door, when not in the public eye. The only other person who ever appeared to matter in his life was his mother who, after she died, he stayed with for four days. Now that’s wrong, wrong, wrong. Alone with your mothers body for four days. Hmmmm…
Rather like Cliff Richard the word sex clearly meant something other than a dictionary definition. You can see it in their faces when asked about their inclination, blank, as if they don’t know what you mean. Kenneth Williams was the same except he would rather pretend to be gay than admit to his preferences. This asexual front was clearly intended to dissuade speculation and investigation, which it successfully achieved all his life. Only recently has an unproven internet fueled rumour surfaced and gained credibility.
Jimmy’s coffin was driven around Leeds for people to pay their respects, which they did, most, a little elderly who said that he’d talk to anyone in the street and never swore, unlike todays lot who’ll cut you dead and taunt Andrew Sachs on the air. He’s to be buried in Scarborough, at forty-five degrees (that’s the angle not the latitude) so he has a view out to sea, unless he’s actually in that suit bag behind the spare room door. Scary.
Dear Jim, Can you please fix it for me not to have to fly with the Red Arrows any more?