PRINCE Charles depended on key aide Michael Fawcett to squeeze his toothpaste, it emerged last night.
Emerged? From the tube? The royal wedding: How long, oh Lord, how long!
It has probably not occurred to more generous readers to ask, ‘So, why did you look at the story?’ The truth is, I have a weakness for ‘the redtops’.
‘Redtops’ are British tabloids many of which have a fire-engine red masthead. As with this story, they mix Rupert Murdoch (3 parts), Benny Hill (1 part) with a sprinkling of real news – see the last ‘grafs.
The Sun’s red top brought to mind the twangy voices of Lee (‘the coffee-drinking nighthawk’) Moore and Sidney (‘Hardrock’) Gunter, whose names signal ancestors from the Scottish-English border country – not London. They intoned about ‘red tops’ but of a very different feather.
They were fine country musicians who alternated on AM’s 50,000 watt clear channel WWVA’s all-night show in the 1950s. From Colorado to Newfoundland, from the Arctic Circle to the Tropic of Cancer, you could hear them playing ‘mountain music’ by Hawkshaw Hawkins, Doc Williams & the Border Riders, Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper, and so many others.
Between each song – and I do mean each – would be a thirty- to forty-five second ad for the hour’s sponsor – guitar instruction books, table cloths with ‘genuine reproductions of the Last Supper’ and, most memorably, Redtop Chicks. (Love Google! Couldn’t believe I could find verification of those memories.)
The ads were done to a strict formula. (I long suspected (probably wrongly) they were memorized, since reading wasn’t a particular strength of the mountain musicians of my childhood.) The Redtop Chicks ad ended:
So, order yours today.
[Voice drops] No sex or breed guaranteed.
[Voice normal] Send your cash, check or money order to:
[Louder] Chicks. That’s C-H-I-C-K-S.
[Voice normal] Care of dubya dubya VEE eh in Wheeling WEST Virginia.
Lee or Hardrock would repeat the address – syllable for syllable – with a notable uptake on ‘WEST Virginia’ because it cued the next song.
A musical education had a high psychic price in the 50s. Almost as high as the royal wedding’s….