April 30th, 2007

  • pgdf

Sixties Novels, Part 7

TOY, Patricia Clapton, W. H. Allen, 1968

If you google the author currently under discussion, Patricia Clapton, you'll be innundated with tons of references to a more famous Patricia Clapton: the center of the legendary love triangle between George Harrison and Eric Clapton:


(Additionally, Eric's Mum's name was Patricia Clapton, which further complicates matters.)

Also, you'll encounter an almost unknown actress named Patricia Clapton:


I love her role-description as "1st Jiving Waitress"!

Given that a UK edition of TOY claimed it was "soon to be a major film" (never happened), this Hollywood connection might be worth pursuing.

But on the surface, our Sixties Author Patricia Clapton leaves no biographical data easily available. I like to picture her as a LAUGH-IN-era Goldie Hawn clad in fab Carnaby Street gear while she was writing and now, forty years on, as a matronly Earth Mother like 2007 Grace Slick.

TOY is obviously part of what one bookseller seeking to dump a copy cleverly called "the LITTLE ANNIE FANNY" school of literature. The allusion on the cover to Terry Southern's famed CANDY


honors the tepid sociological and satirical aspirations of Clapton's book 'way too much. Our titular heroine (*Snicker* He said "titular!") more resembles Anna Nicole Smith than anyone else, on the prowl for older men who can fund a jetset lifestyle. She even begins her narrative thus: "Bobo is my ancient husband and my name is Toy. I owe my success to my big dark eyes and fluffy fair hair and the fact that I'm still as fresh, pink and white as the day I came into the world."

It occurs to me that a valuable lens to view this book through is one that would render it proto-Chick-Lit. How far exactly is it from TOY to BRIDGET JONES'S DIARY and its successors?

But certainly the loosening of cultural censorship has rendered this softcore tease of a novel and others of its ilk absolutely bland and passe. There's more sex on one hour of primetime broadcast TV than in all of TOY.

Yet apparently the book did well enough to inspire two sequels!



Ah, for those virginal days......

Olias of Sunhillow

I've always had a soft spot in my heart, or perhaps head, for Yes, and their lead singer Jon Anderson. His beautiful voice, his ridiculously pretentious yet somehow oddly compelling lyrics -- I don't know why, but I just like the guy.

Back in 1976, after the release of Relayer, each Yes member put out a solo effort. Anderson's was Olias of Sunhillow. It's about this guy, Olias, who . . . Okay, I don't know what the hell it's about! But it's got some songs that I've never been able to forget (in a mostly good way), including "Flight of the Moorglade," which is the name of Olias's ship, seen at right.

Recently, fiddling about on youtube, I came across an amazing video of this song. It seems to be some kind of stop-motion animation -- but from what orginally, I don't know. Does anyone have a clue? The video is of appalling quality, and has nothing really to do with the lyrics of the song, yet it seems to fit perfectly.