PART SEVEN: Carnaby Street.


This page contains an extract from Tom Lodge's book about Radio Caroline. It is completely revised and expanded from the earlier versions, is in a hard cover and contains more photos from Tom's time with the station, with more tales of life aboard, more insights into the music and more stories of the musicians who made the sixties such a special era. The new book is entitled The Ship that Rocked the World: How Radio Caroline Defied the Establishment, Launched the British Invasion and Made the Planet Safe for Rock and Roll and is available from The Radio Caroline Society, Amazon and good book shops.
 
This extract is taken from chapter seven, Carnaby Street:

Tom Lodge promotional photograph.

     Once I landed in London I decided to make a small stop before heading to Caroline House. I had been reading about the London fashion boutiques in the music magazines and now was a good chance to check them out. They said that this was where all the bands' colourful clothes were being created and everyone who was with it shopped there.
     I climbed up the stairs from the Piccadilly underground station and stopped. Right in front of me, in the middle of the Piccadilly roundabout, was a statue of Eros, the primordial God of lust, beauty, love, and intercourse, standing on one foot on top of a fountain with his wings spread wide. “Wow,” I said to myself “that's our God beckoning us to have fun and live.”
     I walked along Glasshouse Street through Golden Square. Everywhere I looked there was something new. I had never felt this in London before. The once dark, damp houses now seemed to shine. Had people been painting their front doors? Were the streets cleaner? Was there more sunshine? Even the trees and plants along the road and in the square seemed vibrant. It was like spring with its new light green leaves after a long winter.
     I kept walking and turned into the narrow Carnaby Street, with its three story buildings that had been converted into boutiques. It was only three blocks long and crowded with young people chatting and smiling. Everywhere you looked there was an incredible array of colourful clothes both on the street and displayed in the boutique's windows. There was John Steven's His Clothes, I Was Lord Kitchener's Valet, Mr Fish, Kleptomania, Mates, Ravel and much more. It was a sensual thrill, a kaleidoscope right here on the street. I felt like I could fly, soar and glide with ease.
     I entered the John Steven's boutique and was engulfed by the seductive aroma of incense. I saw Lance Percival, an actor, comedian and impersonator trying on clothes in front of a full-length mirror. The previous year he had done the voice of Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr in a cartoon series called The Beatles, which had been a television success. I introduced myself and we chatted about Radio Caroline, while Mr. Steven and his assistant, a young, attractive girl in a tight miniskirt with red net tights, brought us clothes to try on.
     Mr. Steven, who was dressed in an Edwardian high buttoned suit and a pink ruffled shirt, held out a flamboyant, gold braided jacket and said to Lance, “How about this one?”
     Yes! Anything for a giggle, I thought to myself. Life was becoming the most delightful giggle.


With many thanks to Tom for allowing us to publish these extracts from his book.


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