No Ding-a-Ling For Mary

LONDON: The BBC has broken with tradition by ignoring a call from Mrs Mary Whitehouse who wants Chuck Berry’s hit record My Ding-a-Ling banned from radio and television.

When the BBC went on playing the record on Radio-1 and television’s Top of the Pops, Mrs Whitehouse packed her bags and set off to Washington to start cleaning up television in the USA.

Despite Mrs Whitehouse’s letters of protest to the BBC and Sir John Eden, the Minister of Posts and Telecommunications, the BBC went on playing Chuck’s record and a spokesman said: “We’ve still had no complaints.”

Mary Whitehouse wants the record banned because, she says, it is meant to encourage masturbation.

Phonogram, the record company that releases the Chuck Berry record in this country, described Mrs Whitehouse’s criticisms as “ridiculous” and added that there was a longer version of the song on Chuck’s LP which had been available since July.

The company said a cinema manager in the North of England had phoned to say how popular the record was at his Saturday morning childrens’ matinees. The children sang along with it and even made their own ding-a-lings.

To the children a ding-a-ling is a piece of string with a bell on the end. Only Mary Whitehouse had thought it had anything to do with masturbation.

And the BBC went on playing the record on Radio-1. When it came to Top of the Pops they played the record, but showed no film of Chuck performing. Instead there were a series of stills of Chuck Berry, drawings, and a dance by Pan’s People, the show’s resident gymnasts.

Within days Mrs Whitehouse, who is secretary of the National Viewers’ and Listeners’ Association – which she formed herself – was off to take on the job of cleaning up the USA at the request of President Nixon’s adviser on pornography, Mr Charles Keeting.

As she left Heathrow Ariport, London, Mrs Whitehouse, who was clutching a copy of the report on pornography by Lord Longford’s self-appointed committee on the subject said: “We are hoping to co-operate with an American society with the same aims as our own to try to reach a better understanding of the way violence and sexual permissiveness can be reduced in broadcasting.”

Mrs Whitehouse will make a coast-to-coast tour of the United States looking for dirty meanings in television and radio shows.

BBC Bans Bowie

LONDON: Brixton-born figurehead of the gay-rock revolution David Bowie met with a ban on footage his Mainman company supplied to the BBC for its Top of the Pops programme.

As a Mainman man, Hugh Attwooll, told Gay News: “They say it’s a matter of taste, but no-one who’d seen the last few weeks’ Top of the Pops programmes would seriously think of the BBC as an arbiter of taste.”

The footage, shot by David’s usual photographer, Mick Rock, was of Bowie and mime-king Lindsay Kemp doing a mime act to Bowie’s overtly gay single John I’m Only Dancing.

Instead of the Mainman/Mick Rock film, the BBC showed a film of people on motorcycles.

Hugh Attwooll at Mainman, said that he, too, could not see the relevance of the footage that the BBC showed.

Aznavour Laments

01-197205XX 9Dusty Springfield’s new single is an arrangement of a Charles Aznavour song, Yesterday When I Was Young. Dusty has always been a fine pop singer, and this song is perfect material for her. With a large string section busily and hurriedly soaring in accompaniment Dusty soulfully steers her way through the song. It at times reminds me of those heavy romantic sadies that were always in the singles chart a few years ago. Many of Dusty’s singles are classics of that period, along with Dionne Warwick’s first single hits and even Cilla Black’s successes on a few occasions.

Dusty’s interpretation of this weepy retains much of the feel of that period but along with greater technical know-how arrngers and the more mature soulfullness of her voice is very much a part of the small group of people who produce good, popular soft-rock. It might even encourage me to watch dreary Top of the Pops if I know Dusty is going to sing her new record.