2008-08-08

Bend It!

Iggy at The Crom
Iggy dancing at The Crom.

Several Floydian sources publish a scan of a NME (New Musical Express) article from November 1966, featuring Iggy, dancing on a party. Most of the time the date is cited as Wednesday the 16th of November, but the scan of the magazine shows a different date that of Saturday the 26th of November. As NME appeared every Friday the article probably appeared in issue 1037 (of Friday the 25th of November). Of course there is always the chance that the actual pictures were taken on Wednesday the 16th.

Here is the full text that accompanies the pictures:

(On sale Friday, week ending November 26, 1966 - NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS)
DOWNSTAIRS...
On the small, intimate dimly lit dance floor in the basement, it's all happening, PATRICK KERR, dancer from RSG, and his girls demonstrate the bend dance.
Above: Three pop personalities (l to r) ADRIANNE POSTA, FRANK ALLEN (of Searchers) and TWINKLE try the Bend, watched by Cromwellian publicist SIMON HAYES.
Left: Another Bender - model IGGY, who is half-Eskimo.
Below: CHRIS FARLOWE dancing in sheepskin jacket.

The party in question was held at The Cromwellian (3 Cromwell Rd, London SW7). The Crom, as it was generally nicknamed, opened in 1965 in Earls Court, was a three-floor cocktail bar and discotheque and one of the posher (and more expensive) places to be. It was also one of the places for a would-be star to be discovered (or at least they believed it).

The basement described itself as ‘England’s Famous Discotheque (and restaurant)’ where pirate station DJs and well-known bands as Georgie Fame and Zoot Money performed. The ground floor had ‘Harry’s International Bar (and restaurant)’, promising the ‘greatest atmosphere in town’. Upstairs was a gambling area, an ‘Elegant Casino’, where you could try your luck at dice – roulette – black jack – pontoon and poker. Successful musicians, photographers, fashion designers, artists, television personalities (and the odd East End gangster) would hang out at The Crom, where the new m’as-tu-vu elite could enjoy a glass of champagne without being disturbed by obsessive and pushy fans. Ray Davies remembers it as the ideal place to ‘observe the almost endless supply of dolly girls parading in mini-skirts’. Probably the fact that there was ‘free entrance for girls’ helped as well.

Simon Hayes, publicist for The Crom is remembered by pirate radio DJ (and ex-roommate) Phil Martin: “Simon ran a pop PR agency called Ace Public Relations and he and his business (it seemed to me then) were at the absolute epicentre of the Swinging Sixties scene in London at the time.” (Taken from Offshore Radio)

Bend It!
Bend It moves.

No wonder that The Crom was chosen by Patrick Kerr, one of the choreographers of the Ready Steady Go! TV show to present the new dance of the week: the Bend. (Probably he already knew that the RSG! show would end a couple of weeks later.) The Bend was named after the risqué Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich hitsingle Bend It! that had been released in September. According to NME a new version with a different set of words had to be recorded for the US market.
Update July 2010: the story behind the Bend craze can be found in the following article: Rod Harrod remembers The Crom.
Update October 2012: the Bend link at Sixties City seems to be broken, so here is an alternative: the Bend.

Other prominent guests at the party were (according to NME):
Adrienne (with an E) Posta (or Poster). An actress (and singer) who would have a prominent role in the forthcoming movie Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush (1967). In the next decade her sheepdog would become world-famous, posing for a Dulux paint advertisement campaign. This also led to the single ‘Dog Song’, written by her husband rockstar Graham Bonnett (The Marbles, Rainbow, Alkatrazz).
Frank Allen who joined The Searchers in 1964 and is still with them today.
Twinkle (Lynn Annette Ripley), the first British female singer / songwriter to score in the rock era. Her debut single Terry (1964) had catapulted her into the top3 and was followed by Golden Lights, Tommy, Poor Old Johnny, but with degrading success. (Update: as Simon Hayes and Twinkle were an item it is logical that she was present at the club. See also: Rod Harrod remembers The Crom.)
Chris Farlowe, one of Britain’s earliest exponents of R & B, had been struggling until his 1966 version of Think (Jagger & Richards) made it into the top 20. His following single Out Of Time (also a Rolling Stones tune) became number 1 and Farlowe was voted Best New Singer for 1966, although he had been performing since 1957.

Well so far for the small story, but what really matters is:

What was Iggy doing at The Cromwellian when Patrick Kerr demonstrated the Bend?
Who invited her to the spectacle (knowing that the press was also invited)?
Was she somehow connected to the RSG show (as a dancer, a model or a figurant)?
Was she somehow connected to The Cromwellian?
Was she somehow connected to Simon Hayes and/or his PR company?
What about singer/actress Adrienne Posta, one hit wonder Twinkle and superstar Chris Farlowe?
Was her aim to be discovered by a RSG! talent scout (perhaps not knowing that these were the last weeks of the show)?

The Holy Church Of Iggy the Inuit will continue to investigate this.

Update April the 1st, 2010. A new gallery has been uploaded containing the complete Come with NME for a pic-visit to THE CROMWELLIAN article and pictures from New Musical Express 1037, 25 November 1966. Photographs by Napier Russell & Barry Peake. Words by Norrie Drummond. (Just another world exclusive from the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit.)


Sources (other than the above internet links):
Bacon, Tony: London Live, Balafon Books, London, 1999, p. 74-75.
McAleer, Dave, Beatboom!, Hamlyn, London, 1994, p. 93-94 & p. 126-127.
Platt, John: London’s Rock Routes, Fourth Estate, London, 1985, p.137-139.
Tobler, John (editor): NME Rock ‘N’ Roll Years, Hamlyn, London, 1992, p.163.


Direct link: Bend It!. Posted on 2008-08-08 at 16:58.
Tags: Iggy Rose The Cromwellian


 

 

 


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© Felix Atagong, The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit, 2008.

Picture: © Chris Lanaway, 2010.
Celebrating 10 years of The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit. Picture: © Chris Lanaway, 2010.