Thursday 10 November 2016

Sutch Is Life

Talking of electoral matters, David 'Screaming Lord' Sutch was born on this day in 1940. Sutch, an eccentric rock'n'roller and self-publicist, stood in forty-odd parliamentary by-elections, invariably losing his deposit - though he once beat the candidate of the Continuing Social Democratic Party, shortly before the SDP collapsed (Sutch subsequently offered the leadership of his National Teenage Party to David Owen). Several of Sutch's National Teengage Party policies later became law - votes at 18, passports for pets, all-day pub opening - but his principal aim was to get noticed. With his trademark top hat and rosette-covered leopardskin jacket, he was indeed unmissable on stage when the results were called out.
 As a musician, Sutch can be generously seen as a goth-horror/ shock-rock pioneer, his stage act involving coffins, knives and daggers, fake blood, skulls and offal. Joe Meek saw enough promise in him to produce a single, but Sutch was never more than a cult act. On the other hand, he was amazingly well connected and could spot talent, giving early opportunities to the likes of Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, John Bonham, Noel Redding and Nicky Hopkins. All of these performed on his album Lord Sutch and Heavy Friends, which has a reputation as one of the worst ever made (I'm not going to check). His follow-up album, released as Hands of Jack the Ripper, featured (among others) Ritchie Blackmore, Matthew Fisher and Keith Moon - none of whom knew they were being recorded.
 And where was this legendary album recorded? According to Wikipedia and every other source I can find, at the 'Carshalton Park Rock'n'Roll Festival'. Eh? I must have missed that, though I was living on the edge of that very park right through the Sixties. Does anyone know or remember anything of this 'festival'? Malty? Were you there?