By Bernie Bell
Writing of my sister, Bid, meeting with T. Rex https://theorkneynews.scot/2020/02/16/orkney-blues-fest-2020/ reminded me of the tale of Gene Vincent’s Comb.
One of my other sisters, Reene, was a Teddy Girl, in the 50’s. When I was a toddler, she’d tell Mum that she was taking me to the park, then we’d go to the local Ted’s café – which is why I’m so familiar with the good old Rock ‘n’ Rollin’ music. I should be – one of my earliest memories is of sitting on top of the juke box while it was playing!
Though I was very small, I have strong, and good, memories of that time – I remember clearly, standing by the Waltzer at the Fair in Lister Park, in Bradford, with a very large Ted, called Bomber, holding me. I was carefully taking bits of white mohair off my bolero jacket ( remember bolero jackets?), and attaching them to the velvet collar of his Drape jacket – and he didn’t mind – he must have been very fond of me!
To the Teds, their clothes and their hair, were of great importance – they said a lot about you, your awareness of what was hip (or hep!) and even, to some extent, your status in the group. Bomber was one of the leaders of the pack – tall, blonde, large quiff and a ‘D-A’ at the back.
They were good people, and good times.
Reene was a big Gene Vincent fan, and when the man himself, came to play in St. George Hall in Bradford, she and her friends got tickets, and went along. Gene’s comb was sticking out of the back pocket of his jeans, and one of Reene’s friends dared her to go and get it. The story doesn’t relate how she got onto the stage, but she did – she dashed on, ‘nicked the comb, and dashed off again.
I remember the comb– it was plastic, pretending to be tortoiseshell, and very, very greasy! Think about it, though – that was Gene Vincent’s DNA, that was!!!
At one time in her life, Reene moved around a lot, and, somewhere along the way, in one of the moves, the comb got lost.
So, there’s another memory – this time of my other sister, not exactly ‘meeting’ the man who could make you dip your hip, free your knee, squeal on your heel……….
……….. just ‘nicking his comb!
Orkney band, The Polka Dots, do a mean version of Be-Bop-A-Lula, among other Rock ‘n’ Roll classics………..
Will they be playing at the Blues Fest. this September this year? Watch this space……… https://en-gb.facebook.com/orkneybluesfest