Putting One's Head Above The Parapet

Table of Contents

Foreword                                                                                                

Adoption                                                                                                

Amy                                                                                                      

Aunties (of the paternal kind)                                                           

Axel & Damia                                                                                       

Barbara                                                                                                 

“Barnaby”

“Ben” & Those Devon Churches                                                    

Berck-sur-Mer

Blackpool                                                             

Brit Girls Of The Sixties                                                                      

Dietrich                                                                                 

Dorothy Squires                                                                  

Dutiful Dogs & Cats                                                                           

Edna (I) 

Edna (II)                                                                                

Elizabeth Taylor                                                                    

Faith                                                                                                      

Fernand Lumbruso                                                                             

Footballers                                                                                           

Garbo                                                                                                    

Gemini                                                                                                   

George Formby & His Leading Ladies                                            

Gracie Fields                                                                                        

Grandmother                                                                                        

Grange Farm                                                                                         

Gus                                                                                                        

Guyarmathy                                                                                         

Hawking                                                                               

Homophobes                                                                                       

In Ted Robledo’s Bed!                                                                       

Jack                                                                                                       

Jacqueline Danno                                                               

Joan Regan & Peggy Lee                                                  

Joey Stefano                                                                                        

Journalists                                            

Manouche

Masturbation

Milletts

Misery At The Mason’s Arms                                                         

Mother                                                                                                  

Mother-in-law                                                                                      

“Nancy Sphinctergritzel”                                                   

Nudists                                                                                                 

O.B.                                                                                                       

Paris & La Chanson                                                                            

“Pauline”                                                                                              

Peter Sutcliffe                                                                                      

Piggy                                                                                                     

“Pip”                                                                                                     

Portugal & The Fado                                                                          

Racists                                                                                                  

Retribution Can Sometimes Be Such Fun!                      

Richard III/Roger Normand                                                               

Roma Robbers                                                                                     

Russians & “Vladimir”                                                                       

Sacha Distel                                                                                         

Sapritch                                                                                

School                                                   

Sexuality/Siblings                                                               

“Singing Star”                                                                                     

Sipping Schnapps With Gunther                                                     

Stepmother                                                                                           

Teeth                                                                                                     

That Smiths Singer & The Queen Mother                      

Valentino & The Windy City                                            

Wath-upon-Dearne                                                                            

Wedding                                                                                              

Work Study Officer                                                                            

York Street                                                                                           

Zeffirelli & Maria Callas                                                     

Acknowledgements            

 

Foreword

I’ve been around. One benefit of my life is that I never settled down. To date there have been nineteen homes and aside from Grange Farm, where I lived twice, once I left a place I never returned. Thus those I left behind have not changed because I was never there to watch them grow old or leave this world. This made writing these memoirs that much easier, though I have had to think long and hard who or what I should include here, and who or what I should not. In the end I decided to write everything and be damned, and to change a few names here and there to save a few blushes—primarily my own.

   I’ve had highs and lows, success, and thankfully and most gratefully in my professional life not that much failure. I’ve loved and lost, experienced joy and pain in equal measure, had friends and lovers who were ordinary men and women, and a few who were famous—if not bordering on the infamous. I’ve lived life to the full to make up for the miseries of my youth, but even then I grasped life with both hands to get me through the horrors of living with an abusive father.

   Were it not for the adoration and my need to protect my mother from this man, I would have been dead years ago. I guess that makes me a survivor. When I love, I do so unconditionally, but I bear grudges and when I hate—which is not often, and only under extreme duress—it is with every fibre in my being, which I guess makes me a formidable enemy.  Have I told the truth, from A to Z? Yes, I have! And would I do it all again, the good and the bad? You bet! Well, most of it!

David Bret

August 2016