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Your new favorite cult film: ‘Grey Gardens’ fans will love ultra-twisted ‘Little Lady Fauntleroy’
02:45 pm


Lauren Harries
Keith Allen

In the late 1980s, British talkshow host Terry Wogan introduced his viewers to the curious sight of ten-year-old James Harries, a supposed child prodigy “expert” on antiques.

The young Harries sported fancy dress, a bow tie and a curly bleached-blonde perm, making him look like a pint-sized Harpo Marx. However, Harries, apparently convinced of his own genius, was anything but silent, you see, and came off as an imperious, snobby and obnoxious kid to the general public, becoming one of those brats that you really love to hate. (To be honest, I can’t call to mind a similarly obnoxious kid from the entire history of American TV, either real or fictional. James Harries, as the British public were to find out, was a bit of both...).

Harries “act”—a supposed talent for spotting antiques at flea markets for a few pence that were worth thousands of pounds—was bullshit (based on a single example trumped up by his father to a local newspaper and then parlayed to televsion). The child published a guide to antiquing, Rags to Riches, and the family opened an antiques shop in Wales. As Harries got older, the novelty wore off and the family fell on hard times and lost their business.

The next time anyone heard about this strange little boy, it was in 2001 when the notorious dark lord of Fleet Street public relations, Max Clifford, whipped the tabloid papers in to a frenzy over his new client, now known as Lauren Charotte Harries. Money from the media interest is what funded Harries’ sex change. After this, with Clifford’s help, Harries went about trying to become a celebrity transsexual without that much success.

Enter comic actor Keith Allen (father of Lily) who made the 2004 documentary Little Lady Fauntleroy about Harries and her ludicrously dysfunctional family for Channel 4. It’s truly one of the most insane and riveting things I’ve ever seen. And don’t worry if you’ve never heard of James/Lauren Harries, because it doesn’t matter, you get crash landed from the very start into the world of this zany family—every one of them a “genius” with a PhD in Metaphysics from a fake university somewhere in America. They also confer advanced degrees on each other and believe themselves to be morally and intellectually superior to the rest of us, including the father, a convicted arsonist, who comes off like a caricature of a mad Tory. Allen does an admirable job of playing nice with the fucking crazy Harries family, but eventually, like the viewing audience, he just loses it on them.

You’ll be appalled, but you will watch the entire thing, I’m quite sure…

Via Snag Films.

Thank you Chris Campion!

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
‘Boots Sex Dread’: hardcore gay reggae from 1980 (NSFW)

Image by Finsta

This has to be heard to be believed.

Boots Sex Dread is the name of an anonymous reggae act (is it a band or just and MC? or two MCs?) who brought out a one-off single in 1980 that became instantly notorious. Both sides of the release feature heavy dub riddims coupled with explicitly gay toasting. Like, REALLY explicit.

One side is titled “Rinka” and features an MC coming out: “Mi black and mi proud and mi a Rastafari/And mi a ‘omo-sek-shual”. There then follows an hilarious list of anal sex euphemisms. The flip is titled “Prenton Pressure” and features a different, coarse voiced MC regaling us with the story of how he met his Asian boyfriend, and how their sexual relations in a cornership store room (involving lots of bizarre condiments - Brillo Pads?!) were interrupted by the boyfriend’s mother.

Information on this record is scarce, but rumors about who the authors/vocalists may be have been rife since it was first written about in the NME on its 1980 release. The theory that has gained most credibility is that Boots Sex Dread is the work of the British comedian and actor Keith (father of Lily) Allen. An anonymous source close to Dangerous Minds can semi-confirm this:

It was rumored to be Keith Allen. And Rinka was supposed to be named after Norman Scott’s dog who was shot by the hit man hired by Jeremy Thorpe. [Background: Jeremy Thorpe was the leader of the British Liberal party from ‘67-‘76. Norman Scott claimed to be his gay lover, and Thorpe was aquitted on charges of conspiring to murder Scott in 1979.]

But this was the story running the rounds when Julie Burchill banged on about it as being gay Reggae. Not convinced, but it sounds like it could be him. He is an accomplished pianist, as I found out when I spent 3 nights on the batter with him, whilst he was filming Shallow Grave.

Keith had a character he played on Channel 4 late night back in the early 80s, where he played a gay miner, who’s dad was gay and his father before him, etc. Led to religious people saying he shouldn’t be allowed on TV etc, as they thought Keith was genuinely gay.

There a bit more info on this story over at the Uncarved blog. Here are sides A and B of Boots Sex Dread (even the names have been confused over time):

Boots Sex Dread “Rinka” NSFW

Boots Sex Dread “Penton Pressure” NSFW

Boots Sex Dread is rare as hens’ teeth, but it was re-issued not too long ago, so keep an eye out and you might find it.

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment