06 November, 2012
Actually the "witness" in the interview clip we were played referred to them as "young women", while the BBC newsreader referred to "teenage girls". It was the choice of phrase that caused me to stop and think, "Ah, we're really talking about groupies, aren't we?"
Of course the situation gets progressively more confused, as more and more come forward to claim that their lives were ruined by the Great Molester. How much of this activity is true is open to question; Anna Raccoon's post describing her own experiences around the edges of this shenanigans should at least give you pause in your willingness to accept absolutely and without question the tearful "memories" of everyone who claims to have been felt up by Supernonce when they were 6-year old girls (or indeed boys). Of course they should be treated seriously — and discreetly rather than being drooled over on every national news bulletin — but I am increasingly reminded of the scandal about British soldiers "raping" local women in colonial Kenya. No doubt it went on, but after it came out almost every woman of a plausible age in Nairobi seemed suddenly to remember and claim compensation for a historic assault, their claims facilitated by local entrepreneurs for a cut.
And the circle grows wider. Seemingly every celeb who went anywhere near Savile is being implicated. Freddie Starr has been accused of doing a crafty Uncle Ernie with some 14-year-old girl on a Jim'll Fix It programme. And now Leonard Rossiter 'Performed A Sex Act As Three BBC Staff Tried To Rape Man, 18'. Performed a sex act? The coyness of the gutter press when peddling its tatty prurience under a cloak of simulated repugnance is always fascinating to watch. I wonder if Mr Rossiter "made an excuse and left" after he'd finished his wank.
It's all getting out of hand. As Max Clifford put it in an interview the other morning, he had once appeared in a publicity shot alongside Jimmy Savile and a couple of teenage girls who were taking part in a programme. Will he (Max) be the next to be hauled in for questioning, he wondered.
Anyway, before every adult male who's ever appeared on television is banged up, and while the TraumaLawyers4U.com ads are still airing, I want to get my claim in.
In 1960 or possibly '61, I was travelling to school on the bus one morning. I should explain some context here for the benefit of younger readers. In those innocent days it was common for boys in the early years of secondary school to continue wearing short trousers. At my school boys didn't graduate to long trousers until the third form. I was in the second year at the time.
A man wearing the classic brown dirty mac sat down next to me. A hand began to grope my thigh, working its way gradually under the loose fitting shorts and towards ground zero. As it happened, chummy had the sense not to take it too far and after a few minutes of general gropery he got up and got off the bus, leaning in and complimenting me on having "good strong thighs" as his parting shot.
So what did I do next? Scream the bus down? Retreat into a shell, blaming myself for what had happened? Become an abuser myself, searching out small boys to interfere with in pubic places?
Actually, what happened was that I thought something along the lines of "Fucking liberty!" and turned back to my revision.
And you, dear reader, are the first to hear that story, for I have not thought to mention it to anyone in the intervening 50 years.
But I have changed my mind. Although I remember that dirty old man as being rather older than the 35 years that Savile would have been at the time, and he certainly didn't ululate or keep saying "'Ow's about that then?" as his hand slid up my leg, I am now convinced that that man on a bus in south Manchester was Jimmy Savile. Or was it Leonard Rossiter? Or was Rossiter sitting across the aisle tossing himself off as Jim fixed it? And I want an apology and a slice of Mr Savile's estate. And Leonard Rossiter's. And Joan Collins's as well. Not that she has ever groped me on a bus, unfortunately, but she did appear in television ads with that Rossiter scumbag, and that's close enough for me.
My 'friend' was a man who wanted to look at rabbits in the woods near my home and thought it best to lie down with me on a grassy knoll (no, not that one) and be even more 'friendly'
I told him had to go and ran off, leaving him friendless. I have no idea what the rabbits thought of him.
Yes, the moral of this is that were strange people around then as now. Probably the same number. Most of us didn't sink into a pit of despair over it, though I also recognise that back then we didn't have compensation payments to look forward to.
You just learned to steer clear of the sad bastards and get on with life.
And I don't hate rabbits at all, either.
And that was when I realised this country is doomed.