Monday, 1 September 2008

Spanking Mary Whitehouse

I’ve been reading some of John Summers’ old articles. It’s a constant astonishment to find the number of people he interviewed: WH Auden, William Burroughs and LP Hartley are amongst those I didn’t know about, as well as Eugene O’Neill in his last ever interview.

And then there was Mary Whitehouse. John spoke to her in 1965 after Kenneth Tynan had broken a broadcasting taboo by saying the word ‘fuck’ on television, and - predictably - she wasn't best pleased.

‘Little boys’ language,’ she tutted. ‘He wants his bottom smacked.’

Well, quite. But how did she know?