Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Street fighter

I used to love The Wrestling, and so did my Nan, and a million other Nan’s. A staple of ITV’s Saturday afternoon sport broadcasting from 1955 onwards, the spectacle of overweight men pretending to beat each other up was massively popular and remained so until it was unfairly pulled from the schedule in 1985 in an act of high handed snobbery by incoming TV executives.

Many years on, a number of illustrious names still resonate down the ages: Mick McManus, with his perennially jet black hair and his fear of having his ears rubbed; Kendo Nagasaki, a Japanese Samurai Warrior who never removed his mask; Johnny Kwango, a headbutting African Prince with Leopard skin trunks and, perhaps the most flamboyant of all, the self styled ‘Exotic’ Adrian Street.

His peroxide blond hair in pig tails, face smeared in make up, this glam rock wrestler would prance, preen and pirouette around the ring, camping it up and planting kisses on his opponents at every available opportunity. Part panto dame, part sex pest, Street was too bizarre to be as well-loved or well-hated as the really big names, but he received a massive amount of publicity, appeared in a Pasolini film and, of course, had a recording contract.

‘Imagine What I Could Do To You’ is a classic celebsploitation record: it milks a currently famous persona in direct but essentially light hearted terms; it is musically basic but insistently catchy; it has a low energy performance from a star who clearly doesn't see the point, and, of course, it wasn’t a hit. It also does exactly what the title suggests as, confronted by Street's menacing montone, the listener becomes only too aware of exactly the sort of uncomfortable and involuntary ordeal this ruthless man could subject you to if he felt like it.

I can’t remember what my Nan felt about Adrian Street and, sadly, she’s not around to ask but whether she liked him or threw her knitting at the telly when he was on, this post is dedicated to her.

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