Alright My Son; Flash Harry, Arthur Daley and spiv archetypes…
The spiv, described thus (and rather succinctly) by Jon Savage in his book Teenage: The Creation of Youth Culture; “A duck’s arse haircut, Clark Gable moustache, rakish trilby hat, drape-shape jacket, and loud garish tie … which all represented a deliberate snook cocked at wartime austerity.”
Along which lines…
Flash Harry, Arthur Daley. George Cole.
Although over a long career Mr George Cole has played a fair few roles and characters, I suspect the one/s that he is most known for are the two memorable, indeed archetypal, spiv characters Flash Harry from the St Trinians films and Arthur Daley from the television series Minder – gents who were separated by decades and maybe the love of a camel-hair overcat but who shared more than a little in spirit and enterprise.
Part of that spirit and the associated romanticism is that these are loveable rogues who never really did anybody any real harm.
Which brings me back round to and connects with my own Afterhours sense of the theatre of such things; an imaginary rogueishness rather than the actuality of such things.
Along which lines, The Firms Arthur Daley (‘E’s alright)* single from back when:
“The geezer with the bunny in the trilby ‘at
Reckons he’s legit but he ain’t all that
Arthur Daley, little dodgy maybe, but underneath,
Peruse Mr Cole’s memoirs of a spiv (and considerably more) here.
*Or Arthur Daley (He’s alright) in the “Posh” version of the song.