60s back in the day glamour, the chaps, Trader Vics and a tale from the late 1950s…
I came across the above photograph in Patsy Kensit’s biography, Absolute Beginner*.
It’s her mum and dad at Trader Vics and for me it really captures a certain back in the day glamour.
If you’re going to be a late 1950s/early1960s glamourous dame who looks like you should be out in a nightclub with Ruby from The Long Firm, well, this could well be your archetype.
Now, not to overly glamourise the misbehaviour of certain sections of the East End’s population back then but let’s just say her dad/family knew “the chaps” – two particular twins with the nomenclature of Kray shall we say, which makes their style in the photograph make thorough sense.
Apparently, years after her parents had passed away, when Patsy Kensit asked a family friend why her dad was wearing dark glasses, the reply was “Well, Pat, he was in disguise.” That just makes me chuckle and chuckle.
As you may well know, Ms Kensit starred in the film version of Colin McInnes novel Absolute Beginners: although it’s flawed, I’m somewhat fond of the film and its almost cartoon like take on late 1950s Soho / London… and it does have Sylvia Sims (The World Ten Times Over), that fine chronicler of English tales Ray Davies looking for a quiet life and former Profumo Scandal feature performer Mandy Rice-Davies as his wife in it. Good for starters indeed.
Trader Vic’s is still around and Ms Kensit’s folks wouldn’t look out of place today. Visit it in the ether here.