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New Left Review I/3, May-June 1960


Ray Gosling

Dream Boy

In this article, a young signalman, who has organised the first of the Youth Venture clubs in Leicester, writes a manifesto for the scheme.

the boy stands up in his sexual and phallic dress, a rebel against a sexless world of fear, and from his own he has made gods. In his dress, his walk, in his whole way of life he makes a private drama for the world that failed him to take note of. “Look at me, look at me and those I, with my money, have defied.” Recently I was walking through a market in a country town, and a man was shouting from behind a trinket stall: “Buy your lockets here, only half a dollar, Tommy Steele, Elvis Presley, the Sacred Heart, the Virgin Mary, Marty Wilde, Cliff Richards, buy your lockets here.” In one was a picture in blue of the Virgin Mary, and in another a black and white head and shoulders photograph. It could have been the face of any of a score of boys who threaded those stalls, but it wasn’t. It was Reginald Smith, the 20 year-old son of a London bus driver, better known as Marty Wilde, the rock’n’roller, the heart throb of the millions, the boy a generation has made a god, a Tin Pan Alley virgin. The boy stands in the age of the contraceptive as a potent hope. He stands in an age of frustration as a dream lover, a sub-American idol.

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