Thursday, 27 October 2016

George Formby/Joey Stefano/Rudolph Valentino: The Biographies

Part of the re-released back-catalogue. Each of these men was unique in their own field, and all three died young while at the height of their popularity. Joey is the odd-one out in that he is the only one not to be the subject of a stage play or film.

The much-revised re-issue of

Monday, 17 October 2016

Rudolph Valentino: The Ultimate Latin Lover New Biography Out Today!

New Biography: Published 17th October 2016
Includes The Stageplay


David Bret's first biography of Rudolph Valentino was published in 1998 and became a worldwide success. In this much-extended edition of "Dream of Desire" which also includes Bret's stage play based on his book, the author tells of the real Valentino, a man sexually attracted only towards other men, and whose relationships with women-particularly his two lesbian wives-brought him only heartache and despair. Moralists attacked him, the studio chiefs treated him like dirt. His manager was interested only in gaining control of his estate. When he lay dying in hospital, these people deliberated between saving him and letting him die while working out which was the most financially viable-Valentino alive, or dead, and what would happen if the truth emerged about his private life. Valentino was less ashamed of his sexuality than he was of being trapped within the image of his public persona as "The World's Greatest Lover". In 1920s Hollywood, gay men were all too often stereotyped as feeble degenerates. Not so Valentino, a powerfully-built man who excelled at most sports, and at boxing in particular. It was his persistent, totally unnecessary need to "prove" his manhood which ultimately contributed towards his untimely death.

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Memories Of Aberfan Smeared By A Psychotic Father

Aberfan was like the assassination of Kennedy and the death of Elvis. We remember what we were doing that 21st October. Jeanne and I also married on that date some years later.
Here's an extract from my autobiography, Putting One's Head Above The Parapet. Ken Vickers was the manager of Millletts, where I worked after leaving school. He had a perpetually wet lower lip and looked like John Mortimer. O.B. (Old Bastard) is of course my father, George Spurr, so-named by his brother who, like the rest of us, could not stand him. To shrug off all connections with him, I changed my name. To be free of him, my mother killed herself:

 I later found out, when he had moved on to new pastures and was therefore safe from a tongue-lashing, or worse, that Ken had been a bit of a turd. In the wake of the Aberfan Disaster of 21 October 1966, when 116 children and 28 adults died after the collapse of a colliery spoil-tip, Mother organised a collection for relatives of the victims by placing a Saxa salt-tin on the shop counter. In one week she raised £21, a tidy amount at the time. A few days after dispatching this, she received a letter of thanks from the Mayor of Aberfan—and a visit from the police. Ken had reported her because O.B. had informed him that she had put the money aside for her next holiday. Later, O.B. tried to protest that he had only been joking. The police officer could not have been more apologetic after being shown the receipt and the Mayor’s letter. That evening, O.B. paid Mother a rare compliment saying that the meat-and-potato pie she had prepared for him was tastier than usual. She had exacted her revenge by swapping the usual best quality shin-beef for “Rex” dog-food!

Saturday, 8 October 2016

A Plea To Ban Tramadol After The Vet Prescribed It To Our Dog, Killing Him

Prescription painkillers are 'claiming more lives than heroin and cocaine', expert warns

  • Tramadol is currently classified as a Class C drug - among the least harmful
  • But a leading pathologist believes they should be upgraded to a Class A
  • They are taken by thousands of people each day to rid them of any pain
  • He warns they can be deadly when mixed with other medication or alcohol

Read more: 
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Also from Wakefield Express (full feature online):

'Disgraceful' vet left swab inside puppy

A VET was found guilty of disgraceful conduct after leaving a swab in a puppy following a routine operation.

Owen Davies, formerly of the Chantry Veterinary Group, on Northgate, carried out a spaying operation on Sacha, a 10-month-old labrador in September 2002.
The dog died in March last year after a "massive fibrous growth" was discovered in her abdomen six months after the operation.
During a disciplinary hearing before the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons' professional conduct committee, Mr Davies, 35, told of his shock at the discovery.

This is Bozzy, our beautiful Blue Merle. In April we took him to Chantry Vets, Wakefield. He had a lame leg and swollen paw, but was happy and very noisy, and not in pain. As a precaution, she said, the vet Birgit Nordmann prescribed 50mg of Tramadol. Bozzy, she said, was "very fit for an ancient dog". He was twelve. Two days later, Bozzy was dead. He has passed blood in his urine, vomited blood, and become extremely lethargic.

We took action, and filed a report. Suddenly, Ms Nordmann who had said (in front of two witnesses) that Bozzy was fit was now saying in her statement that she had told us that Bozzy was extremely ill when she saw him. The other vets that I spoke to at Chantry Vets  followed up with a whole catalogue of lies. A stroppy Irish vet named Lisa Flood had the audacity to say that if Bozzy was ill, it was our fault and had nothing to do with the vet. A Spanish vet named Jordi Serrano swore that he had called me on the phone and given me advice, but despite sending copies of the company's phone records he got the date wrong, and there is no record there of that call because it never happened.

I will not go further into the case here as it has now moved to the next level, other than to say that in her own statement Ms Nordmann said that she had prescribed 50mg because 10mg, which might have been more suitable for Bozzy, was more expensive and that I had complained about the cost. Again, there were two witnesses. Absolute tosh! Ms Nordmann also complaints that comments I have made on social media are "ruining her life". I speak only the truth, Ms Nordmann, which I will eventually repeat under oath when this goes to court. Because of your incompetence, Bozzy does not HAVE a life.

Our aim is to have the three vets involved with this case struck off the veterinary register. Chantry Vets was a nice family practice until they began employing migrant workers who, though I have nothing against them racially, do not seem to know the meaning of the term "patient care". It would be ideal if the practice was sued out of business or closed down--a few years ago the press reported one of their vets being suspended for killing a puppy--but if this happened, this would be unfair to the genuinely nice people who work there. The receptionist and administrator in particular are extremely nice, as is the owner of the practice.

As for Tramadol, all I can say is that, if 50mg is now considered very dangerous for 170-pound humans, why would anyone want to prescribe the same dosage for a 40-pounds dog, particularly when the vet's opinion of him (though not revealed to me) was that he was seriously ill?

Saturday, 1 October 2016

Dorothy Squires: An Intimate Portrait Of A Troubled Diva...coming soon!

To be published November 2016

Hardback, paperback and digital

Many candid and private photographs + discography

Publicity Sheet

This is the first ever biography Dorothy Squires, for half a decade one of Britain’s most feted singers, by her friend and confidant, David Bret. They met at the height of the BBC Payola scandal, and remained close for 26 years. In this book, much of which is told in Dorothy’s own words, we learn of her triumphs and tragedies, her love affairs—the tempestuous ones with bandleader-composer Billy Reid and the actor Roger Moore, whom she wed—and those she kept secret from all but her most intimate circle.

Bret and Dorothy Squires never hold back when discussing the ups and downs of her life. Her refusal to grant Moore his freedom after their marriage failed. Her ferocious spats with “the establishment” which saw her banned on television and radio, and resulted in impresarios turning their backs on her until she affected one of the most spectacular comebacks in show business history. The fight to clear her name when she was arrested and accused of corruption. Her name being included on entertainment blacklists in France and America. Her sad and untimely fall from grace, brought about by the many frivolous lawsuits which left her virtually penniless and resulted in her being declared a vexatious litigant, and which saw her evicted from her home and taken in by friends. And finally, her lonely demise, and the fights over her estate.

Dorothy Squires’ life was a veritable rollercoaster ride of intense, frequently almost unbearable emotion, but as Bret reveals in this fascinating and alternatively moving and sardonically humorous book, it was a wonderful life.

Dorothy Squires: An Intimate Portrait Of A Tortured Diva contains many fascinating photographs and a complete discography.