Dorothy Squires & Nicky Welsh
The first thing that struck me about this book and made me question whether it would be really worth taking seriously was the youtube video used to promote it. It tells us that Dorothy Squires was a great entertainer, and we do hear her voice. But the person we see on the screen is...Edith Piaf, in clips lifted from the film, La Vie En Rose!
"Well, I'll be beggared," as Dot would say. "Have you been at the gin again, boyo?"
I never criticise another another's work, but in this instance I feel that I must make an exception. I cannot ever recall meeting Johnny Tudor, during my twenty-five years of being one of Dot Squires' closest friends and confidants. I do recall her once referring to him as "a pantomime entertainer" virtually unknown outside of Wales. Then again, Dot could be quite cutting at the best of times.
There comes a time, however, when one feels the need to defend dear friends who are no longer with us, and I object most strongly to Johnny writing that Dot's orchestra leader, Nicky Welsh, was an alcoholic...and adds an anecdote from town-bicycle singer Lita Rosa that her pianist, Kenny Brown, was possibly a drug-addict. I knew Nicky well. We had some great times over the years. He liked his drink, as did we, but I never once saw him drunk. Maybe Johnny Tudor takes exception to the fact that he and Johnnie Grey, Dot's saxophonist, disliked him intensely? My own book has a quote from Johnnie Grey,
“It always baffled me why Dot had other people on the bill with her. At every show I played at, nobody was remotely interested in these mostly third-rate so-called entertainers and comedians. All they wanted was Dot, Dot, Dot!” Johnnie Gray, saxophonist.
I also take great exception to two other aspects of Johnny Tudor's book: the fact that it is promoted as "the first biography of Dorothy Squires" when my book was published at the end of last year...and the fact that it contains several pictures which appear in my own book. The latter is irreverent, bearing in mind there are few pictures of Dot of a printable quality.
As for the insults against my friends, I find this reprehensible, even though I wish Johnny Tudor every success with his work. Dorothy Squires' name needs to reach out to a wider audience and be kept alive...even by someone who tells lies.