Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The World is a Circus

Fiona Richmond.
A beautiful brunette who became a sex symbol in a generally risque fashion. A preacher's daughter. Starred in several X-rated films with titles like Hardcore and Let's Get Laid. Wrote a handful of books about her sexcapades. Was the moll of Paul Richmond, who is known for opening the UK's first strip club.

With that background, it's not surprising that she would put out a novelty album. It is, of course, quite risque and explicit. It's also a lot of fun. I discovered the album when I was going through a phase of looking for strange novelty albums, and after finding Picking Up Girls Made Easy!, which is an album I love for reasons I will perhaps get into another time - I may post my copy of it (I even got the accompanying book; the prologue includes a rape joke, so you know what you're getting into there). That album relies on a sort of Are You Being Served? sort of double entendre method - nothing is explicitly stated. I found a few more sex-oriented novelty LPs, including Tortura, which is a pretty explicit bondage LP. Fiona's album sticks out, however, because though the cover says it is presented by her boyfriend Paul Richmond, the man behind the music on the album just happens to be Anthony Newley. I went through a bit of a Newley obsession many years ago, so I sought this out. Then I forgot about it (I can only take so much - I'm really a bit of a prude.) Hidden in the album is a real gem of a song titled "The World is a Circus." It, of course, has the circus motif musically, but it's impeccably done and still sounds like a pop song of the time (and actually sounds more late 60s to my ears, even though it was done in 1973). The Newley influence is very apparent on this track.

I love this song - it's a go-to track fairly often as I'm starting off on my morning commute - and considering that the album is nearly impossible to find at the moment (I see one for sale on Discogs for nearly $60 USD, and do not see it listed on eBay), I thought I'd share it. I have to say that the album is probably not safe for listening to at work, and the album art is very definitely not safe for work. It's a fun listen, it would certainly make for a bit of weird and awkward in a group situation, and the musical passages are actually quite good. I put The World is a Circus on a mix once between The Free Design's Ellen Dedrick's bonkers Settlement Boy and If I Had a Ribbon Bow by Fairport Convention and you wouldn't know it was off of a pornographic novelty album.

I hope you enjoy!

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