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Originally Published: June 02, 1973
THERE'S SOMETHING faintly ridiculous about the sight of 56-year-old Labour MP from Pontypool - a man with a record of kindly if rather fashionable ideas - getting hot under the collar about dear ol' Alice Cooper and his conjurer's guillotine.
The spectacle moves into the realms of farce when we're told that his attempt to get the Home Secretary to refuse Alice an entry permit for his planned Autumn tour was inspired by the revulsion of his teenage children.
No, no Mr. Leo Abse and your righteous children Toby and Bathsheba - you got hold of the wrong end of the snake.
Our Alice stands chuckling astride two great showbiz traditions - instant generation-gap shock, a la Rolling Stones long hair and disrespect for garage walls, and the wild, extravagant showmanship of the Hollywood and Broadway spectaculars; sort of Ginger Rogers with her boobs out brandishing a flail. You don't think we take him seriously do you Mr. Abse?
I mean, when you tell the newspapers that you don't want Alice to do his number on the British stages because it'll encourage his audience to get into infanticide and sado-masochism do you really believe that. Pop is one thing, you say, anthems of necrophilia are another.
Well, Alice Cooper's toured this country twice now, and his albums have sold OK. I haven't noticed hordes of pre-teen child murderers racing each other to the morgue for a sport of necrophilia sado-masochism. Have you?
I'm sorry to destory your bogey man Mr. Abse, and I quite understand you preferring to listen to Mozart and your kids getting off on Elton John - I dig 'em both myself: but Alice isn't Count Bluebird de Sade any more tha Mick Jagger is the devil incarnate, Vincent Price is Count Dracula or David Essex is Jesus.
He's all right is Vincent - why, he's even started marketing his own brand of cosmetics (deodorant as well) in the States. Showbiz, Mr. Abse, PR.
But then you understand that don't you?