“Antiques and Women are my only interests. It sounds simple, but you just try putting them in the right order.”
The third instalment of the CSB East Anglian trilogy takes us to Essex. We immerse ourselves in the unreconstructed 1970s world of the UK’s favourite antiques dealer-cum-private eye – Lovejoy.
We use Books 1 and 3 in the series – ‘The Judas Pair’ and ‘The Grail Tree’ – to explore Colchester and its environs and track down key locations, such the main antiques arcade where Lovejoy spends a lot of his time, the White Hart pub where all his deals get done, and his cottage where a dramatic showdown takes place with a villain with a crossbow.
Starting their odyssey at a sex shop on the A12, Lloyd and Tim find themselves deeply troubled by the casual violence towards women and the general misogyny that colours Lovejoy’s world view. We consider how the women liberation movement of the early 1970s might have been impacting on Lovejoy’s world – or not.
We search for the lost Colchester, crumped under a shopping centre. We find a pub in West Bergholt that has been through countless refurbishments. We guess at where Lovejoy’s cottage might be before it was burned down. We realise that much of what we’re looking for has disappeared – as lost as the mythical antiques that Lovejoy searches for in the books.
We end at Witham train station after a racy car ride, keen to return to the more ‘enlightened’ times of the present day…
Each month we road test a work of fiction that appears to be curiously specific about dates and locations. We go to the places mentioned and see if descriptions are accurate, journey times credible, dates and days all in order. Along the way, we learn things, about the book, and its author.
Sources & credits
Womens Liberation March in London, 1971: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aRigbUC0JUQ
Billericay Dickie, Ian Dury: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0jrkWygIqt0
Lovejoy Theme: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uVzUrDGBnu8
Germaine Greer in debate: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zT1wHe1DlOM
Oi, Baxter Dury: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=El3V7js1uYw&t=48s
Danny Sloggett YouTube channel, Colchester punk movement: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sp9QkNAIOYw&t=120s
Danny Sloggett YouTube channel, Colchester walking around: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7X4ORpog4AY&t=56s
Danny Sloggett YouTube channel, Undistract yourself: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AlMf1UwoC38&t=21s
Danny Sloggett YouTube channel, English roads: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ONDF_Ukbtc4&t=1s
Sheila Jeffreys on Kate Millet: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gg0LrEcDC4w&t=236s
Hurry Up Harry, Sham 69: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LdVFzdRZF0Q
Carry on At Your Convenience (1971), Theme tune: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-W02MG-5Izk&t=30s
Canteen scene: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zLkZSYunzhY
You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet, Bachman Turner Overdrive: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=99lyU5N–f8
Top Gear, Clarkson: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=39jbpOH6Di4&t=683s
Girls and Boys, Blur: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WDswiT87oo8
Every Move You Make, Ian McShane: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oK-N88cWEPs
The Jonathan Gash Project: http://thejonathangashproject.blogspot.com/2009/10/jonathan-gash-bio-lovejoy-beginnings.html
The James Bond of Antiques Dealers: https://www.nytimes.com/1987/02/26/garden/the-james-bond-of-antique-dealers.html
Sexual Politics, Kate Millet: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sexual_Politics
West Bergholt: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/West_Bergholt
History of Colchester: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Colchester
Colchester Castle: https://colchester.cimuseums.org.uk/visit/colchester-castle/
Colchester: coins from hoard go under the hammer: https://www.eadt.co.uk/news/colchester-coins-from-hoard-go-under-the-hammer-1-1122039
Uri Geller: https://www.urigeller.com/
Colchester’s historic Red Lion Yard in the news: https://www.thecolchesterarchaeologist.co.uk/?p=7628
Timeline of Women’s Liberation Movement: https://www.bl.uk/sisterhood/timeline
Braithwaite engines: https://cybermotorcycle.com/euro/wikig/Braithwaite.html