Edwardian masher

While I’m on this Joe Orton kick, here’s another great bit from the diaries:

Saturday 15 April

Watched Doctor Who on television. Rubbish, but there’s a young boy in it who’s worth looking at; like an Edwardian masher at a Gaiety show, I mentally undress him. I’m sure the BBC would horrified if they realised that even a science fiction series can be used erotically.

Judging from the date, I’m assuming that the episode in question was part of “The Faceless Ones“, and that the alluring lad in question was probably young sailor Ben Jackson, played by Michael Craze.

Ben Jackson

“Edwardian masher at a Gaiety show” is my new favorite phrase, by the way. And though Orton is a good enough writer for that quip to feel very off the cuff, it’s actually the one instance in his diaries where I spotted him re-using an earlier joke. On the 24th of January, 1967, Orton paid a visit to meet Paul McCartney and Brian Epstein to talk about writing a script for the next Beatles movie. During the course of the evening, a pop group called the Easybeats drop by, about whom he says:

…about five very young and pretty boys trooped in. I rather hoped this was the evening’s entertainments. It wasn’t, though. …After a while we went downstairs. The Easybeats still there. The girl went away. I talked to the leading Easybeat. Feeling slightly like an Edwardian masher with a Gaiety Girl.

The Easybeats