Thrusting : Prelude

Where do I start?

At the beginning I suppose.

But where did my life as Labia Lefeure actually begin?

She didn’t experience the growing up poor in the East End of London. It wasn’t her who had to fend for herself due to the absence of parents.

Labia didn’t throw those punches at school because she couldn’t take the teasing of her tattered uniform anymore .

It wasn’t Labia’s lips that David kissed during that careless fumble down the alleyway one summer’s evening.

Those formative years belonged to someone else….another me. A nobody called Molly Jones.

Labia’s story, the one I am telling, begun on 12th February 1967 .

That was the day that she was born. Neatly coinciding with the death of the previous me and with it the life I could have led.

Labia’s birth did not take place in a hospital but instead it was in a little nightclub hidden away in the grimy streets of the East End.

There were no midwives encouraging the soon to be Mother to push but instead a crowd of jeering men shouting futile words of encouragement that I might take my top off.

Proud Fathers were replaced by absentee husbands, taking a detour from a busy day at work to get a quick release before returning to their dutiful wives.

Labia didn’t grow up surrounded by a multitude of siblings, she had a different family. Perhaps there is some similarity here, we don’t get to choose our family and Labia certainly didn’t get to choose hers. Someone else did and that person would prove to be far worse than any overbearing Father.

He put together Precious Comfort Love Thrust, created a family so dysfunctional that what we experienced in four years was enough to fill a lifetime. Fights, love, betrayal, tragedy and somewhere within all that…music. But as you will read music was very much secondary to everything that Precious Comfort Love Thrust was about.

And it all began on that fateful evening in February when Labia was born…..

When I was born.

That night if I had just said no I’d still be simple Molly Jones. Maybe I would have made it as a singer, perhaps I would have settled for the quite life as a secretary, got married, had kids and led a perfect life living in a three bedroom semi in Essex. By now I would have grandchildren at my knee, wistfully seeing out my remaining years playing bingo and complaining about the weather.

Instead I said ‘Yes’ and the life I should have experienced evaporated instantly. No turning back.

Why I agreed to his request is something I have often thought about. Perhaps it was the exuberance of youth. Maybe even by the age of 20 I had tired of Molly Jones; when he asked me the question I was desperately looking for a way out of my life.

He approached me with the opportunity to be someone different. To swap one life for another. He just neglected to tell me what the cost of this new life would be.

For years I’ve tried to forget I was even a part of Precious Comfort Love Thrust but try as I might I just kept getting dragged back into it.

Even news of his death brought me no comfort. I thought it might bring me a sense of freedom but instead it just reminded me of the hold he always had over me.

All because of that one night in February.

Then there was Stef…My poor sweet Stef. She didn’t deserve to die alone in that place, no-one knowing what she truly achieved, what she meant to the band….to the country for that matter.

I know I am on the same path as Stef; to die alone taking all those secrets to my grave. My life hidden away in some secret vault never to be revealed.

Yet she had that suitcase. A collection of vague memories that to the casual observer would seem nothing more than unwanted memorabilia of a band long forgotten. Why she kept that stuff is a mystery to me.

I was surprised to be alerted to a reference to Precious Comfort Love Thrust online. Even more surprised that the curator of our curious history was some blonde girl who thought Unicorned Squirrels would make a good story.

I could have sat back and just watch her create an acceptable version of Precious Comfort Love Thrust; one that even I would find pleasant; a place in history we did not deserve. Although the way she works to schedule I’d have been lucky to still be alive before she got to our first tour.

But even if allowed Selina j to reveal Precious Comfort Love Thrust to the world it would be a lie. The entire life of Labia Lefeure is a lie. If this is to be my swan song surely it should end on the truth? My one final ‘Fuck You’ to him and to truly honour those forgotten.

Dick, Vanda, Kaku, Regis and of course, Stef.

So, I write this story.

The true story of Precious Comfort Love Thrust.

The true story of Labia Lefeure.

The true story of me.

And it all begins on the one night in February.

Precious Comfort Love Thrust : It’s All Changed

Regular readers will be aware of my discovery of the mysterious band, Precious Comfort Love Thrust.

You can read about it here and here . I am also aware I’ve not written much more about them. Whilst attempting to navigate through the contents of Stef’s suitcase can be time consuming that was not the reason for the absence of content.

Something happened.

The other day I was partaking in my daily jog around the East End (…. okay I was walking….. to buy alcohol) when I noticed an elderly woman just standing on the corner gazing over the road at a Vegan cafe.

Having walked these streets with my dad I am used to elderly people looking confused at specialist vegan restaurants but there was something about her that made me stop.

She was dressed in a long rain mac which seemed unnecessary in the heat of the London sun. Her hair was bright white and although her skin showed the ravages of time you could tell she once beautiful…indeed still beautiful.

Concerned that she might be lost I asked if her she was okay. She looked at me with dark eyes which still sparkled, albeit betrayed by the lines that framed them, a clear indication those eyes had witnessed some unpleasant moments.

She returned to looking over at the vegan cafe and spoke, her voice was hoarse and whilst I caught a twang of cockney her speech was more refined

“Over there used to be a club” she said wistfully “I used to sing there…back in the day”

I thought she must just be lonely and was happy to indulge an elderly lady in a trip down memory lane.

“A lot’s changed around here” I replied “So you were a singer?”

She turned to look at me, the dazzle in her eyes faded as she shared this memory with a stranger “You could say that, although there..in that club…I became something different”.

I was intrigued with what she meant but the guarded, cryptic responses led me to believe she was not really in the mood to reveal anymore and the awkwardness made our discussion brief.

I politely said “Gotta rush. Been nice talking to you.”

As I begun to walk away I heard her call out “She didn’t deserve to die alone Selina”.

By the time those words had registered I had turned the corner and although double backed to ask how she knew me the elderly lady was gone.

I hadn’t recalled given her my name. How did she know who I was? The identity of this mysterious woman stayed with me throughout my shopping trip, although by the time I had reached the tills I just resolved she must be some family member I had forgotten about; we have a lot of them in our family.

I gave this encounter no further thought until very recently when I was collecting my post. It was the normal dull stuff; bills and passive aggressive letters from the Residents Committee but crammed into the small box was a brown envelope. It simply had my name written on it and had been hand delivered.

I went back to my flat and opened it, prepared that it was just going to be a full report from the Residents Committee of my most recent infringements. But as I pulled out the thick wad of paper it was something far more surprising than things I’ve done to annoy my neighbour.

It was the small note attached to it I read first. It said;

Selina,

If you’re going to tell our story, tell it properly

Here’s the truth.

L

I looked at the front page of the manuscript which read ‘Thrusting : The Unbelievable True Story Of Precious Comfort Love Thrust”

At the bottom was the identity of the author…. Labia Lefeure.

That elderly lady was Labia!! My brain chimed in with the obvious, hoping that no one would notice how slow it had been to work that one out.

I cursed myself for missing the opportunity to speak with her. I had so many questions. I fumbled through the pages hoping to find some contact details for her, but there were none.

All the answers to my questions would be in this document and so I poured myself a large glass of gin and read the words of Labia (pronounced La-Bi-Ah by the way).

I had polished off nearly half a bottle of gin by the time I had finished it and then I had to read it again because I could not believe what I just read.

There was always a mystery about Precious Comfort Love Thrust. There had always been something peculiar about them, at the end of the day they all just disappeared without any trace.

Labia’s manuscript provided all the answers. Where they came from, why they suddenly disappeared and what Pirouette Angel was.

Before this manuscript had mysteriously appeared I thought I was beginning to work everything out about PCLT. But as I re-read every word Labia wrote I realised I had been wrong about everything.

The story of Precious Comfort Love Thrust is still an amazing one. Perhaps even more amazing than the one I thought I was telling. It still needs to be told. But it’s not for me to tell it. It’s for Labia to tell.

So, coming soon exclusively to my website I shall be serialising Labia’s manuscript.

The true story of Precious Comfort Love Thrust…. Her Story.

Precious Comfort Love Thrust: The Beginning Of The Band

In my last Blog Post I described how I learned of the existence of the Sixties band, Precious Comfort Love Thrust. My ambition has been to write the unofficial ‘official’ biography of the greatest band who never existed.

With the limited material available it has been difficult to put into some chronological order the history of the band. However, Stef’s journals have been an invaluable source of information in that respect.

There were two in the suitcase I acquired when Stef sadly passed away at the Care Home. One contained her beautiful lyrics and the other was almost like a scrap book. It contained her musings, or press cuttings, the odd Polaroid photo crudely taped to the yellowing pages.

One of the most revealing sections of that journal is entitled ‘An Interview I Shall Never Give’. Here Stef writes and answers her own questions about being part of the band. Despite playing the crucial role of being their sole songwriter it would seem she was very much in the background. None of the press cuttings seem to reference her yet without her there would be no Precious Comfort Love Thrust.

She was part of the day to day life of the band, jotting down the mood of recording or touring with throwaway observations in her journal like ‘Labia wants out’ or ‘Dick is struggling’

Whenever one writes a music biography of a band normally the reader would come with some basic knowledge of who the band are and have at least heard one or two songs.

It’s likely the first time you ever heard about Precious Comfort Love Thrust is when I wrote about them or you happened upon the Twitter or Reddit sub I set up to share the contents of Stef’s suitcase.

Also normally a music biography can begin with explaining how the band formed. You know, so and so met each other at school, this person left that band to join etc. Yet, Precious Comfort Love Thrust seemed to just suddenly exist. They appeared as quickly as they disappeared.

What I have been able to work out is the Original Line Up consisted of:-

Labia Lefeure – Lead Singer

Richard ‘Dick’ Splash – Lead Guitarist

Kaku – Bass Guitarist

Vanda T – Rhythm Guitar

Regis – Drummer

In their short history the band would go through different line ups. Dick Splash left the band to be replaced by Curt Lingus.

Both Vanda and surprisingly Labia then left, the latter attempting a solo career which saw he take residence for a while in Las Vegas.

The final iteration of Precious Comfort Love Thrust was Labia returning with Kaku and Regis; the lead guitar being played by a host of session musicians.

Yet the history of the members of the band (or Love Thrusters as Stef called them in her journal) is unknown.

A vital part of any music biography is to be able to trace the early life of the band, to give context to the people that would become universally admired by fans. Yet I cannot find anything relating to the members of PCLT. No clue where they were born, who their parents were, where they went to school. Nothing.

The closest was a very small snippet of an interview Labia gave when she sung at the Sands in Vegas. It read:-

I love being up here with the big band, singing the old songs. It’s like being back home in the clubs in the East End of London”

So we know that Labia (which I presume is not her real name) was born in London and sung in clubs before joining Precious Comfort Love Thrust. But how and why remains shrouded in mystery.

As for the others they are like ghosts. It’s as if they were purposely designed to blend anonymously in the background. Labia was the face of Precious Comfort Love Thrust; it would have been her face who adorned the walls of teenage fans and probably helped a few boys through those difficult years.

But did the girls have Dick Splash on their walls? Or perhaps others went dressed as Vanda or Kaku at concerts. Maybe in pubs today there is someone holding court that the greatest drumming you’ll ever hear was Regis on the track 4-Nication.

As I begun my study of the Journals of Stef Clancy I wondered about the others. Whether they resented Labia for being in the forefront whilst they were reduced to playing in the shadows? Did Labia have a hand in that? Was she some diva who demanded all the attention? And what was Stef’s role in all of this? Who was calling the shots?

Because whilst it’s possible to gather some information from the journal on all the band members including Stef herself, there is one person (or persons) where nothing appears – the Manager.

Who was the Manager? He (or she) put together a band, signed them to an obscure record label that only produced PCLT records then promptly went out of business. If legacy is an indication of greatness then PCLT’s management team would not appear on any list of Greatest Band Managers.

Is the story of Precious Comfort Love Thrust a story of missed opportunity? A group of talented individuals let down by incompetent management.

Or is it a story about ego? A band self destructing before they have even had a chance to begin.

And this is before we get to the strange appearance of Pirouette Angel……..Whatever that was all about.