The Magic Highway


YELLOW River is one of several great songs of the 70s featured in the play, Sequinned Suits and Platform Boots.


posterMARK Wheeller¹s glam rock tribute play affectionately recalls the glittering 70s and one teenage boy¹s ambition to be The Starman.
   The fun, flamboyance and fashion of the 70s are based on the writer¹s own youthful admiration of glam groups.
   The story is a tale of Shakey Threwer¹s efforts to be a rock star and to woo local girl Lorraine Izoff.
   It is part autobiographical, part fictional: Shakey Threwer recalls everything — his parents buying him his first Dansette record player — his first 45 (Banner Man), first album (The Rise and Fall Of Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders From Mars) and his first gig (Roxy Music).
   Set in Thornbury, Bristol, it makes reference to Shapes record shop, where the writer spent almost all of his teenage school dinner money and initial earnings!
   Sequinned Suits — or a shorter version (but with a longer name), The Rise and Fall of Eed Sud and the Luminous Earwigs from Thornbury — is a tried and tested school examination piece as well, and has proved to be successful in gaining students exceptionally high marks in the last two examinations series in the UK.
Dansette record player   It's a play that examiners really appreciate; in each of the two years it has been used, the candidates playing the main parts have achieved maximum marks.
   Other songs include Twentieth Century Boy, Blockbuster, Tiger Feet, Little Willy, Cum On Feel The Noize, Starman, Can The Can, and Sugar Baby Love.
   In the play, Yellow River is actually used to accompany a segment featuring a schoolboy prank, with the words rewritten slightly to lend comic appeal while retaining the flavour of the 70s period.
   Mark Wheeller explains: "The extract featuring Yellow River is based on a true story that happened at my boarding school, I imagine in 1970 or early 1971.
   "We had someone who (disgustingly) while we were out playing went round urinating in people's wellington boots.
   "It was the oddest thing to have done. The miscreant was caught but I don't know what happened to him ... probably had six strikes of the cane knowing the school (ironically a Christian school!!!) .
   "What I do remember is that it happened at the time of the Yellow River song, and so us boys adopted it, changing the words accordingly: "Yellow Riv-er Yellow Riv-er — it's in my shoes and soaked my socks."


   "The story was one I was keen to include in the script which told of my growing love for all things pop at the age of 13.
   "Yellow River would have been one of the first pop songs I had heard. Being at a Cathedral school and being so involved in church music, pop music was an avenue of pleasure that was pretty much closed off for us.
   "To have invaded this culture was quite an achievement for Yellow River ... the only other song I can remember from that year was Back Home by the England Football team... so Christie were in mighty company!"
   To find out more about the play, see here. To buy the script, go here.