Narvel Annable 




Extracts from Lost Lad



Finkle Joe’s Star Trek Orgies


‘Finkle Joe’ lived on Finkle Street in Detroit.  He was choosy.  Guests had to be teenage boys - and desirable.  As featured in Lost Lad; I scraped by on age qualification getting away with 19 – and continued to be 19 for the next five years.  Joe’s gatherings began in late 1966 when I was 21.  In truth, if birth certificates had to be produced, very few in Joe's house would turn out to be genuine teenage chickens.  Youth was all; mendacity the name of the game.  Thirty was dreaded - 40 viewed as a form of living death. 

Gary and I met at the first party.  He was too thin, too tall with a gangling body to pass the beauty qualification.  Notwithstanding, an invitation was handed over in the Woodward Bar one night because, in half light, Joe thought Gary looked like Troy Donahue.

 Joe’s parties consisted of between ten to fifteen youngsters.  The action was always preceded by the assembled guests sitting before [by the standards of the day] a large TV screen watching Star Trek, a new series in glorious colour.  A popular theme in the weekly audience was an animated discussion, speculating on how well blessed was the inscrutable First Officer, Mr Spock.  I’ve always associated the opening Star Trek theme by Alexander Courage with a prelude to sex.

         During one slightly boring moment when Dr ‘Bones’ McCoy was trying to treat an injured alien (of uncertain gender) whose body was made up of living stone ('It's life, Jim, but not as we know it'), my wandering eyes, together with a few other wandering eyes, came to rest upon the striking blond newcomer called Gary.  He was definitely a candidate for the ‘first room’, the more respectable part of the forthcoming orgy which always started with the closing Star Trek theme.  In this dimly lit area, the guests paired off and generally remained 'faithful' - well, for that evening at least.  In contrast the second room, pitch black, was a 'free for all', a writhing tangle of bodies well lubricated by much spilt semen, amid an ongoing murmuring of deep ecstatic moans and groans.

 In retrospect, these horny trekkies were probably subconsciously inspired by Star Trek’s progressive inclusive Civil Rights agenda.  Witnessing such a multi-racial / multi-cultural crew in conservative ‘beer and hamburger’ Detroit – that was something!  It would have given subliminal hope and encouragement to young isolated gay men who, every day, lived in fear concealing their sexuality.

 We were confronted by a stoic First Officer who was an alien from a planet called Vulcan.  It gets worse.  The Communications Officer was a black woman.  Redneck Detroiters thought a woman’s place was in the kitchen – and a black woman should be scrubbing the floor.  Horror of horrors, the Navigator was Russian – this, at a time when no decent American would trust a Communist to do anything, let alone guide them through the galaxy.

 Mr Chekov sat next to a Japanese Helmsman, Lt Sulu.  These attractive guys were certainly young enough to pass muster, to beam out of the screen and join Joe’s orgy – assuming they were so inclined.  Not one of us, in our wildest imagination, thought for one moment that any of that enlightened crew could possibly be queer.

 Fast forward 39 years to 2005 and see a still youthful Mr Sulu tell the world he is gay!  And, happy to be gay!  Here in 2013, I’ve lost contact with all those pretty boys who, like me, will be pushing 70.  Gary was taken by aids in 1992.  In Lost Lad he is Gary McKenzie, his real name was Gary McCormack.

 If any of those one-time desirable Finkle boys are still around, their hearts would sing on hearing Japanese Helmsman, Lt Sulu telling us -it is alright to be gay.  Thank you, George Takei.  Speaking for all Joe’s chickens, I’m deeply grateful to you for using your celebrity status and all your generous efforts on behalf of the LGBT community.

 Warp speed, Mr Sulu – to the future – to enlightened equality.


Enjoy the magic of Lost Lad


Billy Fury, an icon of popular culture for Heanor youth in 1959 was the subject of discussion between Narvel Annable and John Holmes on BBC Radio Derby in 1998. John surprised the author by playing the original 1959 recording of
 Maybe Tomorrow at the start of the interview. Having not heard that particular version for some years, you can hear the emotion in Narvel’s voice.


Click on the following to hear that interview

The Heanor Market Café of 1959 had two halves. To the right of the central corridor, the snack bar, to the left a quieter dining room for meals. Above the clatter of pots, cutlery, comings and goings and the continuous hum of conversation, the young diner could hear melodic strains which travelled across the two rooms and passageway. Music came from something very un-Heanor, something new and different, rather like Simeon's American dream car. It was a space-aged, push buttoned chrome and gaudily illuminated cabinet called a 'jukebox' which needed to be fed a three-penny bit for one play, a silver sixpence for two plays, or five plays for a silver shilling. Fascinated eyes watched a mechanical arm lift selected popular 7" 45 rpm records and place them precisely on an automatic deck. As the needle fell into the lead groove, an anticipatory delicious electronic 'thud' would precede the ecstatic sounds to follow.

For the teenager in the next room munching through his beans on toast (or whatever) - this was the birth of real music. The charts of 1959 and 1960 were the very epicentre of his musical experience. Simeon Hogg would spend the rest of his life worshipping at that shrine of talented excellence. He will, forever more, listen with nostalgic reverence to the lush orchestrations and sexy boyish voices which sang out through that small window of creativity. Marty Wilde, Bobby Vee and Adam Faith crystallised and defined his fresh green hopes, inspired his dreams and fuelled his fantasies.

One day he was entranced by what seemed like a sweet sounding choir of angels ascending and descending the scale, complemented by a resonant twangy bass guitar. Into this euphonious mix came, exactly at the right time, a deep masculine voice with just a hint of the sexy adolescent croak so typical of this new young genre. He could easily have been mistaken for Elvis, but, these dulcet tones were a touch lighter and, for Simeon's taste, with great respect to The King - better. This sensuous singer had composed both the music and lyrics for this beautiful work which lasted barely more than a precious two minutes. After such an orgasmic audible experience, in complete contrast to the hateful pious dirges of just a stone's throw away at the bleak Dickensian Mundy Street Boys School, this new music now became an important part of his life at William Howitt Secondary Modern School – a culture of kindness.

During the following weeks, the same record was played every day. Simeon struggled to hang on to those illusive, hypnotic notes, above the ambient din of the busy Market Cafe. A few occasional words were discerned -
" ... and in the evening, by the moonlight ... "

He knew not the name of the singer or the song title to be able to ask for it in a record shop. A pointless exercise not possessing a record player, let alone the expensive seven shillings needed to purchase. Eventually the time came when, nervously, this scruffy youth entered a shop and held the precious vinyl disc with its grooved integral encoded magical music, bearing the legend -
 Maybe Tomorrow.

Later, in that same store, examining the sleeve of a prized long playing record; he stood very still and looked … and looked. He peered long and hard into the stunningly handsome features of his teenage idol - Billy Fury: an image of Heanor popular culture in 1959.


Here is an extract from Chapter 8 - Water-cum-Jolly Dale

Scott looked for a footpath to the riverside, which, in spite of its apparent invisibility, he knew had to pass between the mill and a very steep, densely wooded hill to the north. Success! A narrow passage took them, as it seemed, into another world. Like entering the 'secret garden', they had been transported into a beautiful secluded deep valley, shut in by rocks and woods, the first of a chain of lovely limestone ravines.

Suddenly, here in Water-cum-Jolly Dale, it was cooler, more tranquil with a totally different atmosphere - save for a rush of water to their left which required investigation. Smooth, clear, polished water, slow at first, and then bending, dipping, just before getting cloudy and agitated as it tumbled over a rocky fall. For a few moments they were entertained by the occasional leaf which would accelerate and get pulverised in the turmoil below.

The waterfall formed a constriction which created a small lake bounded by overhanging, sheer limestone faces: faces which amplified and echoed the evocative euphony of various water birds calling and crying. Nobody spoke, but everybody knew that this was a place to savour, a place to walk rather than cycle. There was a shared feeling of safety in the comfortable seclusion of this 'Shangri-La'. In this deep ravine, a serene, silent world of enchantment, steep rocks painted with lichen and moss gave a protective shield against modern noise.

Rocks and trees everywhere. They looked upwards following interesting craggy forms which became ruined castles - crooked medieval castles. But, unexpectedly, above the natural finials, arose out of the high foliage - an unmistakable man-made gothic structure, fashioned after the style of a fairy tale castle. This fantastic riot of sharp pitched roofs, steep gables, ornate tall chimneys and stone mullioned windows - broke the silence. They had discovered the home of Dracula! As if to confirm the fact, a solitary hawk was hovering high in the distant blue.

As they progressed, the lake became a river and the valley narrowed to become a gorge. The warmth of the afternoon reacted with the cold of rocks, water and shade to create sudden gusts which stirred up willows. Zephyrs flashed the underside silver of leaves making a stark, bright effect, which travelled along the riverside, waving in waves and swathes, rippling, swaying, bowing and beckoning - before subsiding and returning the foliage back to green.

Ubiquitous ferns with their distinctive smell covered the banks, sometimes marestails pushed out of the mud and sometimes a delightful patch of forget-me-nots turned the riverside blue.

The water had mood changes. When it was slow it showed shimmering reflections of ash and sycamore. When it was deep they saw long, gently waving green weeds stretched out in the direction of the flow. Inches above, cute little black balls of fluff were going 'tweet tweet' and 'squeak squeak' racing along to keep up with mum.

Just occasionally, the sun struck through this gorge of contrasts and shadow to glisten, sparkle and twinkle off the river surface - a surface often broken by the quick leap of a fish catching a hapless fly.

The valley seemed to get even deeper like a journey to the centre of the earth. The limestone had a multitude of tints from a flash of white to grey and occasional black. Above and beyond, right at the top, smooth, bright, green fields closely cropped by grazing sheep, were occasionally scarred by eruptions of ancient weather worn rocks.

Down below the boys were entering Miller's Dale and being entertained by sinister grotesque shapes of long dead trees, still majestic in death as in life: living ivy feeding on the rotting wood. Here they scared each other with ugly goblins, old hags and monsters. Dense foliage formed mysterious tunnels and caves, darkened and obliterated with cascading ivy, lots of ivy, harbouring more unknown horrors.

Abruptly, the teasing ceased when they saw an odd looking boy illuminated by a shaft of sunlight.

From Chapter 10 - Wormhill

Danny switched off the light. A distant hooting owl attracted no comment: all the teasing had gone out of Brian. He was tired, very tired. They were all very tired and, in the luxury of good firm beds and clean white sheets, they quickly descended into a deep sleep - the sleep of the gods.

Sometime later, much later, Simeon was awakened by bladder pressure. All the tea and milky coffee had finally taken its toll and called to the young man from that distant, cosy, mysterious other world of deep slumber. Unwillingly, slowly, he came to consciousness. He disentangled himself from the comfortable arms of Morpheus and in pitch darkness, fumbled and staggered out in search of the bathroom. Desperately trying to be as silent as that dark night, he navigated along an alarmingly creaky complication of steps up, steps down and acute confusing angles before, very gratefully, reaching his destination. Simeon stood before the bowl and breathed a long, deep sigh of blessed easement. He had never read a word of Shakespeare but at that moment could easily have quoted Francisco the Elsinor soldier - "For this relief, much thanks."

The old house was still warm from the heat of the day. Unlike Francisco, Simeon, clad only in underpants was not cold. As he turned to retrace his steps - sudden alarm! His exit was blocked by a dark form who had stealthily crept out of the deeper shadows. Any fear which had initially gripped the startled lad was short lived, when, faint starlight silhouetted the familiar profile of a friend. In the few moments of tense silence which followed, eager eyes and mouth-watering lust scanned down an adolescent trunk to take in the exciting view of an urgent and demanding manhood. Hardened by desire, the unsmiling, unfriendly face gave an unspoken command - "Deal with it."

He did not know or appreciate it at that time, but Simeon would eventually look back over the years and view those early, delicious and relatively innocent teenage moments as - 'the Real Thing'. The Real Thing was true ecstasy in stark contrast to the more contrived and planned experiences of adulthood. Natural rough lads, rough hewn from a coal mining community were totally masculine, totally one hundred per cent butch - butch as the hard bricks which built Heanor. So very different to the many anonymous touches which would follow in later years. Touches becoming repellent when later identified as ministrations from the old, the soft, the slimy, the artificial, the affected, the effeminate, the sophisticated and the piss elegant.

America, more earthy, less inhibited, would be an improvement and, at its most abandoned, would eventually take Simeon to the heights of excitement with organised marathon maulings in public view but, even this, could not, would not, did not compete with those secret snatched moments of early teens and those forbidden fondles born of a playful grope. Quick opportunities of a stealthy touch arose out of a chance meeting of two boys in the changing room, the toilet or any quiet secluded corner of the school. Any shame was eclipsed by the physical excitement of hot blood and desperate need to reach a climax at the hand of another. Any concern was eclipsed by the unspoken assurance that any such illegal and immoral incident would never be mentioned or even whispered again.

Such moments of pure ecstasy would, like this precious incident, begin and end in silence. In silence the two boys returned to their beds never to speak of it again, and, once more, to sleep.

Some hours later it was a noise, a soft noise out of the silence of the night and very close. Simeon saw two eyes staring at him: eyes deep set into dark fur. To gauge the distance, a small head moved sideways before an athletic, liquid body, leaped from the half-open window onto the bed, skilfully and silently landing with no more impact than a gentle kiss. This was not the return of Diddle Do, this was Phoebe who had come to visit her friend. The drowsy welcome lasted for just a few strokes and a few contented purrs before both cat and boy were fast asleep.







Double Life

Sea Change

Secret Summer

Scruffy Chicken 

Lost Lad

A Judge Too Far

Death on the Derwent


Heanor Schooldays

Copyright 2006 Narvel Annable. All Rights Reserved.