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West End Girls by Barbara Tate

Paperback and audio book coming soon!

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Thursday, 13 January 2011 21:06

We are looking forward with great excitement to the release of the paperback version of West End Girls, out on the 3d of March 2011. 

At the same time, an audio version, the abridged audiobook, wonderfully narrated by Kate O'Sullivan is coming out. 

You can read more about it here 

 

All in a day's work - first the courts, and then the hairdressers

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Wednesday, 31 March 2010 00:00

Pencil drawing :Return to the cradle

The West End girls were regularly "arrested" by the police. A tacit understanding with the police required the girls to let themselves be arrested about once a month or so, and the rest of the time they would be left alone. They would then have to appear in the Bow Street courts, at an unfashionably early time (for a Soho prostitute). Barbara must have witnessed this just about every month, and here is her account:

 

A girl who preferred thieves

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Tuesday, 09 March 2010 00:00

Pencil drawing :Hot buns

Rita was one of the West End girls who will eventually play quite a big part in Barbara's memoir of life amongst the prostitutes of Soho. She was a little different to the other prostitutes, and preferred thieves over ponces. ‘I can’t stand their greasy, lying mugs. And they’re bone-idle! And, if they ever went to school at all, they certainly never learnt nothing. I’ll stick to my feeves. A feeve’s got to use his loaf and know what’s what. They’re clean, upstanding men.’ . . .

 

A West End Girl and A Fat Cat customer

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Monday, 22 February 2010 00:00

Pencil drawing :Heave ho!

As a maid for a working West End Girl, Barbara became acquainted with just about every  variation of the human male species. Every personality type, from every walk of life, every body type, all ages and all perversions. Many of Mae's customers were regulars. Barbara adored some of them - like Fred, the kind man whose only interests in life were Judo and Mae. Others she couldn't really stand . . .

 

Who did the tattooing?

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Thursday, 11 February 2010 00:00

Pencil drawing :I have something to show you

The daily business of being a prostitute's maid brings it own education. Not necessarily the kind of education taught at finishing school, and perhaps not the kind of education that have any value other than highlighting the sheer magnitude of masculine sexual preoccupation. With sex, their own sexual prowess, and their most prized posessions - the male genitals. Perhaps Barbara has even picked up a few artistic tips from what she has been shown in Mae's bedroom ...

 

Barbara Tate : 2 June 1927 to 12 November 2009

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Tuesday, 24 November 2009 16:59

Bronze bust of Barbara Tate, artist

Barbara sadly and unexpectedly passed away on Thursday 12 November 2009. Her friend and editor of her upcoming book about her sojourn as a Soho working girl's maid, Richard Gallagher, delivered a fitting eulogy at her funeral service:

"I was asked to say a few words about Barbara and was honoured and pleased to accept even though I only met her a couple of years ago. As one of the people who have been working with her on her memoirs – which for those of you who don’t know is a memoir of her time in Soho in the fifties – I feel I know the young Barbara and the elderly Barbara but, no doubt a lot of you know the adult Barbara I never got to meet apart from through her wonderful paintings.

 

Soho and Leicester Square

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Wednesday, 11 November 2009 00:00

Pencil drawing :Eccentric shuffles

In the late 1940's, Barbara visits Soho and Leicester Square for the first time. As a painter, her description of post war Soho is vivid, almost tactile, and tinged with the wonder of a young and innocent girl whose dreams are finally turning into reality. Little did she know what kind of reality . . .

 

Barbara's first job in Soho

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Wednesday, 11 November 2009 00:00

Pencil drawing :Not the usual

Before Barbara ventured into Soho for the first time, she worked in a factory that painted all sorts of objects that were all the rage amongst the increasingly optimistic post war working classes. As the business became more successful, her boss's unsolicited and lewd advances became more and more insistent,  finally forcing her to seek her fortune somewhere else. As her curiosity would have it, she decided to look for a job in Soho. And found one, almost immediately . . .

 

Rabbits, a fat, cantankerous old maid

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Wednesday, 11 November 2009 00:00

Pencil drawing :Good looking maid

Like many others before and after her, Barbara's first job in Soho was as a barmaid in a basement pub with a dubious but generally well-behaved patronage. One night a couple of women entered the bar, one a gorgeous blonde and the other, her companion, a grotesque character. This meeting were to change Barbara's life for ever. Here is Barbara's description of the fat old women . . .

 

A prostitute learns to fight dirty

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Wednesday, 11 November 2009 00:00

Pencil drawing :A quick learner

Barbara learnt very quickly that the Soho underworld does not resemble a refined upper class drawing room. In the two years that she lived in Soho, she witnessed, and was herself subject to violence, intimidation, backstabbing,  petty crime, gangsters and swindlers. Indeed, one particularly funny episode was key to her being employed as Mae the prostitute's maid. This happened while Barbara was still moonlighting as a barmaid in a dingy Soho basement pub. Here, in her own words is a description of how Faye was taught to fight dirty by an all-too obliging geezer in the pub . . .

 

What does a prostitute's maid do?

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Wednesday, 11 November 2009 00:00

Pencil drawing :A maid

Barbara was indeed quite innocent when she entered the shady world of the Soho underground. I think this picture says it all, but read Barbara's own fancies about entering the service of Mae, the wild and wacky (and very popular) prostitute that is main protagonist in her upcoming memoir ...

 

Soho streets

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Wednesday, 11 November 2009 00:00

Pencil drawing :Afternoon nap

For a girl coming from the relative sanity and neatness of London's Southwestern suburbs, Soho presented a dreary, damp and altogether uninviting picture. Most girls wouldn't have dreamt of entering Soho by themselves. Barbara, with her typical eye for detail, found it scary, but exhilirating. Here she describes the streets on her way to her first meeting with her new employer - Mae the prostitute . . .

 

Orion signs Barbara Tate

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Thursday, 29 October 2009 21:17

After languishing in a cupboard for 25 years, Barbara's yet to be named memoir of life as a maid for a working girl in Soho has been picked up by Orion. This is also a first for Harry Bingham and The Writers' Workshop. Not only have they provided invaluable editorial consultancy, they have also secured the deal with publishers Orion, a first for an editorial consultancy. Orion has indicated that the book will be published as a demy hardback in July 2010. Please click here to be notified when the book is published.

Link : http://www.thebookseller.com/news/102130-page.html

 


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