For Alex Cox
This is the year Dien Bien Phu falls,
Algeria rises, segregation is
ruled illegal in the USA,
the first kidney is transplanted and UK
wartime food rationing finally ends.
Lime Street was filled with thousands of boys and girls,
gathered to greet the singing, celluloid,
Born Again cowpoke, Roy Rogers (erstwhile
Leonard Slye), and his entourage – combining
a promo tour with a Billy Graham
crusade. The youngsters, pinched with cold on that
blitzed and windy street, clutched their copies
of the Roy Rogers Cowboy Annual.
Those with seafaring dads – and there were ships
filling the Mersey then and its docks –
had something from the Sears catalogue
of Roy Rogers’ Gifts: boots, guitar, holster,
ersatz buckskin fringed shirt. (Roy and his wife, Dale,
had been mobbed in London, fringes ripped from
the genuine article). But Roy and Dale
were in bed with ‘flu in their Adelphi suite –
so Trigger trotted the route alone,
climbed the hotel steps, made his mark at
reception, entered the residents’ lounge,
visited his master’s bedroom and appeared
at a first floor window for a photo op.
But was it Trigger or, his double,
Little Trigger? And which rears on its hind legs
stuffed in the Roy Rogers’ Museum,
Branson, Missouri, the ‘Show Me’ state?
Or is either or both with Roy and Dale –
and Bullet, the dog, of course – alive, well and
moseying along on the moon’s dark side?