It’s not widely known that resident Afterword mascot Mike Thep has a secret past as a “rock ‘n roller”, but Colin H’s official biography “I Could Of Been The Next Terry Dene – The Mickey Genial Story” sets the record straight!
As a willowy young lad with a cowlick and a curled lip, Mike Thep was noticed by pop impressario and physique enthusiast Larry Parnes in a public house of ease. “I was surprised by his approach, as I was just zipping up, but his persistence, and encouraging manner, soon won me over” laughs Mike today from his Belmont North Nissen hut.
What Parnes glimpsed, perhaps reflected in wet porcelain, was potential. He had already established a stable of willowy young lads, giving them virile names (Billy Fury, Vince Eager, Duffy Power etc.) and flashy cufflinks, and saw young Mike Thep as an exciting addition. “But Mickey – I called him Mickey from the get-go – had something different – a kindly, almost avuncular quality, so I dubbed him Mickey Genial, and we went straight into the studio – my back room in dear old Romilly Street – and sweated long and hard into the night on his seven-incher.” That record, “(Let’s) Settle Down” was to
perform disappointingly (“rather like its singer” as Parnes waspishly noted in his autobiography) and today is a collector’s item, commanding prices of up to a pound on eBay. Mickey Genial was quickly “let go” (“Parnes even kept the sodding cufflinks!”) but found work in the post room of Health & Efficiency, a popular medical periodical, from where the slide into Grub Street was inevitable.
Although Colin H rightly glosses over the years of shame and degradation, his tome still weighs in at an impressive 600+ pages. It boasts a complete discography, detailing both sides of that elusive single, and exclusive interviews with Nobby Postlethwaite, Kevin Hounslow, and “Todger” Braithwaite M.P., names only too familiar to “Afterworders”! A wealth of previously unseen photographs – many of them understandably so – completes this impressive package – literally a “must have” for the pop fan!
“I Could Of Been The Next Terry Dene – The Mickey Genial Story” by Colin H, Doorstop Press, £311.55 – discount for bulk orders.