(Much) Ado You feel Lucky Punk?

Firstly let me warn you that this is a shameless piece of self promotion of one of my other blogs too!

I bet you thought this was going to be about Clint Eastwood‘s portrayal of Dirty Harry didn’t you? Well you’re wrong. It is about the key word from that famous Dirty Harry line though; “Do you feel lucky punk?” Did you think that the word ‘punk’ was a modern word? I certainly did. However it is in fact a very old word, indeed it is over 400 years old. It was supposedly first recorded in the 1590’s. But the Bard himself, William Shakespeare to his folks and Ms Hathaway used the term “taffety punk” in his “All’s Well That Ends Well” to describe a ‘well dressed whore’. He wrote it during 1604 and 1605, unless of course you believe the conspiracy theories in which case it was written by Philip Marlowe.

In the 1890’s the word was often used to describe a young male criminal as well as something worthless and rotten. I wonder if Mr Lydon knew that when he chose his moniker for the Sex Pistols. The first time the phrase punk rock was used was surprisingly (to me at least) in a piece written by Dave Marsh for Creem Magazine in 1971. This main body of this post also appears in my music blog ‘With Just A Hint Of Mayhem’ as it is a bit music related.

cry god for harry england and st george’s autograph

Many years ago I collected autographs, I would have been about seven years old. I probably kept my autograph book until I was maybe eleven. I was not a particularly good collector. Apart from members of my family and the usual joker that wrote ‘by hook or by crook I’ll be last in this book’ I had two celebrity signatures; Leslie Crowther and Tony Blackburn. Later in life I was lucky enough to get the autograph of one of my childhood heroes, Gerry Anderson.

So why am I telling you all this? I haven’t just learnt it have I? Well no that is just background for the useless factoid that I learnt today whilst browsing through Record Collector Magazine. The autographs of the four Beatles are all quite different values Ringo Starr‘s is £850, Paul McCartney‘s is £1,500, George Harrison‘s is £2,250 and John Lennon’s is £5,950. That is quite interesting in itself but what struck me is that Adolf Hitler’s autograph is worth more than each of the Beatles and can go for up to £6,950.Incidentally the last autograph Lennon gave was probably to his murderer Mark Chapman. He had signed Chapman’s copy of the Double Fantasy album. That copy was sold for $525,000 recently.

This got me thinking about what was the most expensive autograph in the world. It would appear that William Shakespeare’s scribble takes that crown. apparently there are only six authenticated Shakespeare signatures in the world and buying one of those would set you back around £2.5 million. It also seems to be widely recognised that the Bard’s signature and his handwriting generally was quite scruffy. see his signature below and let me know what you think.