The word groupie is normally taken to mean a female, or in rare cases a male, who follows the members of a rock band on tour in order to have sexual relations with them. Not only would they take care of band member’s sexual desires but also they would act as “road wives” or surrogate mothers taking care of their valuables, drugs, wardrobe, and social life. The best known of these girls was Cynthia Plaster Caster, guess what part of the male anatomy she plaster cast, and Pamela Des Barres who was alleged to have “followed” some of the biggest rock names of the late sixties and seventies. Both women went on to write best selling memoires.
Lindsay Shutoff’s Permissive, a British feature film released in 1970, is an authentic look at a band on the road and the groupie ethos that surrounds it. The main protagonist is Suzy (Maggie Stride) who arrives in London looking for somewhere to stay. She meets an old friend, Fiona (Gay Singleton) who is the steady groupie of Lee (Alan Gorrie) the bass player and singer of a band called Forever More. At first Suzy does not seem to keen on getting involved with the sexual permissiveness, but eventually she submits to the life style with more than a little enthusiasm. It’s the story of how a supposedly innocent young girl can easily get involved with something that had been completely alien to her. Shutoff’s film does seem to be a genuine attempt to show the risks of such a life style, one that can lead to tragic circumstances.
|Dodgy haircuts and dubious fashions! The rock band Comus.|
If you can tolerate the dodgy haircuts, the dubious fashions and the arty jump cuts it’s an interesting examination of the period. The main band featured in the film Forever More is a genuine late sixties and early 1970’s Scottish progressive rock band that recorded two albums, two of its members founded the Average White Band in Glasgow in 1971. The cult British acid rock/folk band Comus provided the films opening title theme and other incidental music and songs. Also featured are a quartet called Titus Groan, another progressive rock band that released one album in the early 1970’s. Although the soundtrack is excellent, if you are in to progressive rock, it does at times drowned out the dialog and be warned, the film includes a lot of naked ladies, sex and drug taking. Thanks to the BFI Flipside series we are getting the opportunity to revaluate this rarely shown cult movie.