May 05

She's an exchange student, just returned from the University of KentuckyKnuckle Girls

'Believe me, paperback covers are how all the top models start out'Gang Girls

The Female Legion of Damn You're Looking Good!Guerrilla Girls

On this tour you'll be signing copies at the finest strip clubs in LancashirePromotion Tour

Good Show Sir Comments: GSS Superfan Reggie M. (who prefers to keep a low profile) sent in these fine examples of literature printed by the New English Library back in the 70s. We here at GSS are familiar with the terrible sci-fi cover art overachievers at N.E.L. See here.

But N.E.L. is also know among paperback aficiandos for their sleazy girl covers. These here show the exciting lifestyle choices of a comely English lass who starts out as a fist-fighting brawler, graduates to shiv-lady in her local gang, then a Patty Hearst terrorist clone, before moving into a steady day job in the publishing business as a naked copy editor.

I am sure these attractive young misses are all quite proper British grannies now and remember fondly their previous modeling careers. So let’s reward them all with a Good Show Sir Honourable Mention.

Published 1970s

Actually, that cover IS a classical work of art!I would touch it without protective gloves.I've seen worse. Far, far, worse.Interesting, but I would still read it in public.Middlng: Neither awful nor awfully goodWould not like to be seen reading that!Awful... just awful...That belongs in a gold-lame picture frame!Gah... my eyes are burning! Feels so good!Good Show Sir! (Average: 4.71 out of 10)

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27 Responses to “Honourable Mentions 21”

  1. THX 1139 Says:

    1: Hey, somebody needs a wedding ring on that knuckle!

    2: Hey, somebody needs to be cutting wedding cake with that shiv!

    3: Hey, somebody needs to, er, fire that gun into the air in celebration at her wedding!

    4: Hey, somebody forgot their nightie on their wedding night!

    Today’s comments are sponsored by 1970s chauvinist oppression.

  2. fred Says:

    Jane Austen fanfic?

  3. Bibliomancer Says:

    The Spice Girls were originally very hardcore.

  4. NomadUK Says:

    The ‘See here’ link takes me right back to this page. Does that mean these are all sci-fi as well as, er, literature?

  5. Tag Wizard Says:

    Scroll down. The “See here” link takes you to all the posts with the New English Library tag and today’s Honourable Mention is just the latest.

  6. Alice Says:

    The New English Librarians?

  7. A.R.Yngve Says:

    But surely these covers will pass the Bechdel Test?

  8. Tat Wood Says:

    @ARY: probably not: ‘Richard Allen’ (James Moffat, a Canadian living in Cornwall and thus a real expert on East End street-gangs) tended to write orgies where people use the word ‘intercourse’ a lot then have the protagonists go and throw bottles at people. It’s like ‘A Clockwork Orange’ with dialogue from ‘Dawson’s Creek’.

  9. B. Chiclitz Says:

    It’s the same model wearing different wigs and showing her incredible range of expressive powers.

  10. THX 1139 Says:

    Even though the last lady isn’t wearing any clothes, you can still tell it’s the 1970s.

  11. GSS ex-noob Says:

    “Tawdry” was the first word that came to mind. (The first noise was “Ewww”).

    1. If one goes in for bare-knuckle brawling, should one be wearing a loose necktie that one’s opponent could grab in said brawl? I can’t imagine there are any rules in that sort of thing (other than “you don’t talk about it”), so that would be a prime target for someone else to grab for choking or a Glasgow kiss. (Manchester kiss? Something in Cockney rhyming slang?)

    2. She’s going to defend the last roll of toilet paper, no matter what!

    3. She’s obviously a new guerrilla by her lack of gun skills. Who shoots with their middle two fingers? #1’s been to Kentucky, she could show her how.

    4. Bit of fantasizing there, eh, “Terry Harknett”? Other than the photographer who got to snap these lasses, pretty sure paperback publishing and book tours weren’t that exciting. Even in the 70s. Maybe Terry was hoping to get a tour with something more interesting.

    @B’mancer: Heh. Posh is too skinny for any of these covers. These 4 were all Scary.

    I have the margarita fixings all set up to celebrate today. Oh, and some food to go with.

  12. GSS ex-noob Says:

    The pose #4 is being forced to hold looks very uncomfortable.

  13. Tor Mented Says:

    Most people think that No. 1’s shirt says Kentucky. It tells you a lot that I read it as “well #uck you.”

  14. Raoul Says:

    @Tor – Is that a tragedy/comedy mask tie pin on #1. This lady is multi-talented.

  15. GSS ex-noob Says:

    @Raoul: It is. I wonder if she brought her own accessories and makeup, or if the photographer had a big dressing-up bin. And how did the trashed Kentucky shirt make it there? It can’t be an official UofK shirt with the red — but the lower word might be “Olympic”.

    Perhaps she or the photographer broke up with the American actor boyfriend, kept his shirt, tie, and pin.

    Still can’t get over the WTF of #3’s accessories.

  16. Bibliomancer Says:

    @GSSXn – #3 looks like she just walked out of a Banana Republic catalog.

  17. B. Chiclitz Says:

    @B’Mancer—How do you think you’d look if you had been damned by Harry Whittington?

  18. Tat Wood Says:

    @GSS ex-noob (15):it’s Anarchy in the UofK. It’s not made the list of ‘official’ recollections* but the 70s use of distressed imported college shirts (or fakes thereof) was a pre-punk gesture of defiance. Smart-alecs who’d been to the Great Satan wore ostentatious garments with place-names on as a status symbol so defacing them was one of our ways of kicking against cultural hegemony, sticking two fingers up to The Establishment** &c &c. Do you think it’s a coincidence that punk happened around the time we were all getting sick of Bicentennial hype?

    (*repackaged nostalgia led to an attempt to create a folk-memory at variance with the facts, most notoriously Dominic Sandbrook’s BBC2 series. This is only a slight exaggeration even though Meebox pre-dates the worst excesses.)

    (**if anyone actually articulated it that way at the time I’d be surprised. That’s more retroactive commentary but nobody ever says ‘stick it to the Man’ because Hippies and fake-American idioms were part of the problem. And it was definitely two fingers in those days.)

  19. GSS ex-noob Says:

    @Tat: Aha, I am enlightened. That’s definitely a 1976 Bicentennial/Olympic shirt. Maybe the photographer had a bit of the zeitgeist about him. BTW, that girl is the only one I believe at all might be a good depiction of the book’s contents.

    I’ve got an Oxford sweatshirt. It either says I’m the Establishment, or it turned unexpectedly chilly in Oxford that day and I needed long sleeves.

    @B’man: Yes! All the extra useless military-style accessories, but she’s been to the salon fairly recently, judging by her hair. Maybe she’s a shopping mall commando. Picture by the Glamour Shots guy or the Sears Portrait Studio after hours.

  20. Verylatetotheparty Says:

    At least during the gang years and terrorist years she kept her clothes on, this confirms all my mother’s warnings about paperback publishing.

    @THX 1139 (10): Can’t you tell it’s the 1970’s BECAUSE she isn’t wearing any clothes?

  21. GSS ex-noob Says:

    @Vlttp: No, she might also be naked in the 1960’s. It’s that shade of brown that dates it to the 1970’s.

    Also, she appears to be preserving what’s left of her modesty with a hardcover book, not a paperback.

    But you can tell it’s classy lit’rature from the applied canvas texture over the picture.

  22. Verylatetotheparty Says:

    @GSSxn: Ooh yes, I hadn’t noticed the canvas texture. We must henceforth cease and desist from sarcastic comments on classy cover no.4.

  23. GSS ex-noob Says:

    @Vlttp: I’mma still gonna worry about the foot cramps she must have gotten in that pose.

    Interesting they didn’t airbrush out her tan lines. Maybe they spent all the money on the canvas texture.

  24. Verylatetotheparty Says:

    @GSSxn: I think the tan lines are one of the things about this that say ‘1970’s’

  25. Hammy Says:


    “Gang Girl” must be a danger to herself and others. They’ve only given her a butter knife.

  26. GSS ex-noob Says:

    @Vlttp: Yes, women were still allowed to have some imperfections then, not be smooth pore-free, hairless Barbies.

    @Hammy: Maybe they’re a gang dedicated to proper table settings? Get your flatware straight or else!

  27. Verylatetotheparty Says:

    @GSSxn: When you can look back and have to admit something is worse than it was in the 70’s…

    In Britain, all of our street gangs strive to maintain good table manners, what else would you expect?

    @Hammy: Well it’s butter than not having a knife. (I’ll get me coat)

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