Mary Millington’s eventful life has been the subject of poetry before, but now Tangerine Press is bringing out a strictly limited edition chapbook of Mary-themed poems. Entitled The Column Inches, the collection is written by London-based Tim Wells. Tim is one of the UK’s best-regarded modern-day poets and joined me on stage recently for the West End launch of the Mary Millington ‘Come Play with Me and Other Tales’ record.
“For most lads around my age Mary Millington was a big part of our youth,” says Tim. “What I enjoyed about British ‘sex’, be it Mary Millington or ‘Confessions’ films, was the tawdriness of it. Whilst porn is now a glamorous and air-brushed affair, the British stuff my mates and I saw was Mary visiting our dead-end towns and grim football teams; readers’ wives pictures with a bottle of bleach in the corner and racy films with Ronald Fraser and Queenie Watts.”
“I wanted to look at some of that in the poems,” Tim adds. “One of the things I like about Mary’s magazine covers now are the banner headlines like ‘Sex in Wolverhampton’. That’s what I wanted to read about. Filthy stories with dirtier accents. There’s a wonderful British humour too, that there was a porn mag called Whitehouse. But I also wanted to look at the grind of porn. For all its liberating posturing it’s also about money and control. It’s easy to ‘vintage’ the 70s, but I think the truth then, is still the truth now.”
The Column Inches is printed on recycled paper and the binding is hand-sewn; Mary’s name is hot-foil stamped on the cover in vibrant blue. Limited to only 100 copies, the collection is available to order here between 5th and 19th August only. In a symbolic move, any remaining copies will be burnt by the publisher in Tooting at 7pm on 19th August to commemorate the 35th anniversary of Mary’s death.