Archive for Laurie Clow

What a Strange World We Live In

Posted in Books, Television with tags , , , , on May 1, 2009 by mrtoppit

Mr Toppit Paperback

In April 1981, times, as they say, were a-changing. Daylight saving time is introduced in the USSR, the rock band Yes broke up and at the McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket the Red Wings and the Red Sox battled it out in what became the longest professional baseball game in history.

More importantly April 1981 also saw the end of children’s author Arthur Hayman’s life, as he was knocked down and out of this world  by a cement mixer truck on the streets of Soho. After his death his books remained dark curios for a few interested fans  until American chat show host Laurie Clow brought The Hayseed Chronicles to millions.

Now, exactly 28 years on from the day of his death, two popular British chat-show hosts, Richard & Judy have announced that Mr Toppit, a novelisation of Arthur and his family’s story, will feature as part of their Summer Reading programme. I guess Oscar Wilde was right; life does imitate art far more than art imitates life.


Love Travels at Illegal Speeds

Posted in Press with tags , , , on January 5, 2009 by mrtoppit


The excellently monikered Larches Lento from Urbana, Illinois sent in this racy clipping from an American Supermarket glossy. The piece (click on the picture to enlarge to read) details with some journalistic license, one of the many instances enfant terrible Rachel Hayman managed to besmirch her family’s good name during her stay in L.A.


The death of Rachel’s “drug crazed lover” is treated with typical tabloid sensitivity, while the recap of the Laurie Clow allegations border on the preposterous. Still, a fascinating historical document.

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The Hayseed Chronicles

Posted in Books with tags , , , , , , , on December 17, 2008 by mrtoppit

It has arrived. After protracted dealings with The Strand’s collectables department in New York, it has finally arrived.

The Hayseed Chronicles Boxset

The extraordinary success of The Hayseed Chronicles in the mid-Eighties was largely down to one woman, Laurie Clow. It is believed that coincidence and chance led her to be by Arthur’s side on that fatal Soho morning and since then she decided to dedicate her life to his books.

On returning to America she achieved fame and national syndication reading the Chronicles on the radio, before crossing over to the big-time with her own chat-show. She singlehandedly brought the books to life for a generation of Americans and with hysteria at fever pitch The Carter Press was quick to cash in on their recently acquired pop culture cachet.

The Hayseed Chronicles Boxset 2
Graham Carter, sensing an opportunity, produced a limited run of this box set to tie in with the programme and marketed during the credits at the show. I have been trying to get my hands on one of these for years.

But there is more. Stuffed in the back of the box was this letter.

Fan Letter

Susie is thanking Jeanie for sending her the entire set. This set, which has found its way from sunny California to London via the 18 miles of books at the Strand in New York. The letter is printed on Hayseed Chronicles notepaper (extensive merchandising was another shrewd idea from Mr Carter).

Fan Letter 2

Bees hold a special significance in the world of the Hayseed Chronicles as both a terrifying sign that Mr Toppit had been there as well as a sign of Luke’s bravery in the face of such terror.

Fan Letter 3

I wonder what Susie and Jeanie are doing now. If you are out there, reading this, let me know!

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