Scandals & controversies in beauty contests

Scarborough-born, Sally-Ann Fawcett, has published a book documenting the media coverage of beauty contests.

When she was growing up in Scarborough, Sally-Ann fell in love with beauty queens and contests and during the 70s, these were on every TV station and covered in all newspapers.

However, nowadays, these contests are barely covered in newspapers or on TV, which led Sally-Ann to write her book, Misdemeanours.

She said: “I was brought up in Scarborough and was always fascinated with these contests and in the late 80s I entered competitions myself.

“The last couple of years, I decided to put all this knowledge in my head down on paper and got my book written and published.”

Misdemeanours is a factual book based on the scandals and controversies that made the headlines in the papers which, according to Sally-Ann, kept these contests going.

“It is all fact and took days of research,” Ann said.

“I had the basic story in my head and still had the newspaper cuttings going back to the 70s but I needed more.”

The book contains 27 different stories that made the papers all over the world, including the Helen Morgan scandal where she was kicked out of the competition because they found out she had a little boy.

There are also some explains from across the Pacific Ocean. America is renowned for beauty pageants and there are plenty of controversies especially with Donald Trump. However, most of the book is primarily British scandals.

“I have got as many background stories as I could and reported as it was in the paper,” Sally-Ann said.

“This research has allowed me to see the differences between the styles of writing each publication has from the sensational side of The Mirror and The Sun through to the serious reportage of The Times and The Telegraph.”

Sally-Ann studied at Scalby School and Scarborough College, finished 3rd in Miss Scarborough 1986 and 4th in Miss Yorkshire 1986, as well as competing in Miss York and Miss Radio York 1988.

“That was the height of my achievement,” she said.

“I did win the local carnival queen but there was about four of us.

“I just loved them so much and I thought it would have been a waste if I didn’t enter.”

As these contests are rarely reported in the papers and TV anymore, it has become a somewhat underground cult for the young beauty queens.

“They spend thousands on prom dresses and it is like a vocation for them,” she said.

In the 80s there was a big back lash towards them by the BBC and ITV who described them as being degrading to women and not PC anymore and were taken off the TV and that caused the newspapers to stop reporting on them.

“I was speaking to one girl who said that she has never seen a Miss World contest,” Sally-Ann said.

“It has changed so much. There should be a TV programme, like a reality programme where people get voted out like Big Brother.

“I think there is still an audience for that.”

Sally-Ann now lives down south and is currently working part-time for Shell Aviation and is in the process of writing volume two of Misdemeanours.

“It is a very time-consuming thing to do,” she said.

“You are with these girls all day. They get an individual interview first and then the show in the evening.

“It is quite hard work but is such a unique thing to do. I am judging the semi-final for the Miss Great Britain and have to decide who goes through.”

A lot of the contests are held up north in places like Blackpool, Wales and Scarborough.

As mentioned, the second volume of Misdemeanours is currently being written but Sally-Ann is also looking to work on a fact fiction story.

“I am wanting to do a Beauty Queen Babylon, sort of a Hotel Babylon thing,” she said.

“It will contain real events that I could get sued for if they were published as fact and that is why I am writing it as a factional book but with fiction.

“It is going to take a lot longer though as I need more gossip.”

When doing her research, the language that was used during the 60s and 70s was quite shocking for Sally-Ann.

“It was language that they wouldn’t use today and that’s what shocked me more but what was shocking to the public was what the beauty queens were doing.

“One was reported when she kicked a police officer and this shocked the public as they were not supposed to act like that.”

Scandals and controversies tend to make the headlines in the media and it is still the same today.

Sally-Ann said: “The contests don’t get much coverage in the media these days, but if another scandal came up tomorrow it would be publicised.

“If it wasn’t for the scandals, no one would hear of them at all.

“There needs to be a documentary series following the contest behind the scenes, I think that would be great. Plus the mums are a breed themselves and are living their lives through their daughters.”

In recent years, she has been invited to judge contests and in September, she will be the head judge at the finals of the Miss Great Britain contest.

“The Miss Great Britain organisation has invited me back this year, as Head Judge, for the 70th anniversary celebrations, which takes place in September and will feature a host of former winners,” Sally-Ann said.

Misdemeanours is now available on Amazon:


‘The closest thing to a Texas man is a Yorkshire man’

In 1996, gangsta-rapper Coolio was nominated for an Oscar for the film Dangerous Minds and he won a Grammy for the song Gangsta’s Paradise. But who was the man behind the rapper?

Dave Callens was the tour manager of Coolio at the time and has written book telling his story called Putting Socks on the Octopus: The True Story of A Tour Manager’s Nightmare.

We met with Dave and his wife Jaime while they were over in Scarborough visiting friends.

“I got into this in the 60s,” Dave said.

“I liked this much more than being on stage, I liked the control and one thing led to another and I met with the head of William Morris.

“Coolio had the hit and he didn’t treat people very well and when he came over here, he was promoted as a Saturday morning kid’s character.”

Here in the UK, no one had any idea who Coolio was, according to Dave, and he had no idea who he was going to play to.

Coolio was the first gangsta-rapper under the guise of a kid’s entertainer.

“We got here and we did the shows and as soon as the curtain’s opened, he said ‘how y’all m****r f*****s doing?’ and that was just the start,” he said.

“I taped the show a couple of times and I counted 254 times that he said that but I didn’t count all the other ones.

“The show would start full of people and then after about 20mins later there would be around 12 people.”

According to Dave, it was just who these guys were and what gansta-rap was.

Dave was working with the pianist Roger Williams when he was approached for this job and it sounded great to him.

“I got out here and we had to hire a band and it was a band they s**t all over,” Dave said.

“Coolio and the others were in the bus every day playing cards all day long and I sat in the front with the bus driver and it just went on and on and on.”

While in Belgium for a festival, Coolio and the gang came out of the catering and stole all the dishes and they beat up one of the security guards because they didn’t like him.

Dave said: “If they didn’t like someone they would beat them up. It was just their nature.

“They had this one kid with them who would sell T-shirts and he was called Baby Killer.

“This is a gangsta term for a person who wasn’t old enough to be sent to prison and they would be hired to kill people, so I made sure I kept an eye on him.”

Dave used to get all his work from agencies and when this one came around, he made sure he stuck at it and completed it.

His job included sorting out the travel, hotel bookings, money, and the police.

“I dealt with the police a lot more than I thought it would be,” Dave said.

“A girl once got on stage and her bracelet fell off so Coolio pocketed it. It turned out that the girl’s daddy was the chief of police in Toulon.

“Coolio still refused to give the bracelet back and eventually it was his wife who convinced him and he threw it at the guy.

“The police chief looked at me and said ‘he has about an hour to get out of here’ and we went.”

His first job was with Paul Revere and The Raiders where he learnt everything in the first few years.

“Enjoy is a hard word because who knows what they enjoy about work?” He said.

“When I worked with Barry White I had to hire an orchestra and crew and someone suggested an Hungarian band and they have been my friends ever since and we have had three reunions since then.

“Nell Carter was an interesting woman. She was this big black lady who got a TV show and I would describe her as the black version of I Love Lucy.

“She even converted to Judaism to try and get more work and that didn’t happen.”

Behind every good man, there is an even better woman, or so the saying goes and this was the same in Dave’s case.

His wife, Jaime Callens, stayed at home and raised the kids while Dave was on tour.

“Someone had to keep the house tidy,” Jaime said.

“I was a dancer in Vegas in the 60s and when I was 17 I was dancing with the rat pack.

“By the time I met Dave, it was all over with. A dancer’s career ends once you hit 23/24 but I had a wonderful six years but it was a different time in Vegas than.

“It was very small whereas now it’s like the Disneyland for adults.”

As well as working as a tour manager for a large amount of his life, Dave was also a Photoshop artist for a long time and has his own T-shirt business

“It started when I did a Mona Lisa with Keith Richards face in it and I got a phone call telling me that he was wearing my t-shirt and a newspaper came and interviewed me,” he said.

“And that’s how it was born. The next thing I knew we had hundred shirts to make for the next day and it has grown from there.”

When Dave started in the tour managing business, he was the youngest person there, and when he finished his last tour with Britney Spears, he was the oldest.

“I had to deal with the artist on a day-to-day basis and deal with their everyday lives,” Dave said.

“It started to get to me. 32 years is a long time but you got to do what you got to do.”

Jaime said: “That was one of the reasons the marriage worked so well, he was gone for the first 30 years.

“I went out to see the Everley Brothers but I stayed away most of the time, he was working 24 hours a day.”

As a tour manager, it was normal for him to visit countries around the whole world and Dave particularly liked Australia as it reminded him of California in the 60s.

“It was clean and everyone obeyed the traffic laws, but it’s not like that anymore,” he reminisced.

So, why would someone from Texas come to Scarborough for a holiday?

Dave and Jaime have been coming here for almost 22 years and even renewed their wedding vows up in St Mary’s Church.

“We love the people and I think in truth the closest thing to a Texas man is a Yorkshire man,” Jaime said.

“We found a wonderful place to stay with a lovely family and their son is becoming some sort of grandchild.

“We wanted to buy a house but didn’t need to and we couldn’t find an easy way to do it.”

The couple have mutual friends with some of the Comet readers including Nick Taylor, Baz Hampshire and Dr Rock, Charles White. All of whom, personally know our own Jo Swift.

“For a long time we enjoyed fishing and was a good reason to come here,” Jaime said.

“Dave was inducted into the yacht club and usually have lunch there on a Saturday.”

The couple spend around three weeks here each year and fly into London and drive up as they usually stop on a night to see friends.

“We made the mistake of coming this year on May 1,” Dave said.

“It took about 24 hours from door to door.

“We’ve been coming here for 20 years and we never talked about what we had done with anyone.

“Nobody really knew what I had done until people found out that I worked with Mötley Crüe.”

People who worked on the tour have reviewed the book on Amazon and according to Dave, many has asked how he can remember all this.

“I think about what I did and it’s hard to not remember it,” he said.

The book he has written is all about his time with Coolio but Dave has worked with a variety of different acts including Mötley Crüe during the Pamela Anderson days.

Ranting Won’t Get You Anywhere

A new author has emerged in the Scarborough area.

Lawrence Clarke, 35, was born in Lancashire near Blackburn and moved to Preston University to study Human Resource Management.

In 2010, Lawrence moved to the Scarborough area with his current partner.

He said: “After I finished my undergraduate course, I continued studying and did a postgraduate in Careers Guidance.

“I like helping people and have worked in Graham school for a bit where I gave careers interviews.

“I only got about 20mins with each person and it wasn’t enough to find out what someone want to do and then with Government cut backs I left.”

When Lawrence was at university, he felt he was an outcast and had a big rant about the girls at university.

“I hate false people and I saw a girl wearing a Nirvana t-shirt and I’m a big fan so I asked her what her favourite album is,” he said.

“She just said the most famous one and didn’t know about the others and I hate people who follow a band that they don’t know anything about.

“I wrote a rant and the next thing I knew a girl was giving me abuse at university because it was published in the university paper.”

After this, Lawrence was slagged off; he retaliated and did it back.

“It was funny because I never had a girlfriend and all I wanted to do was to nail them all and they nailed me to the cross,” he said.

“It was a bit crazy. A year later, I did my own thing and started to spread my wings in that sense.

“It was a bit brutal but I feel I always had it in me. It was my current partner who said I should write.”

This was the sort of catalyst for him to write his debut book: ‘Ranting Won’t Get You Anywhere’.

Originally, Lawrence started writing a Father’s Guide To Parenting and was a reaction against but he got bored of that idea.

“I don’t hate women by the way,” Lawrence said.

“Taking a young lad shopping is a nightmare and I wanted to come out with things to make the situation more extreme than it is.”

‘Ranting Won’t Get You Anywhere’ is a collection of rants about topics ranging from vaping and sex channels being listed near CBeebies.

“I’ve got a lot of serious things as well like when people refer to houses as properties,” Lawrence said.

“I did one about vaping. It is just people smoking random flavoured smoke and it can lead people on to smoking so I ranted on that and made four new flavours including carrot and coriander and dead bodies.”

Most of the rants have four options that you can circle and at the end you get a score which tells you whether you’re a ‘nut case’ or a pretty chilled-out person.

“I started writing in October and my original idea was to put it on a Kindle but I feel it is more of a stocking-filler style book really so I might self-publish it,” he said.

“There is a thing could Create Space where I can upload it when it is finished and then someone who wants a copy can buy it and then someone somewhere in the UK will print it.”

Lawrence is hoping that the book will show people what he can do and, in the future, he is aspiring to be a writer for a comedian.

He is encouraging tweets and emails for suggested rants from readers and currently has about three rants from other people but the rest are his.

His personal main rant is rude people and rudeness in general.

“I also don’t like people who conform too much. I’m a bit of rebel and I don’t like people who do everything right,” he said.

“I am hoping that the book will become a social thing where people give me their rants and they feed into me and I write it down.

“I’m like a counsellor. I still want to get a focus group together and run pass some of the ideas and rants to see what people think.”

Lawrence is aiming to make £100,000 in his first year of publishing, from the date the book comes ou and he hopes to become Britain’s next big writer.

“It is just a bit of silly humour aimed more at younger people because they are more open minded and feed off it more,” he said.

“Younger people get my stuff a lot more. I don’t really get on well with people with my age, younger people in college I get on well with straight away.

“A lot of what is in the book is what people know and they will notice these things after reading.

“I hope people find it interesting.”

Lawrence is hoping to have the book released in September when everyone is back at work/school and when summer has ended.

The rants are weird and wonderful and anyone who contributes a rant in can have their name in the book.

To follow Lawrence on Twitter please follow at: @rantingwgya

Scarborough Author To Hold Talk

Scarborough author Malcolm Bruce Smith, who writes under the pen name of Malcolm Bruce, will be giving an illustrated talk at Vernon Road library at two thirty on May 14 about the Scarborough bombardment – but with a difference!

As Malcolm says, most of the events to commemorate the bombardment last year, quite rightly, concentrated on the effect it had on the citizens of the town.

However, there is much more to this story than people realise. For a number of years Malcolm worked at the Naval Ordnance Inspection Establishment in Sheffield (you never knew any sort of naval establishment existed in Sheffield? all will be revealed!)

It was there that Malcolm learned of the connection with the German High Seas Fleet and all our lives today, and it is fascinating and rather disturbing.

Malcolm will correct some of the myths that surround the bombardment and then bring the story right up to date and explain how remnants of the German ships are still playing a vital part in our lives now.

The photo shows Malcolm with one of the six inch calibre shells which failed to explode.

The townsfolk at the time referred to them as ‘duds,’ in fact some of the shells were fired at such close range they were not in the air long enough for the fuse to set, thus landing inert.

Unique debut novel set for official launch

Learning and Development Advisor during the day and writer by night, Julie Heslington is about to release her debut novel; Searching for Steven.

The novel is inspired by a particular event in her life in which a clairvoyant predicted that she would meet and marry a man called ‘Steven’.

This led Julie on a search to find the famous ‘Steven’ which led her to finding her other half, her husband Mark.

She said: “The idea came from speaking to a clairvoyant over the phone who said I would move back up north and meet the man of my dreams called Steven.

“Some parts are semi-autobiographical but other parts are fictionalised.”

Although her own search for Steven proved to be unsuccessful, it gave her the perfect inspiration to write a very unique and different novel about a girl, Sarah.

She finds a clairvoyant reading that’s been missing since her teen years and discovers that everything has come true and that she is about to meet the man of her dreams. And his name is Steven.

Suddenly Stevens are everywhere. Could it be the window cleaner, the rep, the manager of the coffee shop, or any of the men she’s met online?

On top of that, she finds herself quite attracted to a handsome web designer, but his name isn’t even Steven… During this unusual search, will Sarah find her destiny?

“It’s about someone being obsessed with finding this Steven,” Julie said.

“Having a shop gave me the opportunity to work on my book. I’ve always wanted to write a book but never thought I actually would.”

Searching for Steven is the first of a trilogy of books which focus on different characters.

Julie said that the first book follows Sarah and her search for Steven and the second and third follow the lives of Sarah’s two best friends.

Set in the fictionalised town of Whitsborough Bay, which is a mixture of Scarborough, Whitby and Robin Hood’s Bay, the novel features the beautiful Yorkshire coast.

“Overall, it took me about 11 years to finish writing but after my daughter was born there was about three or four years where I didn’t write,” Julie said.

Searching for Steven is published by So Vain Books who are an independent publishing house and online store for books and magazines about fashion, beauty and romance.

The official launch of the book is on June 3 and it will be available in Paperback for £7.99 or eBook for £3.

Scarborough Flare – Local literature festival

In partnership with the Books by the Beach festival, Scarborough Flare are putting on a local literature festival celebrating the work of local writers.

The first of the events takes place on Friday April 10 where people are able to bring along their own poetry, prose, acoustic music or anything you like, including magic tricks.

Those wanting to showcase their pieces of work are advised to arrive early in order to add their name to the list of performers.

The evening, starting at 7.30pm until 9.30pm, will feature special guests including Gingernut & Tripod, Ele Lawler and Writers on the Loose.

Being held at The Gallery at Woodend in the Crescent, admission is £2 per head and people are welcome to bring their own drinks but soft beverages are available to purchase.

On Saturday April 11 in the Lupin Cafe on Ramshill Road, Scarborough Flare will continue its weekend.

From 2.30pm to 3.30pm, there will be a dramatised presentation by Kate Evans and friends who are welcoming people to come along and follow clues to discover what makes up a modern crime novel.

Poisoned Pen is a witty and insightful analysis of one of the most popular, flexible and enduring genres in literature.

This event includes dramatised readings from notable crime novels of the last 150 years and a quiz with a prize.

Admission is free but anyone who will be attending are being asked to buy a drink and maybe one of the cafes snacks or cakes.

Scarborough Flare will continue on April 16 and 18 plus an extra day on May 4.

The Quick by Lauren Owen Review

An illicit love affair and blood-sucking aristocratic vampires, what more do you need in one book?

Told in five parts, The Quick, by British author Lauren Owen, follows the story of the young and naïve James, who is thrown into a world of London vampires pitted against East London vampires.

Set in Victorian England, Owen manages to portray the Britishness of the dreary era in the opening pages: “He was looking back at the hall – the unlit, uncurtained windows. She did not like the place in dusk any more. It was too melancholy.”

It could be said that part one, which focuses on James’s move from a bleak Yorkshire to a majestic London and his forbidden love affair, could have been a book in its entirety.

We are introduced to the lively and dashing Christopher Paige whose character is the opposite of the quiet, reserved James: “He had an air of enjoying himself tremendously – which James would later learn, was habitual.”

The romance between James and his lover would have been enough in itself as a sort of Romeo and Juliet-esque love story but Owen removes you from the beauty of the tragic love affair and places you in a violent and dangerous world.

Owen creatively introduces characters through diary entries, which slowly reveal what happened to the characters in part one and their role in the rest of the book.

These diary entries do become a bit tedious to read as who is writing them is not revealed in the main narrative.

Sometimes it is hard to keep up with the ever-increasing character list and who, and more importantly, what they are but it adds to the suspense created by Owen: “She had wiped the blood from her mouth, but there was a trace of it – or something else red – showing on her jagged and uneven teeth.”

There are similarities between other vampire novels including The Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice, and it’s hard to see any unique qualities in The Quick but nevertheless Owen keeps the suspense high.

She moves away from the contemporary (and boring) ‘happy, glittering, love-thirsty’ vampires and brings back the original ruthless, blood-sucking, murdering ones which are far more interesting.

The Quick is Owen’s debut novel who has already revealed a sequel is in progress.

With unexpected twists and turns throughout each chapter, it brings back the beauty and violence of the vampire novel and will make you constantly question ‘what will happen next?’