Saturday, August 11, 2012

Another 'Fantasy Girlfriend' from way back: Gillian Duxbury

I did a long post in this series a couple of years back on a girl called Joanne Latham, a young glamour model of the late '70s with whom I and most of the rest of the male population of the UK (or the pubescent segment of it, anyway) had inevitably been deeply smitten. However, there was another of her profession who had attained a deeper, or at any rate an earlier place in my heart - a striking Lancastrian lass called Gillian Duxbury. She must have started appearing in the papers a good 4 or 5 years earlier than Joanne (i.e., when I was not yet 10!), and her career had, I think, run its course by the time my hormones started mandating an obsessive, round-the-clock interest in women. That is why the younger girl took a dominant place in my recollections of my evolving sexual awareness. But, in retrospect, I think my infatuation with Gilly was a rather fonder, purer (unsullied by thoughts of sex!) kind of admiration: I simply idolised her prettiness.

Of course, it was an acute embarrassment to me that most of the pictures of her I encountered were topless. She was for some years in the mid-1970s one of the best-known of The Sun's notorious Page 3 Girls, and the most prolific, appearing in the paper far more regularly than just about any of the others. But for some reason, she always seemed to finish as runner-up in the paper's 'Girl of the Year' poll - an early example of those unfathomable small injustices of life that rankle with me so disproportionately. 

I've never been much of a breast man (I wonder now if this over-exposure in my early years somehow drummed it out of me?), and I really did try not to look at her breasts - even though they were, as the saying goes, jumping out of the page at you. Well, I suppose I may have been trying to concoct a defence for myself, in case my parents caught me sneaking a peek. There were no strict rules, as far as I recall, as to whether I was allowed to look at that paper, or as to what I was allowed to look at in it; but my own innate sense of propriety counselled that I probably oughtn't to be looking at that page. And so I cultivated the pretense that I wasn't really looking at the pin-up picture... or was looking at it only with a Platonic disinterest. I think perhaps this continual subterfuge may have led me to fixate on other nearby features of the anatomy - arms, neck, collarbone. I became convinced that Ms Duxbury had uniquely lovely shoulders.

She had exquisite legs as well (I discovered, when I occasionally chanced upon a full-length picture of her in a magazine advertisement or a clothing catalogue) - a rather tall young lady, I believe (another long-standing, perhaps genetically programmed frailty of mine). But, most of all, there was a quality about her eyes, a liveliness or friendliness that seemed to suggest she was always smiling, even if she wasn't (I suspect she probably always was in these pictures; but I paid much less attention to her mouth than to her eyes). I hope my childish assessment is borne out by this recent photograph of her I just discovered. That kind of beauty - the zest, the radiance, the entrancing eye-glimmer - tends to concentrate rather than dissipate with age. And does she not look utterly stunning now?


JES said...

Working (well, surely it's not work!) my way through a multitude of weeks-old blog posts, at a multitude of friends' blogs, I expected to be brought up short by at least one post everywhere. This is the (first) winner here, for perhaps obvious reasons.

I'd never heard of Gillian Duxbury but do approve of the choice!

Looking around Google Images just now, I gather that nearly all the professional photos of her have been taken either from her left side, or at least slightly offset to favor that side. (The more recent photo above represents the latter example.) Wonder what that means?

(Every now and then I notice this phenomenon in actresses who are most often FILMED from one side or the other... because -- as it seems from the rare head-on moment -- they are slightly wall-eyed. This doesn't seem to be the case with Ms. Duxbury however.)

Very brief explanation of my invisibility this summer: a big, really HUGE chunk of my mind has been preoccupied with a high-profile, high-intensity, and rather uncomfortably complex project at work, which will (alas) not really slack off until around October. As you've probably noticed, this has affected my own blog-writing nearly as badly as my blog-visiting. Even my regular writing schedule is in the crapper, for the first time in years.

Froog said...

My recollection (obviously not that authoritative after an interval of 35 years) is that most of the pin-up shots of her that appeared in the paper were full-on or from the right side. And then you've got the problem of the photo perhaps being deliberately - or inadvertently! - reversed in printing.

Sorry to hear you're so snowed under at the moment. At least you seem to have been getting in some good holiday breaks here and there.

JES said...

Actually, I've had exactly one holiday break -- a two-night stay at the coast, last weekend. (I did take another day off but it was for a funeral, sigh.) I've thought of falling back on the classic "mental health day" approach, but the notion of missing 8 hours of progress gives me the squirms.

This is a three-day weekend here. Some people on the project have opted to work over the weekend, but I resisted taking any hints.

Froog said...

A little further research turned up the revelation that Ms Duxbury was/is in fact barely 5'6" tall - at the lower limit of what I these days regard as "tall enough" for me.

I suppose she seemed rather taller to me when I was only 10 or 12.

Stephenph said...

I know the lovely Gillian well and have been fortunate enough to shoot her back in teh '70's and more recntly.
Very happily married with two good looking sons, she has still got that class, elegance and those amazing eyes, and the charming slight Lancashire accent, "Glas" instead of "glaaas" as said dowen south!
Can post some recnet colour photos I possess if you like.
Oh and both her sides are gorgeous,
though some 70% of her photos are taken of herleft profile!

Froog said...

Thanks for that, Stephen. I'll assume your information on the left vs. right profile question is authoritative. I wonder why there is such an imbalance, when she looks equally gorgeous from either side.

Zippy said...

Your recollections of Ms Duxbury chime with mine exactly - and I do mean exactly. She was (and I can't believe she is any less so now) a woman of rare, truly breathtaking beauty. A beauty so transcendent I just know it would have rendered me speechless way back then had I ever met her...

cutterboy said...

I think Gillian was the most beautiful, elegant page 3 girl - ever. One question though, how old is Gillian now?

Stephenph said...

Surely no gentleman ever mentions a lady's age!

I was also lucky enough to book Gillian for a half day's shoot at her peak in the late 1970's, which included a long black evening dress, a bikini shot, a tennis dress and a totally nude shot (at the end of the session at double time!)She had a charming attitude to the nude shoot, stating she did not do nude! But wit the top photographer's help we persuaded her that it was a silhouette nude shot that would not show her face just the beauty and perfection of her proportions. She actually really got into the spirit of the shoot, and understood how important a straight back was, and even said half way through ( again in her lovely lancashire accent, a bit like the lovely Stricktly 2013 winner Abbey Glancy who she resembles,(but is shorter at 5 ft 6ins) , "Would you like my nipples stiffer!"...
The bets part of the shot was the tennis dress, as she forgot to bring one, as requested. the photographer, Leslie had one but she had bought some new tennis shoes, the first she had ever owned. "Are they the right size, Stephen, she asked me?"
I knelt down to feel where he big toe was and assured her they were fine, and as I looked up I blushed when realising she was panty-less!
"OH I never wear panties at shoots, they leave elastic marks!"
I was privileged to see the most perfectly tanned legs,wonderful thighs tapering on the most perfect cameltoe with the briefest of golden down neatly trimmed "V" shape. A natural blonde at last i thought!

But i shall NOt share her age!