Bamboo, re-named as Breezy incorporating Bamboo after 13 editions. Re-named is the operative word – they weren’t re-branded; there is no apparent difference in style, layout, content or price. There was topless and near-nudity from the very beginning and little accidental exposure – this was women posing in and out of their frillies and no messing about! Bamboo is a treasure trove for lovers of the fully-fashioned nylons and big, see-through knickers of those days. All good, clean nylon fetish fun!
Cataloguing this title has been slow, as the models are often not identified – or sometimes only by their first names, as if we should know who they are. In fact, in a way, we should – because some of them were professional glamour models, many working for George Harrison Marks; whereas the archetypical ToCo model was an unknown enthusiastic amateur.
But it has to be remembered that for the first few years of ToCo the same names were appearing in these titles too. In the first edition of Bamboo, for example, of the 34 models shown, 11 were also seen in early Spicks and Spans – that’s a third of them; for the title as a whole, 22% of the models also appeared in the ToCo books. It is also interesting to note that J.B. Fullarton, the photographer from just outside Glasgow who brought a whole class of models (and DKs) to the ToCo pages − the Beardsley girls − was credited with a photo of an unnamed model in Bamboo 3.
The content was similar to the ToCo mags: sequences of girls flashing stocking tops, suspenders and knickers, indoors and out, solo and in pairs, with caption texts providing a ridiculous storyline; but there are no short stories and readers’ letters did not arrive until number 10 – with similar debates about directoire knickers to those seen in Spick and Span. There is not so much as a hint of sexual activity − but some of the photos are absolute crackers for those with a thing about the underpinnings of that time, and make the series an absolute must for the serious collector.
As far as I know at this moment, there were 13 editions of Bamboo, 8 of Breezy a 1959 Bamboo Summer Special. They ran to 56 pages – covers and centre-spread in colour – for the first seven editions, 48 pages and no colour photos thereafter. They cost 2/6 until number 19, when the addition of 4 pages resulted in a massive 40% increase that pushed the price up to 3/6. The 76-page Summer Special cost 5/-.
From the many changes of publisher and address given in the colophon, it would appear as if the directors of Bamboo were the founders of the Barmy Army. I believe it is much simpler than that; the publisher didn’t change – just the name.
Three addresses in the Bolton area keep popping up, whatever the name on the letterbox, that were in use throughout the life of the title.
Dalrow House, 3/5 Church Bank, Bolton is where it all started with Pennine Publications – and later Pen-Dal Studios (get it?) supplying the prints readers could order.
A new address appeared some six months later – 280/282 Manchester Road, Bolton, home of Cameo Productions. Yet the editor’s address was still given as Dalrow House, Church Bank. Two months later, the publisher was shown as being R.P.S., Bolton, with photos and back numbers still coming from Church Bank. R.P.S quickly became R.P. Farnworth – note the same initials, and Farnworth is another area of Bolton; yet again with back numbers coming from Pen-Dal Studios.
To me, it all looks a bit dodgy.
Other titles of note that were published by Pennine Publications Ltd, or whichever alias was in use, around the same time were:
Frolic, Stag, Figure, Glimpse, Taboo, Form & Figure, Light & Shade.