The road to a cute rock band’s room was paved with obstacles, such as hotel security guards and dozens of other single-minded fans. You needed a gimmick to make yourself stand out from all the rest, and a reason why the band would want to stop their hotel's goons from hauling you off to the elevators. Somewhere along the way, my groupie partner "Pest" and I discovered Cockney Rhyming Slang—a lingo peculiar to working class South Londoners. Of special interest were naughty words and phrases, which could deliver an important message that only someone British would understand: “Horny, Unbroken Virgins-R-Us”!

One way to utilize our cockney code language was to incorporate it into notes that we’d pass onto bands. In 1965, this one made it aboard the bus that Gerry & the Pacemakers and Billy J. Kramer were about to leave town in. Two days later I got a long-distance call from a drummer wanting to talk "charva". (Short Glossary: "hampton wick" is rhyming slang for dick; Barclay's Bank rhymes with wank (hand job); charva means fuck but I don't know what it rhymes with. Rig is not rhyming slang. Guess what it means!)

- Cynthia Plaster Caster 



Cynthia Plaster Caster, (b. 1947) is an artist and self-described recovering groupie who began plaster casting the private parts of famous rock stars in the late 1960s, when her art teacher said to cast something solid. Her first cast was of Jimi Hendrix in 1968, and soon after she met Frank Zappa who took an interest in her practice, becoming her patron, and the Plaster Casters of Chicago were born.  In 1977, Gene Simmons wrote a song about her which was released on Kiss's album Love Gun. In 2010, she ran for mayor of Chicago, Illinois, campaiging under "The Hard Party."  In 2001, a documentary was released about her life called Plaster Caster. Her work was recently included in Eating Peanuts, a group show at Offsite.

Posted October 13, 2014