70s Glam Rockers Slade, famed for their addictive brand of hard rock, Dave Hill’s wonky fringe and Noddy Holder’s mammoth lamb chop sideboards, had their career kick-started with a grant from George Bernard Shaw’s Trust for phonetic spelling. The Brummy quartet, who had a string of hits in the early seventies, were formed in 1965 in Wolverhampton, and had been struggling to keep on the road until they accepted a deal with the GBS Trust worth £25 per year, with the condition that they promote the late author’s wacky ideas about spelling.
George Bernard Shaw (1856 – 1950), playwright, novelist and journalist, was a leading socialist and member of the left wing group the Fabian Society. The Dublin born writer had left the money in his will in order to further interest in his own devised system of writing, the Shavian alphabet, which Slade bass player Jim Lea came across whilst browsing in a Birmingham bookshop.
Slade’s agreement with the Trust bore first fruit with foot stomping single, ‘Coz I luv you’, released in October 1971, which reached number one a month later. The concept was not, however, without it’s critics, and dyslexic groups voiced their concern that the group was making light of the condition, and labelled the Midlanders’ use of the Shaw alphabet as ‘ridikulus.’
The glitter-festooned Black Country rockers used the initial grant money to buy Dave Hill a Star-bodied Fender guitar and gravely voiced lead singer Noddy Holder’s first mirrored topper.
The Shavian dictionary is now available as a patch for Microsoft Office 2007.