I’ve been feeling anxious for a couple of days and I’m not sure why. Naughtiness has not been at all well and has a chest infection, and I have, possibly, been picking up worrying vibes from
Being free to do as I please, and to be centre of attention, and spoilt on a daily basis. To have people say how well/pretty I am looking even if I’m not. To be taken out for dozens of meals and social events and ferried around in other people cars that seem very happy to do it is quite addictive. It’s a bit like being a small child again in a happy, safe world of lovely friends and treats.
The last few days have been especially enjoyable. Highlights have been lunch with a very old friend called Penny Tham with whom I shared a fourth floor walk-up flat in Great Cumberland Place in the early 60’s when I left my job as Copyright Chief’s secretary at Advertising Agency Foote, Cone and Belding, (affectionately know as Foot Sore and Bleeding). To be completely accurate, I got fired for taking too much time off for singing lessons and auditions. I wrote and recorded my first disc “We Don’t Belong” whilst sharing with Penny and another friend called Aline Rowley. I was responsible for the £15.00 per week rent and bills, and sublet the two other rooms for £8 per week each. Convinced that I was headed for the heady heights of stardom and financial rewards, I didn’t bother to get another job as, surely, the money would be rolling in soon, and I continued to take the rent off my two flatmates on which I lived for several months, failing to pay the rent and bills from it.
The record was released on July 28th and an appearance on ‘Thank Your Lucky Stars’ alongside Ken Dodd launched it. We appeared together in a photograph in one of the papers together as “Happiness” and “Tears” his record being called ‘Happiness’ and mine referred to as ‘Tears’ being of a very gloomy nature - suicidal ideation – oh dear! Another TV appearance followed on ‘Scene at 6.30’ for Granada for which I flew to the show in Manchester with the late and lovely Nico who was one of Andy Warhol’s friends and who’s record “I’m Not Sayin’” by Gordon Lightfoot is still one of my favourite recordings.
There were radio shows with Jimmy Young and a weekend marooned on Radio Caroline with the young Tony Blackburn and Dave Lee Travis and, funnily enough, Roger Gale who is now an eminent MP as a publicity stunt. All was going very well and I was climbing the charts until Auntie BBC pulled the plug on the record considering the lyrics not suitable for the public (quite right!). We had been hoping for this outcome as anything the then stuffy BBC banned shot straight up the charts having been plugged to death by the illegal pirate ships and the news being plastered all over the tabloids!
Unfortunately, a spate of unsuitable records were released that week and, duly banned by the Beeb, by others who had also worked this strategy out for themselves. Barry Maquire’s “Eve of Destruction” about nuclear chaos (strangely fitting today) was banned as was Twinkle’s song about a motor bike death and a couple of others that escape me now. All these artists were more established than me and hit the headlines first. By the time mine was banned it was not news anymore. The record company stopped printing copies and I slid into obscurity and debt. The flat had to be hurriedly packed up and poor Penny and Aline given very short notice, and I went home to my parents with my tail between my legs; a car load of belongings (this has changed a great deal!) to eat humble pie and face the wrath of my father who had to bail me out for £800 which was a lot of money in 1965.
Life is sometimes full of amazing surprises! This little record which wasn't even a one-hit wonder has been plucked from obscurity in the last five years and recorded twice on memorabilia album/cd’s. The latest, the Hat Box Collection (Girl Groups Lost and Found) which features a hat box containing 4 cd’s packaged as makeup compacts etc. and a diary book containing photos of the artists in which I am sandwiched between Dusty Springfield and Madaleine Bell (no comment!) was nominated for two Grammy Awards a week ago for Best Historical Content and Best Packaging. We did not win one on the night, but how wonderful to be a Granny with 2 Grammy nominations – yes, historical and well packaged – that’s
Penny, who’s husband Peter is Swedish, took me to a beautiful Swedish restaurant in Barnes called Sonnys. Lovely fresh clean interior of pale wood and pale blue with red roses on the table; superb eggs Benedict and slim line French fries and we talked forever about our lives since we lost contact about 20 years ago! Penny has had a very successful career in the magazine business working for National Magazine Company where she was Beauty Editor of Vanity Fair. She is an elegant beautiful woman of a certain age who has, and has had it all plus the inevitable slings and arrows that seem to come to all of us, without losing her warmth and charm. I so enjoyed her company and after lunch we popped into a couple of shops in Barnes for some quick retail therapy.
On March 13th I attended the “Look Good Feel Better” session with 12 others at the Marsden that I wrote about in the last blog. It was a fabulous afternoon, and look at the set of gifts we each took away courtesy of Messrs Arden, Revlon, Lauder, Clinique etc's charity and the Marsden team!
Many other things to be grateful for have out shadowed the increased feelings of fatigue and a rather nasty mouth ulcer this time, such as this loving drawing by my darling Mia which she has gone to such trouble to create and is really beautiful and artistic; the Christmas cactus in full bloom after the freezing weather we had when it was covered in bubble wrap; A lovely glass owl was sent by my dear friend Cam in New York having read about my collection in my blog.
Thank You for the loving kindness of my fellow Human Beings. In this troubled world there is still plenty of joy goodness all around.
One more chemo to go and Spring is around the corner!
“All is well, all is well, all manner of things are well” Julian of Norwich.
“Let It Happen” Aunty Amy 98 yrs old.