Purveyor of Bollocks to the Crowned Heads of Europe
Monday, 11 July 2016
Ho Ho Ho Chi Min...
Another 1968 John Walmesley photo. I was there (an art gallery in London) when it was taken. It was the first (and last) time I met John Lennon, but the second time I had met Yoko Ono. She did a lot of visiting lecturing around the South of England at the time, and had been to Guildford in that capacity.
This exhibition - which was for the benefit of the sacked tutors of Guildford - was attended by loads of celebrities, including David Hockney and Kasmin, who owned the gallery. We had asked John for money toward our campaign, but he refused and explained the refusal in the song, 'Revolution'.
They put me in charge of the bar for this event. Big mistake. The drinks menu consisted of a vast quantity of Thunderbird wine, and nothing else. I remember thinking how lovely it tasted, and the more you drank, the lovlier it became. Everyone else spat it out, so I and a handful of fellow students more or less drank the lot.
At the end of the event, we piled into a black cab and raced through London. One - mad - girl suddenly opened the door of the cab (which you could do in a moving one in those days) and fell out into the road at high speed.
The driver did not notice this happen, so we banged on the glass and got him to turn round and go back to her. She was lying motionless in the street with cars going round her. I ran up to her and heard her making strange gurgling noises. She was laughing. I asked her why she jumped out, and she said that she wanted to know what it felt like. She had got away with a bruising.
Her sister worked for the BBC, so the next morning we went for breakfast in the Broadcasting House canteen. It was very strange to be sitting having eggs and toast, surrounded by famous actors and newsreaders all doing the same thing.
Yesterday I listened to Ruald Dahl's wartime memoires of being an RAF fighter pilot. I remembered arguing with parents and uncles who had all been involved with the nastiest aspects of war, and who said that they fought for my generation's benefit - a concept which I was very dismissive about at the time, the Vietnam War being the only one actually running which I had to try and make sense of as an adult.
They could not understand what we had to complain about, especially since Britain did not get involved with combat in Vietnam. We didn't even have to do National Service. In their eyes, we were spoilt brats, and I think they had a valid point.