It was a warm summer’s day for London in August of 1968. I had spent the day alone at St Paul’s Cathedral, in awe of that resplendent church. As a young aspiring dancer at the Royal Ballet School, I had taken part in an elaborate Christmas pageant at St Paul’s on Christmas Eve. Now I sat, in contemplation, enchanted by the mystery of the Whispering Gallery in the lofty place under the dome of the church. Whispering from one side of the sphere, your words can be heard clearly on the other side, 30m away. This would be a romantic way to tell someone you love them, I thought. In a place like this, how could I not reflect on the grandeur and the mystery of life. I was sixteen years old and I was floating through my life, as if on the waves of the ocean. As I peered over the edge of the railing at the compass inlaid on the mosaic floor below, I parted from my reverie with a sigh and headed down the steps of the spiraling staircase and into the streets of London. I never imagined it but my life was about to change forever that very afternoon.
I went back to Earls Court, where I lived, being the only student in my flat spending the summer in London, while everyone else was visiting their family during the summer break. Wearing my new little flowery mini-dress, and sandals that laced up to my knees, I had just come out of Earls Court tube station onto the always bustling Earls Court Road when I saw Lemmy in the distance walking towards me. He reminded me of Donovan, my favorite singer/songwriter at the time. His hair was shoulder length, and flowing as he walked, the same walk we have all come to know and love. He had wispy facial hair, and almost a mustache. He was wearing a brown Edwardian suit with a velvet collar, and dark pink flipflops. I have a vivid impression of Lemmy’s face amidst the crowd even now, 48 years later. It was love at first sight. As he came nearer, I noticed that I was near the “magic mirror”, as I called it, a door covered with a garish fun house mirror for no apparent reason, which I liked to imagine had magical properties, and it was right there that we crossed paths. I smiled and nodded to him shyly, and he returned the nod as we passed each other. I walked on slowly feeling flustered and not sure what to do. I had let him walk right past and now he was gone. At the corner of Earls Court Road and Trebovir Road, the street I lived on, I slowed and turned, and came to a sudden resolve to turn back to look for him. How could I possibly let him disappear and maybe never see him again? Walking back the half block that I had covered, amazingly, there he was again coming towards me, now with cigarettes in hand and the “Melody Maker” newspaper tucked under his arm, and again we were together in front of the magic mirror. This time, though, we both stopped and gazed at each other momentarily. I don’t remember having a single thought. I just stood there, kind of mesmerized. Lemmy said nothing, but took my hand and walked away with me, and I willingly went with him. I walked with him and he turned onto Trebovir Road. We said nothing till we had nearly reached the end of the street and walking past my flat, I finally spoke and said “That’s where I live”, and he pointed ahead to Warwick Road and said “Oh I live right there across the road on Philbeach Gardens!” We continued walking silently. He just took me with him, without question, to the house he lived in. He opened the wrought iron gate and lead me down the stairs to a basement flat. We walked through a tiny kitchen and into a room with four bunk-beds. He invited me to climb up onto one of the top bunks, he climbing up after me and sitting close next to me. Our legs were stretched out in front of us, with our feet sticking out over the side of the bed, suspended in the air. We talked for a bit, exchanging names and telling each other a bit about ourselves, him showing me his artwork rather proudly. He soon leaned over and kissed me, a long sensual, soulful kiss. It felt so perfect and right. And we kissed, and kissed and kissed some more.
Eventually I had to leave, being expected home for dinner. He took my phone number and I went home as if in a dream. Many years later, when I reminded Lemmy of this story he said” Aw Cyn, that’s a good story! Even if it wasn’t me it’s a good story…”
And you know, I think that mirror was magic.