Earls Court


1967 On my way to Covent Garden for the Royal Gala premiering a new ballet, “Paradise Lost with Rudolph Nureyev and Dame Margot Fonteyn

My relationship with Lemmy took place almost entirely at his flat.  We would go to movies together though.  He took me to see Barbarella, with Jane Fonda, a wild 60‘s movie, so typical of the times.  It was a sexy, beautiful, romantic, adventurer in space!  I loved it and so did Lemmy.  It was so perfect seeing that with him.  I remember leaving the cinema smiling and feeling energized, fairly floating down the street, my hand in his.

One Sunday afternoon on the way to the cinema, across the wide road, (was it sunny Goodge Street?) we saw Eartha Kit as she walked, alone and singing powerfully.  Her hands were waving in the air; she was singing to the sky.  Lemmy was taking me to see “Prudence and the Pill”, with David Niven and Deborah Kerr, an obscure film, I’d say, and a strange choice on his part, but there you have it!

Those two movies, juxtaposed, illustrate well the changes that were happening in our culture at that time.  It was a hip scene going on in London in 1966-67 where going to a nightclub, the DJ playing Tom Jones and Englebert Humperdink and dancing to the bossa nova in those cute little patent leather shoes,  and velvet dresses just above the knee was very cool.  Then it shifted to long flowing Indian dresses, or white boots and flowing sleeves, Nehru collars or very much shorter dresses of the Mary Quant look, which transversed the two scenes.  Now the music was electric, strange, exciting, and like nothing else we’d ever heard. Jimi Hendrix, Arthur Brown, Incredible String Band, and so many other wild and brilliant bands.


1968 Philbeach Gardens

And yet there was still an innocence in these times.  The Beatles were still happily together, and singing about love.  I felt so lucky to be where it was all happening in “Swinging London”.  It was vibrant and exhilarating.  The saying was “London swings while England rots”.  Not that I knew anything of the political or economic situation in the UK.  Revolution was brewing, and the roots of the punk scene were afoot, but I was unaware, only noticing the fashions and the social/cultural revolution happening around me.

One crisp autumn evening I went down to Earls Court Road with my best friend and roommate Anita.  My thoughts were all of Lemmy and I was yearning, (yes, yearning!) for him.  I often walked around the crescent of Philbeach Gardens.  I just wanted to be near him walking down “the street where he lived” like in “My Fair Lady”!  Anita and I were having coffee at a restaurant with other girls from the Royal Ballet School.  It was an American chain restaurant of some sort, red and white stripes, and wooden booths…something to do with Kentucky.  There were some really cool cafe’s near Earls Court, with folk music, like the Troubadour on Old Brompton Road, and Cafe” des Artistes in Fulham.  I can’t imagine why we chose to go to this insipid place.  We were all feeling a bit bored talking about school and boys.  I never talked about Lemmy with any of them except Anita, but even she knew little about him.  None of my friends from school ever met Lemmy.  I was watching the time, in mind of our curfew, because I had a nagging thought of stopping by Lemmy’s just for a moment, just to see him before it got too late, or even just walking past his door.  I was distant with my friends saying little, and not very involved in the conversation.  Anita noticing my wistful longing, looked at me questioningly.  I gave her my usual aloof answer “It’s nothing really”

Finally, I excused myself, saying I wanted to walk around a bit by myself before having to go home.  Just as I walked out the door, along came Lemmy, with his mates Roger and Sam.  I could hardly believe it!  I felt as if I had drawn him to me in some magical way.  I had been thinking of him and wishing to see him all evening and there he was.  And, he was wearing a long shocking pink cape with a hood!  Yes… I’m not kidding.
His friends kept walking, while he stopped and greeted me with a smile as he swooped the cape around my shoulders and swept me along with him as smoothly as can be.  We walked and talked and my uneasiness dissolved.  They were heading to a rehearsal, he said.  It was beginning to dawn on me that he was actually playing with a band.

We crossed Earls Court Road and walked up Nevern Place towards Warwick Road, and onto Philbeach Gardens.  Eventually we came to the church off the crescent, Saint Cuthberts’, with its wrought iron gates leading into the cobblestone courtyard.  I had walked by this place many times, but had never thought to go in.  Lemmy stopped just inside of the gates, and turning towards me, both of us still wrapped in the cape, he said “ I need to take leave of you here”.  He kissed me gently and released me to the chill of the night air, disappearing through the beautiful wooden doors of the church.  I drifted home in a romantic dreamlike trance.

Speaking of dreams, I recently had one wherein Lemmy was flying in the night sky.  He swooped down to me and enveloped me in his arms, which were more like wings, and flew off with me, protected in his loving embrace.  It felt just like being wrapped in his embrace with that pink cape around us both.