You can be sure I spent a few days mulling over what happened at the flat when Jools Holland invited me for that really strange “party.” Moreover I felt creepy and most certainly fortunate to have escaped unmolested physically -- though they really did a number on my head.
This was the first of too many incidents where I’d be invited to something that was supposed to be fun and I just felt I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Oh well, so much for culture shock!
Shaken, I called and left a message for my friend in Squeeze (other than Glenn), John Bentley. He lived even further south, in a place called Crystal Palace, where there’d been a huge exhibition during the Victorian era, sort of a world’s fair. But in 1981, it was a sleepy suburb of London, very nice place to have a small house, which Johnny Bentley owned. Being so far from everything, trains -- the London tube -- didn’t go that far, but a bus would take you there. John also had a “motor” or car, kind of necessary if you were in the hinterlands of London.
I didn’t really feel like bugging John (we’d enjoyed each other’s company in NYC a few months earlier), but since I felt scared and alone and wondered how he was doing, I made the call and was glad I did. He called me back.
“Hullo, Lauren? Great to hear from you. Sure, come on by. Er, do you know how to get here? Or maybe I can come by and fetch you. Staying in Glenn’s old flat, aren’t you?”
Excellent! I knew I had a real friend now, somebody who gave enough of a crap to take the time to return a call and maybe hang out. John was from “ull,” or the northern seacoast city of Hull. He had a few Humberside (or northern) idioms and a bit of a Hull accent, was a Yiddishe Britisher. Almost goes without saying that his musical talent -- the great bassplaying was just the start -- was massive. Funny, boyishly handsome and just plain cute, he offered a welcome distraction to this sad, distracted Yank who felt suddenly out of her element.
“Well, all right, how about the day after tomorrow? Would you like lunch?”
God bless John Bentley for being there for me just then -- and then some!