Bshzoop! Back to London, 1981. Well, it was the best of times and the worst of times. (Thank you, Charles Dickens -- a Londoner.) Temporarily, I was catsitting and staying at the flat of the petite powerhouse of photography and networking, fellow expat Gervaise Souerouge, near Tottenham Court Road. I was a fan and devotee of the invaluable street guide, London A-Z, part of the “knowledge” of those amazing London cab drivers.
Believe me, without a London A-Z, you couldn’t really get around the town very well. In fact, I still have it here and look forward to (maybe) visiting ol’ London towne again. But then again, I tend to shun big cities these days. . . I dig the boondocks, the quiet, the occasional people & plentiful nature. . .
Anyhoo, in 1981, London was starting to gear up from being a sleepy town to something TOO big, fast, crowded, and cosmopolitan. But, being a New Yorker (from Manhattan), London was quite manageable at the time for me, thank you.
The unmanageable in my life was my physical and mental health. I’d been a vegetarian (no red meat, very little chicken, mostly fish, cheese, eggs) since the age of 15, and it was starting to wear on me. I was also plunging into a sadness I couldn’t shake off. . . I think we (at least I) take it for granted when surrounded by loving family & friends. . . even though they may seem like a hassle every now and then when sharing our space, they really do help to keep us together.
So. . . I’d get to crying often for little reason, feeling very tired & taking naps every day, invariably. . . my appetite was OK, but I felt scared and lonely and tired of life. Every time I thought I’d scored a victory in life, something dire or dismal (like having Mickie Most tell me I didn’t have a career in music!) would happen to SMASH me and my mood down again.
I even tried taking up tap dancing (how can you be depressed tapping?), but that didn’t really work out (your foot reflexes need to be quite keen, you know -- and being in my mid twenties was a tad late to start if I couldn’t commit hours to practice).
I knew I needed to work -- for my pocketbook, peace of mind, and sanity -- but how and where to get “clean” work off the books?
During one of my weekend visits (or “haunts”) down the King’s Road in Chelsea (take the tube to Sloan Square and start walking!), I started to think about the many bars and eateries there.
I inquired in a few places, then bingo! One of them -- a trendy pub in the middle of the King’s Road -- took me on to be “pulling pints” that very night (Guy Fawkes night, Nov. 5th). Cool, I thought. . . just the thing to bring up spirits and replenish the pocketbook. . .