At the age of 16, my friend Helen and I spent a weekend in London. It was 1965 and things were just starting to get hot there – and flowery, as you’ll see. Our mothers only consented to this dangerous undertaking provided we stayed in a respectable girls’ hostel – which we did, but there’s more to that than meets the eye, as one night was spent in the house of some rather disreputable musicians in Dulwich. (Innocently, I must add.)
Now, I still have all the schoolgirl diaries that I wrote. They are often cringe-making, but are also a wonderful source of re-discovering what I did when. So recently I was delighted to find the full account of what two schoolgirls from Birmingham got up to in the heady streets of Soho, in Swinging London. Here’s an extract:
‘Went to Carnaby Street but didn’t see anyone interesting. All the boys walking up and down were trying to look famous. The shops were displaying horrible floral ties and swimming trunks. ugh ugh. Walked to Denmark St (the heart of the record industry at the time)…where we met two boys from supposedly up and coming group called Davy Jones and the Lower Third. One was called Teacup…Bought them cups of tea as they were impoverished. Went back to Carnaby St after lunch and looked in disgust at more floral ties.’
Hmm, so we’d met a few young hopefuls. I sent the whole account off to Helen who vaguely remembered one of the boys, and remarked that they were just one of so many groups now lost without trace. I thought I would just check…
And then, to my astonishment, I found that Davy Jones and the Lower Third had actually released a record shortly afterwards. But the real surprise was to discover that a few months later, Davy changed his name – to David Bowie!
Oh yes, and Teacup really did exist, as lead guitarist ‘Teacup’ Taylor.
Could I apply to go on the panel game ‘Would I Lie to You’ with the line, ‘I once bought David Bowie a cup of tea in Soho? When questioned, I’d have to say it was because he couldn’t afford to pay for his own.