Jeff Dexter picks me up at 7pm.
We go to the Borderline for the Dear Boy book party, a biography of Keith Moon by Tony Fletcher.
Publicist Helen looks different tonight in a turquoise Chinese dress with a slit skirt, but charming as ever.
Helen says she loved the e-mail describing my holiday in the USA.
Nick Jones, former Miles Copeland publicist, says he’s now living in Bognor.
Chris Welch, like Jeff and Nick, has been interviewed for the biography.
David May, now at Channel Four Films, says he expects to see me at Time Out’s upcoming 30th birthday bash.
Jenny Fabian asks for my number, says she has a story.
BBC producer John Walters recalls doing a voiceover for disposable contact lenses, which he didn’t know existed.
He says, “The only magazine I read these days is Record Collector, and I wonder: have I still got that record?”
I say, “The only rare record I’ve got is Elvis Costello on 2-Tone, I Can’t Stand Up (For Falling Down). I think its worth about £12.”
Surf band Dead Mans Curve twang loudly and finish with Don’t Worry, Baby, the Beach Boys song.
Jeff calls politely to the sound booth, “Can you turn it down to unbearable, please?”
I meet author Tony Fletcher and say, “I’m enjoying the book, I’m up to 1967, cherry bombs and the tour of New Zealand.”
He says, “You’ve got another hundred pages of fun, then it starts to go downhill.”
Jeff and I walk back over Oxford Street to Rathbone Place, where we always park. We get into the car.
Jeff knows I have a sore throat and took aspirin before I came out. But he says, “D’you wanna go to another gig?”
Jeff is always a fun companion, especially in the West End.
A Londoner who has an anecdote about every street, every shop, club and office, a guy who knows thousands of people.
We park off Paddington Street and walk to The Baker & Oven. Jeff points out a flat where his shirtmaker Katie Stevens, a Czech refugee in the Fifties, still lives. He took the Beatles and Stones to her. Katie made him a shirt last Xmas and copied an Italian nightshirt for Simona, his wife.
The Kashmir Klub is a Tuesday and Thursday acoustic showcase with free admission.
Tony Moore, the host, used to be managed by Jeff.
A sweet, hip character whose laidback charm suggests he may have learned from Jeff’s ‘good vibes’ style of promoting.
We scoff some hors d’oeuvres and descend to a roomy winebar basement with alcoves.
There is a low stage, nine tables and 100 well-dressed groovers.
Tonight is a private function featuring songwriters published by Hit & Run.
I love showcases where everybody does just one or two songs.
Soul singer Noel McKoy, backed by superb jazz guitarist Tony Remy, does You’re Number One. Love him! Reminds me of Jimmy Cliff at the Hammersmith Palais years ago. Decades ago.
Brian Kennedy has the rugged good looks of a footballer. He is introduced by compere Christian from BMI as, “Van Morrison’s favourite singer.” I know his brother Bap, former front man of Energy Orchard, very well.
Brian sings These Days, a lovely new ballad, which goes down bigger than a Bergkamp 20-yarder at Highbury. Brian should become an MOR superstar, headlining Las Vegas. Managed by Simon Fuller, who masterminded the Spice Girls, he must have a chance, if that’s the way he wants to go.
During the intermission I chat to Clive, an impeccably groomed thirtysomething in a dark green suit.
Clive says he A&Rs Sir Cliff Richard and Mark Morrison.
“How’s Mark doing?” I ask.
“Not very well,” says Clive.”He’s in prison. Leicester, he was in Wormwood Scrubs.”
” How long for?”
Then I notice that Marie-Claire D’Ubaldo is scheduled.
Jeff has introduced me to this chic Argentinian at Dingwalls one night. She has a strong handshake which I suppose comes from playing the guitar every day.
Marie-Claire is stunning. One of the most beautiful girls I have ever seen.
She co-wrote Falling Into You for Celine Dion, which sold zillions. I’ve never seen her onstage. She has sung Falling before we arrived. Damn !
Phil Manikiza plays good guitar behind Laurence David, a French girl.Yes, girl. Shelly Peiken, a jolly American, plays Won’t Let You Go This Time, which has just been recorded by Chrissie Hynde. Shelly, on guitar, protests that she is a keyboard player. She wrote Bitch, a U.S. hit for Meredith Brooks.
Then Marie-Claire sits on a stool.
She has shortish black hair, a black sleeveless top, a checked mini-skirt and long suede boots.
Christian explains what the song is about, as it will be sung in Spanish : “A man comes home and finds his wife in bed with a lover, so he kills them both with his bare hands.The song, El Preso Numero 9, is his confession to the priest the following day.”
Marie-Claire is a spellbinding singer and a passionate, dramatic guitarist. The Spanish girl next to me, a bit drunk on San Miguel, goes bonkers.
Keziah Jones’s first song is dull, his second rhythmic. I slam my hands in time on the underside of our solid table . The wood feels good on my fingers.
The skinny, amusing Jo Cang sings Hit & Run, an Al Jarreau-type number, and Shine, which he wrote for Aswad: reggae, now jazzily re-arranged. His brother Gil, on bongos, is wonderful.
Friendly evening, enjoyable music, good vibes, laughter, camaraderie, tons of fun. More publishers should showcase their writers here, but they’re probably too lazy, disorganised and cheap to do it.
At the door we compliment Tony on an evening of intriguing, intimate entertainment.
“Thanks for coming, Myles,” he says.
He has met me for two minutes and then talked to 150 other people. But somehow, two hours later, remembers my name. What a guy!
Tony, it turns out, is Marie-Claire’s boyfriend.
Home at 11.30 to find Jan reading a newspaper. Michael, 15, is still up.Unusual. He has just finished six hours of Design Technology homework.
I tell them about Mark Morrison.
Michael says, “He got a lookalike to do his community service.”
He kisses me goodnight and says: “You smell of smoke.”
At 12.30, in the bath, I remember that Christian had introduced Jeff to the crowd.
“With us tonight we have legendary disc-jockey, promoter and manager, Jeff Dexter!” he said.
“Jeff was a plugger on the first Beatles single. He was young, small, blond and had little glasses, so the Beatles nicknamed him The Milky Bar Kid. About five years ago I was at Knebworth with Pink Floyd, and Paul McCartney came in, saw Jeff and said, ‘The Milky Bar Kid!’ After thirty years !”