|Frances Lynn and Steve Rubell at the Savoy.|
Photo by Mervyn Franklyn
It’s interesting to see what happened to the people I used to gossip about in the late Seventies. The late Zanzibar, a private membership bar in Covent Garden was always filled with famous people. In one evening alone, the following people were having a drink there, and most of them have since died or are living in obscurity. Francis Bacon, the painter and his friend Thea Porter, the dress designer who created the rich hippy look are both dead. Bobby Moore, the footballer and captain of the England football team when they won the 1966 World Cup, ‘dribbled out of Zanzibar with two blondes, one of whom tried to steal the visitor’s sign-in book’ has since died of cancer. Tina Chow, the beautiful, then wife of Michael Chow the restaurateur who wafted around in Fortuny gowns later died of AIDS after trying to cure herself with crystals. Patrick Lichfield, the royal photographer, then happily married to Lady Victoria Waymouth, recently died after having a stroke. Angelica Houston used to live with Jack Nicholson, but is now married to a sculptor called Robert Graham and lives in Venice in LA. ‘Sex-bomb’ Sylvia Krystel, rumoured to be having a fling with actor Ian McShane at the time played the title character in the soft-core film Emmanuelle – one of the most successful French films ever produced. She recently had cancer and lives a simple life of obscurity in Amsterdam. Phil Lynott was Thin Lizzy’s vocalist and songwriter, but died from heart failure and pneumonia after suffering a heroin overdose in 1986, aged 36. Nigel Dempster used to be a famous print journalist. In the late Seventies, he was the gossip columnist for the Daily Mail. After thirty years in the job, he was retired against his will in 2003 and suffers from Parkinson’s disease. David Hockney had just bought a book out called David Hockney by David Hockney. His boyfriend Peter Schlesinger had just left him for Eric Boman, the photographer. Now, David Hockney is still David Hockney and his recent Portraits exhibition was held at the National Portrait Gallery in the UK, in Boston and in LA. He is officially single. Celia Birtwell opened her textiles shop in London, and is now a successful fashion designer and textile designer. Her recent collection sold out in 'Top Shop' after ten minutes. Larry Adler, the harmonica player, who insisted on telling dreadful jokes, died in 1987 aged 87. Peter Langan, who co-owned Langan’s Brasserie with Michael Caine in the late Seventies, loved drinking so much that his Harley Street doctor gave him injections enabling him to continue drinking. He died aged 48 in 1988. Germaine Greer used to be a glamour puss but recently appeared as herself in Ricky Gervais’ 'Extras.' The fashion designers Ossie Clark and Bill Gibb are both dead. Ossie was murdered by his lover, and Bill Gibb expired from cancer. But, the saddest story of the lot was of Timothy Swallow, a gossip columnist who worked for Nigel Dempster. In the Seventies, he committed suicide in Australia when he was there on holiday. He obviously couldn’t handle the pressure.
Frances Lynn, copyright: 2006