Friday, September 13, 2013

Stars Turn Out For Richard de Lone's Benefit

How intriguing: I’ve heard a wild rumour going around the San Francisco Bay Area that Star Names could be amongst the Special Guests at the 7th Annual Richard de Lone Special Housing Project Benefit.

Richard de Lone
Even if the Surprise Guests at the concert, held at Bimbo’s 365 club in San Francisco on October 6, don't include any shocks for you, the concert promises to be a WOW! Especially, if one is besotted with bluegrass, Americana and rockabilly, which will be exquisitely delivered by some of the genres’ most starry and scintillating musicians around:
Austin and Caroline de Lone
Nick LoweBoz ScaggsBuddy MillerLoudon Wainwright IIIJim Lauderdale, Bill Kirchen, the Legendary Austin de Lone and his talented daughter Caroline de Lone  ..... as well as the RDSHP Rockers.

Nick Lowe
Boz Scaggs
Jim Lauderdale and Buddy Miller
Loudon Wainwright III
Bill Kirchen
The Legendary Austin de Lone
Caroline de Lone 
The concert, which  will undoubtedly blast the club's roof off its rafters is guaranteed to be a heart warming rock fest for a worthy cause.

Richard de Lone was born with Prader-Willi Syndrome, and the de Lone family (Austin, his wife Lesley and Caroline) hold a concert every year for their son's Special Housing Project, a non-profit organisation with the goal of building a state-of-the art residential community for children and adults with Prader-willi Syndrome, a rare and complex genetic disorder with no known cause or cure. For more information, visit the RSHIP site.

 The gig starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $50 and available from Bimbos 365 club's box office Monday through Friday from 10am-4pm. There will also be a limited number of ringside tables available for $450, includes special seating for four.
Robert Plant 

There will also be a Silent Auction with some really Drool to Have items including a wonderful Gibson Acoustic signed by Robert Plant, with photo; a Jimmie Vaughan Signature Model Gretsch Synchromatic; a beautiful Montage from Scaggs Vineyards; Sammy Hagar's autographed brand new cd along with his autobiography and a bottle of Beach Bar Rum; Patti Smith tour jacket, and more.

For more information, please visit Bimbo’s 365 club or call (415) 474-0365. You won’t regret it.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013


People who weren't around in the Seventies, tend to solely associate those frantic days with punk and disco. But the early part of that decade was so revolutionary, that survivors of that fast-changing period in time can only look back in retrospect, and marvel how unpredictable the new decade turned out to be.

When I started writing Frantic in 1971 I had just returned from an extended vacation in San Francisco, where I had seen a new theatre group called The Cockettes perform at the Palace Theatre in North Beach.

 I had never seen anything like them before, and during Les Ghouls, their Halloween spectacular, I was so enthusiastic  I impulsively jumped up onto the stage at the end of their show. I wasn't the first person to be so spontaneous. In the late Sixties, audiences ran onto the stage nightly after gyrating in their seats during Hair.

 The Cockettes were the original creators of Glam Rock. Performers like David Bowie were sartorially influenced by them.

If I had started to write Frantic today, I very much doubt I would have remembered intimate details of those crazy days, but as I actually started writing my novel in the early Seventies, I managed to record fresh sartorial and visual details of that extraordinary period in history.

At the time, I was too young to be allowed into bars in San Francisco, and was too naïve to realise that the entire city was in the political grip of a gay lib sexual revolution, which would eventually lead to same sex marriages over three and a half decades later. Unthinkable then.

All I was concerned about at the time was the newness of those innovative times, and the visuals of how freaks of all three sexes looked, and the beautiful interiors of their communal squats. The hippies in the previous decade hadn’t seemed so extreme in comparison.

Vintage clothes are in Vogue now, but in the early Seventies, second hand clothes were the norm. All the kids put their individual looks together from charity shops, which helped make street fashion more daring and innovative than ever before. I didn’t have to invent what my characters wore in Frantic, as I described their fabulous costumes from first hand observation, but fictionalised them.

For instance, Alice, the heroine in the book wore a 'pink basket cloche hat decorated with scarlet ostrich feather plumes, a Thirties pink satin sailor suit, spider web fishnet stockings, and a pair of skyscraper stilettos saturated with red rosettes.’

As I  started writing Frantic shortly after I returned to London, and because my San Francisco experience were still fresh in my mind, I was able to describe friends' apartments down to the last exact detail in the novel.

‘The bedroom was a mass of ostrich feathers, which hung down from the rhinestoned ceiling to diamonté covered rugs in whispering waves. All the walls were sequin thick, illuminated by psychedelic rays tinkling from flashing prisms. Glitter of a thousand hues washed over the entire apartment, sporadically lit by flickering Chinese umbrellas concealing pot-pourri light bulbs. Garish kimonos hung on every doorknob, and piles of fancy dress lay knee-deep on the floor.’

In London clothes were equally as stylish as on the West Coast, and in Frantic Alice the heroine always looked realistic, that’s because I invariably dressed her in exaggerated versions of costumes I wore in real life:

‘What with her exotic cardigan, her Mr Buddha rayon black and silver flared skirt, silver jazz shoes and freaked out hair, plus her trademark thick smear of indelible scarlet lipstick, she looked a divine mess.’

 I really did have an outfit like that, so in this instance all I did was create "Mr Buddha",  the fictitious name of Tommy Robert's Mr Freedom shop.
Tommy Roberts

But it wasn’t only the clothes which made the early Seventies unique. In the first part of Frantic, the music was still hardcore rock and roll, before the invention of glam rock, spearhedaded by bands like The New York Dolls, who incidentally were the forerunners of punk music.

I had been to several rock concerts in San Francisco, and re-invented the musicians and the music in Frantic solely from my observation.

‘She'd never heard a singer make noises like him before:  raspy, grating ear-splitting groans, similar to a stuck pig slicing on an old fashioned corrugated iron washing board. It was a refreshing departure from traditional acid rock improvisation, when infinite guitar solos were executed before vocals. Now the music and voice were One.’

Survivors from the Seventies say that Frantic seems wildly authentic, but that's because Observation, Adaptation and Fantasy were my main tools for writing my first novel. They do say that writers should write about what they know about and I am no exception.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Richard Young Goes Vintage

It’s an ode to Richard Young’s popularity as a global celebrity photographer that during a snow blizzard, glamorously dressed people flocked to his vintage champagne fuelled bash at Banqueting Hall in Whitehall last night.

Richard and Susan Young with Stephen Webster

The Champagne Bureau UK and the Richard Young Gallery (owned by Richard and his wife Susan) hosted ‘The First Ever' event with Le Prix Champagne de la Joie de Vivre UK, who awarded a prize to Richard in ‘celebration of his long-standing contribution to Joie De Vivre.’

It was certainly a joie de vivre bash, and even though most of the guests (including Geordie Greig, editor of the Mail on Sunday newspaper) confessed they hadn't fancied venturing out in the Siberian climate, they were all pleased they had made the effort.

I was 'thrilled' I had braved the elements as the first person I met was the party's host, the tall dark and handsome Champagne King Bruno Paillard, who advised me to clutch my champagne glass by its stem.

Hollywood casting director Jeremy Zimmermann definitely looked pleased as he was surrounded by a bevy of women, including perennial party girl Nancy Dell'Olio and actress Perdita Weeks. (Perdita's mother Susan used to take her and her sister Honeysuckle Weeks to castings when they were young).

Hannah Young. iPhone Photo Richard Young
It was certainly worth going out for the limitless flow of champagne alone. It was also soothing to see Richard and Susan's daughter Hannah Young photographing the guests, leaving Richard to schmooze all night instead of snapping.

Richard told me his Celebrity Exposure documentary, directed by Don Letts (which I feature in) and made by Brassneck TV , has not only been showing in HBO’s Latin America, but is also currently being viewed in Australia, and should soon be doing the rounds in North America.

Some of Richard's iconic photographs were mounted around the banqueting hall, limited editions of which can be bought in the Richard Young Gallery in London.

One of Richard's nostalgic snaps showed Halston, Victor Hugo, Liza Minelli, Andy Warhol, Steve Rubell and Bianca Jagger which brought back memories.
Frances Lynn with Richard Young 
Frances Lynn interviewing Steve Rubell. Photo Mervyn Franklyn

When Richard and I worked together on Ritz Newspaper in the late twentieth century, I interviewed Steve Rubell at the Savoy.

While I was interrogating Steve about Studio 54, Halston and Andy kept popping into the room. At one point, Victor Hugo (Halston's friend) came in nude except for the dollar bills which were glued to him. Those were the days when the publicists didn't control the media.