My Frantic World

Saturday, December 23, 2017


Michael Armstrong, the controversial screenwriter and director used to live round the corner from me in London at the tail end of the last century.

I often used to run over to his flat in the middle of the night to binge watch videos alongside British actors with household names, all of whom went to RADA with Michael.

At drama school, Michael quickly realised he wanted to be a writer instead of an actor and went on to write and direct films like the controversial Mark of the Devil, and The Haunted House of Horror.
(Quentin Tarrantino owns a private copy of the latter film and selected it for his Austin Festival, as one of the most significant films depicting the Sixties in Britain).

 I was honoured when Michael asked me to write the Forward to A Star Is Dead, his latest screen play book about the Sex Pistols.

I saw them perform only once: their second gig at the artist Andrew Logan’s studio in Butler’s Wharf. None of us had heard anything like them before and minutes after they started playing everyone walked out en masse.

The reason why Michael’s A Star Is Dead script with the exploitation director Pete Walker attached (and to star the Sex Pistols) didn’t get made was because the Pistols disbanded shortly after Michael’s final draft.

It was a tragedy, as the band's manger Malcom McClaren loved the script, as Armstrong’s laugh out loud funny script was more outrageous than the Pistols themselves.

 Michael‘s prolific series of screenplay books (available from Amazon) include the House Of the Long Shadows, The Image, a short starring David Bowie in his first screen role and Eskimo Nell, a classic spoof of the old school British Film Industry, which Armstrong wrote and acted in.

 Although I have attended screenwriting classes over the years, the only useful thing I learned in all of them was chatting to fellow participants at the bar during the intervals. But after reading Michael Armstrong’s published screen play books I finally understand the craft of screenwriting.

 Each of Armstrong’s screen play  books include a History of  his screenplay, with various drafts of his screenplays followed with a Glossary of Terms and advice on how to read a script.

 Michael is currently writing books on all his screenplays and as he’s written a vast body of work over the years, this task should take him quite a while to complete. I'm already making space on my bookshelves for them.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016


Andrew Logan in his crash helmet creation
(Paddy Whitaker in the background)
Photo by Keir Malem

Fancy a lecture on Art Philosophy at the Victoria & Albert? The artist Andrew Logan,  creator of some of the globe's most original sculptures will be sprouting forth about his unique brand of Art at the The Lydia  &  Manfred Gorvy Lecture Theatre on Friday 16th September at the Victoria & Albert museum.

Andrew Logan’s lecture promises to be a humdinger as according to the V & A, Mr Logan’s enlightening talk will be an exploration and deep discussion of his philosophy.

“Art can be discovered anywhere,” Mr Logan proclaims.

 Friday 16 September 19.00-20.00 p.m. Tickets: £10.  Call the Victoria & Albert on 020 7942 2000 for mass bookings.
Andrew Logan signing his book at the V & A

Monday, May 02, 2016

Caroline de Lone Goes Vintage At The Sweetwater Music hall

I grabbed this divine Ossie Clark/Celia Birtwell dress from the rails at the defunct Radley showroom during the late Seventies. After I wore it to death at bashes like the Playboy parties at Stocks House, I passed it on to my sister Lesley, who lived in it when she was pregnant with her daughter Caroline de Lone.

Now twenty four years later, I'm thrilled to see chanteuse/songwriter Caroline, (Austin de Lone’s daughter) wore it last night when she stormed the stage at the Sweetwater Music Hall in Mill Valley, paving the way for country singer Carlene Carter's spectacular appearance.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The Legendary William Burroughs

My most treasured collection consists of a shelf of autographed first edition books. The Executioner’s Song, Norman Mailer’s arguably best book used to be sandwiched between Evelyn Waugh’s Basil Seal Rides Again and Jackie Collins’ Hollywood Wives!

I’ve since had to rearrange my bookshelf after I bumped into Barry Miles, the acclaimed ‘counterculture’ writer and biographer at Marylebone market last Sunday.
Barry Miles

When I espied Barry Miles , commonly known as Miles by the fish stall I knew there must be a God. As fate would have it, I had a copy of his latest book William S. Burroughs: A Life stuffed in my shopping bag. I asked Miles to sign it, and he agreed.

Published in 2014 one hundred years after Burrough's death, it is the definitive book/biography on William Burroughs, the controversial writer who inspired and motivated a conglomerate of artists to worship at his avant-garde shrine.

William Burroughs
Miles' gripping William Burroughs biography, which left me reeling with awe offers the reader everything and more there is to know about the fascinating/controversial writer, and his iconoclastic literature/writing.

For intricate details of Burroughs' complete Bibliography, including the formation of his earlier works: Junky, Naked Lunch and Queer etc. devour the book.

Fortunately, Miles had the full support of the Burroughs estate while writing the bio. He also had the advantage of having being a friend of Burroughs since the mid Sixties, plus knowing other  historical Beat personalities like the influential Allen Ginsberg.
Allen Ginsberg and William Burroughs

Miles has had least eighty glowing international reviews including a humdinger from The New York Times and deservedly so.

Miles with Burroughs.
Now, William S. Burroughs: A Life is stacked against Norman Mailer on my bookshelf. All I can say is that Miles’ inscription is the most intriguing of my entire collection.

Friday, October 09, 2015

Peter Schlesinger's Elegant Photographic Memories

When the sculpturist Peter Schlesinger took a photo of me wearing a silver metallic jump suit, hanging onto the light fittings at my house during the early Seventies, little did I suspect his impromptu snap would one day appear in one of his books.

Peter’s new photographic book, the long awaited sequel to his Checkered Past visual diary is titled Peter Schlesinger A Photographic Memory 1968-1989. It’s an appropriate title because all the nostalgic photos in Peter’s fascinating new book are of his old friends from the orbits of fashion, art, showbiz and society, preserved in their prime of youth.

Extraordinary private pictures of David Hockney, his muse Celia Birtwell, Paloma Picasso, Cecil Beaton and Amanda Lear are just some of the exquisite subjects whom Peter took impromptu snaps of with his natural gift for composition and originality.
Amanda Lear. Photo by Peter Schlesinger
Peter’s partner, the multi-talented Swedish photographer and writer Eric Boman features heavily in the book, which is just as well as he was regarded as being the most beautiful boy on the block.
Amanda Lear with Eric Boman. Photo by Peter Schlesinger

One of the cinema verity styled photos of him and Manolo Blahnik looking slightly anxious in the crowded Notting Hill Gate’s carnival made me laugh.

The photographs are all multi-dimensional works of art, which necessitates one viewing them again and again. Schlesinger’s photographs, which have a film still quality will never go stale.

Cecil Beaton and David Hockney. Photo by Peter Schlesinger

People who didn’t personally know Peter’s international group of friends including the likes of the artist R.B. Kitaj, Christopher Isherwood, Bryan Ferry and Andy Warhol should none the less appreciate this fascinating book.

Viewing Schlesinger’s photographs is like being rewarded with an intimate glimpse into his carefree life during the late Twentieth century. For example, It’s hard to imagine now driving along a deserted Pacific Coast Highway in Santa Monica which Peter's snap captured.

Peter Schlesinger's sculptures

Peter Schlesinger, whose sculptures are incidentally totally original has produced an unique book which effortlessly records the joi de vivre of his glamorous and individual friends in a less congested world.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Caroline de Lone Unveils her debut Album at the Sweetwater

It’s not often that a girl in her early twenties has her debut CD produced by her dad. But my niece - singer-songwriter Caroline de Lone’s father Austin de Lone has just produced her first album titled Fingerprints.

Austin is a musician as well as a record producer and has been nurturing Caroline's all round musical talents since she was a baby. I know I'm the proud aunt, but Caroline has got the most gorgeous voice.

For Christmas, Caroline sent me a preview copy of Fingerprints, which I’ve been playing non-stop. I particularly love her stirring tracks Places and Man UP, which to my untrained ear are potential hit singles.

Caroline's band consists of a group of musical stalwarts including the veteran rockabilly guitarist Bill Kirchen and nineteen year old musical prodigy Matt Jaffe, who plays Acoustic Guitar on Caroline’s CD.
Mat Jaffe

Caroline is unveiling her Fingerprints CD at the legendary Sweetwater Music Hall in Mill Valley on Wednesday February 11th. Fortunately for the over subscribed audience, Caroline is a riveting singer and performer and I can safely say she will do her CD more than justice. A star is born?!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Crushed Novel Woos Young Adults On Line

Crushed, my illustrated Young Adult novel has just been resurrected from the Out of Print graveyard. The book is now on global Amazon Kindle.

Since the book became available on line, readers in India, Germany, France, England and the USA have bought copies. Not bad for a novel, resurrected from Out of Print obscurity.