The late 80’s in London was the place to be!
Famous people, who are famous for something real, not because of reality TV programs, were everywhere and accessible to the likes of the common folk! At this moment in time a great night club called the Camden Palace was owned by Steve Strange (visage/fade to gray) later to appear on a reality hairdressing program, was the owner and on the look out for staff who complimented his club?
Still living in Elephant and Castle surrounded by the ethnic communities and all the alternative hair dressers in the area, it seems like a good idea to get my hair corn rowed and extended with all the colours of the rainbow 🙂 . Now it took two days to complete and weigh a bloody ton but I thought it was the dogs bollocks?
The place to shop was Camden town, made famous years later by Amy Winehouse living there before her death. Shopping on the markets was an experience and having shit loads of cash from waiting on, I could buy anything and everything.
One Saturday while out shopping, I was spotted by Steve Strange who seemed taken by the rainbow of hair and offered a job working at his gaff? How could I refuse?
So bye bye Bill Stickers hello Camden Palace. My job was to work the main bar down on the ground floor but the place was over five floors high, bars on each level and a VIP area and restaurant on the highest level. Being an old theatre, the levels circled half the area and a huge dance floor, stage and DJ box in one of the old stalls it was wondrous to behold but the thing I remember most was a giant blow up male and female trapeze that swung below the ceiling! Back and forth every night they went as clubbers danced below.
Years later I was to work the doors as a female bouncer but the guys or should I say gorillas that worked the door were some of the meanest hard bastards I ever had the pleasure of meeting. Bare knuckle fighters, boxers, ex cons and muscle for hire but it was also their duty to make sure we were safe not only in the club but after as well.
Across the road was an all night cafe who made us welcome with breakfast and booze which was served in tea cups and mugs for the boys, as milky tea and
Coffee for other colours of booze! Now most nights were quiet but on one occasion the door staff had pissed off a few of the local gangsters and as retribution, they decided to come after them with knives, guns and steel bars after hours. Some of the door boys must have had a premonition as that night they left us to eat and drink alone! Good job, as I may not have been here today to write this blog. Surrounded by some of the worst gangsters local to the area, with a huge knife under my chin, guns pointed at other staff and all of us being held captive until it was made clear that the door men were no where to be seen, we were released to carry on eating brekkie!!! We all lost our appetites that night and headed off into the morning day break, tails between our legs and glad to be alive.
Now our door men being loyal to us didn’t take it all lightly and retribution did take place. There were a few battered and bruised guys working the doors for a while but nothing like that ever happened again.
America had disc 54, London had Camden Palace. The rich, famous and infamous came through the door. Stepping over Boy George off his head was interesting 🙂 Tina Turner came to film a special and I was asked to be her runner for the entire day filming? Great lady, great legs.
Camden’s staff were colorful, unique, exotic and damn right different. A little white powder was on supply at all times and money was in full flow. Each night was an adventure and we thrived on the work, the play and the new experiences that were to be tasted for the first time.
HIV wasn’t known yet but it wouldn’t have mattered to some. There were sex parties, fetish, BDSM the works and I was keen to try anything new within limits. Hey I am still a teenager but I have an open ticket to try anything 🙂 .
Meet Toni Blackburn, a 6 foot 5 black, camper than a row of tents Yank with an ass you can bounce pennies off! Me and him are bessie mates and a bloody sight to be seen? 5 foot 5 me, with a mane of rainbow hair and this amazing Amazonian Yank! Camp wasn’t the word, we were so high pitched only dogs could hear us at one point!!!!
The Dad and The Mum decide to come and visit the capital and see their daughter. BIG HUGE mistake!
I live in a squat with wood for windows and very little else and they go and book into the Grosvenor hotel on Park Ave!!!!
Mistake number 1, give them my address?
Mistake number 2, arrange to meet them at very posh hotel!!!
When I arrive at Posh hotel, with Toni on my arm, we are stopped at the door by the concierge wanting to know who the hell we are and what business we have going into his nice establishment? The Dad is mortified at being made to come to the door and identify his way ward daughter with a beautiful queen in tow.
This meeting did not end well as The Folks had decided to come to see where I was living and now in a state of shock, couldn’t deal with it!!! The Dad was heart broken, how any daughter of his could end up living there 🙂 get a grip, its safe, warm and free. Kept wailing ” what have I done to deserve this”??? Nothing Papa, its my choice and not yours lol 🙂 . So there ended the meet up!
Let me introduce you to Mike, a beautiful tanned South African who had just started working on one of the bars? New in London and older than me by a few years, he was to be my down fall and my exit from London.
Love or lust quickly came over me and I was smitten but this boy was trouble with a capital T. Showed me a good time and even gave me my first orgasum, to which I can still remember to this day but it came at a price?
Months later I am standing in Euston train station, ticket in hand, kitten bought out of guilt by him in a cat box, long stockings Dock Martins and a Rar Rar skirt, ( no self respect but thinking I look the bomb), broken hearted heading back up North. Nothing left but to grovel to The Dad and Mum and hope they go easy on me?????