A little drink with Keith Moon, 40 years ago today!

In the late 1970's I had an office in The Who's management office in Wardour Street, Soho, London. I have always maintained that I didn't really need an office, but it seemed like a good idea at the time. The Who were in and out of the office quite a bit at this particular time. They had just recorded their brilliant album, 'Who Are You' and the world was going mad for them. Keith came into the office to see Bill & Jackie Curbishley, who managed The Who. Bill & Jackie's office was up a spiral staircase in our office complex. When Keith came down after his meeting he wandered into my office and laid as usual on my couch (or his to be more precise). He asked me how much money I had on me. I said I have a bout 3 or 4 pounds! He then said quick give it to me and I will buy you a drink. He always did this. This was a regular ploy and I never got it back. I think Bill & Jackie were trying to keep his cash down to a minimum as they were trying to get him back on the straight and narrow and stop him living the crazy extravagant lifestyle he had become accustomed to. So, after handing my last few pounds to Keith, he then said see you in the pub. What do you want? I said I will have Gin & Tonic. Off he went. I gathered my things, as I usually didn't go back into the office once I was out with Keith. I closed my office door and wandered off down the corridor and down the one flight of stairs and straight into The Ship pub. This was right next door to our office. How convenient! I was walking along Wardour Street not too long ago and stopped and looked at the table where Keith and I would often sit. This was August 1978 and it was a lovely hot summer afternoon in London. When I look back now, it was kind of magical in Soho in those days. I suppose everyone likes looking back at the happy days, only remembering the good things, which is fine with me. So, back to The Ship and Keith.  I walked into the pub using the side door which was in the ally way. The pub was directly opposite our front door. There he was sitting like a naughty school boy. My Gin and Tonic was on the table. Keith was a very funny guy. Everything he did was entertaining and he wasn’t often serious about anything. Keith had just turned 32 a few days before and I was 20. Yes, there was an age gap, but that didn't really matter, we got on very well.  By the way, Keith was on this occasion wearing some horse riding clothes and hard hat. He also had a whip to ad some riding authenticity. I may well be wrong, but I have a funny feeling that Keith didn't actually ride horses, but I am sure there are better qualified people who would know the answer to that, like Dougal Butler and others. So, there we were chatting away about various things and one thing was Bob Dylan.  Keith new that I had recently been in Paris photographing Bob and he asked me if I was doing anything else with him. I said I was thinking of trying my luck and heading over to LA to try and blag my way on to Bob Dylan's world tour. It was going to be a real long shot for me. Firstly, I had no money and secondly, why would Bob hire me? Keith sat there and said "you should definitely go and try". I had actually made my mind up before Keith had said this anyway. But, like I said, my problem was lack of money.  We soon left the Ship and headed over to Berkeley Square, London and into the infamous 'Mortons Wine Bar'. Keith had a secret account there. So, we carried on our afternoon drinking session until late evening. I seem to remember making my move and escaping quite late and heading off home.  I was now plotting my first trip to the USA and I was also trying to work out how I was going to negotiate the madness of getting myself at 20 years old onto Bob Dylan's 'Street Legal' world tour.  If I was going to attempt it and head to Los Angeles and get on that tour, I only had about a week to get things organised and arrive in LA. 

 

Here are a few shots. One of the Ship in Wardour Street. The next shot is of the print shop (once a drum shop) and above it was Bill & Jackie Curbishley's  (Trinifold Management) offices. Last but not least the lovely Kit Moon. Keith's lovely mum. Coincidentally taken in Wardour Street outside the old Marquee Club. Photo taken when a blue plaque was placed for Keith there in 2009 

 The Ship, Wardour Street, London. 

The Ship, Wardour Street, London. 

 Above this Printroom was the Trinifold Management offices. My office was at the side overlooking the allyway.

Above this Printroom was the Trinifold Management offices. My office was at the side overlooking the allyway.

 Keith Moon's mum, Kit Moon. Outside the Marquee in 2009.

Keith Moon's mum, Kit Moon. Outside the Marquee in 2009.