<London Babylon: The Beatles and the Stones in the Swinging Sixties>

416 pages, large format book stuffed with anecdotes, exotica and pictures

£12.99 + £4.25 postage and packing
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It was 1969 and I was far from home, watching Zoot Money and the Big Roll Band in the Whisky a Go Go. Somehow my school friend and I had become separated in the sweaty, sexy club and I ended up standing in a crowd at the infamous ‘meat rack’ at Piccadilly Circus.

There were junkies waiting impatiently for the stroke of midnight to get their next day’s supply of cocaine or heroin from the 24-hour chemist. There were dealers waiting to buy up what the junkies didn’t need; there were tourists who had come to bathe in the neon; there were stoned hippies sprawling on the steps under Eros, and there were old men who had come to rent boys.

Among all those people I began to feel lonely and a little scared but then a smiling man approached me and asked if I was hungry. Dumbly I let him buy me a plate of spaghetti and went to his flat to sleep on the floor. Against the odds, he was just a nice guy and I was intact in the morning although he did show me some porn.

My parents had no idea that I was even in London, let alone trailing back to flats with strangers, and the thought that my children or anyone’s children might do the same at the age of 16 makes the blood run cold.

I hitchhiked the 60 miles home and resumed my studies in the provinces, but the die was cast, the damage was done; I felt intoxicated, like I’d just had sex for the first time and I wanted to do it again. My new love was London and she was a dangerous mistress.

Just weeks later I was truanting again, up the Smoke on a mission to find David Bowie’s Arts Lab (failed), to do a bit of shoplifting in Soho (didn’t get caught) and to watch Miles Davis at the Hammersmith Odeon (far fucking out). I slept on a station bench and went straight to school from the milk train.

By 1976 I was a resident, working at a record company in the West End. Yeah baby.

Now a writer, I’ve also been a band manager, a recording engineer, a pig farmer, a fishmonger and Joan Collins’ chauffeur.

In 2007, my first book
Guns, Cash and Rock ‘n’ Roll: The Managers was published and London Babylon is the second.

Read an extract from London Babylon

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