(THE FOOTBALL TEAM)
Strange bleating noises from the rear of a Comet, vague attempts to chat up the stewardess and an almost nonstop barrage of olives and pieces of cheese was the great "Welcome Home" Crispian St Peters, his manager and I received from Chelsea football team at the end of our three day trip to Barcelona.
Don't get the idea that the team had come all the way to greet us, it was just that they were on the same return flight from Spain. The only difference was that they had been beaten 5-0 in a match and Crispian had scored an undoubted success on Spanish TV.
"Gis a song, Crispian, get ya 'air cut, oo sings on yer records?" and similar compliments were voiced in our direction during the two hour flight. Pity the footballers didn't notice that Crispian was fast asleep most of the time.
Not a bad ending to the working holiday which had begun late on Monday evening with Dave Davies wandering round the passenger enclosure at London Airport inviting me to "dig the confetti man". As we weren't quite certain of his intentions, we fled to the Customs area where Crispian treated the officers with a few blues numbers. I'd never seen a customs man smile before then.
Someone had booked us into one of those hotels which frown upon anyone less than forty years of age, so we made tracks for the nearest bar as soon as possible. For reasons best known only to himself, Crispian launched into an explanation of Picasso's work.
"The last good thing he did was of a woman, a prostitute. I wish to God I could paint the way he did first of all. He's gone through so many periods. He did an abstract form for one figure with a long nose and eyes everywhere. What changes a man like that? I think it was a woman, this prostitute. The picture he did of her was beautiful. She was wearing a bonnet. Now, he's no good at all," he said.
Then he went straight on to the subject of the Small Faces with:
"Their organist, that's who makes the group. Why do girls scream at Steve Mariott?"
As it was approaching 5 am, we wandered into the underground railway (there's no logic in that really) and found a bar full of strange men wearing make up and even earrings! Crispian managed to convince one chap that he was Keith Moon, someone else decided that I was Eric Burdon and we spent a few minutes signing bogus autographs before emerging into the daylight and tracing our way back to the hotel.
At the TV studio later that day, it was pointed out that although he had been called for 1.30 pm, Crispian wouldn't be needed until 10.30 that evening. Fortunately, the studio was on top of a hill overlooking the sea and we located an open air bar in which to while away the hours.
In between glasses of Bacardi and Coke, Crispian told me "Mick Jagger is from the best area around Dartford, it's the best area for ten miles around. The Mayor lives there. It's very posh."
He broke off to laugh at his manager, Dave Nicolson, who was rambling on about Barcelona On Sea and not noticing that an army of ants was creeping up his arm in the general direction of his drink. When he did spot them, he dropped his glass and ordered an ice cream - something that the waiter insisted was pronounced "ice klee."
Veteran American jazz pianist Earl Hines, who was also on the show, came over to our table with his wife and two daughters and sent Crispian into raptures. He is, apparently, a great jazz lover. He spent ages chatting to Earl and only broke off to try to date 19-year-old Ivana, a new Spanish girlie singer from Malaga.
Spain's pride and joy in the shape of El Cordobes was on TV fighting a bull when we went back into the studio, and Crispian gazed at the screen intently throughout the rather one sided contest.
I asked him what he thought of the "sport" and he replied, "It was great, but very cruel. The bull doesn't stand a chance." cabaret star Josephine Baker, who was standing nearby, nodded in agreement.
After three numbers, Crispian was released just after midnight. Dave went back to the hotel to go to bed, and Crispian and I set out on a round of nightclubs. That little jaunt ended in orange juice and chicken sandwiches in bed at half past five in the morning.
An amiable taxi driver took us 15 miles to a beach later on and we thought that all was well. We had reckoned without the slim, bronzed layabouts who didn't approve of (a) our white bodies, (b) our haircuts, (c) the fact that we walked to the far end of the beach, and (d) my T-shirt bearing the word "bop" in huge red letters.
It took some time for Dave to persuade Crispian and I that the sea wasn't, in fact, icing over , then it took ages to dissuade Crispian from spending three days in the water. We bought an English paper and turned to the charts page. I read the top ten aloud and Crispian commented: "Troggs at number two? How did they get there? It's a stupid name, it doesn't mean anything. Wild thing you make my shoes sing.
"Sinatra's at number three? I've heard that name. He's got a famous daughter. Of course, she was number one. People will hear her record and say 'Oh that's Nancy's father'".
The odd thing about Crispian is that it is difficult to tell when he's being serious about things. Another incident like that cropped up when he discovered I was reading one of the "Gunner Asch" novels.
"I think books are a load of rubbish, apart from a few," he said "Black Beauty" was a good one. They're just stories and you read them and you're none the wiser. It's just a waste of time. I wouldn't say the facts of life are very interesting. A film or a book about London is interesting. If it's just Fred tried to kill Bill and everything, that's no good either. You just read because you can't sleep at night, that's your trouble. Don't argue Richard."
Later, at the airport, I found Crispian laughing to himself. He had found the notes of our conversation and when I got them back, he said: "Black Beauty? I was joking you fool."
Dave Nicolson prodded Crispian and urged him: "Tell Richard your theory about Chinese restaurants. Go on, tell him."
Obligingly, Crispian spouted: "Some of them are good, the food is good in some of them. The food in ninety-nine and a half per cent is rubbish. Half the food is sent back and they use it again. Because the British public support them, they get going.
They make so much money, they can make new bombs. In every little town there's a Chinese restaurant. I went to one and I asked for English tomato soup and it was tomato ketchup watered down. They send money they make back to China to make all the bombs. I think Red China is just beginning to make it. They make it look as though both halves of the country are enemies, but they're not. What have they got to be enemies about?"
A quick dash to have a last cheap drink before takeoff and we found ourselves amid the footballing contingent. Pleasant enough chaps, it must be that planes don't agree with them.
Richard Green 1966