Friday, March 18, 2011


The death of former Shadows bass guitarist Jet Harris brought back long-forgotten memories of a time in Chelsea in the mid-1960s when I was working on the Chelsea News and living in a bed-sitter (studio to Americans) in Oakley Street just off the King's Road. The drummer Viv Prince, then with the Pretty Things, lived upstairs and Jet Harris had the basement flat. At the time he was recovering from a serious car accident with his then-girlfriend, singer Billie Davis, and he spent a lot of time locked in his flat, playing music and apparently drinking heavily. I rarely saw him and when I did he was usually surly and uncommunicative. Even Viv Prince, who got along with everyone, failed in his attempts to persuade Jet to venture up the stairs to share one of the red-hot curries that Viv, when he was not with me in the Chelsea Potter, seemed to always be cooking on his one-ring gas burner for a constant stream of female visitors, giving the house the permanent aroma of an Indian restaurant.  Strange but fun days!

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