Jimi: All is By My Side. Review. Jimi Hendrix Biopic is a defamatory work of fiction.

My informant in Toronto sent me a descriptive review of the film and I have now had the benefit of hearing from someone who saw a recent screening in Los Angeles.

The film starts with Linda (Keith Richards’ girlfriend) taking a liking to Jimi at various gigs in New York. She is impressed by his potential and brings many music industry pros to see him play with the intention to get him on a trajectory to some success.

She likes Jimi, you can tell– and he her, but more of a conquest thing than a relationship thing.  She does not return his lust, but there is a ‘ what-if’ quality to her refusal. She introduces Jimi to acid in a sugar cube.

She is stylish and knowledgeable about the music business and persuades the naïve and unambitious Jimi to change his hairstyle and image, and advises him how to play the guitar.

Ultimately she connects Chas Chandler to the new, improved Jimi and she takes Jimi to London.

Right after she gets Jimi to London, they are at a house party together and someone runs upstairs to a bedroom in which we find the still sleeping Kathy character.

Kathy is roughly woken up and her first move after sitting up in the bed is to gulp down the wine on her bedside table (How did Mr Ridley know that this is my morning habit? KE joking), and then quickly gets downstairs; she notices Jimi right away, there is an empty space on the couch next to him – at this point the Linda character has gone somewhere else in the room.

Linda returns to discover what we, the audience have been watching, Jimi and Kathy are in deep rapport.  Linda does not like this, senses what is going on and freaks out at both of them.  Kathy stands her ground- well! She stays with Jimi while Linda leaves.

The relationship between Kathy and Jimi blossoms, they are always together and you can feel she really does care for him and vice versa – as much as he can.

Kathy is presented as low class. She has red hair, wears colourful 60s clothes, and is clearly besotted with Jimi. However she smokes, likes to drink and smokes dope too in the film. She is more presented as just representative of ‘that type of girl for that specific time’ – a general portrayal more than a particular character – I did not get an autobiographical sense of her in the film and there is very little back story on her. She is a rather two dimensional character.

There is a scene at a club where Jimi’s performance is stalled due to bad tuning; Kathy gets on a pay phone to someone and when he sees this, while in this ‘non-performance” circumstance, he freaks, grabs the phone and viciously hits her on the temple.  This results in an ambulance to the hospital scene eventually with the both of them in the hospital room. His contrition is serious while his ability to be sincere and accepted as such is bruised by the reality of the episode.  Their closeness is both enhanced and jeopardized. (Absolute invention KE)

There is a tense scene that follows where he is invited to and plans to attend Monterey. Kathy begs to go with him and he refuses. (ditto KE)

That doesn’t sit well with her and we as the audience are interested in this turn; why not take her? What has happened? The film ends. It does not quite make sense. The relationship survives after all.

Kathy’s character is not un-sympathetic to the audience. We like her, we believe she likes Jimi for more than the mere physical attraction; that there is a person there and this person cares for this other person — and he her. However, the story makes it clear that she is possibly masochistic in her relationship and hints at prescription drug use.

One interesting scene is with a black political activist (This must be Michael X. KE)

Jimi and Kathy were together and there was another girl there too – a black girl who brought some drugs to the scene, hung with Jimi and introduced him to the black activist, who was politically astute – where black power/black politics are concerned. They rolled and smoked a joint and this man (and girl) tried to influence Jimi to be more of a black role model, as they pointed out reviews for white rockers were positive in tone and language while those for Jimi and other black artists were negative, racist  and used more primitive, darker language – with a more ‘dangerous’ perspective. Jimi refuses and rebukes them stating he just wants to make good music. He and Kathy then leave. (Toronto screening report). The LA screening report is that Kathy is not present in this scene.

 

Well!

What can we make of these reports?

In my opinion the writer has taken scenes from my book “Through Gypsy Eyes” and twisted the facts to fit his own warped agenda.

My book tells the truth about what happened and is a true reflection of what things were like in 60s London.

The times were fun and amusing.

Mr Ridley has taken the story and turned it into a dull as ditchwater work of fiction while claiming it is a “true story”.

He has form when it comes to this sort of thing. Look at the reviews of his script in the film “Red Tails”.

http://www.examiner.com/review/review-red-tails-doesn-t-do-justice-to-its-heroes

In the opinion of many, if not most, reviewers he took a good true story about the brave airmen of the African American Mustang US squadron and made a very dull work of cinematographic fiction.

He has traduced the 60s London music scene by implying Jimi was up against racism all the time and could not make it until he went to Monterey. This is a complete reversal of the truth.

London allowed Jimi to develop without the racist attitudes of the USA.

He was at his most creative there because of his freedom from racism.

We had the occasional brush with it but it was nothing like as bad as the USA.

Ridley has presented my character as a cartoon-like low class drug-addled alcoholic white groupie and Jimi as a violent black simpleton who had to be coached in how to do his hair and play his music by a teenaged model girl. Both these characterisations are offensive and inaccurate.

All is By My Side, John Ridley and Send My Love to Linda

John Ridley has written the script of “All is By My Side” on the premise that “Send My Love to Linda” is about Linda Keith and assumed that she had been his mentor and muse in the early days.

Sadly, the truth is much more prosaic. Linda told Chas Chandler about Jimi and that was about it. Jimi had already developed his style and didn’t need any input from a nineteen year old model girl.

Jimi wrote these scribbled lyrics in 1969 in Brook Street and I objected to being named.

Just then my friend Linda, Rocky Dijon’s girlfriend, came up to the flat and said she felt sick. I found her a wastepaper bin that looked a bit like a bucket in case she threw up and suggested to Jimi to change the lyric to “Send My Love to Linda” to cheer her up.

Over the next year Jimi obviously tried out variations of the song but nothing really came of it.

Click on the image to enlarge it.

send-my-love_s2

Jimi Hendrix Biopic. All is By My Side. Hayley Atwell fashion disaster.

andre-benjamin-hayley-atwell-all-is-by-my-side1

 

 

 

 

 

I have seen some stills of the location scenes filmed in Dublin and practically everything about them is wrong. This photo is an example.

My clothes are wrong, the lamp posts are wrong for London, the police uniforms are wrong (they are dressed more like the Keystone Cops than the Met), and the characters are obviously much older than Jimi and I were at the time.

The actress playing me is wearing ugly garish clothes like a canary yellow skirt that I wouldn’t be seen dead in. The poor woman has been dressed as a clown. In other shots she seems to be mouthing obscenities and making offensive gestures.

It is very cruel of the director to make her act like this.

In early interviews she is reported to have said that she plays me as a “wild child”, “out of control”; who “swears in every line”. She apparently put on an unusual Northern English accent.

I was told by my informants in the film business who saw the early cuts that the film was “embarrassing”.

Naturally I complained to the film makers and they seem to have made some changes. My character has morphed into an Irish socialite! That sounds rather high-falutin’ but is really just as silly as being a working class Mancunian.

Maybe they have brought in a voice coach to change my character’s accent to an Irish one which is completely bizarre because my accent is, and was, a fairly bland and neutral British accent with just a tinge of Irish sometimes.

In interviews Hayley Atwell says the film is not a biopic.

Maybe it is a comedy.

All Is By My Side. Jimi Hendrix Biopic. Hayley Atwell and André Benjamin.

I have been rather quiet the last month or so because I have been waiting for news about the upcoming film. I have been asked by so many people about it that I can’t answer everybody.

Most people are asking whether I have anything to do with this film and the answer is a categorical “no”.

I have read that Hayley Atwell plays me and André 3000 is Jimi.

This film is advertised as the “true story” about Jimi’s early years in London, but how can it be a “true story” if the makers of the film have not asked any of Jimi’s London friends about what went on? The whole thing is very strange. Also I have never met Hayley Atwell and she has not contacted me for background information.

When I first heard about the film I wrote to the scriptwriter offering my help but he didn’t reply.

In recent interviews Hayley Atwell says that it is not a biopic and has a “… very interesting script,” “It’s not linear, it’s very bizarrely constructed,..”

I hope the film is not a wasted opportunity to do a good story about Jimi in London.

Madeline Bell

Madeline Bell and her boyfriend Tony had been asked by Chas to keep an eye on the flat in Upper Berkeley Street because he had heard rumours that I had been having noisy parties while they were away touring. My friend Barbara was staying there while Chas and Jimi were away and I must admit we did stay up late and invite people round.

Madeline was already an established singer but when she came to the apartment we became friends very quickly and she just joined in and partied as well.

MadBlessed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is an excerpt from my book.

Over the following hectic weeks, Madeline became one of my best friends. She was a great cook and we were able to eat better than ever before and the flat turned into a regular hang-out for a lot of musicians like members of Procol Harum and the Move as well as people from the old crowd like Brian Jones and Keith Moon….

When it came time for Tony and Madeline to go there were a lot of tears and sad farewells. We didn’t know exactly when Chas and Jimi were due back, so they returned to their own place and Tony waited to be told the arrangements.

At six o’clock one morning the phone rang. Barbara and I were fast asleep. Struggling to come to the surface, having gone to bed only a hour or two before, I picked it up. It was Madeline.

‘I’ve just heard.’ She said, ‘they’re on a plane now, they’ll be home in about four hours.’ Mad asked was the place spick and span. I said no, there were empty bottles, full ashtrays and a bag of rotting chips we’d nicked from outside the Wimpy.

Half an hour later she, Barbara and I were dashing through the flat at a hundred miles an hour hoovering, polishing, dusting, binning the mountain of booze bottles and even cleaning the walls and windows. With just minutes to spare Madeline dashed home, Barbara left and I climbed back into bed so that I could give the impression of having just woken up when they walked in. I heard the door open and voices outside the bedroom.

Chas sounded surprised: ‘This place looks better than it did when we left. It’s a good job Tony and Madeline were here to look after it.’

 

Madeline visited Jimi and me at Brook Street quite frequently and she was there when Jimi thought he’s seen Handel’s ghost in the mirror.

Madeline and I are still friends and we meet up whenever we can. She still tours a lot around Europe and the world.

me and madeline

Recent photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For a link to obtain the eBook click here

34 Montagu Square

Ringo owned the flat at 34 Montagu Square and rented it to us after we moved out of the Hyde Park Towers Hotel.

We were lucky to get it as Paul McCartney had just moved out of the flat before us. The neighbours weren’t too happy about having musicians in the flat. Paul had been using it as a recording studio and I’m sure it wasn’t very soundproof.

Paul and Ringo outside the flat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The elderly lady who lived upstairs could be rather grumpy. She wouldn’t let us have the keys to the communal gardens when the photographer wanted to take some photos of Jimi in the gardens.

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the end we had to move out because of the complaints about noise, but after us John and Yoko Ono moved in and they were raided by the drug squad which was the last straw as far as the neighbours were concerned. Ringo had to sell up and no more musicians lived at 34 Montagu Square.

John outside the flat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now there is a Blue Plaque to John Lennon on the house.

For a link to my book click here.

 

Jimi Hendrix at the Ice Rink

During our first weeks together we did a little shopping and sightseeing and I introduced him to friends. Because we didn’t have much money we went everywhere on the Underground.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There were two stations near the Hyde Park Towers Hotel. Queensway was the station for the Central Line to get to the West End. Bayswater was the station for the Circle Line to get to Notting Hill Gate for Portobello Road and then on to Sloane Square for Kings Road. We got off at South Kensington to get to the Cromwellian club. We used to get some funny looks on the Tube because of Jimi’s clothes and hairstyle.

The Queens ice rink was just by the Queensway station and one day we decided to have a go at skating.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Neither Jimi nor I had ever been skating before and Queensway ice rink was just around the corner. ‘Shall we try it?’ I asked Jimi one evening when we were at a loose end.

Sure.’ Jimi was always game for a new experience.

At the rink they had trouble finding a pair of boots big enough for Jimi’s size eleven feet. They managed it eventually and he tucked his flares in and we set off. Within seconds of hitting the ice we were lying in an hysterical heap, weak with laughter. The other skaters just had to make their way round us as we rolled around trying to pull ourselves up on one another, only to lose our footing and come crashing down again.

By the end of the session Jimi had got reasonably good and had actually managed to let go of the side and still stay upright, but every time I let go I went straight down again. My sense of balance had not improved since my ballet lessons at the convent. By the end my ribs were aching from laughter even more than my legs and bottom were from falling over.

Jimi enjoyed himself so much that we went back several times and by the end he was pretty accomplished, whizzing round the rink, attracting everyone’s stares with his hair waving in the breeze.

This is an extract from my book. To get the book click here.

Jimi Hendrix and the Two Telephones

Now most people seeing this picture would not have any idea of why Jimi is sitting on the floor with two phones.

We had started to get problems with unwanted visitors. People would just knock on the door and barge in uninvited and they would also phone us up at any time of the day or night. Jimi was so polite that he couldn’t say no until they got so annoying that he’d suddenly lose his temper with them.

Having two phones was my idea to stop people bothering us on the phone and it worked for a while until Jimi sabotaged the system in a moment of forgetfulness.

The telephone never stopped ringing so I decided to have two phones installed, one with a number which we gave out to people and one which we kept private. Then I would take the general phone off the hook. But Jimi started giving the other number to people in case they couldn’t get through on the first line, which completely defeated the object.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you’d like to read other stories like this, my book is available here

At the Scotch of St James

The Scotch of St James

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is the entrance to the Scotch of St James in Masons Yard off Duke Street where I was the DJ.

I had been DJing at the Cromwellian when I was poached by Rod Harrod, who had worked at the Cromwellian previously, and Louis Brown. They came to the Crom and asked me to move to the Scotch. Louis Brown was one of the owners of the Scotch and he also part-owned Le Kilt. The lovely Rod Harrod had gone to manage for him at the Scotch. I heard that Rod Harrod went to South Africa later and started a school and music academy for disadvantaged kids which I thought rather a good thing to do.

I think the reason I was hired was because of the sort of music I played. Everyone else was playing the top ten pop tunes of the day; I didn’t. I played the sort of music that the musicians who came late at night to the clubs liked, which wasn’t their own numbers that they were sick of hearing anyway. I often played Motown and R&B numbers that were virtually unknown in London at the time.
Louis Brown and Rod recognised this and I think they wanted to lure the “in-crowd’ away from the Cromwellian and into the Scotch. I started my shift quite late and used to have my dinner and hang around upstairs until after midnight. What I didn’t know before I started was that the DJ booth at the Scotch was a coach that I had to sit in like some sort of fairy princess. I found it quite embarrassing with people coming up and asking me if I had glass slippers and whether my coach turned into a pumpkin. Luckily Rod Harrod and friends protected me.

Various famous musicians started to come to the club.

Sonny and Cher

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sonny and Cher did an impromptu performance just in front of my coach singing “I’ve Got You Babe” staring meaningfully into each others eyes. Then they tried to get into my coach and choose from my records which annoyed me.

Inez and Charlie Foxx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inez and Charlie Foxx did the same sort of thing and Charlie dragged me out of my coach and danced with me which was a mistake as I’m not a very good dancer.

I got fed up with the late hours that interfered with my social life and I had just stopped working at the Scotch when I met Jimi on his first day in England.

He and Chas had dropped in at the house I was living in with Zoot and Ronnie Money but I didn’t get out of bed. That evening we went to the Scotch to see him play.

Jimi was playing when Angie, Zoot, Ronnie (Zoot’s wife) and I walked into the club and just as we settled down Chas stopped him and they came to back our table. Jimi was sitting with a dark haired model girl but when she went to the Ladies he beckoned me over to sit with him and whispered in my ear.

 

This is an excerpt from my book.

 

He kissed me on the ear and whispered, ‘I think you’re beautiful.’

It was a corny line but there was something so sweet and innocent about the way he said it. I liked him immediately. I felt flustered by his flattery and tried to cover it up with casual conversation.

So what were you doing in New York?’ I asked.

I was playing in the Cafe Wha, that’s where I met Chas.’

The dark haired girl came back from the loo and had to sit in my old seat next to Ronnie. I didn’t take much notice, assuming that she wasn’t his girlfriend or he wouldn’t be flirting so outrageously with me. A few minutes later Ronnie exploded into a torrent of Glaswegian abuse in response to something the girl had said to her about me. The girl grabbed Ronnie’s hair and pulled her head back, which anyone who knew Ronnie could have told her was a big mistake. Ronnie picked up a bottle of whisky and smashed it down on the marble-topped table, sending splinters of glass flying in all directions and attracting all eyes in the club. Everything went horribly quiet.

Let go of my fucking hair,’ Ronnie snarled, every inch the ferocious Scottish fighter. She pushed the jagged end of the broken bottle up to the beautiful girl’s exposed throat.

Jesus Christ,’ Chas looked panic-stricken as he turned to me, ‘get Jimi out of here for God’s sake, Kathy, he’s only on a visitor’s visa. Take him back to the Hyde Park Towers. Quick, before someone calls the police.’

OK,’ I hustled Jimi out into Mason’s Yard and on to the pavement. ‘Let’s get a taxi,’ I said, turning round just in time to see him stepping straight in front of a cab, looking the wrong way. I pulled him back as the driver screeched to a halt, opened the cab door and bundled him in.

I got Jimi back to his hotel and we chatted well into the night.

To get my eBook click here

The Wind Cries Mary

 

Jimi in the kitchen at Montagu Square

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is an extract from my book

Some of the rows between Jimi and me were quite dramatic, mainly because both of us operated on very short fuses and neither of us was ever willing to climb down, so we could only end them by one or other of us storming off – usually me. Once he was moaning about my cooking again and I felt I had put a lot of effort into whatever it was – mashed potatoes probably. I didn’t take kindly to being told they were disgusting, so I picked up the plate and smashed it on the floor.

Hell – what are you doing?’ he screamed at me, so I picked up a few more plates and threw them around the room as well, yelling back at him. Eventually I turned on my heel and stalked out, crossing the street to find a cab. He followed, trying to persuade me to come back, but I refused to listen. I found a taxi and jumped in, and without letting Jimi hear I told the driver to take me to Angie and Eric’s place in Jermyn Street. When I returned the next day, having cooled down, I asked him what he had done while I was away.

I wrote a song,’ he said and handed me a piece of paper with ‘The Wind Cries Mary’ written on it. Mary is my middle name, and the one he would use when he wanted to annoy me. I took the song and read it through. It was about the row we had just had, but I didn’t feel the least bit appeased.

To get my book please click here.