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 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 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.
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