Discover more from The World of Tosh Berman
The Colony Room
Wednesday, October 27, 2021
Before I start writing, I have a slightly ambiguous feeling: happiness is a special excitement because unhappiness is always possible a moment later. I pick up the pen, knowing I’m going to go down in that rabbit’s hole and god knows how I’ll get out of here. Dead. I’ll open my eyes and find myself in Soho London, and I’m sitting in a private member’s drinking club called “The Colony Room, ” not far from Francis Bacon’s table. I have always been fearful about approaching his table because that gentleman has a tongue. A tongue that can strip the varnish off my soul, and therefore I would stand there naked. Within seconds, he will know that I’m a fraud. Most people I know would take a lifetime to sniff out my charlatan soul - but Francis can smell deceit as if he was dining in a Bank of America board meeting. Here in The Colony Room, I for sure stand out, compared to the regular clientele.
The music they play here is mostly The Shadows, and I for one, always enjoy a good foot-tapper without hearing someone singing. I briefly met Hank Marvin (the lead guitarist for The Shadows) here, and it seems he was friendly with Francis, but then again, a lot of people were… except me. I'm a member of this drinking club, due not to money, but influence. I bring customers who will eventually become long-term (financial) members of this club. That, and that alone is the only reason why Francis Bacon will tolerate me. As a favor to the master of the club, Muriel Belcher, Bacon kept his claws off my flesh and ego - but I can see through his eyes, to his very soul, that he would like to insult me in public. I wear my vulnerability as one wears a coat in the winter season. I don’t want to take it off for fear of being criticized by the master.
Another lad who comes by here is Wayne Fontana, who had a band called The Mindbenders, and they had a hit Game of Love. Of all the citizens who land here, Wayne is the one I can chat with, and not being worried about my self. Perhaps because he was even lower than me, in Bacon’s eyes. Wayne tends to a nut job. He once filed bankruptcy and somehow got himself arrested for pouring gasoline in a bailiff’s car, while the bailiff was still in his vehicle. He had to serve some time in a nuthouse, but now it seems everything is OK. Wayne is a reader, and he is aware of my books - especially the one I wrote on Sparks. I think he is very interested in the thought that maybe I would be willing to write a book about him and his music career. Which is so far from my interest at this point, but I never told him that. I find it best that when one wants something from you, you have to be able to delay it as long as possible. The best technique is not to say no, and allow a strong “maybe.” That way, they won’t give up on you, thinking you will come through in some fashion. He just released a record, as a single I think, called Pamela Pamela. I don’t like it. In fact, no one in the club here likes it. But I just acknowledge that he has that record, and I never comment on it.
“Sometimes, I feel the past and the future pressing so hard on either side that there’s no room for the present at all.” I travel these parts of Soho, well, mostly at The Colony Room, and I know I need to keep my own time, my own world, and not claim this world for myself, because it is really not mine. “If you asked me who I am, the only answer I could give with any certainty would be my name. For the rest: my loves, my hates, down even to my deepest desires, I can no longer say whether these emotions are my own, or stolen from those I once so desperately wished to be. ”
At that minute I looked around the bar, and I caught Francis’ eyes, and he looks at me with no thought or emotion behind it. I knew at that point that this will be the last time that I’ll be here in the club. So I headed for the stairs, and before I went down, I did a quick look around, and thought to myself “Goodbye.”