You’re more likely to have heard of the Ofarims than Henri, but I am reminded of both, having just become Facebook friend with a wonderful lady publicist from the 1960’s, whom I barely knew really, but with whom I spent an unforgettable 24 hours in the company of others and more importantly, the three above mentioned.
I can find no record of this in Disc & Music Echo, the weekly pop paper for which I was working at the time, but it must have been early in 1968. Paragon Publicity, an independent PR company working out of Polydor Records offices in Stratford, had arranged a press junket to Hamburg presumably to promote the album that followed “Cinderella Rockafella”. Henri, who had been responsible for taking
many of the Liverpool bands to the city some years earlier, was drafted in to show us the sights.
Here’s Henri on the right with “Merseybeat” editor Bill Harry and Screaming Lord Sutch.
Off we set – but, apart from Henri, the lady from Paragon whose identity I will preserve, and Melody Maker journalist Bob Houston, I have no memory of the rest of the party – to Hamburg, Henri having to deal with the Paragon lady’s petrification (?) of flying. Think we stayed in a nice hotel, saw Esther and Abi ( no I never worked them out either – a strange couple), had dinner afterwards (venison and red wine – not what a 1968 palate was used to), a drink in the bar where “Fifth” Beatle Stuart Sutcliffe’s girlfriend Astrid Kirchnerr was working, and then the highlight of the night – and it was a night – Henri’s tour of the Grosse Freiheit and Reeperbahn.
He knew every doorman, most of the girls and all the barmen and as we strolled, me somewhat apprehensively, down the streets, Henri would be in and out of the clubs checking where the best acts were. The lady from Paragon came as well, probably out of a sense of duty for our safety – after all she had to get us on the plane home again. It all gets a bit blurry after that. There were some interesting antics with lit candles, though all our drinks were paid for. At one point in the night Mr Houston disappeared and in the end we had to go home without him. Later, about 6am, there was a call to my room. It was Bob, out on the pavement asking if I had the cost of his taxi as he was penniliess and a bit bloodied. Seems he’d taken up the invitation of one of the ladies to join her in a private room, and seems that later he’d taken exception to the cost of this experience, hence the bloodiness as well as the penniless/Deutschmarkless.
That’s it really. We never talked about it again. Bob went on to edit Royalty magazine and Henri re-emerged in my Polydor days as the King of the fly poster world. Both have now departed and it’s probably true to say we will never see their likes again.
The lady from Paragon happily lives on, and may even choose to reveal herself as she will have remembered far more than me about one night in the life of an innocent 24-year-old journalist.
And Esther and Abi? Well, they never did have another hit record!
As for the others on that trip – if you were one of them, do come forward and add to the story.