Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Profit & Loss, Sunshine & Showers

After weeks of relentless heavy rain that saw the damp "situation" in our cutting room come to not so much a crunch as a quite smelly squelch, the sun is blazing over London. So while freshly plastered walls are drying and the new wiring no longer snaps, crackles and pops, I feel able to reveal, without incurring climate-related resentment, that this post comes from the desert of the San Fernando Valley, Los Angeles.

Having spent some four years in California until being whisked back across the ocean aboard the naughty ship Bedlam I discover I accumulated a quite fantastical amount of stuff. I have come to bring some of it back as well as doing meetings with buyers in the city and attending my friend Nikki's wedding. She owns my joint-tied favourite vintage store here in LA. The other one, universally recognised as the pinnacle of pre-loved, is Decades, curated by Mr de Luxe himself Cameron Silver, where you go for ultra chi-chi red carpet impact:
Nikki's store has more affordable treasure to make every day a little bit movie star:
Soon the downstairs area at Bedlam will be the dedicated ladies' area while the cutting room will be housed in the basement next to the screen-printing room. For Bedlam is a veritable labyrinth don'tcha know?

Now back to my journey. The best in-flight entertainment was the epic continental movie projected beyond the window. On my way back and forth to Europe before I would almost always stop off in New York. This time, having read the paper, eaten a surprisingly agreeable Mac & Cheese meal, and had a little crook-neck sleep, I looked out at the terrain below and realized this was the first time I have flown directly into LA since I undertook the Big Drive - my Grand Solo Road-Trip around the US in February 2009. Down from Canada across the Great Lakes and snowy mountains we flew, then the Bad Lands and endless prairies of the Dakotas, Montana and Wyoming. I glanced at the i-map thingie in the seat back to get my bearings but however much you zoomed in there were swathes and swathes of land with no towns, no settlements large enough to name, just vast tracts of emptiness. Then we cut a corner of Idaho before beneath us rolled out the Rocky Mountains. And as I gazed down I recalled the day my car approached the entrance to the pass and I saw a sign insisting "Between the dates of November 1st and March 1st snow chains MUST be worn!" And I remembered thinking, "Mmm, er, crap, don't have those and if I did I wouldn't know what to do with them but hell, it's only a week shy of that, surely I'll be fine!" and as the snow started to fall once more, I set off along the road. Within minutes I was driving in a blizzard. It was white out all around but still I answered my phone when it rang because it was my mother and that is what you do (yes, kids?).

Clear road ahead, nice blue sky, small matter of Rocky Mountains in distance, nothing a girl can't handle

Double Doh. This is what it swiftly became: white out.
As I struggled to hold the road and control my fear, I heard my mother tell how she had, at my request, opened my latest bank statement and ask just what was I intending to do about that situation? Never have I answered more honestly when I regretted really not being able to get into that now. But it was a sudden hike of pressure in an already tense situation.

But then I saw a black fence post sticking out of the snow. It gave me a sense of where things were, of scale, and structure. Then I turned a bend and ahead were the lights of an oil tanker. Not a vehicle I would normally be happy to tail gate, now I approached as close as I dared, so it could protect me from the wildly driving snow storm. At least, it occurred to me, if we went over the edge it would surely explode and the fire ball would alert people to our charred position.

The oil tanker that led me out alive
It was an unlikely safety car to follow round the icy track but together we rolled slowly down the other side of the mountain range. I never saw his face or he mine. As Salt Lake City appeared laid out beneath us he carried on down the interstate highway while I limped into town and found a strange motel. Checked in and collapsed on the bed I was surprised by the room phone ringing. No one on earth knew where I was so I figured it was the desk clerk. "Hullo?"
"Hello, I saw you in the lobby and watched what room you went to. Would you like to get a drink?"
Being an English girl of certain upbringing I thanked him for his kindness in considering me before categorically declining. Then I pushed my giant trunk against the door and called a pal.
"Change rooms!" he exhorted.
But I resolved not to be intimidated. That day, as with every day of that rewarding and challenging adventure, I accomplished what I had set out to do.

And now I am returning to LA with that same trunk empty but for another one within it, to collect (some of!) my stuff and confirm my commitment to Mark and Bedlam, one and the same, indistinguishable as they jolly well pretty much are.

Before leaving for the airport I was up until 3.30am doing our first VAT return, whose deadline falls while I am away. We do not have the turnover yet to make it obligatory to register but we chose to. Suppliers are more likely to grant you account facilities if you are grown up enough to have registered. But I cried like a girl doing it and found the process a torture until the tail lights appeared ahead of figures balancing and check columns agreeing. Then I started to take a satisfaction in the numbers that I have only ever found in words.

Much of the preparatory receipt logging, expenditure and income, I did while Mark was in France with Ocean over Fathers' Day. I thought it would be quiet and calm and I would be uninterrupted to concentrate on this awful chore. But I was alone trying to keep the shop open and functioning, while overseeing the structural repairs which were trying to cure the damp and the god awful stench that was invading us from above and below. Not to put too finer point on it, shit was coming at me from all sides. In addition to which, the workman were at war with each other (not Biggsie I hasten to add), and one held a blade to another's throat before they took their bellowing and shoving out on to the street to the gawping of the mini cab drivers next door and assorted passers-by. Then I'd go home, work more on the book-keeping, or the opening of accounts to ease our cash flow while trying to gather the money for our next big order of raw materials so we might have stock ready to fulfill orders when we hit the button on our e-commerce site, and also to replenish the shop. And every day it poured non-stop. Not just drizzle but pounding torrents and even hail fell from the dark sky. Mark would call and tell me they had been to the pool but it was really too hot to stay outside so they'd had a siesta. "Quel drag," I said with feeling.

What this leads me to reveal then, is this. That there have been moments, some running into episodes, where I have questioned the choice of all this risk, effort and responsibility. But in the same way that on my travels the road would turn a corner to provide reassurance or crest a height to display a beautiful vision of what lay ahead, there has always been a satisfaction forthcoming that convinces me to persevere. The photoshoot for Unfolded Magazine, our first editorial, took place the other week, at the shop with the padded wall as backdrop. What a great day it provided. Here is the link to the whole magazine and then the article on us from the Unfolded blogspot:
To order a bound copy:


It provided us with photographs the editor Nardip has kindly said we can use as a Look Book and it also delivered the Face of Bedlam to us, Ollie - barman from the Oval Lounge next door and drummer with the band Peggy Sue. I did my own "behind the scenes" photos and while you can see the whole lot on Facebook (no need to sign up, click on link beneath this selection and you will be able to see them) here are my faves:

Ollie draped in one of the range of scarves we now stock. Hand woven by Anne Barclay they are 50% wool / 50% silk and dyed with natural substances. In this instance, Walnut for the beige and Madder Rose for the pink. "Madder".
Is't possible?
Nardip snaps. Actually he maintained an admirable calm all day
McKinley from Blissetts trusty hardware store on the Brixton Road and handsome chops actor
Nardip focusses while Ollie gazes and Tim B2B OAM adjusts
The Bedlam duffle, yours for £30.00
Ollie soldiers on
The Ollie-gator (in our pinstripe and another of Anne's scarves)
Tim B2B OAM found it necessary to make several further adjustments
Actor Joe Jackson joined us, lost here in a volume on the history of London while Ollie reads Edith Sitwell's "English Eccentrics"
Joe in the Poacher's Jacket with matching waistcoat and trousers from the linen suit. Mr Fox from Lassco's & Co
They'll run you through and eat your devilled kidneys for tea
Washed down with a nice cold shot of Chase vodka
The Royal Wedding Commemorative Tee, "One Day I Will be Queen" 
Final Curtain call of the day - Mckinley, Joe and Ollie. Mckinley models our best seller "Ni Dieu Ni Maitre" -
"Neither God Nor Master"

Other assorted reliefs and rewards have been the settlement of the rigmerole with our bank, regarding, surprise surprise, accounting software. We now have the right package and that should make life easier. The arrival of some extra workroom help in the form of Madeiran (so it gets Madder) miracle Marta was another recent boon. She is the size of my finger nail but has the strength of an ox. We live in Little Portugal - the largest community of Portuguese outside of their own country in Europe. As she walks into work from Stockwell she flyers the local businesses, talking to them in Portuguese and explaining why Ocean Colour Screen can meet all their screen-printing needs. She also brings me in custard tarts mmmm. It came about because a gentleman called Wesley (none other) passes the store each day on his way to work at the Stockwell Job Centre. So when he had a new client who wants to get into screen-printing and fashion he brought her along to do a placement with us. If I am Sybil, and Mark is Basil, we now have our Polly. André, who first mentioned this resemblance, is by default then, Manuel.
Wesley, Mr Wesley and Marta
Someone else who raised our spirits and made us feel part of the community was Hannah. I attended a seminar for local businesses, hoping, like everyone else there, to get the secret password for free money. The first thing announced by the gentlemen burghers hosting was, "There is no money, there are no grants!" People shifted in their seats and reached for their coats. But everyone stayed as we went around the table and explained who we are and what we do. When I had spoken, Hannah, pictured with Mark below, leant in to tell me she had worked on Jermyn Street making shirts, and could she lend us her skills? We thoroughly gratefully accepted the offer:

As well as these great gals we now introduce Gugu, who wandered in one day as a customer who'd set out for some chips. She is now the face of Bedlam Belles and here she is in her bespoke Sherbet Dab jacket:
Gugulicious cut it up one time
We have been asked by a chap called Rob to make his wedding suit - what higher compliment (or responsibility?!) could there be? We have been recognized NORTH OF THE RIVER at a late-night party at London Zoo, when a gentleman approached from out of the crowd to enquire, "Excuse me, but aren't you Earl of Bedlam?"
We most certainly jolly well are!

And while my agent never got a bite for my book of traveller's tales around the US, now I get to write the story of Bedlam and some of you are kind enough to read it (are you still with me??).

Aside from staring down at lakes and mountain ranges; prairies, salt flats and deserts, geography that combined to challenge and inspire, and proved to myself that I had what it took to take them on - "work with them respectfully" perhaps I should better say, it was not hand-to-hand conflict - something else called forth this reflective post. I can't tell you the last time I read a book, there are so many other calls on my attention. Waiting to board at Heathrow's Terminal 3, the latest offering from a TV business guru caught my eye. "43 Mistakes Businesses Make... and how to avoid them" was its title. Feeling sensitive to this, to my surprise I stopped and flicked its pages, reading a few paragraphs before catching myself and hurrying off to buy "Vogue" and "Glamour" for a plane ride treat. I now needed to know what the book said next however and despite all my best frivolous efforts was dragged by some force greater than myself back to the shelf to read on.  "Goddamit!" I cried, casting it down and went to get a bottle of water. I was not going to be caught up in some How-To-Motivational-Bombast by TV's Duncan Bannatyne: http://www.bannatyne.co.uk/contact-duncan

OK, I bought it, and have nearly read it all.

Here then is a quick summation of the points that reassured my conviction and acted like a safety car outrider through the blizzard of business. I read every word like it was a letter written to me. Thank you, Mr Bannatyne:
  • Success in business comes from being tough, not ruthless. "Tough enough to do the dirty jobs and tough enough to make the difficult decisions";
  • consider yourself responsible for everything (even when you expand to have staff);
  • which leads to DIY: "New entrepreneurs are vulnerable to thinking their expertise... is worth less than [bank managers or accountants]... I urge you to do your own accounts, sort out your own  VAT"  - YEAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!!!!!!! "After all, how can you successfully employ an accountant or general manager if you don't know what their job involves? I don't think I'd be successful running a big business now if I hadn't once been responsible for every single aspect of a much smaller business";
  • "Skills on their own don't make a business, and neither does opportunity. Where you get a fit between the skills & opp, then you ave a really good chance of building a successful business." And I believe we do;
  • "Identifying our rivals - and your potential rivals - is absolutely key to success." We laugh now every time a new face enters the store only to ask "WHY have you opened HERE?!" Because every single person - with the exception of a strange chap who came in clutching a Lidl carrier bag that had seen better days - has done that. And I answer "Well, there's no competition!" and then the next thing they say, with tears in their eyes, is "Thank you for opening here" and I tell them they just answered their first question;
  • the one place niche businesses flourish is the internet. And we are about to launch e-by-Bedlam;
  • open in a sub-prime area... hand out flyers... advertise locally. I give you MARTA!;
  • Twitter / Facebook cost nothing. Well I'm not interviewed on the utilisation of so'med' for nuttin;
  • Google ranking - ditto, we got it covered;
  • whatever is your bogey task (he cites VAT!) depending on your character either impose a penalty or invent a reward. I have the Protestant Work Ethic in my DNA and function on the former,  Mark worships at the church of sybratic indulgence and only a carrot is his motivator;
  • "transform complete strangers into customers" - and then into friends! Hello Gugu! "meet as many strangers as possible" we are both nothing if not gregarious. "Have a relationship with your customers" - we do, we do, just short of consummated;
  • do local events where you can have a stall - Kennington Village Fete, July 10th, here we come;
  • understand the difference between value:size when apportioning (don't use term "give away") equity. Have started to learn that, yes;
  • "A very effective way of making sure that you have no choice but to make your business a success is by putting in your own money... money you simply can't afford to lose." ie DEBT IS GOOD FOR GETTING OUTTA BED! Yessir, I hear that;
  • work on your dining room table - I do, I do, it drives Mark nutzoid when he's ready to serve dinner. "No business needs to waste money on luxury premises" - Mr Bannatyne, you shudda smelt our wall;
  • your salary is the last thing you spend money on. Sadly we have subscribed most strictly to that;
  • incentivize customers with discount vouchers and staggered payments. We sold the Seville Marmalade pants and waistcoat from the window by allowing the gentleman to pay in installments;
  • be a brilliant faker, e.g. use different voices on the phone for each "department" - I always used to do that at Moving Shadow Records;
  • "Good business isn't just about brilliant deals, it's about mutually beneficial relationships". Amen;
  • This is the bit that had me fall to my knees and shout "Hallelujah!" / offer to commit a lewd act on Mr B in gratitude, depending on your church - "When you have been working 18 hours a day, seven days a week for months, and are completely exhausted, it doesn't take much to make you throw in the towel... you wonder why you are working so hard, especially if the material results are yet to materialize. Every week, for countless reasons, entrepreneurs walk away from potentially lucrative business opportunities. Make sure you don't become one of them." Well as God is my witness, I won't;
  • "Look at everything you've managed to achieve so far. make a list. Congratulate yourself." Well I sort of have, above, of recent reasons to celebrate, but there are many more. We started this blog in October, by January we opened the business account with our first investment. In February we had a stockist in New York, by March the store was coming together. In May the shop was opened by the Mayor of Lambeth so putting an official stamp on our standing in the community and doubling as a bloody good party; in June we had our first editorial published; come July we still love each other;
  • "Have a full range of skills" - "be an extrovert who can sell milk to cows but also be happy alone in a room with the accounts, but have one skill above all, the ability to sell. Everything else is secondary." The best way to sell is passion. "And the best - and easiest - way to feel passion for your business is by believing that your business makes the lives of others better." Which is when I cut'n'paste something I already wrote above: "We laugh now every time a new face enters the store only to ask "WHY have you opened HERE?!" Because every single person has done that. And I answer "Well, there's no competition!" and then the next thing they say, with tears in their eyes, is "Thank you for opening here" and I tell them they just answered their first question.
And... blue skies - Bedlam does Beverly Hills

Monday, 20 June 2011

Professional Portfolio

The pantechnicon of party photographs is at last unloaded with this selection. More polished than my own, professional snappers Robbie Ewing and Kris Allen earn our sincere thanks for permission to reproduce them here. Included are the long promised series where drink is demonstrated to progressively get the better of Freelance Head of Graphics, Mr Ian Vincent and Oval Area Manager, Mr Timothy Chapman. They both called in sick the next day.

As stated before, a cross section of all life was represented and I hope these images confirm it:

Yash's father & uncle (c) Robbie Ewing
Yash's sister and mama (c) Robbie Ewing
The Mayor and Mama Yash (c) Robbie Ewing
Ali Age of Reason (c) Robbie Ewing
André & Stephen (c) Robbie Ewing
The Crowd Went Wild (c) Robbie Ewing
Our favourite Young British Artists, Tom'n'Alice (c) Robbie Ewing
Donna's friend's doggie (c) Robbie Ewing
The pretty millineress from the Oval Lounge, wearing her own creation (c) Robbie Ewing
Mr Andrew Roachford (c) Robbie Ewing
Truly a delightful portrait of Tim Balmain-to-Bedlam Oval Area Manager (c) Robbie Ewing

"There's no vodka in this cocktail!" was the accusation Mr Vincent levied at cocktologist (??) extraordinaire Miss Carr.
I think this set of photos proves him wrong. All (c) Robbie Ewing
My mama and Mr Antony Price (c) Kris Allen
In case you are unacquainted with the eminence of the gentleman above, take a read of this:
My mama is yet to have a Wikipedia entry devoted to her.

Mr Wesley in a neckerchief by Age of Reason, Lady C and Mr Antony P (c) Kris Allen
Ali and the Bedlam Galleon (c) Kris Allen
Actor Mr Don Gilet and son Flynn (c) Kris Allen
Ah, now it's been a while since we had a musical interlude on the blog. Here you go, with props to the father and son above (seeing as it is Father's Day, at least it was when I started writing this):

Mr Andrew Roachford, Best Voice in Britain, in his Bedlam strides (c) Kris Allen
The Mayor cuts the ribbon (of hound's tooth check) while Mr Stephen Roachford tweaks the levels (c) Kris Allen
Mr Mark Wesley a.k.a. The Earl of Bedlam (c) Kris Allen
Doggie again (c) Kris Allen

Friday, 17 June 2011

Scanning not so well but max points for pro-Red activism

Bedlam is all about Bohemia of course and the gypsy blood that tumbles through our veins. This is a slight aside to the time-line focussed blog such as still awaits the final posting of professional portraits from the party; our Look Book for S/S 2012 (2012?!); the local community action programme into which we have locked and um, oh there's bound to be something else overdue; but always take a quickie pit stop while you can Beldamites, to satiate the gnawing appetite:

Home from a night of Gypsy-Swing as performed by Zoran Predin to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of Slovenian independence - to which we were invited by loyal Bedlamite and Slovenian Public and Cultural Diplomatic Envoy Spela Vrbnjak  - we find the programme reproduces a pro-Rousse libretto. Writing as a redhead it is satisfying to reproduce them for you here before this flame-haired Rapunzel tumbles into bed:

I remember how I met her.
First I heard her wooden clogs.
She was wearing a hippy outfit,
which included a small black dog.

"Charm the dog!" was the final answer.
He gave me one fair chance.
I became her dearest dancer.
So we started our dance.

She's the one I want for me.
She's the one I want to touch.
Just like the moonlight caresses the sea.
My freckled girl I love so much.

I discovered new sensations,
a revolution in my head 
and I'm sorry for each moment 
that we didn't spend in bed.

I'm so glad that I'm a victim
of the energy I got.
I want to kiss each sexy freckle
and good god, she has a lot. 

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

The Third and Final Volume of the VIP (Very Important Party)

Just to prove that I am capable of writing a real-time blog (I do hear there are people who post little and often as opposed to the Illustrated War & Peace) ("often" added Tim) let me start with a photograph (OK, busted, it's from April) of the lovely ladies Corinne & Terri, at Biddle & Sawyer on Berwick St. The current affairs relevance is that I popped in there today, yes folks, and Terri enquired as to who authors this blog. I owned up and she was kind enough to say she enjoys it. But she did ask first so perhaps if I had answered "Some volunteer freelance ghost blogger" she might have said, "It needs some work." Anyway, I am susceptible to flattery, and it has spurred me to put to bed the account of our opening party and henceforth try to stay on top of events (in the same way that doing our first VAT return has spurred me, face tear-splashed and gown in tatters, like Scarlett in the tatie field while Atlanta burns behind her, to never, as God is my witness, allow myself to get behind with book-keeping again).

And now, back to the scene of the party, where we find Stuart Green, my old compadre from One Little Indian and erstwhile manager of Alabama 3, spinning in the garden, guests thronging about and me finally in a clean shirt and lip gloss.

Stuart Green a.k.a Dr Filth
It was soon evident that in attendance were friends old and new, numbering customers, colleagues from this and other incarnations, family, artists for whom the shop is also a gallery, musicians, thespians; local residents, people who had come from L.A. (BRIAN LEITCH! We were happy that he was accompanied by Alexander Lewis of E. Tautz, winners of last year's British Fashion Council menswear award) and even the New Forest; business community neighbours (all the boys from the mini cab company next door appeared to claim a mini Scotch egg or six); old, young, even babes in arms; hipsters, icons, and those who document them; gay, straight and tipsy; human, canine; white, black, yellow and polka dotted - verily all life was represented.

Daphne and Roland from the hood who have supported us with their custom and  all round congeniality. Do please remark Harriet's pink gingham roof on the Wendy-House Bar
Some of my god children from the ever reproducing entity that is the Letts clan, my childhood tribe
Donny Slack and the adorable songbird Miss Angela Penhaligon, who shares a name with one of our gracious sponsors
Local dandy Stephen who has supported and befriended us
Sam the Man from Classic Cuts
Suddenly, however, the chatter was stilled by a frisson of excitement that coursed through the crowd. Soon enough I found a chauffeur waiting for me to proclaim it the moment to usher in his passenger, none other than the Star Turn, the Top of the Bill, the Worshipful, the Mayor of Lambeth, Councillor Christiana Valcarcel. I think some people vaguely registered "the Mayor" was coming to officially declare Bedlam abroad, then expected some paunchy middle-aged male Causasion burgher to appear. Now a shapely ankle appeared from the back of the Bentley followed by black sequin trousers and all the bling of the Borough. Yash - the neighbourhood dry cleaner, Top Dog, and our partner - Mark and I went down to greet her and lead her through the cheering crowd. I presented Tony, boss of the mini cab drivers and I swear, people could not have been more thrilled if Mick Jagger had turned up.

A proud moment for me, escorting the Mayor of Lambeth 

The First Citizen of Lambeth, the Worshipful, the Mayor Councillor Christiana Valcarcel with Lady C (c'est me), Yasha Musar and the Right Rascally Mr Mark Wesley
It was like meeting Elizabeth Taylor, such a glamourous moment of authentic civic pride I can't even tell you

I present handsome Matt, the boss of the Oval Lounge restaurant next door.  When we realised we had no ice, they cranked out barrel loads for us, and cleared away rubbish from the street so it was pristine for our VIP
Tony who runs the mini cab office next door wants this picture on his wall and I must give credit and thanks to Nardip of Unfolded Magazine for many of these wonderful shots
For a while there was a scrum of people wanting to press the flesh of our distinguished guest, and that was handy, giving time as it did to do the big bow across the door way and for Donny to locate the giant tailor's scissors. Stephen Roachford set up the PA for us so fast and efficiently it was accomplished in seconds, so allowing the maximum amount of people to have the benefit of her rousing, not to say moving, speech. She proclaimed herself a Christian and said that it was customary when at the baptism of a new baby to appoint a godmother, someone to watch over the fragile soul, to nurture and encourage it. This then, was the role she was going to appropriate for herself, Godmother of Bedlam, and she went on to declare that as long as she held office we would have special privileges in her parlour (Mr Wesley's ears perked up at that). I had been asked to submit a few notes for her reference and decided it was impossible to name everyone who had contributed to this moment, and indeed some wished to maintain a discreet veil over their benefaction, but when she hailed our friends and family I was happy to hear later that Ian turned to Tim and gurgled "That's us!" Two of my actual godmothers, who stood over the font at my own Christening, were present, Thelma van Til and Barbara Thomas, the latter pictured here with my mama and, propitiously enough in front of a good luck card bearing the motto "Keep Calm & Carry On" which is apt, as her late husband Gerald directed every single Carry On film. My third godmother, already familiar to dedicated readers of this online tome, Elisabeth Ratiu, had gone to Highgrove to see Prince Charles for lunch but made up for her absence by taking a Bedlam duffle bag and one of the Royal Wedding commemorative tees (the party invite "with MC Harry Wails") for Prince Harry.

Carry on Carousing - the Earl of Bedlam's Godmother, my mother (dressed by Bedlam), my Godmother Barbara Thomas, her daughter Debs
As she cut the ribbon and proclaimed Bedlam officially abroad, the Mayor quoted my letter asking her to attend, that we are proud to walk like Lambethians. A mighty cheer resounded!

It's official! 

Shortly after this I dragged Andrew Roachford from the garden where he was having a perfectly nice time drinkin, chillin and making conversation on his night off from Mike and the Mechanics, and inveigled him to make beautiful music at our old joanna, accompanied on guitar by Stephen, that had the crowd yet further astounded and delighted (there is a clip of video on the last posting of this):

Andrew Roachford in his Bedlam trousers and homburg

Enraptured onlookers here include little Uma,  Miss Chris Dwyer from Universal Records and Mimi (far right)

Mr André Hopley (in shades) gets ready with backing vocals

Age of Reason Ali's husband Charlie, Ollie (see next posting for his emergence as the Face of Bedlam), Mr and Mrs Nick Ashley, Carmen Layton Bennet, Piers and Thelma van Til and ladieswear designer Donna Beal amongst others

Errol, large character of the local quartier with Mrs Nick Ashley who had trotted up from the New Forest no less

Mr Nick Ashley,  Mr Mark Wesley and Mr Andrew Roachford
Well I'm getting sleepy and must rattle towards the end now. It is also Mr Wesley's birthday and I have some presents to wrap while he softly snores. So here's a few more shots of our lovely guests whose attendance did us so much honour but there are some great portraits in black and white by another photographer that I will treat you to in days to come, I think in particular of the study in tipsiness I promised you as modelled by Tim'n'Ian. One late arrival was the legend that is Mr Antony Price who broke from fitting Duran Duran for their stage togs and whom I love most dearly. That he bestowed his blessing and compliments on the shop and the clothes in handsome person meant more to me than I can express but every single person there (although maybe not the staggering drunk man that no one knew who eventually we asked to leave) added either to the occasion and / or contributed to the process of getting us there. Our thanks to you all!

Mr Graham "Sugar Lump" Evans

Melanie Jones whom we must thank for the introduction to Unfolded magazine with Philip from Crescent Trading

Corrr! Mr Paul Robinson, star of the West End and one of our exhibited artists flanked by chorus girls my ma and me
My dear thespian friends Tracy Whitwell and Don Gilet (yes, the dastardly one off Eastenders) 

Chreos who helped rebuild our platform

The beautiful Miss Anabel Cutler, Mr Taffy Evans and Mr Nick Ashley

Someone's nose tip, my ma and the man who put the threads to the grooves, Mr Antony Price in a jacket of his own design
Mr David Dibble Beck and Mr Richard Cookie Cook, my old muckers of yore and for ever more
Yash's uncle and father (I think)

Mr and Mrs Andé Hopley, handsome couple

Mr Mark Wesley (wearing rude scarf by Age of Reason),  me and my Pa, who worked the bar as no guest has never knowingly been without a charged glass on his watch