’Woman take my honey an’ I’ll show ya I’m a man…show ya I’m a man…yeah…show ya I’m a man, But the woman took my money, so I took her ‘cause I can, an’ I ain’t never gonna see that woman no more…’
The Stoned Angels – ‘Suede Shoe Blues’, 1969
Frank Travis was a man who lived and worked for music. He was a defining force in the entertainment world and the very antithesis of a corporate music company executive. He was a man of uncanny vision and for more than three decades had been the divisive darling of the music industry. He was also a chain-smoking, womanising alcoholic whose best selling book ‘The Philosophy of Decadence.’ had made him obscenely rich, and earned him the reputation of being one of the most controversial figures in the contemporary music scene.
One name still haunted him though; Holly Parker. An innocent caught up in a world of drugs and debauchery whose fate was dictated by her own naivety and a chance meeting with a rising rock band thirty five years ago.
It was in the early hours of a Sunday morning that he found himself unusually restless and unable to sleep. At around 3am, after several shots of a particularly palatable single malt whiskey, he left his luxury apartment on the Albert embankment and took a stroll along the South bank of London’s historic river. He was somewhere between Lambeth Palace and Westminster bridge (and somewhere between drunkenness and sobriety) when he found himself experiencing intense feelings of paramnesia. Thirty years ago he’d walked the same walk, except then he’d been on the verge of bankruptcy. A couple of disastrous business ventures had left him penniless and homeless. Fate dictated that he share a squat with several out of work musicians. He recognised their talents and encouraged them to play. He got them gigs and publicity and by sheer bloody-minded perseverance (and not without a little luck) a recording contract. The rest became history as ‘The Stoned Angels’ became one of the most infamous rock bands of that era. The stories of excess that followed them became legendary. Frank documented that sordid journey in his first book ‘From slags to bitches.’ It was a brutal expose on sexual excess in the music industry; from deflowered fans to hard-nosed music executives. Drug-fuelled orgies, illicit affairs and just downright debauched parties; they were all in the book. Names were named and people shamed. The escapades of a fun-loving industry were told in lurid detail. He took no prisoners. It was the expose of the decade, maybe even the century. Time had mellowed him though.
He was strolling along the embankment in a weary and melancholy state. The world was a timeless, tranquil place to be. London was a slumbering beast and the Thames its slavering tongue. For a while he stared into the sinister waters of the infamous river and took a contemplative swig from his cherished hip flask – the one that had been presented to him when the Stoned Angels had reached there first platinum sales. Stippled reflections of London’s city lights concealed its murky depths and even murkier past.