GEORGE MELLY, Theatre Royal, Wakefield 1994.
George Melly was a man of many talents who excelled at all of them.
He was an author of best selling books (including 1971’s groundbreaking Revolt into Style – Pop Arts in Britain) an art critic and collector, a lecturer, a TV and film reviewer for the Observer and a renowned jazz and blues singer.
After taking this picture at the Theatre Royal in Wakefield, myself and two mates met George backstage and we had a natter for ten minutes or so. I sent George a copy of this shot and received a lovely letter from him saying that this was now one of his favourite photographs of himself.
Nearly ten years after taking this picture some friends and myself went to an Andy Warhol exhibition in London. Afterwards we were in a nearby public house when George Melly and his entourage made a grand entrance. It was clearly not the first time they had been on licensed premises that afternoon. George, dressed in a magnificent chalk striped double breasted suit and sporting a colourful fedora on his head, staggered through the crowd towards the bar. He suddenly veered off and made his way to myself and said, “Hello, dear boy, how the devil are you?”. Having only met him once ten years previously for a few minutes he’d greeted me as if it was a matter of months, not years since that brief encounter.
He really was a lovely gentleman and since his death in 2007, aged 80, the world of art, literature and music is still missing one of the best.