“Life is a great big canvas, and you should throw all the paint on it you can.”
London – April 1958
Fergus Grant was elated as he came out of London’s Drury Lane Theatre, flying over the steps to the pavement in one single bound. He had just seen a performance of My Fair Lady with Rex Harrison as Henry Higgins and twenty-three-year-old Julie Andrews as Eliza Doolittle.
Fellow members of the equally ecstatic audience leaving the theatre behind him applauded when his feet touched the ground. He laughed, turned for a few seconds, bowed to the assembled crowd then bounded off in the direction of Shaftesbury Avenue singing, ‘Just you wait, ‘enry ‘iggins, just you wait!’
Ripping off his black tie, he stuffed it into the pocket of his dinner jacket and danced rather than walked through the streets, his lean nineteen-year-old body bursting with energy. On the cusp of his adult life, with no emotional ties and free to go wherever his heart took him.
Tonight his heart was leading him to Old Compton Road and the 2’is Coffee Bar, the in place for emerging British pop music culture. He needed to get a move on because after umpteen curtain calls at Drury Lane, he was running late, so he broke into a run, trying to recall the lyrics of I’m an ordinary man. The tune was in his head but he the words were escaping him, but he remembered the last line.
‘Never let a woman in your life!’ He yelled at the top of his lungs.
‘Too bloody right mate!’ A man responded from the other side of the street. ‘Once you let ‘em in, you’ll never get rid of ‘em!” The woman on his arm recoiled, snatching the flat cap off his head and started beating him with it.
‘I’ve been trying to get rid of you for years, you old battle cruiser! But you won’t go! Look at the state of you compared with that young dish over there.’ Fergus tipped his head back laughing and carried on running.
He was a handsome young man, his features a mix of masculine and feminine characteristics, which intrigued and attracted. He had a shock of golden-blond hair with a heavy quiff that flopped across his brow, through which he habitually ran his fingers to scrape it away from his avocado coloured eyes.
Popular amongst his peers, his childlike magnetism made it easy for him to make friends and he was well known for his great sense of humour. Always immaculately dressed, he would turn heads wherever he went, often mistaken for a star of the silver screen, which amused him as he was unaware he oozed charisma and charm.