April 17th 2006
In the Sunday Times Culture section yesterday I spotted an advert in the forthcoming concerts pages â€“ An Evening with Joan Collins. UK Tour 2006. With special guests 4 Poofs and a Piano. Below the heading was a list of venues where Miss Collins and the 4 Poofs, along with their piano, would be appearing. (I wonder how the 4 Poofs have been able to resist a slight change of musical instrument so that they could call themselves 4 Poofs and an Organ).
Miss Collinsâ€™ nearest port of call to me is Manchester Bridgewater Hall on 10th May. I shanâ€™t be bothering. Iâ€™ve already spent an evening with Joan Collins, or part of one. Furthermore it wasnâ€™t as a member of the audience but seated right next to her.
The occasion was when we were both guests, along with others, on the radio programme Saturday Night at Quaglinoâ€™s, a live chat show that was broadcast in the early eighties from Quaglinoâ€™s night club in Londonâ€™s West End, and hosted by Ned Sherrin. Whether Quaglinoâ€™s, or indeed Ned Sherrin, is still around, Iâ€™ve no idea, but probably not.
I was on the show because at the time I was a scriptwriter on the News Huddlines and weâ€™d recently published a book of scripts from the show. I was there to plug it, which I did unmercifully and at every opportunity.
Iâ€™m not sure why Joan Collins was there, but the late Leonard Rossiter was a guest also (before he was late of course), so it might have been something to do with the Cinzano television commercials. I forget.
I was seated next to Joan, along with the other guests, at a large round table, set more or less in the middle of the night club where all the other night clubbers could get a view of us. It crossed my mind that here might be an opportunity to progress from being a humble scriptwriter to a film star if I could impress Miss Collins in some way.
This was around the time of Joanâ€™s soft porn movie The Stud, and I thought if I were to perhaps unzip my fly and get my dick out under cover of the tablecloth and draw her attention to it she might consider me for a part in Stud 2. Then I realised that if I were to do this it would be more likely to land me a role in a remake of The Smallest Show on Earth so common sensed prevailed and I remained zipped.
This was over twenty years ago but I swear that Joan looked exactly the same as she does today. Dog Rough. No, thatâ€™s unfair, because I couldnâ€™t really say what she looked like due to the entire yearâ€™s production of a small cosmetics factory having been trowelled on her face. She was white. A charitable person might say that her faced looked like it had been fashioned out of porcelain, an uncharitable one from Polyfilla. But she must have been over fifty at the time so I suppose she felt nature needed a helping hand even then.
As a person though she was charm itself and I wonâ€™t have a word said against her, even though I never got to be in Stud 2.